Long night for a good cause

Children in Need TV appeal presenters 2014
Children in Need TV appeal presenters 2014

Allan Crow takes a look at the week’s TV highlights

(Friday, BBC1, 7.30 p.m.)

You know the drill - celebs team up for songs and sketches to provide the laughs in between the films to tweak your heartstrings and get you to donate.

The CIN format hasn’t really changed since day one, so here we go once more with Wogan and Tess Daly at the helm, surrounded by lots of the usual suspects.

Of course there is a ‘Strictly’ special, along with the obligatory appearance of One Direction and Susan Boyle and - brace yourself -a threatened reunion of SClub7. I’ll donate a tenner if they don’t get back together ...

It runs through until the wee sma’ hours so don your Pudsey onesie, get comfy and enoy.

Oh, and donate ...


(Saturday, BBC1, 8.30 p.m.)
How to fill that tricky Tardis-shaped hole in the weekend schedules now Dr Who has finished ... simple, just bring back another fantasy series.

Fans will recall it ended with the death of King Minos, so we start with a new leader, his daughter Ariadne, who takes to the throne amid fears of civil war.

Ah, if only she had a sonic screwdriver handy ...

It Was Alright In The 1970s

(Saturday, Channel4, 9.00 p.m.)
Ah, the 1970s - a childhood of tank tops, flares, ‘Blue Peter’ and ‘Magpie’, ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, ‘Man About The House’ and ‘The Sweeney’.

Matt Lucas goes a bit further and looks at the risque adult jokes which apparently filled those pre-watershed hours so diligently patrolled by Mary Whitehouse.

The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate

(Friday, BBC2, 9.00 p.m.)
Ever wondered what goes on in a fish market? Can’t say the question has kept me awake at night, but it’s filled with what telly likes to consider ‘characters’ and so we get a new fly on the wall series.
Actually, it’s a repeat - hardly worth the Friday evening slot, but maybe I missed its sharp humour and amazing people first time round ...

The X Factor

(Saturday, stv, 8.15 p.m.)

The karaoke juggernaut rolls into big band week, which means more classic numbers will be subjected to much wailing and over-the-top production. It also promises - threatens? - a jazz twist to modern pop songs, which makes me want to run to the hills.

This show just doesn’t do subtlety.

Console yourselves with the fact it will soon be over ...

The Mekong River With Sue Perkins

(Sunday, BBC2, 8.00 p.m.)
Another travel documentary which stands or falls on how engaging the celeb host can be.

Sue Perkins swaps gentle innuendo on ‘Bake Off’ for a 3000-mile journey through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China.

It sounds like an awe-inspiring trip. I hope she does it justice as she meets the people who live on the banks of the river.

Christmas Films

(Saturday, Channel5, from 11.55 a.m.)

Ah, you got to hand it to Channel5. It doesn’t show just one Christmas movie - it fills an entire day with them!

And you’ve probably never heard of any of ‘em either. From just before midday right through to 7.00 p.m. you get a series case of tinsel-itis as the station goes completely Santa-tastic.

Let’s start with ‘The Christmas Heart’ in which a kid needs a new heart for Christmas but a sudden storm puts the op in jeopardy. Ah, bring it on!

Then there’s ‘Christmas Mail’ in which a postie spies on a woman who answers Santa’s letters, only to fall in love with her.

Er, is it just me who thinks that sound a tad creepy?