Weekend TV Highlights: New Girl, Talent Show Story, Borgen, Sherlock, Dancing On Ice
Trying to avoid going out and getting wet and wind-blown this weekend? There are lots of things on TV to keep you entertained. Here's our pick of the best things on the box for tonight, Saturday and Sunday.
Feel free to drop us a line with your own contribution of what looks best, and we'll add it to our list.
New Girl - 8.30pm, Channel4
Already a hit in the US, this sounds like the sitcom lovechild of Friends, Will and Grace and, possibly, Big Bang Theory. Zooey Deschanel stars as Jess, zany but heartbroken after a toe-curling break-up. She moves in with three male flatmates, and causes mayhem by plonking herself on the sofa, singing aloud and watching Dirty Dancing on repeat. She's heartbroken, so the last of these, at least, is allowed!
The Talent Show Story - 8.30pm, ITV1
When you're watching X Factor, BGT, the upcoming Voice and despairing that this is no way to find true performing ability in this day and age, it might be worth taking in this walk down memory lane of 50 years - yes, really - of the reality show format.
Undisputed talent Victoria Wood first came to the public eye by winning New Faces in 1974, and she narrates this exploration of what it is that continues to appeal to us about the unknown star walking timidly on stage, opening her vocal chords and blowing everyone away. With contributions from Lenny Henry and the sinae quae non of current culture, MISTER Simon Cowell.
Borgen - 9pm, BBC4
For those of you weeping into your woolly over the end (for now) of The Killing, worry not! Here's something uncannily similar in its North European glacial beauty, political intrigue, strong poker-faced leading lady and, above all, YES... subtitles!
What this lacks in dead bodies, bruises and jumpers, Borgen compensates for in twisting, manipulative dialogue as outsider MP Birgitte Nyborg (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) is forced to confront a governmental system whose morals do not always live up to its messages. Sound familiar? There are lots of these political thrillers around, but it's because we like them, and besides it's Danish. what's not to love and, more importantly, just what IS in the Scandinavian water, and can we have some?
Great Barrier Reef - 8pm, BBC2
If a little fish goes swimming but no one sees it, is it still a fish? Yes, but only as long as the Reef continues to provide the lifeblood. Yes, it's nature time. Personally, I'm not a big fan of flora and fauna, but lots of people are, so this is worth a mention.
Stunning photography and enthusiastic chat about the world's largest living organism and its continuing importance to the marine ecosystem, whether we're there to see it or not. Hypnotic viewing for a cold winter evening.
Sherlock - 8.30pm, BBC1
This second series has so far - well one episode in - matched expectations, high though they were, with Cumberbatch and Freeman as Holmes and Watson respectively feeling as familiar as a pair of well-fitting, hand-made brogues, despite being relatively new flourishes of Moffat and Gatiss's pens.
In this second episode, the pair go forth to Baskerville, where a man is haunted by his father's death 20 years before. It's all bordering on the camp and self-conscious - Holmes telling Watson "Of course I am a show off - that's what we do!" But it's seductive viewing, and sobering to realise we're already more than half-way through this year's offering. What WILL we do?
Dancing On Ice - 6.30pm, 9.30pm, ITV1
Another Sunday, another reality show - this time, Dancing on Ice. Expert trainers Torvill and Dean can only take the celebrity contestants so far, the rest is a battle of guts, determination and lots of luck (the last not experienced by poor Chesney Hawkes, who has broken his leg and had to retire before the show even began).
It's a motley crew by anyone's standards, with EastEnders veteran Laila Morse pitching her skates against Jennifer Ellison, Charlene Tilton from Dallas and a newly-recruited Chico. And there's as much intrigue on the judges' panel, now Jason Gardiner has been put out in the cold following his spat last year with Karen Barber, and replaced by the impossibly glamorous Katarina Witt. Fresh sparks? Ofcom have their pencils at the ready.
And here, in the meantime, are some pictures of Borgen to warm our spirits: