This Week’s TV Highlights: Channel 4 Comedy Gala, Hit & Miss, Eurovision Semi-Finals, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, Grandma’s House

by Matt D

He we are at the start of another week of TV so let’s take a look at what’s coming your way over the next seven days.

Channel 4 Comedy Gala (C4, Sun, 8pm)
If Comic Relief and Sport Relief weren’t enough Channel 4 is also getting in on combining laughs with charity donations in their latest fundraising comedy gala. Once again emanating from the 02 Arena the gala sees a large number of comic names raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Though the laughs can sometimes be sporadic the fact that there are a large number of names on the bill means that if you don’t like one comic another one will be along in a minute that you might like. The big names this year include Lee Evans, Michael McIntrye, Sean Lock, Alan Carr, Keith Lemmon, Jo Brand, Jack Whitehall and Jack Dee while Jessie J will also be on hand to open the show with a big musical number. I feel that if you’re a big fan of stand-up comedy then you will enjoy the majority of this and if you do then call in to give some money because at the end of the day it’s all for the kids.

Eurovision Song Contest Semi Finals (BBC3, Tues and Thurs, 8pm)
For the past few years fans of Eurovision have had an extra treat on their hands with two semi-final competitions ahead of Saturday’s grand finale. Of course the UK automatically qualify every year however I’ve found that some of the campest numbers, which sadly don’t make it through to the final, can be found here. Tuesday’s show offers two highlights in the form of the oldest ever entrants in the group of Russian grannies known as Buranovskiye Babushki who will be singing their Europop hit Party for Everyone. I’m guessing though the majority of people will be tuning in on Tuesday to see Jedward try and get their second crack at winning the contest, with their enjoyable pop tune Waterline, after last year coming in the Top 10. Thursday’s semi-final will give the UK viewers the chance to vote and also to see the favourite, Swedish popster Loreen, perform for the first time. Of course we do get the chance to be patriotic by seeing how our own Englebert Humperdink is getting on in preparation for the main event.

Hit & Miss (Sky Atlantic, Tues, 10pm)
Here’s an odd concept for you in Sky Atlantic’s newest show Hit and Miss as it involves a transgender gangland hit-woman who finds out she has a secret son by an old girlfriend. The programme sees US indie darling Chloe Sevigny as Mia who used to be a man, and still is in some places, travelling to Yorkshire to meet the son she never knew she had as well as his other siblings. The programme is written by Paul Abbott, best known for his work on Shameless and State of Play, so is both gripping but also fairly humanistic as this oddball character tries to be part of a family life while still keeping the controversial job that she loves. Sevigny as always will be a joy to watch and while this won’t be for everyone for fans of bleak drama I think this will be a must-see.

Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 (E4, Thurs, 9:30pm)
Fans of US TV will obviously be aware that this past week has seen a lot of last year’s new shows being cancelled to make way for a new crop of programmes luckily the smutty sitcom Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 wasn’t one of them. The show stars Dreama Walker as June who moves to New York city to start her dream job only for the company to go broke and the apartment that came with said job vanishing in the process. Looking for somewhere to live she eventually happens about apartment 23 run by the scheming Chloe, played by the wonderful Krysten Ritter, who is infamous for ripping off her roommates before chucking them out. However it seems that June is smarter than Chloe’s past roommates and the pair eventually become friends albeit in a very odd couple type of way. For some the biggest draw to the show will be seeing James Van Der Beek’s return to TV as a sleazy version of himself still trying to use his Dawson’s Creek fame to pick up vulnerable women.

Grandma’s House (BBC2, Thurs, 10pm)
For me Simon Amstell’s uncomfortable sitcom has been one of the highlights of the year so far as not only as it been squirm-inducing at times it has also been incredibly funny. As we reach the last episode it seems that Simon is still starring in would-be-lover Ben Theodore’s production of The Tempest despite his outburst about Russell Watson on BBC Breakfast however it remains to be seen if the two will form a relationship. Meanwhile Tanya has married the boorish Clive, who is yet to tell her he is unemployed or that he borrowed a sizeable amount of money from her son, while Grandma has still not come to terms with losing her husband. Amstell and Dan Swimer’s brilliant script has this year looked at how nobody wants to be on their own, trying to deal with death of a loved one and how divorce can affect a child but all done in a humorous style. This final episode sees Simon trapped between two worlds trying to decide whether to stay with the family that desperately needs him or start a new life with his actor chums. Funny and painful in equal measure let’s just hope this returns for a longer third run sometime in the near future.

What shows are you looking forward to this week? Do you agree with my recommendations? Leave your comments below.