27/12/2013 10:14 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 01:38 GMT

The 12 Best Things On Television Over New Year 2014 - Including 'Sherlock', 'Mrs Brown's Boys', 'Thirteenth Tale' And Jools Holland

Had enough telly yet? The good news is... there's still plenty more quality stuff coming at you courtesy of the box. Here are our picks of what's on during the first week of the New Year...


1. Death Comes To Pemberley - 9pm, BBC1

The finale of this gripping three-parter, with PD James gamely collecting Jane Austen's baton, and offering up a murder-mystery as a sequel to 'Pride and Prejudice'. The question is - did Wickham do it, and will he go to the rope? Catch the first two parts on iPlayer.

2. Charlie Brooker's 2013 Wipe - 10.40pm, BBC2

The part-mellow, part-melancholy broadcaster casts his all-seeing eye over a year of twerking, selfies, fake space monkeys, a royal baby's quiet arrival, a former prime minister's departure, Russell Brand on Newsnight, and an unprecedented exchange of popes.


3. Agatha Christie's Marple - 8pm, ITV

Something for everyone in this brand new adaptation, which finds a glamorous young couple setting up their dream home on land which may or may not be cursed. When tragedy inevitably ensues, we can only count ourselves lucky that Miss Marple happens to be staying nearby. Even if you don't usually feast on nostalgic crime, the house itself is stunning, and Borgen fans will be charmed by the appearance of Birgitte Hjort Sorensen as an enigmatic German.


4. Mrs Brown's Boys - 9.30pm, BBC1

Brendan O'Carroll's broad slapstick might not be to everyone's taste, but enough viewers are fans to make this show the top-rating Christmas hit so far. This episode brings us to New Year's Eve in Agnes' house, where guests include a stern cleric and an over-articulate parrot. And that's without the "hellenium" gas in the kitchen meant for the balloons.

5. The Thirteenth Tale - 9.30pm, BBC2

More gothic mystery brought from book to screen, with Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave starring in Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Diane Setterfield's eerie novel. Why is dying author Vida Winter (Redgrave) so keen to pen her memoirs, and what will Margaret (Colman) do with the secrets she unearths? Jealousy, twins, grief and loss all figure in this tense, absorbing tale.


5. Top Of The Pops - 5.30pm, BBC1

This TV former staple marks its 50th birthday this week, and this end-of-year celebration serves to remind us just how big a gap this show left in the schedules when it departed. Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates present, and the guest audience do their usual best to dance unselfconsciously.

6. New Year Celebrations - From 9pm, Channel 4, BBC1, BBC2

There's plenty of party-popping entertainment on most channels tonight, but Jools Holland remains the main dish to be served up in time for midnight on BBC. His guests include The Proclaimers, Ray Davies and Laura Mvula.

Meanwhile, over on t'other side, Graham Norton seemingly relaxes with friends, aka Joan and Jackie Collins, Michael Buble - you get the drift - followed by Gary Barlow sining in the New Year. Perhaps stick with Jools.


7. David Blaine: Real or Magic - 9pm, Channel 4

The enigmatic American returns to the staples of his trade, with some sleight of hand stuff many miles from all that glass cube business that made him infamous. The real mystery is in the eclectic mix of dupees - everyone from George W Bush to Stephen Hawking, via Ricky Gervais and Will Smith. Now that is magic.

8. Sherlock - 9pm, BBC1

He's alive! He's back! And he's sulking because Watson has gone and got himself engaged in the two years since he disappeared, and then returned, without explanation. Never mind the case of The Empty Hearse, Sherlock will have his work cut out deducing the whys and wherefores of Watson's bizarre little 'tache.


9. Birds of a Feather - 8.30pm, ITV

If Granville can do it, why can't Tracey, Sharon and Dorien? 15 years - yes, really! - after they flew away, the Birds fit back into their old roles like snug slippers. Fortunes have been mixed for the ladies in the intervening time, with Dorien conjuring up the most mind-boggling reinvention. As unchallenging but somehow comforting as it ever was.

10. PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster - 9pm, BBC2

If you can get past the heavyweight nature of the topic, this is a gripping tale of what can go wrong when you have wartime armada making its war through fairly chilly waters, to Stalin to help in the fight against Hitler. It's ripe for a Robert Harris dramatisation, in the mean time we get survivors' accounts, that almost (ALMOST) leave even presenter Jeremy Clarkson speechless.


11. James May's Toy Stories: The Motorcycle Diary - 9pm, BBC2

While Clarkson's out in the Arctic, James May is a little nearer to home, building a motorbike out of Meccano. As you do. With bosom pal Oz Clarke to provide morale, support and wine knowledge as the pair take the resulting chariot to the Isle of Man's TT course. An uplifting tale of pointless challenge, realistic setbacks and humour.

12. Celebrity Big Brother - Live Launch - 9pm, Channel 5

Looks like Christmas really is over for another year. And if this lot of guess-whos haven't had enough over the festive season of being cooped up in close proximity with a bunch of people they hardly know, well... there's always this version of televisual foie gras to keep them busy.