Today (July 24)

CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF, BBC1, 8.30pm FRIDAY is the grand final of the celebrity cooking contest, but those who love culinary competitions needn’t fret too much because the glorious news has broken that Bake Off returns on Wednesday, August 5. Get your sly and saucy bakery puns ready but, until then, we have celebrities sweating in the kitchen.

Of those who have clung on until the end, only one had a recognisable face: the actor Scott Maslen (right). Of the other three, one had a terrifying face: Rylan Clark looks like a sleek, manicured robot. Then we have Sam Nixon and Kimberly Wyatt, both wannabe/failed/fading popstars. Together, they hardly make up an interesting group, and certainly not a starry, celebrity group, but the show is about cookery and panic, not about awards and credibility.

In the final, the celebrities must cook a meal that will dazzle and impress a table of the best female chefs in the country, with the dishes created by Angela Hartnett and all of which will require the contestants to quickly master new techniques. Then they must return to the MasterChef kitchen to serve up a three-course meal for judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode. WANTED: A VERY PERSONAL ASSISTANT, BBC3, 9pm IT’S well-documented that most carers in the UK are older women. While these women undoubtedly have the physical strength, the nurturing qualities and the knowledge required for the job, it’s fair to say that young disabled people might prefer a carer of their own age, with whom they might build a friendship as well as a working relationship.

This programme matches young disabled people with some young unemployed people who wouldn’t otherwise have considered caring as a profession. So, is the solution to youth unemployment “staring us in the face”? The young carers must deal with the practical requirements of disabilities like cerebral palsy and brain damage, but also tackle intimate, personal care. The disabled people in the programme have long since learned to cope with the challenges of their disabilities, developing a fearless and practical frame of mind, so it’s the carers who often feel overwhelmed.

We follow four disabled people and their novice carers and see whether they’ll develop a friendship and new career, or if the job is simply too difficult for young people who have never had to deal with the challenges of disability.

Tomorrow (July 25)

DANCING THROUGH THE BLITZ: BLACKPOOL’S BIG BAND STORY, BBC2, 9.10pm YES, Blackpool is full of noisy stag and hen parties on Saturday nights, and there are stalls on the Promenade selling edible underwear and rock with rude slogans stamped through it, and pink Stetson hats with various crude accessories dangling from them – but that’s just the weekend. Go to Blackpool on any day other than Saturday and you’ll see a place entirely different from the cheeky stereotype. It has three grand Victorian piers, a flat, sandy beach, the back streets are filled with quaint, pastel-coloured B&Bs, and there’s the Blackpool Tower which contains the famous ballroom, which looks like it should belong in Vienna or Paris.

It’s this magnificent ballroom which is central to this programme. The show celebrates the contribution Blackpool made to the war effort. The town built planes and trained airmen and its locals worked in factories, but there was another thing Blackpool did to help beat Hitler: it showcased the new Big Band music which was sweeping the country and boosting morale. In Blackpool, the airmen and the locals would gather in the ballrooms of the Tower and The Winter Gardens to dance to this cool new sound. The programme features clips and interviews, and a Blackpool performance from Jools Holland’s band. CORDON, BBC4, 9pm THE final two episodes are shown tonight, back-to-back. The street scenes inside the cordon are bleak and horrific, calling to mind wartime films showing the Jewish ghettos after they’d been cleared, with bodies lying on the cobbled streets, windows smashed and belongings strewn everywhere and, of course, the terrible knowledge that help will not be arriving.

This series has been brilliant, tackling a terrifying issue which creeps into the news, and so into real life, every so often. In places it is horribly graphic, shockingly so given that it’s shown on genteel BBC4, but the horrific scenes are never gratuitous, only truthful.

In the final episode, a hole is found in the cordon. Nald wants to seal it immediately, and move a new shipping container over the breach which is filled with rubble, making it impossible to budge, but Lex has another idea. He wants to leave the hole open, and secretly watch it to see who is using it as a means of escape. But the eventual discovery of who is involved leads to an almost impossible decision for Lex. THE NATION’S FAVOURITE 80S NUMBER ONE, STV, 9pm THIS new show invites you to “trip the neon fantastic” and celebrate the best hits of the 1980s – and when they’re asking you to do that along to a soundtrack of the Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind, how can you say no?

Eighties stars like Toyah Wilcox, Tony Hadley, Martin Fry and Marc Almond all feature, reminiscing about shoulder pads, eyeliner and making pop history.

The show, narrated by the annoying Zoe Ball, has commissioned a poll to determine the nation’s favourite 80s tune, but really the poll is superfluous. It was surely just a hook on which to hang this glittery coat of nostalgia, giving the channel an excuse – and a mighty good one, in my opinion – to pull out some clips of all the old songs and wallow in how gloriously flamboyant pop music used to be.

However, the show is rescued from just being a clip show by the calibre of the celebrity guests involved. Besides the pop stars themselves, we get expert analysis of the music, the trends and the fashions from Pete Waterman, Bruno Brookes and a former editor of Smash Hits. LOUIS THEROUX’S WEIRD WEEKENDS, REALLY, 10pm THIS is the first episode of the classic series where Louis Theroux steps into weird places and acts like a mild, polite, slightly bewildered English gentleman, but is really sharp-eyed, ruthless and witty, and is noting down every foible. This series demonstrates precisely what Robert Burns meant when he wrote “a chiel’s amang ye takin’ notes”.

The oddballs and freaks swarm around quiet Louis, nearly forgetting he’s there, and so revealing their hideous selves.

In this programme he visits Las Vegas to become absorbed in the world of scammers and tricksters calling themselves “hypnotists”. While it may be a genuine therapy elsewhere, in Las Vegas it’s simply a means of making easy money from the gullible and the troubled.

Louis then moves West where the Las Vegas obsession with money turns into the Californian obsession with sex, and he learns the tricks various hypnotists allege will make him irresistible to the opposite sex.

Sunday (July 26)

PARTNERS IN CRIME, BBC1, 9pm THE BBC continues to plunder literature for its Sunday night drama slot.

This new series is based on an Agatha Christie book and while I’m all in favour of the BBC popularising literature – I’m sure there were big surges in sales of the Poldark novels, or, last week, of Sadie Jones’s book, The Outcast – shouldn’t they be encouraging what they proudly call “New British Drama” by inviting new British dramatists to pen a series?

But, in the absence of dazzling new work, we have another Agatha Christie. However, I’m not dismissing this as just another period detective drama because it has an unusual tone. Despite dealing with crime, murder and espionage, it has a skittish, comic feel to it. Even the main characters’ names announce this: Tommy and Tuppence.

It’s 1952 and Tommy and Tuppence are trying desperately to make a living from beekeeping. On the train back from Paris, where they’ve gone to procure a special queen bee, they get embroiled in a murder. Tommy cares only for his beekeeping, but Tuppence loves a good mystery and can’t help trying to investigate it. DRAGONS’ DEN, BBC2, 8pm

HAVE all the good business ideas already been used up? It would seem so, or perhaps Dragons’ Den is chasing ratings by deliberately featuring crazy ideas.

This week, a mother and daughter try to get investment for their Handbag Spa, where women can drop off their handbags to receive TLC at the spa. This must be a joke, surely? If I want to clean my handbag I just tip it upside down and shake it. Crumpled hankies and Rolo wrappers fall out, and that’s it. Job done.

Then we have Funky Bods, which is a range of clothing for men discreetly padded to create the illusion of muscle. You can buy a T-shirt that gives an instant six-pack or perhaps get some sturdy, muscular calves via their leggings. The Dragons ask the one pertinent question: what happens if the wearer gets lucky?

Amid the weirdness is a female “firefighter with a dream” who says she’d rather “run into a fire” than face the Dragons. Using her experiences of working in a male-dominated industry, she has created Van Girls – an all-female delivery and removal service.

But the show is featuring more and more oddballs and the Dragons are getting tetchy, shouting: “One of the problems with this as a business is you!” EXPERIMENTAL, C4, 8pm ONE of the best shows tucked away on the Discovery channel is MythBusters, where two bespectacled geeks test various urban legends, myths and alleged spectacular feats, such as whether it’s possible to find a needle in a haystack, can you escape from prison using bedsheets, can you fold a piece of paper more than seven times and can an opera singer break glass?

Oh, and is it possible to be sucked into an aeroplane’s toilet? As well as these cartoonish myths, they also test out some dangerous ones involving explosives, rockets and grenades and assess the science behind them.

Experimental is a new three-part series that is a more modest, British version of the outlandish MythBusters. The team choose daredevil stunts that have gone viral online and try to recreate them, before getting their clipboards out to describe the physics and chemistry at work in these feats.

In this episode, they try playing a game of tennis while strapped to the wing of a plane and they test whether you can indeed be propelled into the air by the force of water, in this case from a fireman’s hose. JOANNA LUMLEY’S TRANS-SIBERIAN ADVENTURE, STV, 9pm SOME surly critics have been annoyed by Joanna Lumley’s enthusiasm in this travel series. She is forever saying “fabulous” or “amazing” or “wonderful”.

She does indeed get breathless and keen in this programme, but that’s not a failing because her delight seems entirely genuine.

A lesser presenter or, God forbid, a dim celebrity who’d been given this gig due to a pretty face or a Number One song would indeed be annoying if they were falling over themselves to praise everything but with Joanna Lumley we get the impression she’s in awe of the things she sees, and frantically keen to make us share them with her.

This week, for the last episode in the series, her spectacular Trans-Siberian train journey delivers her into the heart of frozen Russia.

In Moscow, she pays a visit to Stalin’s old nuclear bunker and I defy anyone to fail to be awed by this. I suspect we’ll all be ooh-ing and ahh-ing along with Joanna when she descends into that grim and creepy Cold War relic.