The Great British Menu (from Monday 6.30pm, BBC2)
It’s not in the same league as my beloved Masterchef, but The Great British Menu still has enough of an addictive kick to make it required viewing. This year, 16 chefs will be battling it out in regional heats every day to win the chance to cook at a dinner held for 100 British troops coming home from Afghanistan. As ever, judges Prue Leith, Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort are upstairs ready to lend their taste buds (and pained expressions) for the good of the nation’s food pride.
The Wire (from Monday 11.20pm, BBC2)
One can only assume that the BBC got so hacked off with The Guardian’s incessantly tedious eulogising about this drama that they gave in and popped down to HMV to get the DVDs. Better late than never, and you can bet that by this stage in the game Auntie got the lot (which will be stripped Monday to Friday) for a knock down price. If you haven’t already succumbed, this could be the ideal time…
All the Small Things (Tuesday 9pm, BBC1/BBC HD)
This has Sunday night drama written all over it, so one can only wonder as to why All the Small Things has ended up on a Tuesday. Never mind, this drama from Debbie Horsfield, set amidst the rough and tumble of a church choir, is more than watchable and has a couple of stellar leads in Sarah Lancashire and Neil Pearson. They play married couple Esther and Michael Caddick, both heavily involved in the local church choir. Things get a bit mixed up when the alluring Layla turns up with the voice of an angel, bringing husband and wife into conflict. Sarah Alexander and Corrie refugee Richard Fleeshman also star.
Mad Men (Tuesday 10pm, BBC4)
The wonderful Mad Men continues in heartbreaking fashion as Betty Draper finally figures out that hubby Don is having it away with Bobbie. Brilliantly played, brilliantly written, brilliantly directed. Brilliant!
The Apprentice (Wednesday 9pm, BBC1)
One week in and I’m already hooked on what looks like being a vintage series of The Apprentice. This week’s task is the always enjoyable and delicious catering task, which has a savage habit of really widening the field out and showing up weaknesses. The teams must put together a swish canapé reception and do it to perfection, which is about as likely as Bonekickers getting a second series. It just screams out for Gregg Wallace to bellow “Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this!”.
EastEnders (Thursday 7.30pm, BBC1)
With the chilling Stepford Wives style trailer doing the rounds, this hour long episode revolving around Peggy Mitchell’s wedding to Archie, erm… Mitchell, is likely to be a big ratings winner. There’s a lot of tension bubbling under the surface of this storyline that has seen Peggy allow herself to be tamed a little by evil Archie (a sublime Larry Lamb), but where this episode finishes up will smack the gobs of anybody watching.
The Mentalist (Thursday 9pm, Five)
I wonder if the high rating for last week’s opener of this new US drama was down to people tuning in to see if it starred former Emmerdale actor Ian Sharrock as Alan Partridge’s unhinged stalker. Sadly, it doesn’t. The title of this show is never going to get old, is it?
My Family (Thursday 8.30pm, BBC1)
A new series of My Family - and that’s about all there is to say. Nine series? That’s a lot of “jokes” about dentistry…