Alan Dee’s pick of next week’s TV


Strictly Come Dancing 
(BBC One, 6.30pm)

Maybe it’s because wearing sparkly outfits and learning to foxtrot sounds a bit more appealing than eating bugs in the Australian jungle or spending two weeks cooped up in a house with cameras watching you 24 hours a day, but Strictly Come Dancing usually manages to attract a better class of celebrity than the average reality show.

So, you should recognise at least half of the famous faces being introduced by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly at this red-carpet event to launch the new series.

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Darcey Bussell says: “Strictly combines quality dance and great entertainment, which is such a positive for everybody involved. I am very excited and really looking forward to being part of the Strictly team.”


Downton Abbey (ITV1, 9pm)

The world-conquering period drama returns for a new run, and it’s now 1920, Sybil is pregnant with her first child and Mary is about to marry Matthew.

Bates remains in jail after being wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder, and butler Carson is struggling to find the ‘right’ kind of person to join the staff – it seems that the war has changed everything and people are no longer happy to spend their lives waiting on wealthy aristocrats.


New Tricks (BBC One, 9pm)

The BBC’s long-running drama, the crime-fighting equivalent of Last of the Summer Wine, is now in its ninth season. Tonight Denis Lawson joins the team to reinvestigate one of his original cases - the disappearance of a teenage girl who went missing in Scotland in 2003.


Derren Brown: Svengali (Channel 4, 9pm)

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The eponymous entertainer ramps the wow factor up to 11 as he works his magic on punters at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.

He’ll be attempting to extract secret confessions from the audience, playing unforgettable mind games and revealing the wonder of Svengali – an automaton allegedly created in the image of its owner’s dead son.

Was it used in early Victorian magic shows, or is it another of Brown’s eerie games?


Dallas (Five, 9pm)

It can’t have escaped your attention that this everyday story of oil-exploiting folk has been resurrected, with some of the original cast members still chewing the scenery almost 35 years on.

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This week, after JR calmly scuppers John Ross’s plan to double-cross him, he decides to move back to Southfork. However, the Ewings are faced with more problems when Cliff resurfaces and tries to reconnect with his nephew Christopher.


The Choir: Sing While You Work (BBC Two, 9pm)

Last year, The Choir: Military Wives, was a massive hit. Now Gareth Malone aims to get the staff in some of Britain’s busiest workplaces to sing while they carry out their daily chores. First up, are the doctors, nurses and porters of Lewisham NHS Trust, in south-east London.

Malone reckons a passion for singing is the key ingredient to any successful choir: “As an audience member you want to know that people love getting together to sing. In the best choirs they sing music that suits their level.”


Baggage (Channel 4, 8pm)

Gok Wan isn’t content with conquering the nation’s fashion needs, or even teaching us a thing or two about Chinese cooking. He fancies having a good go at sorting out our love lives too.

Baggage is a brand new dating show in which unlucky-in-love contestants face the task of choosing and rejecting potential love interests based on their emotional baggage.

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