TV highlights week beginning Saturday, August 31

Saturday 31/08/19

Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions (ITV, 8pm)

It’s only been a couple of months since crooning Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery was crowned winner of the 13th series of Britain’s Got Talent.

Nevertheless, ITV clearly think some viewers are already having BGT withdrawals and are wheeling out this bonus series.

The recent America’s Got Talent: The Champions saw some of the best-loved acts from the Got Talent franchises around the world compete, with magician Shin Lim of America’s Got Talent eventually taking the top prize.

But we’re now getting our very own similar series, with a few familiar faces from our side of the Atlantic and others from around the world being judged by Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams.

Among those confirmed to be appearing is Connie Talbot, who many will remember as the pudgy-faced six-year-old when she first auditioned back in 2007.

Talbot’s singing saw her become an international sensation – she has since appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, topped the charts in South Korea and toured Asia to promote her music.

From the 2009 series, Stavros Flatley are bringing their unique take on Irish dancing back to the stage.

Father-and-son duo Demi and Lagi Demetriou performed Michael Flatley’s Lord Of The Dance at their first audition, with their topless antics making them household names.

Jai McDowall has also been drafted in to appear.

The 2011 winner was signed to Cowell’s record label Syco but dropped a year later following poor sales of his debut album Believe.

One former contestant who sadly won’t be competing is singer Susan Boyle.

The 2009 finalist did take part in America’s Got Talent: The Champions – and while she was judge Mel B’s Golden Buzzer act, she failed to make the final five.

Boyle had formerly been confirmed as one of the all-star acts who will be fighting to be crowned the ultimate UK champion, with her inclusion announced by BGT host Ant McPartlin during the main show’s live final in June, 10 years after she originally auditioned.

However, the 50-year-old Scot’s place in the competition clashed with her busy schedule promoting her new album Ten.

Dance troupe Diversity’s commitments mean they are also having to give the show a miss this time.

Nevertheless, there is still some choreographed talent on display, and in tonight’s first episode, Boogie Storm – a group of dancing Stormtroopers who earned Cowell’s golden buzzer in 2016, and even managed to make it to the final (they lost out to magic man Richard Jones), will be taking to the stage.

They’ll be joined by fellow Brit Paul Potts, the very first winner of BGT back in 2007.

Like Boyle, the tenor also performed on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, busting out his hugely powerful and now famous rendition of Nessun Dorma.

Those two acts will be taking on sand artist and winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent series one Kseniya Simonova, and daredevil father-daughter duo from America’s Got Talent, Bello and Annaliese Nock.

Sunday 01/09/19

Sanditon (ITV, 9pm)

After acting in the series Reign and The Medicis, actress Rose Williams is clearly becoming something of an expert on period dramas – and the costumes.

That might be why she relished the chance to get dressed up for her role of Charlotte Heywood in ITV’s Sanditon. She says: “I love a corset. I wore a corset on another show for years, but this is very different.

“The style of the Regency corset is very loose. It was Grecian. After the war, trade started again with France and the fashions were coming in from Paris. They were very loose and much freer. Then the Victorians came in and restricted it all. This was a time of chaos before Victorian discipline arrived and the costumes mirror that.”

See, we said she knew her stuff when it came to period costumes. But that wasn’t the only thing that convinced her to take the role of Charlotte. She was also influenced by the writers involved – Jane Austen, whose unfinished novel provided the inspiration, and Andrew Davies, the scriptwriter who has become a byword for popular adaptations of classic novels. (He’s the man who put Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy into a wet shirt for the BBC’s much-loved 1990s take on Pride and Prejudice.)

Rose says: “The name Andrew Davies connotes so much. It is always a sign of very high quality. I was also drawn to the fact that it was a Jane Austen that people might not be familiar with. It was the last book she wrote, and the interpretation of the character of Charlotte is told from a more modern slant.

“She’s not focused on marriage. Love finds her rather than her trying to find love. I love a love story, and this is a gorgeous romance. All in all, it’s an absolute dream role.”

As viewers who saw last week’s opening episode (or have read the existing fragment of the book) will know, Charlotte is a forthright young woman who strikes up a friendship with the Parker family. They include the entrepreneurial Tom (Kris Marshall), who is on a mission to turn the small fishing village of Sanditon into a fashionable seaside resort.

Rose says: “I really enjoy her relationship with the family, especially Tom. She is inspired by his vision of creating a vibrant new resort. To crash-land amongst these very energetic Regency folk is what she has been dreaming of.”

However, it seems her relationship with his handsome brother Sidney (Theo James) may also prove to be significant…

In this second instalment, Charlotte is determined to make herself useful and seems to be succeeding when she impresses Tom and the foreman Young Stringer with her enthusiasm for the Sanditon project.

Meanwhile, Sidney is determined to keep his ward Miss Lambe out of harm’s way, but that may be trickier than he anticipated when Lady Denham takes it upon herself to throw an elaborate luncheon in the newcomer’s honour, only to then make disparaging remarks about the guest of honour. Charlotte makes her feelings clear, but in the process risks alienating Tom’s backer.

Monday 02/09/19

A Confession (ITV, 9pm)

In 2011, Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher breached police procedure to catch a killer, a decision that would ultimately cost him his career and reputation.

Now his actions are about to spark a whole new debate, thanks to the six-part drama A Confession, which stars Martin Freeman as Fulcher.

Written by Jeff Pope, whose previous credits include Little Boy Blue, it details the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in Swindon in March, 2011. In this opening episode, Senior Investigating Officer Steve Fulcher tries to find her, Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton) is reminded of the disappearance of her daughter, Becky, eight years earlier, and starts to fear there is a connection.

As anyone who followed the case in real life will know, the police eventually identified local taxi driver Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom) as their chief suspect. The drama is building towards a stand-off between Halliwell and Fulcher, which results in a startling confession, but will also have serious consequences.

The case led to discussions about whether, when it comes to catching a killer and getting justice for victims, the ends always justify the means. Freeman believes that the series doesn’t try to make up the audience’s minds for them.

The star of Sherlock and the Hobbit films says: “A lot of this drama is presented in a way that invites the viewer to decide what they think about it. There’s no moralising or sermonising, telling the viewer, ‘This is the way you should feel about this.’ This is simply what we are presenting. And in life things are not black and white. It’s almost all grey.”

But he does think that viewers will be able to understand what was motivating Fulcher, even if they don’t necessarily agree with his decisions. The actor says: “It’s also important because it asks the question Steve Fulcher asks at every turn in real life: ‘If this was your daughter, what would you want to happen?’ The answer I think every single person watching it would give would be, ‘I’d want someone like you to be on the case.'”

The series does explore the repercussions of Fulcher’s actions, which Freeman found intriguing: “From my character’s point of view, it’s very interesting to see as a study in human nature [and] what happens when one day a person can be a hero and then the next day people start distancing themselves from that hero. For the very same reasons that yesterday they were calling them a hero.”

However, the in-demand actor believes it’s vital that A Confession also never loses sight of the victims and their families.

He says: “Jeff Pope’s scripts are very human. You never forget the human cost without it being maudlin or mawkish. You are very aware that when bad things happen, people suffer because of it.

Freeman adds: “It’s important for the families to feel that these two young women – Sian and Becky – are being remembered. That people know their names and for their memories to go on.”

Tuesday 3/9/19

The Capture (BBC One, 9pm)

Hi-tech, nail-biting, up-to-the-minute – those are just a few ways we could describe The Capture, the BBC’s latest international drama series.

However, its creator, writer-director Ben Chanan, was inspired by the past.

“My ambition starting out was to create a modern-day conspiracy thriller that evoked the mood and paranoia of my favourite 1970s post-Watergate movies, The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor,” he reveals. “I had no idea our current era would turn out to be such a good fit.”

At its heart is something we’re all familiar with – CCTV.

“Video evidence is one of the most successful ways to convict a criminal,” explains Chanan. “Video fakery is becoming ever more convincing. So what happens when these two developments collide? What happens to criminal justice if we can no longer trust what we see?

“When I began writing The Capture two years ago, these questions felt firmly like the stuff of hypothetical ‘what if’ drama. I think they still are, but maybe not for long.

“Now, barely a week goes by without a new warning about the potential horrors of facial recognition, deep-fakes or fake news. Perhaps we will soon have to find new ways to judge the veracity of video footage.”

In The Capture, CCTV suddenly plays a major and unwanted role in the life of Shaun Emery (Callum Turner), a British soldier recently acquitted of an unlawful killing while serving in Afghanistan. His life is turned on its head again when footage of him getting up to something he shouldn’t comes to light.

Holliday Grainger – no stranger to the crime genre having appeared as a private eye in the TV adaptations of JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books – plays DI Rachel Carey, who heads the investigation and must work out whether the footage is genuine or a fake. And if it’s the latter, who is behind it and why.

“Initially Shaun’s her ‘meal ticket’ to promotion,” claims Grainger of her alter ego. “She thinks that this is the high-profile case that will get her back into the world of Counter Terror that she wants to be in. But then the more she discovers about the case, the more she discovers about Shaun, and the more complicated she realises it is.

“When I first read the scripts, they had a sort of Black Mirror-esque, futuristic quality of ‘what if surveillance was stretched to manipulation’, but real life is moving so fast that it now feels less like dystopian future and more like social commentary, and so much less hypothetical than it did at first.”

Gainger adds: “It brings up so many moral questions of police, society and surveillance. The story feels right and feels really real, and you believe it even though the events that are taking place seem hypothetical at first. That’s what is scary about it actually – you watch it and you believe it could happen…”

Hollywood stars Ron Perlman and Famke Janssen also star in what could be the most-talked about show since Line of Duty.

Wednesday 04/09/19

Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One, 9pm)

Over the years, Sharon Osbourne has fallen out with almost all of her family, spending years estranged from her Irish mother Hope, dad Don Arden, older brother David, and hating her maternal grandmother.

However, despite “despising” her family, the 66-year-old media personality, businesswoman, television host, talent competition judge, music manager, live promoter, and author. is hoping to unearth generational secrets by appearing on this ancestry show.

But will she have her heart warmed by details of her lineage, or just discover more heartache in her family’s past?

The former X Factor judge learned all about the music business by working for Don, who was born Harry Levy but changed his name for showbiz as he managed a series of music acts – including her husband Ozzy’s rock group Black Sabbath.

When the band fired Ozzy, Sharon started to manage him, sparking a war with her father who sued her for millions.

As their relationship became more and more fractured, Sharon even tried to run her father over in the 1980s, and the pair spent 20 years estranged.

Before he passed away in 2007, the Sharon stated: “There were times when I was on the floor crying and shaking because he’d threatened to come over to the house and kill me.

“He’s an evil old b*****d and I can’t wait for him to die.”

Sharon also refused to go to her mother’s funeral in 1998, saying of her in the past: “I didn’t like my mother at all. There was no friendship, nothing at all.”

In fact, Sharon was so distant from Hope that when she was told of her passing she simply said “Oh, what a shame”, before hanging up the phone.

She also spoke openly about her hatred for her mum’s mother Dolly, although she was close to Don’s mum.

Despite her difficult home life and childhood, Sharon settled down with Ozzy and the pair have been married for more than 30 years, sharing three grown-up children together – Aimee, Kelly and Jack.

The family was propelled to stardom in the MTV reality series The Osbournes in 2002, and since then Sharon’s own individual career has also gone through the stratosphere.

She has become a prominent face on talent shows including The X Factor and America’s Got Talent, and is now a regular co-host on chat show The Talk.

However, as she delves into her family history, she finds her ancestors weren’t always so successful.

And for anyone who has seen The Osbournes, you won’t be surprised to hear that there is a story of a brush with the law tied into a family break-up.

Sharon is also astonished to discover that her great grandmother was born in the United States, and digs deeper to find that her great-great grandparents had been lured by the American Dream and a promise of work in a cotton mill town advertised as paradise.

However, the reality was anything but.

Thursday 05/09/19

DIY SOS: Celebrating 20 Years (BBC1, 8pm)

When DIY SOS first aired back in 1999, some cynical viewers may have thought it was just another in a long line of makeover programmes that followed in the wake of Changing Rooms. They probably never guessed that not only would it still be on our screens 20 years later, it would also be one of the BBC’s most popular and inspiring shows.

However, in those cynics’ defence, DIY SOS has undergone a makeover of its own since it began. When it started, the programme was largely about sending in the experts to clean up viewers’ DIY disasters, whereas now it finds presenter Nick Knowles and his team of purple-shirted helpers taking on large-scale projects to change the lives of some very deserving people.

Or as Nick puts it: “It’s changed immeasurably. It started out as six people having a laugh and decorating a single room and grown to 62 derelict houses being turned into homes for veterans or building a gym for the youth and a community centre for the community of Grenfell.

“It has a far greater impact and reach than we ever imagined, which is down to the incredible volunteers, who give up their time and energy to help make other people’s lives better.”

Nick understands why the show continues to appeal to so many people (including royalty – Princes William and Harry have both got their hands dirty and pitched in to help): “It makes you laugh and it makes you cry. We’re living in times of such extremes and lots of negativity, but most people are good and empathetic. DIY SOS proves this and reinforces that community very much still exists.”

And while he struggles to pick just one favourite build, he admits that there is one project that best encapsulates the DIY SOS spirit: “We have met so many incredible people and I’ve been so touched by so many stories. If I had to pick it would be the street for veterans because we brought derelict homes back into use and helped to house veterans who served their country.”

This one-off celebration finds Nick returning to that street in Manchester, as well as DIY SOS’s most logistically difficult and longest build, the construction of the Grenfell Community Centre and Dale Youth Boxing gym.

He’ll also be hearing from the people who continue to benefit from DIY SOS and learns why the show has transformed the lives of their families and communities.

It will be tear-jerking stuff, but there will be some laughs too, ranging from Billy swimming with sharks to Nick being ‘squashed’ by a falling bathtub.

The anniversary tribute also gives thanks to all the suppliers and volunteers who have made the builds possible, but after all these years fronting the show, has Nick picked up a few tricks of the construction trade himself? It seems so: “I’ve had a 20-year apprenticeship – I reckon I could build Windsor castle now… Well, with the help of the purple shirts of course.”

Friday 6/9/19

Scarborough (BBC One, 9.30pm)

Success can be a tricky thing.

Take the TV industry. You have a big hit, and suddenly you’re a hot property, able to make anything you want, but after just one flop, you’re right back where you started, at the bottom of the heap.

That perhaps explains why many actors, writers and directors stick with projects long after they’ve passed their sell-by date – they’re just too risky to move on and dip their toes into new waters.

It looked as if Derren Litten was going down that route, having spent 11 years working on ITV sitcom Benidorm.

However, the show came to an end last summer, leaving him free to create something new. He’s come up with Scarborough, a six-part sitcom with some very familiar aspects to it.

“Even though I’ve stuck close to themes I clearly love (the seaside, pubs and karaoke!), Scarborough is unlike anything I’ve written before,” claims the actor-turned-writer, whose previous work for the BBC includes the 2016 revival of Are You Being Served?, The Catherine Tate Show and Not Going Out. “I’m genuinely flattered by the calibre of actors my scripts have attracted and I can’t wait for BBC audiences to get caught up in the laughter, love and intrigue I’ve created all set against the backdrop of this beautiful North Yorkshire fishing town.

“I am so thrilled to be back at the BBC and with a show I am so passionate about. After Benidorm I really do think Scarborough is going to surprise a few people and in very good way.”

Chris Sussman, Head of Comedy, BBC Studios Production says: “Derren writes with humour, heart and soul – and we couldn’t be more pleased to be bringing all that to BBC One. Get ready for plenty of singalong moments…”

Shane Allen, Controller, BBC Comedy, adds: “It’s a real coup to have someone of Derren’s great experience land a broad sitcom with a Northern comedy heart to it; it’ll do Scarborough very proud.”

The story focuses on a group of characters bound together by family, friendship – and a mutual love of karaoke. Most nights they gather at a local bar to swap gossip and belt out classic 1980s pop songs.

Scarborough itself is almost a character in the show. Sometimes sunny, often rainy and beset by sea frets, it’s an extraordinary place to live; expect an increasing number of people to visit there after the series begins – they will be desperate to sample the North Yorkshire town’s atmosphere for themselves.

Heading the cast is comedian Jason Manford, who has been stretching his acting muscles in a variety of projects recently; he can be seen later in the year in the touring stage musical Curtains.

He’ll be joined in Scarborough by ex-Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley. They play Mike and Karen, who are giving their relationship another go, five years after going their separate ways. He had always wanted to be a professional entertainer, but has given up his dream for love. Bless.

Stephanie Cole, Maggie Ollerenshaw, Claire Sweeney and Steve Edge also star.