Doug Lambert looks ahead to some of this week’s TV highlights.
This week I’ve picked for my One to Watch Russell Howard Stands Up To The World premiering on Sky One and NOW on 31st May.
After being invited to perform in Australia and New Zealand, Russell takes a trip to explore these distant lands where Covid has been kerbed in this brand new three-part series.
Following two weeks in quarantine to gain access, Russell travels the length and breadth of New Zealand, throwing himself headfirst into everything from Manu divebombing to championship sheep shearing, underwater driving to Mauri hot pool cooking. He’ll meet legendary kiwi Sam Neill, famous first-man Clarke Gayford, comedian Urzila Carlson and the wonderful old age woodworkers of Coffin Club.
Then Russell heads across the sea to Australia, where he cooks shrimps on the barbie with Tim Minchin, meets real life mermaids and gets up close and personal with Koala’s in the care of Robert Irwin, son of the Aussie zoo legend Steve Irwin. He also faces his fears up close and personal with sharks and races toilets in an Aussie pub tradition.
In each location Russell notices the subtle and delightful eccentricities of each country and presents them back through his stand-up performances across the land. Experiencing the unique local humour (and heckling) of the locals first-hand and revelling in our similarities and differences.
Whilst filming the travelogue, Russell became the first international comedian to perform in New Zealand and Australia since the global lockdown. Russell is set to perform the second UK leg, including 5 Hammersmith Apollo and 7 hometown venue Bristol Hippodrome shows, from 22nd June to the 29th August 2021.
Russell Howard Stands Up To The World Sky One, May 31st, 9 pm
Other highlights this coming week include the regular visit to River City for BBC Scotland viewers. (The rest of the UK can see the goings-on via iPlayer.) This week in Shieldinch… Maggie’s resolve is pushed to the limit and she threatens to break her silence; Kim and Levi’s open relationship unlocks insecurities and Scarlett struggles to reconnect with Stevie following his overdose.
BBC Scotland Channel, May 31st, 10 pm
On Thursday ITV bring us Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having A Laugh Again!. With the Euros round the corner, Harry Redknapp is taking his team of England Legends across Europe to tackle the continent’s soccer superpower, Germany, on their home soil.
The German Legends have strengthened since Harry’s squad beat them 4-2 in London and they’re hungry for revenge, will the England Legends overcome the temptations of the tour and finally make England victorious in Europe?
Harry’s Heroes, ITV, STV, UTV, June 3rd, 9.30 pm
Over on Channel 5, Cruising with Jane McDonald sees her take to the River Thames, picking up from Windsor where Jane and some friends have spent the night. They set sail for a Michelin three-starred restaurant, the Waterside Inn, Bray.
The Magna Carta is the largest river cruiser this side of the non-tidal Thames, so if there’s shallow water, it can’t pull up to the shore to moor up. This turns out to be the case at the restaurant, so the crew have arranged a smaller boat, the Fringilla, to take them to shore.
Cruising with Jane McDonald, Channel 5, Saturday May 29th, 8.30 pm
In a one-off special for ITV Bear & Nicola Adams’ Wild Adventure sees Bear Grylls pushing boxing champion and double Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams to her limits. Nicola will face the grueling and harsh terrain of Dartmoor in a once-in-a-lifetime experience and test her survival instincts.
Bear will also have the chance to get to know his companion by speaking to her about her life, achievements, key life moments, as well as her hopes for the future.
Bear & Nicola Adams’ Wild Adventure, ITV, STV, UTV, Friday June 4th at 9.30 pm
Sticking with ITV, they also bring to screens the first edition of The Masked Dancer. Joel Dommett hosts, and is joined by panellists Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall, Mo Gilligan and brand new dancing detective Oti Mabuse.
The Masked Dancer will see 12 celebrities dancing in outrageous costumes and keeping their true identities hidden for as long as possible. All this week, the panel of detectives are left to decipher the clues and work out who’s dancing in disguise.
The Masked Dancer, ITV, STV, UTV, May 29th, 7 pm
From firsts to lasts, with the final episode in the current series of Call the Midwife.
Nonnatus House struggles to come to terms with Nancy’s (Megan Cusack) revelation. With Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) taking her annual leave at the Mother House, Sister Hilda (Fenella Woolgar) relishes the chance to cover and impress with her leadership.
Meanwhile, a very special baby is born, who causes a rift in a close-knit family and leads many people to count their blessings.
Call The Midwife, BBC One, May 30th, 8 pm
The fourth episode in this latest six-part series of Inside No.9 airs this Monday and once again Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith star in their dark comic tales, joined this week by Adrian Dunbar and Pauline McLynn.
Actor James is waiting for his big moment on ITV’s new crime drama in a static caravan, owned by a strange family that clearly has something to hide.
Inside No.9, BBC Two, May 31st, 9.30 pm