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The Idiot Box: What To Watch This Week

14/08/2014 16:37 | Updated 22 May 2015

So we're well into December and all the horrors the festive period brings to the TV schedules can't be avoided any longer. During the coming few weeks I'm going to be picking out the odd gem, but, more importantly, warning you about the worst of telly coming our coming way. Think of it as an early present...

Must watch... During the last couple of months I've made sure not to recommend the X Factor. Why? Because it's crap, of course. But if we're going to watch one episode it might as well be the last one in the current run. To be rid of it for another year is a cause for celebration, after all. Despite the best efforts of Dermot O'Leary, whose soul seems to ebb away a little more every time he punches the air in time with the end of his entrance music, the show's been dying a slow death for years.

Attempts to revive its flagging fortunes have this year involved tweaking the format, but any hope of reigniting the X Factor was fatally undermined from the start by the insane decision to let Sharon Osborne back on the telly. Still, the two-part final on Saturday and Sunday nights should be a laugh. As well as finding out who wins the battle of being the most "relevant" (one of two children or a warbly woman), there'll also be live performances from One Direction, The Killers, and, in a marvellous reverse ferret, Elton 'I'm not a fan of talent shows' John. The nation, or if the viewing figures are to be believed, a diminishing part of it, can't wait.

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Maybe watch... There are some decent nominees up for gongs at this year's British Comedy Awards (Channel Four, Thursday, 9pm), including comics Adam Hills, Nina Conti and Kevin Eldon, and sitcoms Getting On, Cuckoo and Peep Show. Awards shows are generally pretty dull but this one goes out live, which has, over the years, helped add to the fun.

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Spending Christmas living in the Queen Vic with Danny Dyer would be more fun than watching... Ever since Coca-Cola plastered Santa Claus all over its adverts back in 1931, the spirit of Christmas has been in trouble. And the decline has all been leading to this - Channel Five's The Great Christmas Toy Giveaway (Tuesday, 7pm). Myleene Klass and the destitute man's Ant and Dec, Sam and Mark, put a load of toys to the test, with the help of other top stars like, er, Jeff Brazier. Perhaps I'm not in the target audience, but it sounds excruciating.

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Film of the Week... If Sam, Mark and Myleene haven't done enough to bash the humbug into you then Tyrannosaur (Channel Four, Tuesday, 11.10pm) will finished the job. Paddy Considine's directorial debut is a (very) bleak but brilliant film about a woman coping with domestic abuse. Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan star.

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Also showing... After three thousand episodes, the current series of Masterchef: The Professionals finally comes to an end (BBC Two, Monday-Thursday), while Derren Brown commits The Great Art Robbery on Friday night (Channel Four, 9pm).

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Catch up with... Check out The Godmother of Rock 'n' Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a typically excellent BBC Four documentary about an amazing woman and her music. It's up on iPlayer here.

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