Sunday evening viewing, especially during the flat holiday season, has for once been worth watching of late. And for very different reasons.
On BBC1 it’s the return of ‘The Village’ while over on ITV1 there’s been a chance to relive the highs and lows of TV quiz shows in ‘Come On Down! The Game Show Story.’
‘The Village’ might be a little dour, but it does have plenty going for it.
There’s the dream team pairing of John Simm and Maxine Peake as farmer John Middleton and his long-suffering wife, Grace, plus the all-year-round attraction of Hayfield near Glossop and other Peak District venues.
This second series takes the grind of rural life into the post-war era as many folk struggle to make a living, something that doesn’t seem to bother those cads at the ‘big house’ (Juliet Stevenson and Julian Sands in top form).
They seem to live in a different world, something that is mirrored by TV game show contestants.
Bradley Walsh has great fun narrating the four-part series ‘Come On Down!’ which looks at home-grown quiz and game shows, as well as American and European imports, that TV audiences have loved or loathed over the years.
The former include such all-time favourites as ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Blankety Blank’ and ‘The Generation Game’ while the schedules are littered with one-hit wonders long forgotten.
That won’t include such present favourites as ‘Pointless’, ‘Pressure Pad’ and ‘The Link,’ all of which are making return, but will that will be the future for a whole new raft of BBC shows?
The yet-to-be-seen line-up sports:
Richard Osman (of ‘Pointless’ fame) presenting ‘Two Tribes,’ a fast-paced quiz where what contestants have in common is just as important as their general knowledge.
Actor and comedian Shane Richie firing questions to a team of three contestants fighting to maintain a £20,000 wall of cash in ‘Decimate.’
‘Waterloo Road’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’’s Mark Benton putting contestants’ dexterity and general knowledge to the test in ‘The Edge.’
If drama, light or heavy, is more to your liking there’s plenty to watch with the 11th series of ‘New Tricks’ with Tamzin Outhwaite joining the UCOS boys now underway, ahead of the return of new series of afternoon regulars ‘Father Brown’, ‘Doctors’ and ‘WPC 56.’
Also heading back is the thriller ‘The Fall’ and the romcom ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ while there’s plenty of new fare for the autumn evenings ranging from ‘Lost in France’ about a young boy who disappears on a family holiday during the 2006 World Cup to ‘The Great Fire’ which recreates the blaze that started in London’s Pudding Lane in 1666.
Firemen are also out in force when things get a little too hot in the bedroom in the latest chapter of “upstairs, downstairs” life of ‘Downton Abbey’ back next month, while down in Birmingham the police have their work cut out as the Shelby gang try to extend their crime empire in ‘Peaky Blinders.’