30/01/2012 06:33 GMT

TV For The Week Ahead: Room 101, Natural World, Whitechapel, Rocking Brits, Inside Men, Raymond Blanc


Whitechapel - 9pm, ITV1

Rupert Penry-Jones is back as high-flying Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler in this new series, extended to six episodes. Also expanded is the role of amateur criminologist Buchan (Steve Pemberton), wandering around the bunkers of the police station and turning up with relevant memories of the past whenever the plot needs it. Penry-Jones has revealed he can't be doing with angsty cops on screen, so prepare for some whacky asides, although his OCD is as bad as ever.

Protecting Our Children - 9pm, BBC2

Whenever some horrific episode of child neglect hits the headlines, there's invariably some background story of social workers' neglect or mishandling. This three-part series looks more closely at the laws, heartbreaking situations and ethical dilemmas faced by social workers, in this case those working in Bristol, on a daily basis.

Britain's Gay Footballers - 9pm, BBC3

Presenter Amal Fashanu was only a little girl when her uncle Justin Fashanu killed himself in 1998. Justin had been the UK's first million-pound-transfer black footballer, but his life had fallen into scandal and humiliation after he came out as gay - to this day, the only professional footballer to do so.

Amal explores the taboos and fears surrounding this subject, including an intense confrontation with her own father John, who publicly washed his hands of his own brother.


Terror at Sea - 8pm, C4

"Tripped and fell into a life boat" will be emblazoned on the gravestone of Captain Francesco Schettino, after his infamous role in the sinking of the Costa Concordia on Friday 13th January - which proved more than unlucky for many.

This swiftly-produced documentary, put together with footage taken on the night the floating party town became a deathtrap, hears from rescuers and survivors and explores just why the ship went down as quickly as it did.

Alex Polizzi: The Fixer - 8pm, BBC2

She's only the latest entrepreneur to lend their skills to business improvement while the cameras watch, but Alex Polizzi has a few traits that set her apart: she is a striking woman, NOT propped up by reality TV fame, she has Forte family genes which means she recognises the smell of success, and she has a telegenic way with words, which makes for fly-by viewing. This week, a bridal shop needs to stop shooting itself in the foot.

Prisoners' Wives - 9pm, BBC1

Emma Rigby has forsaken Hollyoaks to star in this BBC drama that does exactly what it says on the tin - brings together women of different classes, ages and attitudes, united by their husbands' current Majesty-pleasure-serving status. I think we can prepare ourselves for betrayal and tears.

Wonderland: My Child the Rioter - 9pm, BBC2

What would you do if you discovered your child was one of the hundreds of young people who, in August, took advantage of the unusual situation in London to steal stuff, break stuff and set fire to buildings? The parents in Olly Lambert's documentary have had to answer that question for themselves and come up with a variety of answers, ranging from disbelief, shame to wholehearted support. A compelling slice of London life today.


Midsomer Murders - 8pm, ITV1

Yes, I know it's the most dangerous village in Britain, and that the highest-ranking guest star probably shouldn't be left alone in the conservatory with the weed-killer, but I just love it, and it seems I'm not alone, with the beginning of the fifteenth series - yes, really! - kicking off tonight. With the departure of conservative exec producer Brian True-May, will we see a new wave of diversity coming to Midsomer Minnow? Probably not overnight. Instead, it's a toff falling from a stately home roof after witnessing a headless horseman - not exactly Albert Square.

Natural World: Tiger Dynasty - 8pm, BBC2

These beautiful striped beasts may look indomitable, but their numbers are small, so one nature reserve in Rajasthan is taking the battle for their survival into its own hands, bringing three big cats in from the wild and hoping there will soon be baby stripes. The looks on the faces of the panthers who consider the reserve their own undisputed bastion are straight out of Jungle Book. Beautiful filming of worthy subjects.


Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman - 8pm, BBC2

Something for cookery fans missing the warm weather and contagious enthusiasm of Sicily Unpacked. Same enthusiasm and expertise, different country, as we follow Raymond Blanc wander through his homeland of France, stopping to chat, drink wine and swap cooking tips with the locals. You might want to get in your car and head across the Channel after this. Particularly heart-warming is Blanc's return to his own village near the Swiss border, where his 90-year-old mother awaits.

Inside Men - 9pm, BBC1

A thrilling account of good men gone bad, told in four-part drama, entirely through the eyes of the protagonists - and also a subliminal study into what invisible social strings, if any, keep people on the straight and narrow in the first place. High-quality stuff, upgraded further by the presence of always-excellent Stephen Mackintosh, of whom we do not see enough on our screens.

Confessions from the Underground - 10pm, C4

Are you one of the billion people who use the London underground annually? Then here's something for you to think about while you're churning through the dark tunnels - an insight into the engine room, from signal failures to suicides, hazards to hostile passengers. At last, the Tube gets the television treatment afforded airlines and other service industries. Who knows, on Friday morning, there might be a few more smiles of appreciation on the escalators.


Egypt: Children of the Revolution - 7pm, BBC2

Egyptians celebrated night and day when their tyrannical leader Mubarak fell a year ago. But have the hopes for a country reborn been satisfied? The production team charted a year in the life of three young citizens since the dramatic events in Tahrir Square caught the world's imagination.

Room 101 - 8.30pm, BBC1

Imagine a dinner party where the guests include Alice Cooper, Chris Tarrant and Chris Packham! Unlikely, I know, but that's the vibe Frank Skinner manages to pull off with his eclectic collection of guests in this episode. All three are on form, with Packham in particular a witty revelation, and the show continues to prove the new formula was a worthy revamp.

How Brits Rocked the West - 9pm, BBC4

Led Zeppelin, Cream and the Beatles are among tonight's subjects as this series continues to chart British music success across the Atlantic. The big rock sounds may have been more suited to the enormous US venues, but it was the Beatles that caused famously hysterical reactions - shouting, crying, screaming, to such an extent that, as Macca recalls, "we couldn’t hear ourselves at all."