Next Week’s TV Highlights: I’m in a Girl Group, Dirk Gently, David Walliams’ Big Swim, White Heat & The Secret Policeman’s Ball

I’m in a Girl Group

Next Week’s TV Highlights: Five of the Best

I’m in a Girl Group (BBC2, Sat, 9:20 pm)

For anyone who saw last week’s I’m in a Boy Band this is more of the same broad but entertaining commentary on what it means to sing a group full of girls. The journey starts with the American girl groups of the 1960s such as The Supremes and The Ronettes before going onto the big names of the 1980s such as The Bangles and Banarama. The Spice Girls phenomenon of the 1990s is covered before exploring today’s two biggest girl groups the reality TV creation Girls Aloud and the multiple versions of Sugababes. The best things about these shows are the relevant talking heads with their anecdotes sometimes being quite amusing. The music also plays an important part in the programme and whatever your opinions on them there’s no disputing that these groups have produced some memorable tunes. Just to reinforce that following the programme is an hour long Top of the Pops 2 show devoted to these groups including performances from Labelle, The Pointer Sisters, TLC and of course the mighty B*Witched.

Dirk Gently (BBC4, Tues, 9pm)

Anyone missing the quirky detective style of Sherlock may find solace in this adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently series which returns for a three part series following a pilot shown in late 2010. The show stars Stephen Magnan playing it at his most zany as Gently a holistic private detective who tries to find improbable solutions to seemingly impossible cases. Episode one sees two seemingly unrelated cases one involving the CIA and the other involving a person who believes their horoscopes are coming true. The unsung hero of the show is the ubiquitous Darren Boyd as Dirk’s assistant Richard MacDuff who provides a straight-face to some of Gently’s more outrageous ideas. This is a programme for anybody looking for a well-written, light-hearted detective show that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Dirk Gently

David Walliams’ Big Swim (BBC1, Thurs, 9pm)

If you feel you’ve already seen a programme about David Walliams swimming then you probably have as he’s previously made his way over the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar. Last year Walliams took it upon himself to swim the Thames and it proved to be the biggest challenge he faced to date. Because The Thames is very dirty David ended up catching a bacterial infection as well as battling hypothermia although on the other side of the coin he was cheered up by Miranda Hart and saved a dog from drowning. Though we’ve almost suffered from a case of David Walliams doing things for charity this will no doubt be entertaining especially in his very frank video diaries. This will also be our last chance to see the good and decent side of the Little Britain star before he joins Simon Cowell on the dark side that it is Britain’s Got Talent.

White Heat (BBC2, Thurs, 9pm)

For those of you looking for something a bit more dramatic on Thursday night try White Heat which tells the story of seven people who all shared the same house during their student days in the sixties and traces them through to the present day. The first episode follows Charlotte trying to escape her parental home and enjoy the new liberating age where the introduction of contraception prevents unwanted pregnancy and a new age is ushered in by the death of Churchill. White Heat’s plot does really remind me of Our Friends in the North which to be fair isn’t a bad thing and just like that 1990s drama this also has a brilliant cast. Claire Foy takes the lead as Charlotte with Juliet Stevenson playing her modern day counterpart with the younger cast members featuring Sam Claflin and Lee Ingleby and their modern day equivalents featuring such names as Michael Kitchen, Hugh Quarshie and Lindsay Duncan. As long as this is well written and isn’t too clichéd then it could well be one of the biggest dramas of 2011.

White Heat

The Secret Policeman’s Ball (C4, Fri, 10pm)

Since 1979 Amnesty International has hosted various benefit concerts under the heading of The Secret Policeman’s Ball. Back then they featured such legends as The Goodies and Monty Python and the 2012 event makes history as for the first time it emanates from the U.S.A. The programme, hosted from Radio City Musical Hall in New York, features a cavalcade of musical and comic talent. The line-up includes comedians Jon Stewart, Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr, Sarah Silverman, Noel Fielding, Stephen Colbert and Peter Serafinowicz with music provided by Coldplay and Mumford and Sons. Essentially this is sort of a cooler version of Comic Relief but it is also worth a look as it has always provoked some entertaining moments and it really doesn’t have any competition in its Friday evening timeslot.

What are you looking forward to this week? Leave Your Comments Below.

This post was written by me, guest blogger Matt Donnelly!

Follow me on Twitter: @mattstvworld and read my blog mattstvworld.blogspot.com