Feeling peckish? Then chow down on some eggs and brains, Edwardian-style. It’s just one of the televisual delicacies awaiting us this week.
Further Back in Time for Dinner
Tuesday 24th January at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: The Robshaws are back, and this time there’s brains for tea.
Who or what are the Robshaws?: The delightfully sly and sardonic family we previously watched sampling life from the 50s onwards.
And now?: Now they’re going back even further, to the Edwardian era, when they have to eat all kinds of gooey, strange, alien grub.
Today’s specials: Mock turtle soup, scrambled eggs with brains, cold chicken in cream. Sounds like a hipster restaurant in East London, really.
Look out for: Guest appearances from Monica Galetti and Chas and Dave. Because they exist in the same universe, apparently.
Tuesday 24th January at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because it’s a brand new Icelandic thriller, and we’re all suckers for those.
What’s the gist?: Tough female detective investigates grisly murder in Reykjavik. Classic Nordic Noir stuff.
How grisly?: A young ballerina is found hanged on the stage of the National Theatre. Who says going to the ballet is boring?
Best actor name of the week: Meet one of your stars: Steinunn Olina Porsteinsdottir.
What to expect: Shadowy streets, moody interrogations, and a new heroine we can all root for.
The National Television Awards
Wednesday 25th January at 7.30pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: We’ll probably get a glimpse of Poldark’s abs. Also, it’s the glitziest night in the British telly calendar.
Who’s hosting?: The affably motor-mouthed Dermot O’Leary.
Who might win things?: Aidan Turner, David Tennant, Michelle Keegan and Downtown Abbey (remember that?) are all up for gongs.
What HAS to win something: Bake Off. It deserves a proper send off or we’ll get mighty upset.
The Cult Next Door
Thursday 26th January at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: This is a truly eye-opening documentary about a cult in London which kept women in captivity for decades.
What’s the background?: In 2013, three women were rescued from a house in Brixton, bringing the existence of this bizarre cult to light.
What was their “ethos”?: It was based on the teachings of Chinese leader Chairman Mao, weirdly enough.
Who was the leader?: A sinister guru named Aravindan Balakrishnan.
What to expect: Interviews with eyewitnesses, including the leader’s own daughter, who only entered the outside world at the age of 30.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustler
Thursday 26th January at 10pm on History (CH )
Why you should watch: Ronnie the Rocket is ready for a new challenge: playing pool in America. Will he snooker himself?
What’s the gist?: O’Sullivan will be travelling to New York, Chicago, Memphis and other legendary locales to play pool, meet hustlers, and have reckless fun.
Most fun aspect of the whole show: The fact that nobody in the States has any idea who he is.
Sample quote (by random American): “Johnny O’Sullivan? Who’s he?”
Sample quote (by Ronnie): “Mark Twain? Who’s he?”
British History’s Biggest Fibs
Thursday 26th January at 9pm on BBC Four (CH 107)
Why you should watch: Because everything you know about history is wrong. More or less.
Who’s our host?: Lucy Worsley, who is to BBC Four what James Corden is to TV adverts. Ubiquitous.
What myths are shattered?: The lies and propaganda behind the Wars of the Roses, and the untouchable nature of Shakespeare’s plays.
What to say: “A revealing look at how history isn’t the tidy narrative we like to imagine.”
What not to say: “So it was OK that I slept through high school history lessons, then?”
Friday 27th January on Netflix
Why you should watch: This is a bold, unexpected reinvention of an American icon.
What icon?: Archie, from Archie Comics, a teen character who’s been around for 75 years.
Why this is a big deal: Archie has always symbolised an innocent, bygone American fantasy-world. But this version is an angsty teen drama.
In other words: It’s a bit like comparing today’s moody Batman to the Adam West version.
Neat casting alert: Archie’s mom is played by 80s teen icon, Molly Ringwald.
Riverdale will be available to watch from Friday 27th January on Netflix
Francis Bacon: A Brush With Violence
Saturday 28th January at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: This suitably honest, daring, warts-and-all film looks at one of the most notorious British artists of the past century.
Who was Francis Bacon?: A drinker, a gambler, a hedonistic gay man when being gay was illegal. Also, a genius who transformed painting forever.
Who was he really?: That’s what this film seeks to find out, delving behind the jovial, devilish party animal persona.
What to expect: Interviews with artists who knew the man, all about to dish the dirt.
Trivia tidbit: Bacon’s dramatic life was turned into a film starring Derek Jacobi as the painter, and a young Daniel Craig as his doomed lover.
Sunday 29th January at 9pm on Dave (CH 127)
Why you should watch: All rise! Season six of the funny, energetic legal drama swoops back into action.
Where are we at?: Jessica’s left the firm, and super-slick legal eagle Harvey has to work out what to do next.
Why everyone’s talking about Suits: Because it’s a fast-moving, stupidly entertaining romp through the world of suave lawyers and crooked clients?
There’s another reason, isn’t there?: Oh yes. One of the stars is Prince Harry’s girlfriend.
Best watched with: A stiff drink poured in a cut-crystal tumbler. It’s what Harvey would expect.
Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week
Sunday 29th January at 9pm on BBC Two (102)
Why you should watch: A bunch of fitness fanatics put themselves through a punishing endurance test while we watch and laugh.
Why?: Because they’re crazy masochists, or have watched one too many Bear Grylls programmes. Either way, it’ll be fun to see.
What to expect: Sleep deprivation, epic exercises, lots of wading around in freezing water, and lost of being shouted at.
In other words: It’s a Full Metal Jacket meets the obstacle course from The Krypton Factor.
Why it’s perfect January viewing: It’ll shame you into getting back into your New Year’s fitness regimen.