Today, November 13


THIS year’s Children In Need extravaganza features Blackpool and Rod Stewart, so I’m quite happy and I might even be persuaded to part with a fiver. The night kicks off with DJ Scott Mills’ preparations for a charity abseil down the Blackpool Tower. He had better be careful; the Tower has been shrouded in scaffolding for the past few years while workmen reapply its distinctive copper-red paint so we don’t want clumsy DJs kicking lumps out of it now that it’s beautifully shiny and fresh.

Back in the studio, Tess Daly and Terry Wogan host the usual array of celebrity high-jinks, skits and sketches: we’ll see the EastEnders cast do a vintage Hollywood song and dance act; Bruce Forsyth returns to present a Strictly Come Dancing special featuring the ladies from Call The Midwife; the various branches of the Children’s Choir will link up and sing in unison from across the country and there’s a Star Wars sketch with the annoying little Warwick Davis.

But the highlight of the night takes place later in a live performance from Rod Stewart and the brave descent down the Blackpool Tower.


IN this episode we visit Athens, a grand and ancient city which has been in the news recently for grim reasons.

Portillo moves Athens away from its financial crises – but not before learning a little about the poor state of the economy at the turn of the century – and turns our attention back into history and tourism. He follows in the footsteps of the Edwardian tourists who’d have stopped here as part of their cultural Grand Tour, and he climbs to the Acropolis from which there is a fine view of the city below. Sitting down to a typically Greek meal of moussaka he tries to trace the links between today’s busy, modern Athens and the glorious city of the past. Which influences have elbowed their way in to create the Athens of today?

He also learns about Byron’s impact on Greece and hears tales of the very first Olympic Games.

This little Greek odyssey ends in the city of Thessaloniki where Greece’s King George I was assassinated in 1913.

Greece may have many problems but it’s never dull.


CLARA Amfo is a young Radio 1 DJ who took over the mid-morning show from Fearne Cotton in May, and the BBC have declared her to be a “rising star”.

She presents this episode and has devoted it to the subject of fame, looking at the weird, distorting effect it has on the lives of global superstars who can never expect a normal existence. She interviews the American rapper 50 Cent about what fame has done to his life: it brings money and influence but must surely drag other, less welcome, things with it?

And we meet the celebrity photographer, Juergen Teller, who has worked with stars like Bjork, Vivienne Westwood and Kanye West. This allows him to be immediately close to fame and its effects while remaining a safely unknown face.

Amfo also looks at the often disturbing world of the uber-fans, those who sometimes get rather too obsessed with their idols, and who use social media to interact with other fans and shout down those who don’t share their passion.

Tomorrow, Saturday November 14

DOCTOR WHO, BBC1, 8.15pm

“You must not watch this. I’m warning you. If you watch this you can never unsee it!”

In the tradition of horror films such as The Blair Witch Project, this episode is based on found footage which is being watched after the frightening events in question.

The footage has been found amid the wreckage of the Le Verrier Space Station and is narrated by a shaking and terrified Rassmussen, played by guest star, Reece Shearsmith.

Rassmussen tells us what the footage shows: a group of young soldiers are being sent into space on a rescue mission. “They came to find me,” he explains, telling the story and occasionally breaking into the footage to offer his own frightened and nervous commentary. “They came to find me”, but they found “others”.

As the soldiers make their way onto the ship they find The Doctor and Clara who’re also there, tiptoeing around on their own mission. The soldiers take under command and that’s the last act of order and discipline because chaos is soon unleashed.

The Doctor, who seems to know what’s going on, blames the “big catastrophe”, but it seems “that’s how they roll in the 38th century”.

This episode is written by Mark Gatiss from The League Of Gentlemen.


The latest story opens with a horrific scene of torture. “What have I done?” pleads a woman who is hooded and hanging from a wooden beam whilst her captor beats her. I found this very difficult to watch and it seemed quite a cheap trick from this otherwise excellent drama series. I looked away (not an ideal tactic for someone who’s reviewing the show, but I’m only human).

When the scene changes we’re in a busy Stockholm street packed with shoppers and commuters. In the midst of the rush a woman appears, dressed in gym gear and smeared in blood. She collapses on the pavement. It’s the woman from the torture scene.

A trail of blood and a discarded shoe leads the police to a local sports shop and a basement behind it. They break in – without waiting for a warrant as they’re tough, cool dudes – and find the scene of the torture.

However, when the woman is interviewed, she can shed no further light on the matter. She doesn’t know why she would have been targeted and cannot guess at who her captor may have been.

The special A Unit are forbidden from investigating as they deal only with international crime, but the basement soon yields a clue which links the torture to an foreign drugs ring.


Who is David Gilmour? The man himself answers the question: “Someone who spends his life driven by music more than anything else, I’d say.”

Gilmour was a leading member of Pink Floyd and is ranked as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He’s now released a solo album, Rattle That Lock, and is embarking on a tour for the first time in nine years.

To mark these events – and drum up a bit of publicity – he’s invited the BBC into his home and his studio to profile him.

Alan Yentob interviews him at his country retreat but there’s nothing rustic about it: it contains a hi-tech music studio and mixing desk, providing the best of both worlds: a retreat from the stress of the outside world, but it’s arranged so that Gilmour has taken what he needs from that hectic world and installed it in his country haven.

Music buffs will love the insight we get into his professional life, particularly the look at the shelves where he stores stacks of LPs.

He and Alan Yentob burrow through them, pulling albums out and reminiscing.

Sunday, November 15


One third of the Earth’s land is devoted to forest and in this “labyrinthine world” live half of the planet’s animal species: in amongst the trees is where it’s all happening.

The largest forest predator is the tiger and his strategy for hunting is concealing himself – but for such a massive and heavy animal it’s no easy task. Twigs will crack and branches will rustle as he makes his way towards his prey. We see a weighty paw delicately being placed on the ground as he silently stalks. By the time he’s a young adult, a tiger can move without making a sound. But he also needs to be invisible and we see how his stripes bend and blend with the branches and wrinkled tree bark and how his tawny colours merge with the sun-bleached grasses. But, if feeling lazy, the noise and darkness of a storm can conceal his approach. Or he might get closer without moving at all and just let the prey innocently wander towards him.

There’s also a look at how smaller animals catch and evade others, with clever footage of pine martens burrowing tunnels through the snow.


Maggie is desperately ill from her gunshot wound and as she lies in bed delirious, she tries to tell Jekyll about his father. Perhaps she could help him find out the truth: “Maggie has the answers! We need to talk to her!” But her wound has turned septic and so Jekyll is increasingly desperate to save her.

In the laboratory, trying to find a solution, Garson asks Jekyll: “What is it in you that lets you heal yourself? Whatever it is we need it to make a magic bullet.” This gives Jekyll a splendid idea: “I could kiss you!” he shouts. Soon he and Lily are working furiously to develop a drug to save the ailing Maggie, with the realisation that Hyde’s blood has the special antibiotic powers they need but, inevitably, the stress of the whole endeavour tips him over the edge and turns him into Hyde.

Meanwhile, the bad guys are still chasing him as they need Hyde to open the stone jar which will unleash the dark forces they crave – but only Hyde can do the job and so Dance makes an offer to Jekyll to try and lure him in.


YOU won’t be welcome in sunny Monaco without the palatial home, the jewellery and the supercar. These are more important than a passport in getting you into a place where you must display your wealth in order to join its high society.

But fancy cars and mansions are now all too common in Monaco and so the new way to show off your worth is with a million-pound mega yacht. These maritime monsters can reach 200 metres in length and have more horsepower than 10 Formula One cars.

This one-off documentary asks who owns these yachts and what is fuelling the mad desire to buy them?

And when it comes to buying them, “if you have to ask what it costs you probably can’t afford it.”

Doug Barrowman calls himself “a Scots git from Glasgow” and is now a millionaire and he shows the cameras around his mega-yacht. Why does he own this vessel and all its James Bond accessories? “Why? I suppose the flippin’ answer is because I can!”


KIRSTY Wark introduces two hours of live theatre from the BBC’s Television Centre.

Four individual plays will be performed, which might satisfy critics who say the BBC is becoming dumbed-down and is constantly cutting back on its cultural output. However, we all know you can’t please everyone, so there will still be those who object to this type of project, saying the magic of theatre comes from being close to the actors, in the same room as them, in one shared experience and that this particular magic cannot be transferred through a cold, glassy TV screen.

Whether it successfully imparts the magic of theatre or not, it’s still a brave endeavour and makes a nice change to BBC4’s usual glut of weekend music programmes.

The plays on offer are The Time Of Your Life, about a man’s struggle against the system; The Redux Project, a re-enactment of clips from the BBC Archive; No Guts, No Heart, No Glory, which is about female Muslim boxers. Broadcast From Biscuit Land provides a surreal musical ending.