IS anyone out there excited at the return of Big Brother? Perhaps the new series should be subtitled ‘The Show That Just Wouldn’t Die’, as despite dwindling viewer figures and being axed by Channel 4, it’s back from the dead.
The resuscitation, courtesy of Channel 5, begins with the defibrillator-esque boost of Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5, Friday August 19, 8pm).
As this column went to press, who exactly would be in the house was still a mystery, but the list of suspects included the usual dregs of celeb society – Kerry Katona, Pamela Anderson and someone from The Only Way is Essex.
I predict that, as with previous series, not much will happen. But then again, they could all perish in some kind of toxic gas cloud caused by a combination of too much fake tan, hairspray, Botox and silicone being present in one building. You’ll have to tune in to find out.
The formulaic fodder continues with the return of The X Factor (ITV1, Saturday August 20, 8pm). I swore at the end of the last series that I wouldn’t watch this time around, but I can already feel Cowell’s telly tentacles pulling me in.
He won’t be on the judging panel this time, though, having been replaced by Gary Barlow (yay), and, as we all know, there’s no Dannii or Cheryl. Whether their replacements – former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and N Dubz loudmouth Tulisa Contostavlos – will be hits or misses on their judging panel remains to be seen. There’s always Louis Walsh though. Oh, and some people singing.
I’m always fascinated by animal migration. Great Migrations (Channel 4, Saturday August 20, 8pm), is a new four-part series looking at the amazing journeys made by birds and animals, filmed in over 20 countries over three years.
In the first episode we meet monarch butterfiles, red crabs, wildebeest, and the whales that travel more than a million miles in their lifetime.
There are a lot of holes in my knowledge of history. Actually, pretty much anything that isn’t related to the Industrial Revolution, pop music or the part of the Tudor reign covered by Wolf Hall is a bit of a mystery to me.
Thankfully public service broadcasting is there to help me out, and the latest lesson comes from The Normans (BBC2, Saturday August 20, 8pm). Professor Robert Bartlett (they’ve not just managed to sex-up history, a la Brian Cox and physics) is our guide, taking us across Europe to explain how these Viking descendants became an unstoppable force.
I love a good detective show, so I’m looking forward to Inspector Montalbano (BBC4, Saturday August 20, 9pm), based on the books by Andrea Camilleri.
An elderly couple go missing after a trip to the ancient site of Tindari, and it soon becomes clear that there are links to a plot involving Sicilian mobsters. Stars Luca Zingaretti, who looks like Italy’s answer to Bruce Willis.
More crime now, with Timeshift: Nordic Noir – The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction (BBC4, Sunday August 21, 9pm) looking a genre taken to stratospheric levels by Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy.
Also under the spotlight are Wallander author Henning Mankell, and other rising stars from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.