The Great American Songbook BBC4, Friday from 8pm
Friday night is most definitely music night on BBC4, with a celebration of some of the greatest popular song ever written. Starting with a documentary about the development of pop music, Walk On By, at 8pm, followed by a compilation of clips from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers singing and dancing to Gershwin numbers at 8.50pm, the main centrepiece is …Sings the Great American Songbook, a compilation of performances from the BBC Archives.
Ashes to Ashes BBC1, Friday 9pm
Fire up the anachronistic right-hand drive Quattro! The final series of the time-hopping crime drama fantasy. Series 2 of the 1980s-set drama ended with Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) apparently back in the present day after being accidentally shot by Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister). Alex is back in the 1980s, though, and Gene is on the run. There’s a new regular character, too, with Danny Mayes as a disciplinary officer intent on bringing Gene down once and for all.
The Door ITV1, Friday 9pm, Saturday 8.25pm
Take The Crystal Maze, turn some of the individual games into phobia-challenging rounds similar to those in Fear Factor or I’m a Celebrity…. And then neuter any chance of it being watchable by having it hosted by Chris Tarrant and Amanda Holden.
K-9 Disney XD, Saturday 4pm
The return of a certain time traveller later on Saturday evening will perhaps overshadow another regeneration, this time seeing the tin dog from Tom Baker’s era and The Sarah Jane Adventures regenerated as a floating, cutesified plastic mutt. The same voice artist, John Leeson, provides K9’s voice, but I’ve yet to be convinced by the new look, Australian-made series. Time, as they say, will tell.
Chuck Jones: Extremes & In-Betweens Sky Arts 1, Saturday 5.30pm
The freewheeling genius behind Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and a huge number of the best cartoon shorts ever made is profiled here. You’d be looney tunes to miss it.
Doctor Who BBC1, Saturday 6.20pm
Matt Smith makes his full debut as the Doctor in this specially extended first episode of the new series. I previewed it after the press launch a couple of weeks ago. It’s a really good romp, proving that despite the regeneration of both lead actor and production team, it’s still the same Doctor Who that has topped the ratings for the last few years. Look out for child actress Caitlin Blackwood, who delivers a superb performance in the opening scenes of the episode. It’s an excellent performance. A new series of Doctor Who Confidential starts on BBC3 straight after.
Over the Rainbow BBC1, Saturday 7.25pm (results show Sunday 6.20pm)
After last week’s audition and selection shows, we hit the first of the live elimination rounds. Not definite yet, but I may be live tweeting again, as I was last week. I’ll definitely be reviewing the show afterwards at http://thestage.co.uk/dorothy. In a break from previous series, the results show will be shown on Sunday evenings, a la previous years of Strictly Come Dancing.
Jonathan Creek BBC1, Sunday 8pm
Once a full series, David Renwick’s magician-turned-detective is now only seen in seasonal specials. Alan Davies’ slightly shambolic lead is once more backed up by the ubiquitous Sheridan Smith as assistant Joey Ross. The pairing is so natural that it it’s easy to forget that it is only Smith’s second stint in the role.
A Touch of Frost ITV1, Sunday 8pm & Monday 9pm
The end of an era, as DI Jack Frost (Dvaid Jason) takes on his final case before hanging up his grey anorak. The exact nature of the ending is, as many series try to claim, a closely guarded secret. Will Frost retire, or pop his clogs? Either way, it’s another returning drama brand that ITV1 has lost, but will live on endlessly in the netherworlds of ITV3.
West End Story: What Nancy, Joseph and Maria Did Next BBC1, Monday 4.10pm
Now that Over the Rainbow has started in earnest, the BBC looks back at its previous contest winners Jodie Prenger, Lee Mead and Connie Fisher and how their professional lives have fared since winning their respective series.
Vincent Van Gogh: Painted with Words BBC1, Monday 5.10pm
Benedict Cumberbatch (soon to be seen as a 21st cenutry Sherlock Holmes in Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ retelling of Conan Doyle’s characters) stars in this documentary with dramatised scenes, retelling the life of the famous painter through the letters he sent to his brother Theo. Useful for Doctor Who fans to use as revision material prior to a certain episode later in the series…
An Extras Night In BBC2, Monday from 9pm
The entire first season of Extras in a single night. Magic.
Channel 4’s Comedy Gala Channel 4, MOnday 9pm
Recorded earlier this week at the O2 Arena, a selection of stand-up spots and sketches performed in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.