As we approach 'Blue Monday' thank heavens there's some new telly on offer to cheer us up.
So why not sweep those dark clouds away with our guide to everything on the box this week – from sun-drenched romances to frosty falls…
SATURDAY 14th January
Celebrity Bridge of Lies
6.05pm BBC One
One-time EastEnder Ross Kemp takes his daring daytime gameshow to primetime with a soap-themed celeb edition. Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes, Hollyoaks’ Richard Blackwood, Natalie Anderson from Emmerdale, and EastEnders’ John Partridge, come together to take on the Bridge for their chosen charities. “The Bridge of Lies is tailor-made for a celeb version so I’m looking forward to putting teams of famous faces to the test,” says Ross.
Michael McIntyre’s Big Show
6.50pm BBC One
Back after a three-year hiatus, Michael is excited to present an even bigger and better Big Show. All the things that we loved about it are still in place, alongside some new additions and one or two surprise twists. The Midnight Gameshow now features celebrities instead of members of the public and thanks to the joys of technology, Michael can now literally take over a viewer’s television with his own specially created shows. Expect hilarity, surprises and one or two OMG moments!
SUNDAY 15th January
Dancing On Ice
It’s time to get those skates on and the first aid kits ready as TV’s most dangerous dancing competition is back for a 15 th series. Ashley Banjo, Oti Mabuse, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean return to judge the celebrity contestants bravely taking to the ice, while Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby take on hosting duties. This year, the 11 competitors hoping to go from wobbling skaters to slick ice dancers include footballer John Fashanu, Love Island’s Ekin-Su, former EastEnder Patsy Palmer, Joey Essex, The Vivienne, and Corrie ’s Mollie Gallagher.
10pm, BBC Three
Following the recent Christmas reunion, the classroom comedy returns for a brand new six-part series. Original star Jack Whitehall’s Mr Wickers is gone, but two former pupils are settling in as newly-qualified teachers – diva Stephen (Layton Williams) and soon-to-be family man Mitchell (Charlie Wernham). The two rookies face an all-new class of tearaway teens. As they grapple to keep their kids under control, can they avoid the wrath of cantankerous headmistress, Ms Hoburn (played by We Hunt Together’s Vicki Pepperdine)?
Brenda Blethyn pulls on her mac for a new run of murder mysteries. When the charred remains of local GP are found in a burned-out car in a deserted quarry, Vera springs into action. Soon, she uncovers an affair, malpractice accusations and an investigation into prescription fraud. Star Brenda tells us to expect more twists than ever. “It’s quite a puzzle for Vera and the team,” she says of the episode. “All of the endings come as a surprise and this one certainly was!”
MONDAY 16th January
Love it or loathe it, there's definitely no escaping it as another bunch of plucked, preened, pouting contestants (and that's just the men) head to the villa looking for love. Or at the very least, looking for some lucrative sponsorship deals when they come out. Maya Jama takes over hosting duties from Laura Whitmore this series, but the rest of the show follows the tried and tested format of hitching and bitching.
The Last Of Us
9.00pm, Sky Atlantic
Based on the hugely popular video game of the same name, this eagerly anticipated adaptation stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Set twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed it sees Joel, a hardened survivor, hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. Obviously they encounter challenges (or it would be a very short series) as they traverse the U.S. on a brutal and heart-breaking journey. This will definitely be the water cooler show of January so miss it at your peril.
Junior Bake Off
5.00pm, Channel 4
The cute cooks are back! From thousands of applicants, 16 talented junior bakers aged between nine and 12 have been chosen and tonight we meet the first eight who will battle it out in the iconic white tent. As always, Harry Hill oversees proceedings with his usual wit, alongside seasoned judges Liam Charles and Ravneet Gill. Today the gang's cake creations including a showstopper on the theme of ‘What I’d do if I was Prime Minister’. We’d make all cake free of charge if it were us. You can have that one, Rishi!
ER and DI Ray star Parminder Nagra stars as one of three stressed NHS doctors returning to work after their maternity leave in this new medical drama. Parminder plays Dr Maryam Afridi, a mum-of-two who has recently returned to her stressful medical career after two years away. Her colleagues and friends Catherine MacDiarmid (The Split’s Lara Pulver) and Dr Helen Cavendish (Mum’s Lisa McGrillis) are in a similar position. We follow each the trio through their tears and laughter as they juggle motherhood and relationships alongside life and death work decisions.
TUESDAY 17th January
The Family Pile
Sherlock’s Amanda Abbington is the oldest sister in a dysfunctional family who come together to pack up their late parents’ home in this new Liverpool-set sitcom. Her three younger sisters aren’t keen to sell the house where they all gather along with husbands and kids, and even having potential buyers coming around to view the place causes problems in their already messy lives. Coronation Street’s Alexandra Mardell and Downton Abbey ’s Clare Calbraith also star.
Know Your S**t: Inside Our Guts
8.00pm Channel 4
Well, this is one show that does exactly what it says on the tin. Presenters and identical twins Alana and Lisa Macfarlane are making number twos their number one prioity in this new health show. We’d all admit that we tend not to talk about poo, but what pops in your pan can reveal important information about many aspects of your health, from mental health and immunity to disease risk and digestive problems. Each episode features patients with a variety of complaints, who will all undergo a bowel movement test, setting them on a path to better gut health.
WEDNESDAY 18th January
Surgeons: At the Edge of Life
9.00pm BBC Two
We return to Cambridge’s Addenbrooke Hospital to get a close-up view of more nail-biting, often life-saving operations, many at the very edge of surgical advancement. This week, the hospital’s Major Trauma Centre works encounter a critically injured cyclist who is rushed to hospital after crashing his motorcycle into a fixed metal gate, while a single mum-of-four has sustained severe spinal injuries after a car accident. Finally, a 72-year-old woman is treated for a bad open fracture after falling off the roof of her caravan.
THURSDAY 19th January
Britain’s Notorious Prisons: Wormwood Scrubs
After our trip behind the walls of Strangeways last week, the concluding episode of this gritty documentary sees us head south to London’s Wormwood Scrubs. Exclusive first-hand testimony from past inmates and staff reveals what really goes on when those famous prison gates slam shut – and reveals why the jail garnered such a reputation for extreme violence over the years. We’ll also hear the story of superspy George Blake’s daring 1966 escape from the Scrubs, which had a long-lasting impact on the prison system as a whole.
FRIDAY 20th January
Holidaying with Jane McDonald
9.00pm, Channel 5
In the final episode of her travels, Jane McDonald is taking a trip to the original love island – Cyprus. She will head to the birthplace of goddess of love, Aphrodite, as she learns more of the ancient legends of the island. We’ll see her meeting with friends to set sail and snorkel in the crystal clear, fish-filled Blue Lagoon before having a crack at some local traditions, including lace-work and making halloumi cheese. Finally, we’ll see her serenaded by Peter Andre’s brother. All in a day’s work for our Jane.
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