Next Week’s TV Highlights: Love Machine, Scott & Bailey, Alcatraz, Masterchef: The Final Three & Love Life

Next Week’s TV Highlights: Five of the Best

The Love Machine (Sun, Sky Living, 6pm)

Ever since Blind Date finished the quest to find a new popular dating show to replace the Cilla Black classic with the only natural successor to it being the current Saturday night ratings winner Take Me Out. The latest edition to the genre is The Love Machine, which is hosted by Stacy Solomon and Chris Moyles, sees both men and women loaded onto a giant wheel with a member of the opposite sex choosing to either ditch or date them. Moyles seems like an odd choice to front a dating show but I’m guessing the makers of the show are hoping that he will bring the sort of humour that Paddy McGuiness applies on Take Me Out.

Solomon’s role seems to be writing down comments about why the contestants want to ditch or date those loaded into the love machine but I’m just surprised that she can actually write. This could well be a new guilty pleasure hit either that or it will be a complete disaster you’ll only find out if you tune in.

Scott & Bailey (Mon, ITV1, 9pm)
When this series debuted last year it was billed as a Mancunian Cagney & Lacey with two Northern lasses, played by Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones, solving crime while dealing with personal issues. But thankfully it became a lot more than that mainly because Sharp’s Janet Scott and Jones’ Rachel Bailey were detectives who happened to be women rather than the other way around. It was also refreshing to see two women of different ages who are both co-workers and friends something that we rarely see in TV drama outside of soap operas. Sally Wainwright’s writing means that she can juggle the crime stories alongside the everyday problems that these women face which in this series include the breakdown of Janet’s marriage as well as the return of one of Rachel’s former love interests played by Sean Maguire.

Monday’s episode is the first of a two-parter where the police find a badly burned body in a remote wood and the two women are tasked with getting to the bottom of the mystery. Of all the crime shows that ITV produce Scott & Bailey is the best of the bunch and at its heart has great chemistry between its two brilliant leads.

Alcatraz (Tues, Watch, 9pm)

JJ Abrams is a man whose TV output has been very successful as he produced one of the biggest hits of the last ten years in Lost and followed it up with the cult sci-fi show Fringe. The latest show for him to put his name to is Alcatraz a programme which imagines that when the infamous prison closed its doors a large number of prisoners disappeared and are starting to reappear in our time. T

he central character of the piece is San Francisco cop Rebecca Madison who is tasked with solving the murder of the former warden of Alcatraz so eventually gets caught up in the main plot strand. Her companion is a man Diego ‘Doc’ Soto a man who has written several books on Alcatraz and aides Sarah in trying to hunt down the killer. Alcatraz is a fun, escapist show which you don’t have to think too hard about but that has enough twists and turns to keep you interested. Jorge ‘Hurley from Lost’ Garcia is charming as Doc but it is Sam Neill who is the stand-out member of the cast playing a morally dubious former guard who is obsessed with tracking down the lost prisoners.

Masterchef: The Final Three (Tues-Thurs, BBC1, 9pm)

Fans of the competitive cooking show take note as next week Masterchef is on three consecutive nights ending with the final on Thursday. The final three all have their strengths and weaknesses for eccentric Andrew it is the fact that he tries to combine too many flavours in his dishes while plasterer Tom sometimes doesn’t leave himself enough time to complete all of his work. However it is Mauritian Shelina who would be my tip to win the show as she has demonstrated the food of her ancestors while at the same time able to create food relevant to the different tasks. These finalists are sent out to Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe and then asked to produce a three course meal based on their experiences. Though previous winners have experienced mixed fortunes it is still intriguing to see who will be this year’s winner.

Love Life (Thurs, ITV1, 9pm)

When a new drama debuts it’s always worth checking it out even if it turns out to be rubbish however judging by its premise Love Life may well be enjoyable if not ground-breaking. Downton Abbey’s Rob James-Collier plays Joe a commitment-phobic young man who goes off travelling when his girlfriend tells him she wants to settle down and have kids.

Arriving back he discovers that girlfriend Lucy is now pregnant and demands to know who the father is however she won’t reveal this. Love Life also follows Lucy’s boss Dominic and his wife Penny, played by Alexander Armstrong and Sophie Thompson, who are struggling to have a baby of their own. With the ensemble cast also including Gregor Fisher this seems very promising and the fact that it’s one of only three parts means that it won’t outstay its welcome. Anybody who isn’t interested in the final of Masterchef I would say at least give this a try before dismissing it completely.

What programmes 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