After You’ve Gone (Friday 8.30pm, BBC1)
It seems likely that this middle-of-the-road sitcom vehicle for Nicholas Lyndhurst will be commissioned for a second series. With that in mind, it might be worth looking in at this last episode to see why it’s put on nearly two million viewers across its run. To be honest, it’s not all that, a My Family clone with Rodders instead of Wolfie. But, as I kind of like My Family, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Wild West – Custer’s Last Stand (Friday 9pn, BBC2)
A nicely shot docudrama covering the legendary General Custer and his famous (but fatal) battle at Little Bighorn. As the first in a series covering other legends of the Wild West, it’s very well done, although the central casting is bewildering - Toby Stephens? As General Custer? You are, as they say, having a laugh. Get past that, though, and this is a fine hour of television.
Ugly Betty (Friday 9pm, C4)
Had a bad week? Well sooth your woes away with a dose of Ugly Betty, the best feel good fare on the box. It’s Thanksgiving, and of course Daniel manages to ruin it for our put-upon heroine, while Wilhelmina gets a visit from her daughter. Always a laugh, always makes you feel a bit better about the world at the end.
The Services (Friday 11.35pm, C4)
It’s a little rough around the edges, but see where it all began for Peter Kay with this repeat of The Services. All the ticks of what Kay does best are here with this docudrama about the day in the life of a service station. And after the woeful Max and Paddy, the man himself should perhaps look back to his TV roots to see how he used to do it.
House Weekend (Saturday 10am, Hallmark)
For want of anything better, you might plumb for the entirety of season one of Hugh Laurie’s America conquering drama, spread across Saturday and Sunday. I still can’t get past Laurie’s thickly trowelled Yank accent, even though some people tell me its chameleon like in its execution, but that’s not enough to stop me seeing lots to enjoy in this fun drama series.
Primeval (Saturday, 7.45pm, ITV1)
Oh dear, I’m suffering from Saturday night fatigue again. It’s difficult to say anything new about ice skaters, hospital dramas, talent shows and, I’m ashamed to say, Harry Hill. So that just leaves Primeval as pretty much the only diverting show on the box tonight. There are big alligators in swimming pools, and some movement on the Cutter and his missing missus plotline. Erm… Yay!
Rough Diamond (Sunday 8pm, BBC1)
It’s tanking in the ratings somewhat, but I’m holding tight on the reigns of Rough Diamond as a fine slice of undemanding Sunday night drama. Maybe it’s the fact I’m a sucker for a hard luck case, but I can’t help but like the cosy predictability and lovely scenery.
Recovery (Sunday 9pm, BBC1)
That David Tennant, he’s a canny one. Just a handful of weeks before the premiere of Doctor Who series three, he essays a role so different from the Time Lord that one can’t help but have warm thoughts as to his career prospects once he hands over the TARDIS keys. His role as Alan, recovering after a shocking accident left him in a coma, screams “I might be Doctor Who, but I’m a cracking actor with huge range, so don’t you dare typecast me!”. It’s something Tennant did to good effect with Secret Smile about this time last year when he played a nasty piece of work, and no mistake, and it works again here. The piece itself, penned by Tony Marchant, is heartbreaking, and pairs Tennant once more, to great success, with Sarah Parish. Parish is the wife who battles to bring Alan back as he goes through jarring personality changes in the weeks following his emergence from the coma. Strong and brilliant, this is easily the drama of the week.
Kombat Operas Present – The Applicants (Sunday 10pm, BBC2)
A clever piece of telly from the creator’s of Jerry Springer: The Opera, this sees John Thompson in an opera version of The Apprentice, playfully titled The Applicants. It’s great fun, poking a stick at both The Apprentice and opera itself, as contestants sing their innermost thoughts in fabulous mock opera stylee. Why can’t more TV be like this?
The Oscars (Sunday/Monday 12.30am, Sky Movies 1)
It’s a bit galling this is going out on a premium subscription channel, but never mind. If you can stay awake and love your movies, you’d be silly not to tune in and see dame Helen pick up her gong. Oh and, “Come on Little Miss Sunshine!”
And with that, I’m off to strap some planks to my feet and throw myself down a mountain for a week, so I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Scott and Liz. Hot tip for next week: LIfe on Mars episode 4. Best one yet!