Holby City (Tuesday 8pm, BBC1)
It’s always worth checking in every now and then on the lives and loves of Holby General, and it’s pretty much business as usual this week with lots of corridor walking, inter-staff affairs and arguments over the operating table. The central story this week involves an enigmatic millionaire evangelist who offers to stump up the cash to have the conjoined twins separated. Ulterior motive? Probably…
Mutual Friends (Tuesday 9pm, BBC1)
A promising new comedy drama with a great cast, including Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes and Alexander Armstrong. A group of friends are thrown back together following the suicide of an old friend and they find their lives are not as solid as they thought. Warren is at the centre of things as Martin, with an unhappy wife (Hawes) and Armstrong as his ageing Lothario mate Patrick adding to his general confusion and impending mid life crisis existence. Mutual Friends is likeable in a very familiar kind of way and there’s some sharp dialogue that might just help this along as the TV schedules coast that downhill run into autumn.
The Last Word (Tuesday 10.35pm, BBC1)
Slightly more successful than last night’s outing in Hugo Blick’s series of new monologues, this second piece features rarely-out-of-the-tabloids Rhys Ifans as a farmer attempting to break free from a domineering mother, as always seeking the last word of the title. Ifans is a fine actor, his tabloid adventures taking away from the fact that he’s actually a master craftsman when given fantastic material. Thankfully this is one of those occasions.
Doctor Who (Wednesday 7.05pm, BBC3)
With the finale of the last series of Doctor Who still fairly fresh, cast your mind back to 2005 and the finale of series one that saw Eccleston morph into Tennant for a bit of compare and contrast. It’s an interesting watch given the distance of a couple of years, with a restraint exercised in Russell T Davies’s script that seems to evaporate in the coming years as the production team became more confident with what they could achieve (for better of worse in some cases). Platoons of Daleks flying through space and the Doctor making the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe and Rose make for an exciting finish, but it’s the arrival of Tennant that firmly sets this series on course to critical and popular acclaim. Fantastic!
My Zinc Bed (Wednesday 9pm, BBC2)
A sinister drama that adapts David Hare’s play on the nature of addiction that positively fizzes with rapier sharp dialogue and a couple of great performances from Jonathan Pryce and Paddy Considine. Pryce is multimillionaire Victor Quinn, who preys on his wife’s (Uma Thurman) vulnerability brought about by addiction. And then arrives alcoholic poet Paul (Considine) into their lives, and the game gets a new dimension. Thurman doesn’t quite fit this exceptional piece, and some of the inherent stage quality might put some people off, but My Zinc Bed is well worth a look despite this.
The Wrong Door (Thursday 10.30pm, BBC3)
BBC3 continues to court a younger, hipper audience and brings special effects and CGI trickery to the sketch show format to create a fun new comedy. It’s visually brilliant - I can’t remember a sketch show that ever had a velociraptor running around a park - but as with any sketch show, the actual mechanics of the comedy itself can be hit and miss. Thankfully there are more hits than misses here, and I’ll be back next week to see how things develop. And for any new sketch show, the very virtue of it not being the dire The Kevin Bishop Show raises things up a level before the first episode has even aired.
The Nominees (Thursday 10.30pm, FX)
After the well-deserved success of Chris Lilley’s brilliant Summer Heights High on BBC3 earlier this summer, it was only a matter of time before somebody picked up the Australian comedian’s 2005 forerunner. And here it is, with more of the same style of comedy following the lives of a disparate collection of characters that are all up for the award of Australian of the Year. If you didn’t get Summer Heights High, you won’t get this, but it’s just as good, if not better, than Lilley’s international breakthrough.