From people getting thrilled about thimbles to a new supernatural drama that will have you hungry like the wolf, there’s plenty of top telly to feast on over the coming week…
The Great British Sewing Bee
Monday 16th May at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s the return of the show that proves the nation can get almost as excited about needles and threads as it can about Victoria sponges and soggy bottoms.
Who’s the new judge?: Esme Young, who set up fashion label Swanky Modes. Just pretend you’ve heard of it, darling.
Token “unlikely” contestant: Self-confessed lad’s lad Josh, who started sewing while doing a sports degree.
Will appeal to: Grannies and hipsters alike.
Won’t appeal to: Anyone who keeps moaning about it being a Bake Off rip-off. We know it is, but it’s still ace. (And a lot better than that Big Allotment Challenge yawn-fest.)
Monday 16th May at 9pm on Universal Channel (CH 137)
Why you should watch: TV’s handsomest con man is back for a fourth season of criminally enjoyable adventures.
Just how handsome exactly?: Scam artist Neal Caffrey, who’s been helping the FBI catch his fellow criminals, makes your average GQ model look like Ian Beale.
Factoid to make you sound informed: Matt Bomer, who plays Neal, is one of the few openly gay leading men in US television.
What to say: “It’s a bright, breezy, rollicking ride that makes Monday nights so much more bearable.”
What not to say: “I should become a scam artist and thief, because the sexy TV man makes it look fun.”
Tuesday 17th May at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s the Spanish answer to Orange Is the New Black.
What’s the actual plot?: An attractive, well-to-do young woman is banged up for an unspecified crime, and has to deal with angry inmates, sudden murder, and really unflattering yellow uniforms.
Really Obvious Symbolism Alert: It begins with the main character freeing a yellow bird. Geddit? A yellow imprisoned bird?
What to say: “This looks to be a winning addition to Channel 4’s arsenal of gripping foreign dramas.”
What not to say: “They could call this Yellow Is the New Orange.”
Thursday 19th May at 10pm on Syfy (CH 135)
Why you should watch: It’s a big glossy drama about a beautiful female werewolf torn between her animal and human sides.
Why that’s awesome: In pop culture, werewolves are usually associated with big muscular masculinity, so this’ll be a refreshing twist on the old formula.
Hunk count: Well, she’s torn between her hunky nice guy boyfriend and her hunky brooding werewolf ex, so that’s two for starters.
Watch this if you like: Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, and other shows where unfeasibly pretty people have fantasy-type shenanigans.
Do we really need another show like this?: Probably not, but watch an episode and you’ll be… howling for more.
Thursday 19th May at 10pm on BBC Four (CH 107)
Why you should watch: It’s only the follow-up to one of the best British comedy-dramas ever, Getting On.
Come again?: Tut tut. Getting On was a dark satire about life on a hospital ward, featuring Jo Brand as a nurse called Kim Wilde.
What’s she up to now?: This new series follows Kim’s chaotic family life, featuring a dilapidated house and a son who’s a teenage dad.
Omid Djalili Alert: The motor-mouthed comedian plays Kim’s limo-driving husband, Dave.
Watch this when: You want to complain a little less about your own domestic clan.
Thursday 19th May at 10pm on Sky Living (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s the big season five finale of telly’s juiciest political drama, and you basically cannot miss this.
What’s the gist?: No spoilers here, but basically the two US presidential candidates are about to announce their running mates.
Does Cyrus have a secret that might change everything?: Yes.
What to say: “This show is so salacious and exciting, it’s enough to make anyone interested in the American political process.”
What not to say: “What this show needs is a character based on Donald Trump."
Paxman in Brussels: Who Really Rules Us?
Thursday 19th May at 8pm on BBC One (CH 101)
Why you should watch: Paxo stalks the corridors of power in Brussels to give us an essential, no-nonsense insight into how the EU is actually run
Why you should REALLY watch: Because there’s every chance we’ll see Paxman stare at politicians with the exact expression of an irritated shark.
Will it help you decide how to vote in the referendum?: Erm. Maybe?
What to say: “Nobody can untangle the dense facts on the EU like Paxman can.”
What not to say: “When will he expose the ruling elite as a group of giant alien lizards like that web forum says they are?”
Friday 20th May at 9.30pm on BBC One (CH 101)
Why you should watch: This new series about a nanny in the household of a bohemian magazine editor in the 1980s looks to be a sparkling delight.
Is that movie star Helena Bonham Carter in it?: Yes. Yes she is.
Trivia tidbit: This is based on a true story about a real nanny who really did live among the batty bohemian types of 80s London.
Another reason to watch: The script is by none other than Nick Hornby, and it’s his first ever TV drama.
Who we hope to see: Alan Bennett. Or at least someone playing Alan Bennett, because he makes a prominent appearance in the book.
The Hollow Crown
Saturday 21st May at 10pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: The Hollow Crown has made Shakespeare cool again, and now Benedict Cumberbatch takes centre stage as Richard III. Awesome.
Sexy pop culture comparison: Richard III is about a charismatic megalomaniac killing his way to power, so it’s basically House of Cards, Shakespeare style.
Sexy pop culture comparison II: It’s also Game of Thrones, Shakespeare style.
Unlikely Cumberbatch factoid: Forsooth, Benedict Cumberbatch is a distant relative of the real Richard III.
Watch this when: You fancy an exciting, funny, blood-soaked soap opera which will also make you feel all clever because it’s in Shakespeare language.
World Cup 1966: Alfie’s Boys
Sunday 22nd May at 8pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: Running for 90 minutes and packed with unseen footage, this may be THE definitive documentary about the only England team to have nabbed the World Cup.
Look out for: Fascinating anecdotes from legends like Bobby Charlton, Geoff Hurst and Jimmy Greaves.
Unlikely presenter of the week: Sir David Jason, not hitherto noted for his connection with football, is our host.
What to say: “Proper legends. Not like today’s namby-pamby overpaid pretty boys.”
What to definitely not say: “But did the ball cross the line?”
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