This Week’s TV Highlights: TV’s Biggest Blockbusters, Absolutely Fabulous Olympics special, Line of Duty, Twenty Twelve & Matt Smith in Bert and Dickie

by Matt D

As we head into Olympic Week let’s have a look at some non-sports programmes mst of which do have an Olympic theme.

TV’s Biggest Blockbusters (ITV1, Sat, 8:35pm)
I was always a fan of the list shows that Channel 4 used to air and this ITV1 show looks to be in the same vein as we look back at some of the most watched shows in British TV history. There are the usual suspects here of course including Hilda Ogden’s Coronation Street exit, the final episode of Only Fools and Horses and the 1966 World Cup final however there are some surprises. For example who remembers sitcom Oh No! It’s Selwyn Froggatt or Market in Honey Lane? Well both feature in this list as shows that were obviously popular but stood the test of time. The talking heads aren’t just the usual cavalcade of rubbish comedians but classy sorts such as Michael Aspel and Trevor McDonald. Though there’s nothing particularly original here I still love a good list show as I find them strangely reassuring and will definitely be tuning in to watch this one.

Absolutely Fabulous (BBC1, Mon, 9:30pm)
After two specials around Christmas time it seems that this will be the last Absolutely Fabulous episode possibly ever, though there is the movie to look forward to. This time we see how the Olympic Games has encroached on Patsy and Eddy’s London lifestyle as there are more changes happening in their beloved city.

The main plot of the episode sees Eddy renting out her house to a famous Hollywood Movie star for the duration of the games so Patsy convinces her that she needs to get in shape before he arrives. This is the cue for plenty of what both Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders do best – physical comedy with the girls getting stuck in revolving doors and collapsing on the running track. Both Christmas specials had their moments and hopefully with the added gimmick of the Olympic Games this Absolutely Fabulous should be funnier soon with some stand-out moments from June Whitfield as well as London 2012 themed cameos from Dames Tami Grey-Thompson and Kelly Holmes.

Line of Duty (BBC2, Tues, 9pm)
Apart from Sherlock, I think Line of Duty might get the award for Best British Drama of the year so far as Lennie James just keeps impressing as Tony Gates who is now on the run following the uncovering of his dastardly deeds. Lennie James has been fantastic as Gates who in this finale is out to prove his innocence and win back the respect of both his family and his beloved work colleagues. Though Martin Compston’s Arnott was presented as the antagonist of the series, Gates’ real nemesis is Vicky McClure’s Kate Fleming who has been undermining Gates and his intercepting his unit since episode one with both actors giving great performances. Sure there’s been too much of a reliance on letting us know how much paperwork the police have to do but there have been some wonderful scenes throughout Jed Mercuccio’s drama, the last scene of episode two springs to mind, and I just hope we have more drama like this heading to our screens in the near future.

Twenty Twelve (BBC2, Tues 10pm)
It’s such a shame that Twenty Twelve has to end because it’s proven itself to be one of the best-written and well-played sitcoms of recent memory however as we approach the Opening Ceremony the gang at the Olympics Deliverance Committee must say goodbye. Though it seems most of them don’t want to finish what they’ve been doing as most of them are fighting for the Director of Posterity position while this week’s big issue is the fact that the fireworks for the Opening Ceremony are triggering ground-to-air missiles while there are also problems with the electric cars and nobody has remembered to organise the national bell-ringing. As with most sitcoms though you’re more bothered about the characters so will Fi and Kay kill each other? will Siobhan finally explode from uttering too many PR buzzwords? or most importantly will Sally and Ian get together? Hopefully the final question will be answered in what I’m assured will be one of the best final sitcom episodes ever.

Bert and Dickie (BBC1, Wed, 8:30pm)
More Olympics this time with a based-on-a-true-story one-off drama starring Doctor Who himself Matt Smith as Bert Bushnell the working-class half of the double sculls gold medal winning rowing team alongside Dickie Burnell. The majority of William Ivory’s drama is set during the 1948 Olympics where we have the all-important class divide, with Bert being fairly rude towards the Eton-educated Dickie when they first meet. This is a predictable tale about two sportsmen learning to get on with each other and pushing themselves to the limit in order to strive to be the best. However most importantly this is a heart-warming endeavour with two great central performances and fans of cheesy sports films everywhere will be more than entranced throughout its 90 minute running time.

What do you think of my picks? What are you looking forward to over the next week? Leave Your Comments Below.