One Man and His Dog (Saturday 6.10pm, BBC2)
Ben Fogle and Shauna Lowry present the first of two special programmes of this much-missed, little-watched TV legend. It’s a very soothing way to spend 40 minutes and marvel at the real skill that goes into the bond between master and animal. There’s certainly more sporting satisfaction in this charming contest than there is going on in The Ashes at the moment.
The X Factor – the Final (Saturday 7pm, ITV1)
Oh thank God! It’s over for another year. In previous years I have lapped up The X Factor like no tomorrow, but this year the whole shebang has passed me by. And that’s probably my loss as the bits I have caught clearly show it’s still as fun and frothy as it ever was. I guess I’ve got bored of the contrived banter between the judges as opposed to the focus on talent. Good luck to Ray and Leona, it’ll be a great for you!
The Culture Show (Saturday 7.50pm, BBC2)
The final edition of this series will reveal the result of the search to find Britain’s greatest living icon, and the final battle is down to three diverse choices. Will it be Paul McCartney, Morrissey or Alan Bennett taking the honour thanks to votes cast by viewers? All are worthy contenders, but my hope is for Mr Bennett. There will also be a look back over the past year as covered by the show.
Ghosthunting with Girls Aloud (Saturday 11.30pm, ITV2)
For those who missed it, catch this timely repeat of the biggest television event of the year. And that’s said with no sense of irony…
Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (Sunday 8pm, Sky One)
This is quite a major undertaking for Sky, tackling the first bona fide live-action adaptation of one of Terry Pratchett’s fizzy, fun Discworld books. On the Discworld, the Hogfather has gone missing on the eve before Hogswatch, leading to Death (he’s a ubiquitously fabulous part of the whole Discsworld experience and voiced to perfection by Ian Richardson) decides to take on the task himself. It’s all fabulously Christmasy with a faux Dickensian bent to proceedings. It’s also odd to see David Jason out of his comfort zone as Death’s man servant, Albert. This is by no means perfect, but as a first attempt at bringing the Discworld to the screen, it’s commendable.
Born Equal (Sunday 9pm, BBC1)
If you want to keep the Christmasy spirit going in your house, it’s probably best to avoid Born Equal from the pen of Dominic Savage. If you do stay clear, you’re missing a powerful (if a little preachy) drama on the inequalities present in the social justice of our country. Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff David Oyelowo and Robert Carlyle head up a top cast in a story of disparate individuals in the same neighbourhood. It’s violent, it’s brutal, and the stories will pierce your heart and your mind. It’s tough going, and will make you uncomfortable, but see where it takes you.
Driving Lessons (Sunday 9pm, ITV1)
Okay, we’re treading carefully here, but finally Driving Lessons comes to our television screens, ushered in bizarrely the week before Christmas when it has Boxing day crowd pleaser written all over it. The superbly brilliant and multi-talented phenomenon Rupert Grint plays a teenager who strikes up a friendship with a dotty old actress (Julie Walters) and learns about the world, away from the piercing gaze of his mother. It’s ever so slightly twee, and that’s probably the point, but Walters and Grint are highly amiable company throughout writer Jeremy Brock’s directorial debut.