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What’s on TV this weekend: Derry Girls’ Siobhan McSweeney takes the reigns on The Great Pottery Throw Down

The i 1/8/2021 Gerard Gilbert
a man and a woman standing in front of a cake: The Great Pottery Throw Down (Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions) © Provided by The i The Great Pottery Throw Down (Photo: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)


Pick of the day: Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast

8pm, Channel 4

The end-of-the-pier café is packed, nobody’s wearing masks and the opening guest of a new series, Jack Dee, informs Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty that he’s been busy travelling and touring, so this was obviously filmed a lifetime ago. Dee revisits his days as a chef at the Ritz (he lied his way into the short-lived job) and shares memories of family camping holidays in France as a child, with the hosts tracking down the campsite his family stayed at and recreating the effect of a perfect rotisserie chicken, but in a domestic oven. All that and Jamie’s pot roast pork and Jimmy’s samosas.

Rick Stein’s Cornwall

6.30pm, BBC Two

Continuing his exploration of his adopted home county, Rick Stein meets good friend Barry Humphries, who fell in love with Cornwall in the 1960s when he escaped London to develop his famous character Dame Edna Everage. Stein also goes fishing for crab, before cooking a crab omelette and taking a dip in the chilly north Atlantic with a group of wild water swimmers.

Jamie Oliver, Jack Dee are posing for a picture: Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast (Photo: Channel 4) © Provided by The i Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast (Photo: Channel 4)

Susan Calman’s Grand Day Out

8pm, Channel 5

Having perhaps exhausted her Secret Scotland, the comedian drives south of the border in a vintage camper van to explore the not-so-secret parts of the Lake District. On Ullswater, she gets a chance to take charge of the oldest working passenger vessel in the world, Lady Of The Lake, before hearing of Beatrix Potter’s love of the region.

Would I Lie To You?

9pm, BBC One

Does Les Dennis keep his old fingernail cuttings to use later as toothpicks? Fellow guests Alice Levine, Richard Osman and Lou Sanders sincerely hope not as the unfailingly mirthful panel show returns. Osman, who holds the record for guest appearances on the show, could easily substitute for one of the regulars should they need some time off, but was his nickname at school “Dairylea Lunchable boy”?.

Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders

9pm, More4

Who knew that reindeer farming could be such a deadly business? We’re back in the far north of Sweden for season two of this crisply filmed but slow-moving Scandi noir series. There appears to be a feud going on between the local Sami and a Swedish hunter, but neither wants the police involved – a frustrating development for our titular heroine, a public prosecutor recently returned from Stockholm.

Lee Mack et al. standing in a room: Not Going Out (Photo: BBC/Avalon/Mark Johnson) © Provided by The i Not Going Out (Photo: BBC/Avalon/Mark Johnson)

Not Going Out

9.30pm, BBC One

Like many a classic sitcom from Hancock’s Half Hour onwards, Lee Mack’s long-running comedy takes a simple situation and then ties its protagonists into farcical knots with it. In the first episode of a new series, this involves Mack accidentally opening a package meant for his new neighbour and discovering something embarrassing inside.

The Graham Norton Show

10.45pm, BBC One

Would I Lie To You’s David Mitchell makes his second appearance of the evening, this time alongside his former Peep Show co-star Robert Webb to discuss the return of their Channel 4 sitcom Back. The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy is also in situ, at a social distance from Years & Years singer Olly Alexander, who discusses his acting role in It’s A Sin.


Pick of the day: Paul Sinha’s TV Showdown

10pm, ITV

Television is no stranger to eating itself, the feast joined now by the Chaser, stand-up comedian and TV trivia genius Paul “Sinnerman” Sinha, who hosts this TV-themed comedy quiz show. He is joined by team captains Fay Ripley and Rob Beckett. Guests in the first edition are Denise van Outen, Adil Ray, Catherine Tyldesley and Josh Widdicombe, who all compete to test their televisual knowledge.

Paul Sinha standing in front of a blue car: Paul Sinha’s TV Showdown (Photo: Livewire Pictures/Ellis O’Brien/ITV) © Provided by The i Paul Sinha’s TV Showdown (Photo: Livewire Pictures/Ellis O’Brien/ITV)

Match Of The Day Live: The FA Cup

5.20pm, BBC One

Arsenal vs Newcastle United (kick-off 5.30pm). In the first of three live FA Cup third-round matches on BBC One this weekend, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners host Steve Bruce’s Magpies at the Emirates Stadium. A win last weekend saw Arsenal finally edge away from the relegation zone, and it is unclear whether the Cup will prove a welcome distraction from this season’s Premiership struggles.


7.45pm, BBC One

“It’s like everything’s back to normal,” says staff nurse Jade – and after last week’s powerful but draining episode (farewell Noel, the show’s first Covid fatality), Casualty fans may utter sighs of relief. It is summer 2020 in Holby and “normal” consists of a road-traffic accident, Connie’s continuing on-off-on affair with Jacob and new paramedic Leon making a poor first impression when he mistakes operations

duty manager Jan (Di Botcher) for “some doddery old cleaner”.

Mark Lawson Talks to John le Carré

8.30pm, BBC Two

Ahead of a screening of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the 2011 adaptation of John le Carré’s 1974 Cold War thriller, another chance to catch Lawson’s conversation with the author, who died last month. This 2008 interview was originally arranged to promote Le Carré’s war-on-terror novel A Most Wanted Man but ranges across the author’s fragmented childhood, his life in the diplomatic service, and working with Alec Guinness in the actor’s various BBC George Smiley adaptations.


9pm, BBC Four

The location filming suggests that Paris has as large a homelessness problem as any British city, with its tents crowded beneath underpasses, and it is a milieu into which the troubled Moroccan teenager Souleymane has now vanished. Meanwhile, Gilou (Thierry Godard) has a personal dilemma. He has been granted bail on the condition that he doesn’t have contact with his ex-colleagues – including his lover Laure (Caroline Proust). To that end, he has to pretend he no longer cares for his former boss, although it’s not clear Laure believes him.

Camilla: Making of a Mistress

9.30pm, Channel 5

The Duchess of Cornwall has been the target of online haters thanks to her depiction in the latest series of The Crown, which imagines that the then-Camilla Parker Bowles continued her affair with Prince Charles from the very start of his marriage to Princess Diana. This documentary should untangle some facts from the fiction, as a familiar collection of seasoned royal observers chart the surprising and colourful life of the potential future queen consort.


Pick of the day: The Great Pottery Throw Down

7.45pm, Channel 4

Siobhan McSweeney (the scene-stealing Sister Michael in Derry Girls) injects some comedic zest into the returning pottery contest as she replaces Melanie Sykes as presenter – the 12 home potters living in a social bubble for the duration. It has been a tough year, says tearful judge Keith Brymer Jones, promising to be “more emotional than ever” as he is joined by new judge Rich Miller. The opening task is to throw a complete cheese set.

a insect on the ground: A Perfect Planet (Photo: Silverback Films/BBC) © Provided by The i A Perfect Planet (Photo: Silverback Films/BBC)

Match Of The Day Live: The FA Cup

4.30pm, BBC One

Expect to hear the words “the magic of the FA Cup” more than once in the lead-up to non-league minnows Marine welcoming Jose Mourinho’s Premier League high-flyers to their tiny Merseyside stadium. Marine are only the second side from the eighth tier of English football to reach the third round, having already won seven fixtures to reach this stage.


7pm, BBC One

“As a new year gets under way, the team looks at how people can plan to make the countryside a bigger part of their lives.” Lockdown might upset that upbeat scenario, but nevertheless Matt Baker wants to get fitter and tries “canicross” (cross-country running with dogs), Margherita Taylor heads for the woods and Helen Skelton aims to buy local.

A Perfect Planet

8pm, BBC One

“In the beginning, there was light,” intones Sir David Attenborough as he introduces the second of these jaw-dropping documentary films. And, no, he isn’t idly quoting the Old Testament, for the naturalist knight is referring to our Sun – “a nuclear reactor 93 million miles away”. Among the miraculous sequences is one featuring the Lazarus-like revival of a hibernating North American tree frog, frozen solid and with its heart having stopped beating, as it is revived each spring by the Sun’s warmth.

Rowan Atkinson driving a car: Bean (Photo: Tigeraspect Productions/ITV/Thames Television Archive) © Provided by The i Bean (Photo: Tigeraspect Productions/ITV/Thames Television Archive)

Happy Birthday Mr Bean

8pm, ITV

It is surprising to think that only 14 episodes of the TV sitcom Mr Bean, created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis in 1990, were ever made – such is the vast global appeal of the hapless character, whose afterlife has included an animated version and two movies. The character now has more than 100 million fans worldwide, this 21st-birthday film explains.

The Serpent

9pm, BBC One

The ongoing drama about serial killer Charles Sobhraj brings to mind FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace more than home-grown British series such as White House Farm or Des, as this week Tahar Rahim’s curiously charmless 70s predator and his girlfriend/accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc “befriend” a homesick backpacker.

The Great

9pm, Channel 4

Tony “The Favourite” McNamara’s very funny, deceptively sharp-edged and “occasionally true” history romp should keep viewers laughing (and unexpectedly moved in parts) through the darkest months. In the second episode, Catherine (Elle Fanning) takes her first steps toward a coup.

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