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What to watch on TV this week

What to watch on TV this week

Here’s all the very best entertainment on your TV this week, from the return of a top TV detective to a documentary that shows a sports star in a new light

By Virgin TV Edit

Settle in because there’s plenty of brilliant telly to look forward to this week. Top of our list is Strike, the hit BBC One detective drama adapted from books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). It’s back for its fifth instalment, which revolves around a knotty unsolved murder case that will keep you guessing until the very end.


Aside from that, it’s the time of year where we can’t get enough festive quizzes and game shows. There’s something for everyone this week, whether you’re into sport (A League Of Their Own Christmas Special), soaps (The Big Quiz) or music (Never Mind The Xmas Buzzcocks).


If that wasn’t enough, legendary football player, pundit and presenter Chris Kamara is also helming a moving documentary about his diagnosis with a speech condition. And while we’re talking about football, we can’t forget the World Cup. England face off with France on 10 December in a quarter-final between two of the tournament’s most impressive teams. Can one of them go all the way?


You can also catch more World Cup action as we head towards the final, as well as plenty of old festive favourites.


There’s so much good stuff on this week that we’ve compiled a list of the best TV shows to watch. Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the latest changes.


Wednesday 7 December

Pick of the day: Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything

10pm, Sky Comedy/HD (CH 135/123)

TV comedy Queen Sheridan Smith (Two Pints of Lager And A Packet of Crisps) is Rosie Molloy – a woman who is addicted to everything from smoking and booze to caffeine and Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. Often egged on by her outrageous best friend Nico (Oliver Wellington, Timewasters), Rosie wakes up in hospital after an embarrassing incident at her brother’s wedding. She decides there and then to give up everything for good, with the hopes of repairing some of her personal relationships. As she juggles her father’s ill health, potential job loss and her failing relationships, she finds the addictions may not be the problem after all… Will she still be Rosie once she’s clean?


What else to watch:

  • Gino’s Cooking Up Love – 9pm, ITV1 HD (CH 113/103)
  • Dodi: Last Days Of A Playboy – 9pm, Channel 5 HD (CH 154/105)
  • Spike Milligan: The Unseen Archive – 9pm, Sky Arts/HD (CH 165/140)
  • The Traitors – 9.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • Two Doors Down – 10pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • Outsiders – 10pm, Dave HD (CH 127)


Thursday 8 December

Pick of the day: I Am Ruth

9pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)

The award-winning I Am… series returns to Channel 4, starring acting powerhouse and co-writer Kate Winslet (Titanic), along with her real-life daughter Mia Threapleton. The pair play mother and daughter in the drama, showing an honest portrayal of an increasingly strained relationship between Ruth (Winslet) and Freya (Threapleton), as the teenager falls deeper into the clutches of social media and is ultimately consumed by pressure. 


What else to watch:

  • The Secret Genius Of Modern Life – 8pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • Christmas At Blenheim Palace – 8pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • The Traitors – 9pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • The English – 9pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • Gino’s Cooking Up Love – 9pm, ITV1 HD (CH 113/103)
  • Planet Sex With Cara Delevingne – 10pm, BBC Three HD (CH 107/157)


Friday 9 December

Pick of the day: The Big Quiz

9.15pm, ITV1 (CH 102)

How well do you know your ITV soaps? Come to that, how well do soap stars know their own shows? In this annual quiz, Stephen Mulhern presides over Team Corrie (Jack P Shepherd, Sally Dynevor and Ryan Russell) and Team Emmerdale (Mark Charnock, Nicola Wheeler and Jurell Carter) as they fight to be crowned the biggest experts on the rival soaps. Additional games bring plenty of laughs, like National Treasure Hunt with Ken Barlow and Soapstars In The Shadows featuring mystery former co-stars.


What else to watch:

  • Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • David Attenborough's Global Adventure – 8pm, Sky Nature/HD (CH 280/279)
  • Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley On The Mystery Queen – 9pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • Definitely Dusty – 9pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108/107)
  • The Graham Norton Show – 10.55pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)


Saturday 10 December

Pick of the day: Happy Valley

9pm, Drama (CH 130)

Ahead of the third and final series of Happy Valley arriving on our screens next year, now’s the time to revisit the blisteringly good series 2 kicking off on Drama tonight. It’s set 18 months after the end of the first series as Sgt Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire, Last Tango In Halifax) returns to work in West Yorkshire. She has a medal for gallantry after rescuing Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy, Peaky Blinders) from twisted Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton, Grantchester), and Royce is now behind bars – but when his mother is killed, Catherine finds herself implicated in a string of murders.


What else to watch:

  • Only Fools And Horses: Time On Our Hands – 7.40pm, GOLD HD (CH 124)
  • Write Around The World With Richard E Grant – 8pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108/107)
  • I Can See Your Voice – 9.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • Piano Greats At The BBC – 9.15pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • What We Were Watching: Christmas 1995 – 10.25pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108/107)


Sunday 11 December

Pick of the day: Strike – Troubled Blood

9pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)

All hail the latest series of the hit crime drama, based on novels by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). In its fifth instalment, Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke, The Wonder) is hired by a woman to find her mother, who went missing almost 40 years earlier. Her disappearance coincided with murders by a serial killer who is still alive – although elderly – and safely behind bars. Many people believe that she must have been one of his victims. But was she?


What else to watch:

  • Big Ben Restored: The Grand Unveiling – 7pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • Strictly Come Dancing – 7.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • Giovanna Fletcher: Made In Italy – 8pm, ITVBe/HD (CH 119/179)
  • Simon Schama’s History Of Now – 9pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)
  • Bradley Walsh: The Laugh’s On Me – 9pm, Channel 5 HD (CH 154/105)
  • Predators – 9pm, Sky Nature/HD (CH 280/279)


Monday 12 December

Pick of the day: A League Of Their Own Christmas Special

9pm, Sky Max/HD (CH 122/121)

The boys are back with another festive episode of the sporty panel game show. As well as looking back at some of the best moments from past series, they’ll take part in a special celebrity golf tournament organised by host Romesh Ranganathan as a gift for Jamie Redknapp. After a golf lesson from Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Redknapp and Micah Richards will captain rival teams featuring Joel Dommett, Maisie Adam, Alex Brooker, Tony Bellew, Eve Muirhead, John Barnes, David Seaman and… H from Steps.


What else to watch:

  • Waitrose At Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • Strictly Come Dancing: The Results – 8.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • The Disappearance Of April Jones – 9pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life – 9.15pm, BBC Four (CH 108/107)
  • Big Zuu’s Christmas Eats – 9.45pm, BBC Three HD (CH 107/157)
  • Undercover: Sexual Harassment – The Truth – 10pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)


Tuesday 13 December

Pick of the day: Chris Kamara: Lost For Words

9.15pm, ITV1/HD (CH 113/103)

Former footballer turned pundit Chris Kamara has long been adored for his distinctive style of presenting and commentating – particularly his lovable gaffes and idiosyncratic sayings. In this documentary, “Kammy” exmaines his recent diagnosis with apraxia of speech (AOS), a condition that means people have trouble pronouncing words correctly and consistently. While uplifting, the film doesn’t shy away from the complexities and challenges of being diagnosed with a speech condition, as Kamara struggles to accept his diagnosis and considers quitting TV presenting altogether.


What else to watch:

  • Only Fools And Horses: Miami Twice – 6.20pm, GOLD HD (CH 124)
  • We’re Here – 9pm, Sky Max/HD (CH 122/121)
  • Jamie’s Easy Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey – 9pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108)
  • Les Miserables And Victor Hugo – 9.45pm, Sky Arts HD (CH 140)


Wednesday 14 December

Pick of the day: Vienna Blood

9pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)

The third series of this period psychological thriller kicks off tonight. Like its previous two series, it’s written by Stephen Thompson – he also penned a few Sherlock episodes back in the day, and there are clear parallels between the two shows. Vienna Blood is set in Austria in the 1900s, where English doctor and Freudian psychoanalyst Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) is helping detective Oskar Rheinhardt (Jürgen Maurer) with his investigations. A smart, atmospheric watch for wintry nights.


What else to watch:

  • Charles Dickens And The Invention Of Christmas – 8pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108/107)
  • Portrait Artist Of The Year – 8pm, Sky Arts/HD (CH 165/140)
  • Dad’s Army Christmas: Battle Of The Giants – 8.20pm, Gold HD (CH 124)
  • Georgia And Tommy: Baby Steps – 9pm, ITVBe/HD (CH 119/179)
  • Hitler’s Jazz Band – 9pm, Sky Arts/HD (CH 165/140)
  • The Crow Road – 10.10pm, BBC Four HD (CH 108/107)


Thursday 15 December

Pick of the day: Never Mind The Xmas Buzzcocks

9pm, Sky Max/HD (CH 122/121)

We suspect there’d be a lot of laughs if you put This Country’s Daisy May Cooper and legendary rocker Pete Doherty in an empty room together. But now imagine that room is the Buzzcocks studio. And it’s a Christmas special. And Greg Davies, Noel Fielding and Jamali Maddix are also present, with appearances from Claire from Steps and stand-up Tom Allen. Ramshackle hilarity is guaranteed, isn’t it?


What else to watch:

  • Stacey Solomon’s Crafty Christmas – 8pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)
  • Gordon, Gino And Fred’s Road Trip – 9pm, ITV1 HD (CH 113/103)
  • Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back – 9pm, Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
  • The Royle Family Christmas Special 2009 – 9.40pm, GOLD HD (CH 124)
  • The Russell Howard Hour Christmas Special – 10.35pm, Sky Max/HD (CH 122/121)


Pick of the week: Football – England v France

Saturday 10 December, 6pm, ITV1 HD (CH 113/103)

England’s performance in the FIFA World Cup has been very encouraging so far, with convincing wins against Iran, Wales and African champions Sénégal. But as they reach the quarter-finals, the level of opposition is significantly higher. France, and particularly their electrifying front four of Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann, have been among the most impressive performers of the tournament. Defeat them, though, and England will only have to get through one more match to make it into their first World Cup final since 1966. Gulp.


You can find details of the rest of the quarter-finals in our complete guide to the tournament.



Saturday 10 December, 6.35pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102)

Director Autumn de Wilde’s sharply stylised and self-aware take on Jane Austen’s classic novel is a joy to watch. Anya Taylor-Joy stars as the titular Emma Woodhouse, a “handsome, clever and rich” young woman in Regency England who habitually meddles in other people’s love lives.


But when Emma decides to fix up her mousy companion Harriet (Mia Goth), things start to go very wrong… Johnny Flynn is excellent as Emma’s verbal sparring partner Mr Knightley, while Bill Nighy is the picture of curmudgeonly elegance as Emma’s father. As light and delicious as a whipped meringue.


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