This Week’s TV Highlights: Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, Alan Partridge, Walking and Talking, Veep, Line of Duty, Gordon Behind Bars, The Bachelor

by Matt D

Though the football is still raging on and the tennis starts next week also there seems to be a plethora of TV highlights to look through so let’s get started shall we.

Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend (BBC3, from Sat, 7pm)
So we’re into music festival season now and even though there’s no Glastonbury that won’t stop Sky Arts and BBC3 broadcasting every other British festival within reason kicking off with Radio 1’s live music weeekender in Hackney. Saturday night’s coverage includes acoustic king Ed Sheeran, soulful sensation Emeli Sande, rapper Nicki Minaj and indie heavyweights Kasabian before headline act Jay Z gets a two hour slot dedicated to his act before one final show focusing on the sets performed by Rita Ora and Leona Lewis. Sunday’s acts include singer/songwriter Ben Howard and the incredibly popular Tinie Tempah however the day really belongs to the girls with Jessie J, Florence and The Machine and headliner Rihanna all appearing. Hosted by Radio 1 DJs Fearne Cotton, Greg James and Gemma Cairney this promises to be an entertaining watch if a little more corporate than Glastonbury. Also on the live music front this weekend is the Isle of Wight festival with performances from such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Pearl Jam, Biffy Clyro, Madness and Ash airing as part of highlights package on Sky Arts.

Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life, Veep, Walking and Talking (Sky Atlantic, Mon, from 9pm)
It seems that Sky is more than sticking to its promise to create more original British programming with two new home-grown comedies coming to Sky Atlantic and being sandwiched between them is an American sitcom created by another Brit. First up is the return of one of the best comedy characters of all time, Alan Partridge, as the DJ takes us around his hometown of Norwich in Welcome to the Places of My Life. The show is a spoof on the television history documentary as Alan tries to make his favourite newsagent and route through Thetford Forest seem as important as a historical landmark. As always Coogan inhabits the character and his talents both in front and behind the camera are top notch. Armando Iannucci finally brings his satirical wit to American shores in the second of tonight’s comedies Veep which stars Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as vice president Selina Meyer. As you would imagine in a show written by Iannucci there is a lot of jabs at politicians not really knowing what they are talking about and the people who try to salvage their reputation. Dreyfus is amazing as the woman who doesn’t quite know what she’s doing while of the supporting cast Tony Hale and Timothy Simons were my personal favourites. Rounding off the evening is quaint semi-autobiographical piece Walking and Talking which is written by Kathy Burke based on her experiences growing up in the 1970s. The young Burke is played by Ami Metcalf while the comedy comes courtesy of Burke as Angry Nun and Jerry Sadowitz as Jerry the Jew so overall this is a delightful way to end of a night of incredible comedy.

Line of Duty (BBC2, Tues, 9pm)
People looking for another strong drama series following the conclusion of Silk will have to look no further than excellent new cop show Line of Duty. Written by Jed Mercurio, best known for Cardiac Arrest, the programme is based on an internal investigation as Martin Compston’s DS Steve Arnett is transferred to the anti-corruption unit and starts to poke around in the life of Lennie James’ DCI Gates who is known for his clean arrest record. This wouldn’t be a very exciting drama if Gates was as innocent as he looked and indeed he is extremely corrupt however most won’t hear a bad word talked about him. With an incredibly strong cast including Vicky McClure as an idealistic new Detective, Neil Morrisey as Gates’ partner and Gina McKee as Gates’ lover the acting is up to a high standard as is the gripping plot. For lovers of proper grown-up drama, Line of Duty will be just up your street with its own twist on the maverick policeman genre.

Gordon Behind Bars (C4, Tues, 9pm)
Making sure that Jamie Oliver isn’t the only celebrity chef to teach various groups of people to cook this week Gordon Ramsay does the same finding a venue fitting for his caustic personality HMP Brixton. Ramsay goes to the prison to teach twelve inmates culinary skills to give them something to do and in turn the food they create will then be sold on the outside. Ramsay’s hope is that his dozen recruits will enjoy what he’s teaching them to the extent that they will a qualification in catering and so when they are released they’ll have a readymade career. In this first episode Ramsay sets about teaching the inmates how to make cakes before setting them the monumental task of cooking dinner for the entire prison. Ramsay his usual self however the show succeeds on how well the characters of the prisoners come across as they are both a mix of comic characters who have the ability to snap at a moment’s notice so it’s obviously up to the chef to reign them in.

The Bachelor (C5, Fri, 10pm)
The British remake of the US smash hit returns for a second series and thankfully with a brand new bachelor at the centre of it. Last series we saw charisma-vacuum Gavin Henson arse about trying to choose a girlfriend presumably so he had someone to look after his kids when Charlotte Church was busy the fact that Henson can’t do the whole ‘reality show acting’ thing meant that this programme was dead in the water. Luckily this time the bods at Channel 5 have recruited Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews who obviously has a lot more charm and personality than Henson but then that’s not very hard. Apart from Matthews’ appearance it’s basically business as usual as sexual equality is pushed by a couple of decades with a man trying to decide on his future companion based mainly on looks but at the end of the day this is guilty pleasure TV and is positioned perfectly after the eviction episode of Big Brother.

Do you agree with my choices? What are you looking forward to watching this week? Leave Your Comments Below.