A newswrap of recent telly stories in ATV’s TV Weekly.
Doctor for Christmas
Viewers last saw the Thirteenth Doctor at the end of series 12 where her fate was left hanging in the balance as she was locked away in a high-security alien prison with no hope of escape.
Now Doctor Who is back for a festive special and will see a host of guest artists including John Barrowman MBE who will be reprising his role as Captain Jack Harkness alongside Chris Noth who will be back as the disgraced Jack Robertson.
In the upcoming special, Yaz, Ryan and Graham are far away on Earth and having to carry on with their lives without the doctor. However, they soon discover a disturbing plan forming. A plan which involves a Dalek. How can you fight a Dalek without the Doctor? Even with Captain Jack’s help, the gang are set to face one of their biggest and most frightening challenges yet.
A lucky spin of the TV wheel
Alison Hammond, who became famous for being too heavy for a table to take her weight on Big Brother in 2003, has certainly managed to make a career out of her infamous moment – even though she was voted out the show very early on.
2020 has been the year of box-ticking overload at ITV, thanks to BLM – the broadcaster did nothing in 2019 or before it for BLM in any great way, but this year has seen the ink pens and boxes so ticked the ink has almost run dry.
Now obviously television needs more ethnic presenters in key roles, but is Alison is the only one ITV has? Really? Her co-presenting on This Morning has been atrocious, an interview slot the other week Phillip had to save with his professionalism. And typical ITV, they’ve decided to replace competent hosts for inferior versions just to hit a quota. Ruth and Eamon, the Rolls Royce of This Morning, sadly chucked aside for a clapped out old Vauxhall Nova.
Anyway, due to the years, it seems, of ITV not investing in ethnic hosts, they couldn’t think of anyone else to present a revival of Wheel of Fortune – so according to The Sun Alison is going to ruin that too. Oh lucky us.
Cinderella is coming to BBC Two
Olivia Colman will be making her panto debut as Fairy Godmother and will be joined by an all-star cast that includes Guz Khan as Buttons, Tom Hollander as Baron Hardup, Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Devilia, Anya Taylor-Joy as Cinderella, Regé-Jean Page as Prince Charming, Jimmy Akingbola as Dandini and actual real-life sister and brother Daisy May and Charlie Cooper as The Evil Step Sisters.
Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas will be broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday 24 December at 8.15 pm and will also be available on BBC iPlayer.
Coronation Street regular Lisa George spoke this week about her health issues, revealing in a tabloid that she’s partially blind in one eye. Lisa, who plays Beth Sutherland in the ITV saga, told The Sun she thought her partial loss of sight followed an accident with a rope, however, medics believed she may have had a mini-stroke.
“They think I’d had some mini-stroke but a specialist said it has to be the rope, I still don’t know. I lost my peripheral.”
Corrie is sixty next week. Congrats my lovely northern serial.
Lenny’s big ring
Sticking with The Sun, the paper also revealed this week that Lenny Henry ‘is one of 19 other famous faces who have joined the cast of the Lord of The Rings TV series.’
The tabloid noted that Peter Mullan, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Trystan Gravelle are also going to be involved in the Amazon Original series.
Personally, I’ve no idea what it is about. The only thing with rings that I’ve ever watched is that game show with Pip Schofield on ITV, and he certainly does have a lovely shiny ring… the rest of that joke has been banned due to legal concerns. But make it up yourselves.
Old relics for Channel 4
No, I don’t mean Ant and Dec’s joke book. Channel 4 has commissioned two episodes celebrating Christmas at two of the country’s grandest castles.
The magical hour-long episodes will gain unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to Highclere Castle and Warwick Castle as they deck their halls and transform for Christmas in their own unique ways.
Episode one features one of the most recognisable houses in the world, Highclere Castle, the setting of the hit TV series and film, Downton Abbey.
Cameras also capture life at Warwick Castle, the medieval site built on the order of William the Conqueror back in 1068 for episode two.
New Year for One
BBC One’s 2020 new year programming gets underway at 9pm with The Big New Year’s In, as Paddy McGuinness hosts a party and starts the countdown to 2021 in his own hilarious style.
Then after the BBC News and Weather, there will be a special New Year’s Eve edition of The Graham Norton Show as Graham presides over his traditional end of year talk show joined by his very special guests Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Tom Hanks, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jessica Chastain and Nish Kumar. All of this plus music from Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Following that Alicia Keys will be taking to the stage to introduce and perform a very special set of songs, broadcast to the nation either side of the Midnight Countdown.
Whilst there will be no firework display at the London Eye this year, as Big Ben chimes in the New Year viewers will be able to enjoy an unforgettable and very special midnight moment from the comfort of their own homes as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins in Happy New Year Live!
Just like the old days before the millennium, how very 1999.
The Race is On
In a real-time UK first, Twitter and Corrie Digital are to host tomorrow (Sunday 6th December at 2pm) ‘Race to the Rovers’, a live 60th-anniversary online event bringing together Corrie fans, cast and digital crew.
Standby for comedy chaos on the cobbles as the Corrie digital team ‘lock’ their Mancunian neighbour, Jason Manford, in the Rovers Return and give cast members Mikey North, Julia Goulding, Ryan Russell and Mollie Gallagher just 60 minutes to set him free!
To rescue Jason each cast challenger will have to successfully complete a series of mental and physical games before his bar tab runs out! Guest ‘Rover’s Roving Reporter’, Ben Shires, will also be on-site to host the hunt and make sure all’s fair in the key finding fun.
Using a dynamic graphic overlay the Corrie team will allow fans to help or hinder each player’s progress by using specially created hashtags #CorrieHelp #CorrieHinder. Audience members will also see a selection of their tweets sent directly to hosts and cast as they play along.
“We’re so excited to involve the audience in such a fun and exciting way to digitally celebrate 60 years of Corrie. We wanted to do something a bit different and this kind of ground-breaking digital project shows that we’re constantly trying to push what we can do on the cobbles.” – Claire Hoang, Digital Executive Producer for ITV
Toys r Us
One Night In…Hamleys sees comedians Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett and Tom Allen locked overnight in world-famous toy shop Hamleys on London’s Regent Street.
With no security guards or grown-ups there to hamper the fun, the three friends can run wild for the night and do all the things they dreamed of doing in a toy shop when they were kids.
The Channel 4 special will be narrated by Sarah Millican.
It’s still number one…
It’s Top of the Pops Christmas and New Year.
TV’s biggest pop party will return to BBC One screens this festive period with BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo and TV and radio presenter Fearne Cotton reprising their roles as hosts. Recorded at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London, the one-hour specials will feature new exclusive performances from some of 2020s most exciting pop stars.
The star-studded Christmas Special will feature brand new performances from (in alphabetical order):
AJ Tracey x Aitch, Becky Hill, Celeste, Clean Bandit & Mabel, Ella Henderson, Jamie Cullum, Joel Corry & MNEK, KSI ft. Craig David & Digital Farm Animals.
Fearne and Clara will return to the nation’s TV screens for the New Year Special, taking a look back at the year in music to bring the year to a close in style. The performers are (in alphabetical order):
Alfie Templeman, Arlo Parks, Becky Hill, Nathan Dawe ft. KSI & Ella Henderson, Sigala & James Arthur, Wes Nelson ft. Hardy Caprio and YUNGBLUD.
As well as brand new performances, both shows will also feature live highlights from the past twelve months. Viewers can re-live performances of some of the biggest songs of the year from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi and Dua Lipa.
Top Of The Pops Christmas Special will be on BBC One on Friday 25 December at 11.55am and Top Of The Pops New Year Special will be on BBC One Friday 31 December at 4.20pm.
The views in this opinion item are those only of the author and are not endorsed by ATV News.