Saturday, 4 September 2010

Burning down the Vic ... and other September TV treats

Just as we finally wave bye bye to "Big Brother" (from Channel 4 anyway) and feel the onset of autumn, at least September is fairly quick to bring us TV treats, starting this coming week.

First up is the Queen Vic fire in "Eastenders" (lit Thursday by cracked-up Phil) which does a triple job of causing Peggy's departure, causing Kat and Alfie to return and potentially despatching some of the other characters Bryan Kirkwood has axed. I reality it also makes way for a HD quality Queen Vic set (as they did when they trashed the Eccleston/Tennant TARDIS in "Doctor Who"). For maximum impact it all breaks out at Janine & Ryan's wedding do with a packed pub and there is an explosion as well as a bog-standard fire. Luckily for the male stripper in this week's cast he's at Janine's earlier hen do in R&R.

The night before the fire we'll find out who this year's "Strictly Come Dancing" celebrities are when they film a 'red carpet special' which goes out on Saturday the 11th as a one-off. This series has already been controversial as it sees much bigger changes afoot and there have been resignations aplenty from the professional dancers pool.

Three new male dancers (above) have been hired to fill the gaps, though there are fewer couples this year. I thought some of last year's changes, notably replacing Arlene with Alesha, were for the worse so I'm very anxious about how more tampering will affect the show. One that is understandable is that there's a new set here too - after 7 series I'm sure it might not be in fantastic shape anymore, though it was iconic and copied in other versions.

Bromance-fuelled swashbuckle & supernatural in the pleasing form of "Merlin" also return to BBC One on the 11th for a third series. Deliberately haven't found too much out though I know the opener is set a year after the previous episode and features the lovely Tom Ellis as guest villain.

On the following Thursday there's the centrepiece of BBC Four's "Great Northern" season with "The Road to Coronation Street" telling the behind the scenes drama of how the soap made it to screen 50 years ago. Bamboozling regular 2010 soap viewers will be the sight of Jessie Wallace as Pat Phoenix, just as she returns to Albert Square as Kat AND James Roach will be playing his dad William Roach just as he has joined current "Coronation Street" for real as Ken Barlow's long-lost gay grandson. Confused, you will be ...

Returning for a ninth series the following week (day as yet TBC) is "Spooks" where surviving characters are joined by Sophia Myles, Leila Rouass and Max Brown who should provide eye-candy all round.

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