The Tudors (Friday 9pm, BBC2)
We know it’s been coming, but in this penultimate episode of the cracking second season of The Tudors, Henry’s henchman, Thomas Cromwell, starts the task of gathering some fairly flimsy evidence against Queen Anne, so H can lop off her head and go and marry Jane Seymour (no not that Jane Seymour). The silliness seems to evaporate tonight, as the stark reality of Anne’s situation hits her and a cell in the Tower is made vacant for the Queenly presence. Now, I wonder happens next week…
Wire in the Blood (Friday 9pm, ITV1)
What’s that, you say? Some nasty serial killer type is going round offing the prostitutes of Bradfield? You have got to be kidding? Well, there’s nothing for it, we’d better call in mad as a box of frogs criminal psychologist Tony Hill to come and sort it… What? He’s not here? Yes, the police are left having to do their dirty work in the first of a new two-part Wire in the Blood, as Tony (the bouncy Robson Green) is off at a conference for psychologist types. And, as you’d imagine, one of Tone’s fellow psychologists ends up on the wrong end of a nasty death… With his track record, it’s amazing Tony ever gets invited anywhere.
Heroes Countdown (Friday BBC3, 9pm)
Considering the amount of folding stuff that the BBC reportedly paid for Heroes, it’s no wonder Auntie tries to wring as much mileage as it can from the series. Ahead of the show’s third season (or volume… rolls eyes), which premieres next week, this behind the scenes froth piece features cast interviews about just how great it is to be in Heroes and blah blah blah. I was very down on the second season on this very blog (you know, because it was rubbish and all), but I’m prepared to dive in and give this new run a fair crack of the whip.
John Adams (Saturday 5.30pm, More4)
A timely showing for this critically acclaimed US mini-series, considering it swept the boards at the Emmys earlier this week, including a best supporting actor gong for Blighty’s very own Tom Wilkinson. Paul Giamatti stars in this HBO biopic as the eponymous Adams, the second president of the United States of America, and one of the country’s most influential founding fathers. It also stars Laura Linney (also picking up an Emmy, along with with Giamatti), and as you’d imagine is a sumptuous historical romp through the life of a great man.
Merlin (Saturday 6pm, BBC1)
Mmm, I’m not sure how the Beeb hopes to build up a regular audience for its new Saturday night fantasy adventure series if it keeps shunting it around the schedules. Tonight’s story of everyday Camelot people is on a whole 90 minutes earlier than it was last week. Oh well. This week, Prince Arthur is entered into a competition to compete against other knights in knightly type things. Like sword fighting. And, erm… sword fighting. No doubt Merlin will stop a glass of water from spilling, which seems to be the extent of his powers at the moment, and Guinevere (stop calling her Gwen for crying out loud) will complain about not liking boys. It’s enjoyable, and Will Mellor is on hand tonight as an evil knight, but Merlin is going to have to keep running fast to remain truly distinctive.
Strictly Come Dancing (Saturday 6.45pm, BBC1)
Up this week are the female competitors, dancing a foxtrot or a salsa to delight or frustrate judges Arlene Phillips, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and the grumpy but always loveable Len Goodman. As always, you can score along at home, and Scott will be bringing you his always-sage thoughts on the evening’s shocks and frocks sometime over the weekend.
The X Factor (Sunday 7pm, ITV1)
The X Factor? On a Sunday? How gauche…
Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Sunday 9pm, BBC1)
One thing you don’t do, under any circumstances, is tell your new husband about the illegitimate child you bore following your rape by a cad and a bounder, on your wedding night. It’s about the worst idea in the history of bad ideas, and Tess’s new hubby, Angel Clare, is none too pleased about his bride’s wedding night revelation. Ooops. Life turns a bit pants after this for our Tess, who still glides through life with a charming naiveté thanks to Gemma Arterton’s winning turn as the titular heroine. It’s a depressing story, but strangely uplifting.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot (Sunday 9pm, ITV1)
I like that the writers for this highly enjoyable run of new cases for Hercule Poirot have gone off piste somewhat, what with Mark Gatiss of The League of Gentlemen penning last week’s, and now with The Third Girl we have Peter Flannery, writer of Our Friends In the North. It’s all as you’d imagine with the usual impeccable period detail, social manners and furtive glances, with Poirot, dapper as ever, gliding through proceedings in his mannered way. And tonight’s test of the leetle grey cells? A girl who thinks she’s killed her old nanny. Just another day for Hercule Poirot…