Where there’s muck ...

Fern Britton hosts the Big Allotment Challenge
Fern Britton hosts the Big Allotment Challenge

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

(Tuesday, BBC2, 8.00 p.m.)

‘‘Okay folks, well done to the team behind ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ - smashing results in the ratings.

‘‘Now, we need to find a follow-up. What other pastimes that are quintessentially British can we knock into a competition format for summer?

‘‘Jam making? Hmm, bit too close to ‘Bake Off’, but good starter ...

‘‘Wine making? Bit slow surely..


‘‘ Oh hang on, that could be fun ... let’s break out the flip charts and split into teams ...’’

And so, we bring you The Big Allotment Challenge, which sticks rigidly to format of those hit series, only relocating it to a bunch of gardens sheds, and swapping wellies for cake stands.

Fern Britton is the host as nine allotmenteers get to transform a piece of ground into a vibrant, bountiful allotment in just 15 weeks.

Each week, they are set a challenge - presumably ‘go to B & Q or Homebase and buy all you need off the shelf’ won’t be one of them – and are then judged by a trio of experts. The contestants are the usual telly mix of outgoing folk, some off the wall and a few who will either endear or irritate.

The Call Centre

(Tuesday, BBC3, 9.00 p.m.)
When Beeb3 is finally kicked into touch, I fear I may miss big Nev and his band of call centre workers.

There isn’t enough money in the world that would entice me to work for his firm – but this is fun to watch as he comes dangerously close to ‘The Office’ while trying to gee up his staff and keep a business driving forward.

As its set in sales, everyone is a ‘character’ and the place buzzes with daft team bonding ideas and ‘way too many fancy dress themed days’.

Three more reasons I’d rather work in a library ...

Restaurant Wars

(Monday, BBC2, 8.00 p.m.)
Two restaurants set to open a few hundred yards apart? Bring in the documentary crews, film ... and broadcast the results.

It’s a no-brainer really, and this two-parter is an insight to an industry that demands long hours and hard work.

Two chefs are running the new businesses in Manchester – one aiming for ultra-modern cooking (whatever that may be!) and one offering three-hour, 10-course tasting menu.

Grab your napkin and pick your winner ...

Jimi Hendrix Night

(Friday, BBC4, 9.00 p.m.)
I was never a huge fan of Hendrix, but there is absolutey no denying his influence on guitarists across the decades.

With the biopic of his life hurtling its way to the big screen this autumn, it’s as good a time as any to dig into the archives and re-tell his story one more time.

The night consists of two documentaries - ‘Bob Smeaton’s piece for the Imagine series followed by the maestrio tearing up the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock.

Beware! Cowboy Builders Abroad

(Thursday, Channel5, 8.00 p.m.)
C5 really does love its dodgy brickies, roofers and sparkies.

Not content with chasing them all over the UK, they have now unleashed wee Dom Littlewood on the continent to see what is happening abroad.

Funnily enough, it’s pretty much the same thing – folk hand over money, the job is either rubbish or never finished, so Super Dom swoops into action to confront the builders responsible.

It’s fine exposing dodgy dealers and chancers, but it’s been done so often it all gets a little bit ‘meh’ – and shifting the setting to the sun doesn’t make much difference.