Introductory note: be aware this is a very personal selection and refers to programmes I'm able to watch (I have Freeview) and intend to watch. I may not manage on the day, for whatever reason, and I'm not going to beat myself up about that. Also don't expect me to review them all afterwards, though I may do for some.
If you want a far more comprehensive TV preview blog, may I recommend that splendid fellow, Mr Keith Topping at these galactic co-ordinates:
and that other tophole chap, Mr Scott Matthewman of Her Majesty's "The Stage" whose Square Eyes are here:
I'm including links which will hopefully lead you to iPlayer/4oD etc replays and relevant background info where I can - all times and dates are according to the print edition of "Radio Times" for BBC Scotland*/STV.
MY TOP THREE NEW OR RETURNING SHOWS OR HIGHLIGHTS:
BEING HUMAN - SUNDAY 10 JANUARY 9.30-10.30pm (BBC THREE)
The second full series (of 8) begins. Episode one guest stars Paul Rhys and Donald Sumpter. Though not dispensing with the comedy, this is apparently a darker series.
I was surprised that, even on BBC Three, this didn't get a "Radio Times" cover now that Russell, Aidan and Lenora are all considered 'hot' properties.
COME DINE WITH ME - MONDAY 11 JANUARY 5.30-6pm (C4)
Now getting nominated for TV awards, the cult daytime dinner party mayhem returns in the superior 5 weekday episode format (the weekly Sunday prime-time ones are more like Nicorette patches to aid withdrawal symptoms). RT neglects to mention how many weeks we are getting but I'd have guessed it will run to the end of February at least. The opening week is in Basingstoke.
GLEE - MONDAY 11 JANUARY 9-11pm (DOUBLE EPISODE) (E4)
This is not quite our first look at "Glee" as E4 showed the pilot over Christmas, but here it is again bolted on to the first of the series proper in a two-hour opener. It will be my first look, as I missed the pilot but have been very stoked up by transatlantic blog buzz and some attractive trailers. It appears to me at this point as (ascendent) geeks v jocks to a comedy musical format, which I find clever anyway. Hoping E4 keep 9 as the regular start time - the whole 4 stable has a habit of shoving all the landmark US shows to 10pm, which is past my bedtime ordinarily. Though this does make it clash with "Law & Order:UK" on ITV1 and "Hustle" on BBC One, not that I've ever followed the latter.
BEST OF THE REST
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - SATURDAY 9 JANUARY 7-8.05pm; 9.45-10.10pm (BBC ONE)
Technically not the first of the 7 episode series, but the first of the live shows and the accompanying results programme. I stuck with the first programme last Saturday, despite the BBC Press Office having already revealed the 14 finalists and being perplexed by the audition process which meant that it was not the best 14 that survived, but the best 7 girls and the best 7 guys, which is quite different. Of course this was to serve the live show format, where one of each flavour is booted per weekend as well as the unavoidable boy/girl pairing. So I'll be basing my continued viewing on tonight's show and whether it works for me - I liked the short lived "Strictly Dance Fever" to which SYTYCD bears similarities, but couldn't get on with the even shorter lived "Dance X". And I hope to present a post on any male totty left after tonight if it does please me ...
DELIA THROUGH THE DECADES - MONDAY 11 JANUARY 8.30-9pm (BBC TWO)
I'm going to forgive Delia for blotting her copybook with 2008's "How to Cheat at Cooking" series, whose mixed reception I'm hoping won't be excised in the last of the five featured decades presented here. This one is recipe-lite and more of a biographical documentary with the occasional sample by the foremost kitchen diva in the present. We start on Monday in the 70s, so hopefully we'll get a soupcon of "Swap Shop".
LAW & ORDER: UK - MONDAY 11 JANUARY 9-10pm (ITV1)
Though hardcore fans of the American original were rather snotty about this when it first appeared on ITV1 last February, I and many others saw it as one of the rare sparks of ITV quality drama. ITV1 still managed to spoil the party by splitting the first series in two and this is in fact series one, part two (already screened in Canada last summer). An actual series two has thankfully been ordered. As with all the episodes, these are anglicized and re-tooled versions of US originals - Monday's gay-themed one by Chris Chibnall is a version of a 1993 story and guest stars Patrick Malahide and Jamie Foreman.
SURVIVORS - TUESDAY 12 JANUARY 9-10pm (BBC ONE)
Similarly derided by some fans of the original, I was again nonetheless rather impressed by this re-imagining of "Survivors", masterminded by Adrian Hodges. Having radically altered the character of Tom Price to become one of the leads (a masterful performance by Max Beesley) we go into series two with Abby (and seperated son) still present and correct so splitting further from the source. However, Abby was a strength of the original and missed once gone - the jury is still out on Julie Graham's needy portrayal here. Hopefully, the producers have taken on board some of the perceived weaknesses from the debut run and will have tweaked this second batch of six accordingly. Notably, since last time, Paterson Joseph (Greg) has not been killed off to allow him to be "Doctor Who" ...
MATERIAL GIRL - THURSDAY 14 JANUARY 8-9pm (BBC ONE)
The first of six hour-long episodes of a pre-watershed 'romantic comedy' debut. This is going to be another 'suck it and see' for me. One time "Gridlock" hijacker Lenora Crichlow heads the cast in her second new series of the week. Joining her are fellow ex-"Doctor Who" guest stars Dervla Kirwan (Mercy Hartigan) and the rather cute but oddly named O-T Fagbenie (Other Dave) in a presumed piss-take of the fashion world.
CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER: THE FIRST EVICTION - FRIDAY 15 JANUARY 9-10pm; 10.35-11.05pm (C4)
With last night's show headlined by a live variety show from the initial motley crew of housemates and the surprise insertion within of Ivana Trump, the end of the week should see the first planned departure from the Elstree compound. Last night's BBBM appeared to think Stephen and Katia would be up for the vote with Katia going, but we shall see.
Annoyingly, this week's regular highlights shows are all over the schedule - one at 8pm (Wed), three at 9pm (Sat, Sun, Tue), and two at 10pm (Mon, Thu).
Saturday/Monday-Wednesday/Friday * - Great British Railway Journeys
Saturday - National Lottery: In it to Win It
Sunday - The Andrew Marr Show
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday - Eastenders
Monday - University Challenge
Tuesday - The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best
Thursday - Question Time (back from break this week)
Friday - QI (returned to 8.30pm network slot after last night's demotion to 10.45pm*)
Now if you're wondering what * denoted in a couple of those examples, they flagged up BBC Scotland's woeful attempts at re-scheduling network programmes to suit their own ends. Specifically, Thursday's edition of "Great British Railway Journeys", stripped in a 6.30pm slot on BBC Two every weeknight on the network, is shunted to Friday with the Friday one shunted to wherever they can squeeze it on Saturday (they do this with Thursday's "Eggheads too). This is due to the somehow sacred two hour 'Gaelic Ghetto' we have imposed on us from 6 to 8pm every Thursday. With "Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two" for which they would drop the Thursday show entirely, it took them to midway through the 2008 series to instigate a red button opt-out for it - I'm sure the red button got more viewers in Scotland for those of us given that option - but even then it was not guaranteed every week and become a random frustration all over again. Anyway no such option is available for GBRJ.
At one point I was actually going to have a regular "BBC Scotland Watch" series of posts to highlight the full scale of their incompetent dabbling, which rarely works in my favour. However, I decided that would just double the inconvenience - the more they moved or dropped, the more time I'd have to spend writing it up as well as chasing what I wanted to see. I've come up with the next section as a compromise, listing the major prime-time culprits. In this, unlike the rest of this feature, I list the network position of programmes where that differs from what we get in Scotland. This is because it is not noted where the programmes are moved to or whether we et them at all - but I'll bracket that if I find out. I'm ignoring reasonable replacements, such as regional news and "Sportscene" for "Match of the Day" (not that I'd be watching either). For the moment I'm also leaving out STV examples, as they've been caught out and appear to have been sent homeward tae think again ...
So, the obvious title for this subsection is ...
"THAT'S EXCEPT FOR VIEWERS IN SCOTLAND WHO HAVE THEIR OWN PROGRAMMES"
Saturday - COAST repeat 6.30-7.30pm (BBC TWO)
Monday - NURSE JACKIE 10-10.30 (BBC TWO) BBC TWO Scotland 11.20-11.50pm
Tuesday - HOLBY CITY 8-9pm (BBC ONE) BBC ONE Scotland on Wednesday 8-9pm
Wednesday - TRAFFIC COPS 8-8.30pm (BBC ONE) BBC ONE Scotland 9-10pm (?!)
Wednesday - INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY repeat 8.30-10pm (BBC ONE)
Thursday - EGGHEADS 6-6.30pm (BBC TWO) BBC TWO Scotland on Friday 6-6.30pm
Thursday - GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY JOURNEYS 6.30-7pm (BBC TWO) BBC TWO Scotland on Friday 6.30-7pm
Thursday - SNOOKER 7-8pm (BBC TWO) red button only in Scotland
Friday - EGGHEADS 6-6.30pm (BBC TWO) BBC TWO Scotland on Saturday 16th, presumed.
Friday - GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY JOURNEYS: Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy 6.30-7pm (BBC TWO) BBC TWO Scotland on Saturday 16th, presumed.
I must point out, this week we are fairly lucky as it's light on tampering - wait until they 'need' to clear the schedule for a football match. And I shall personally apply a knee to the groin of the first person who mentions iPlayer or 'Sky channel whatever' in regard to this sub-section. Until BBC Scotland pays for my broadband download allowance or a Sky subscription that's entirely irrelevant. It's bad enough that some my contribution to the licence fee pays not only for the BBC Scotland insertions but the original network programming, so I really should get decent access to both. They really need to utilise the red button much more, but that's another story.