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WHAT TO WATCH: 6-12 November

This week’s best telly includes the return of a great drama, lots of new comedy and a Sam Smith music special.

Here are the 7 shows you have to watch this week…


1.  The A Word | Tuesday 7th November at 9pm on BBC One

This week sees the return of one of my favourite television dramas of recent times, The A Word.  Two years on, in the idyllic landscape of the Lake District, seven-year-old Joe is growing up and changing. He has started to notice he’s different from other kids.

And when he says the word ‘autistic’ out loud, seeing it as something bad, Alison and Paul know they must talk to their son. But how do they broach the subject with a child for whom language is already a struggle? And how do they respond to the news that Joe is struggling at school far more than they thought?

Also growing up is Joe’s sister, Rebecca. Now 19, she’s been travelling round Africa on a gap year and crashes back into the family home with a backpack, a tattoo and a boyfriend, James. Having met Rebecca’s family, and her kid brother, James can’t wait to get away again. But it’s clear Rebecca has other ideas.

Two years after splitting from Nicola, Eddie is the one that got away. He has a new life in Manchester, with a flat and a good job. But he can’t quite shake the old Eddie off, not least because Nicola keeps dragging him back to the Lakes. Having never told her parents that she and Eddie are divorced, Nicola is horrified when they turn up for a surprise visit.

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2. Motherland | Tuesday 7th November at 10pm on BBC Two

Last year, BBC Two piloted several comedies on BBC Two as part of the landmark sitcom season and this week, Motherland, written by Graham Linehan (Count Arthur Strong, Father Ted), Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling), Helen Linehan and Holly Walsh (Dead Boss), returns as a full six-part series.

Motherland is a comedy about navigating the trials and traumas of middle-class motherhood and in the first episode, Julia moves out of her comfort zone when she reluctantly invites the entire class to her daughter’s birthday party.

With her mum still refusing to help out she relies on Liz’s party hacks and Kevin’s entertaining skills, and anyway, she organises events for a living, so this will be a breeze.

Following the first episode, all episodes will be made available on BBC iPlayer.

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3. Sick Note | Tuesday 7th November at 10pm on Sky One

New dark comedy, Sick Note, about a lie that spirals out of control launches this week on Sky One and stars Nick Frost and Rupert Grint.

In the opening episode, loveable loser Daniel is having a rough few days: his girlfriend Becca is dumping him and kicking him out of her home, and his boss Michael is about to fire him for being a lazy employee. And then he’s diagnosed with cancer by “top” oncologist Dr Glennis. Worst week ever.

But instead of ruining Daniel’s life, the diagnosis changes it for the better: Becca takes him back, his job’s safe, people start being nice to him, even his emotionally distant parents start to take an interest. Daniel gets a new lease of life until the moment he receives an even more startling piece of news: it was a misdiagnosis, he doesn’t have a terminal illness at all.

But sharing the happy news proves trickier than you’d think with Dr Glennis begging Daniel to keep schtum about his mistake. Could Daniel really hide the truth from his nearest and dearest? As the lie begins to spiral out of control, he soon doesn’t have much of a choice

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4. Detectorists | Wednesday 8th November at 10pm on BBC Four

BBC Four comedy Detectorists returns this week with a brand new series, once again starring Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook.

In the opening episode Lance’s flat isn’t his own any more and Andy’s staying with the mother-in-law. But at least they have their old faithful permission to escape. Or do they? The dark cloud of a solar farm threatens the tranquillity.

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5. Sam Smith at the BBC | Thursday 9th November at 8pm on BBC Two

Last week it was Harry Styles and this week it’s the turn of Sam Smith for his own BBC music special.

The singer who released his second album The Thrill Of It All last week, will perform new tracks from the new album, as well as classic tracks, accompanied by his band and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He’ll also be sitting down and talking to Fearne Cotton about his career, music and his life to date.

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6. Strictly Come Dancing | Sa

If last week’s shock elimination of Aston Merrygold from the competition proved anything, it’s that no one is safe. So if you want your favourite to stay, make sure you vote!

The nine remaining couples will each take to the floor in a bid to impress the judges in the studio and the viewers at home and this weekend, the stakes are even higher as the couples are not only dancing to stay in the competition, but also for the opportunity to dance at one of the world’s most iconic dancefloors when Strictly hits the road and heads to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom next week.

Once again, Shirley Ballas, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, will give their scores before the public have the chance to cast their votes and the two couples with the lowest combined judges’ scores and viewer votes will have to face the dreaded dance-off on Sunday night’s results show.

In the results show, there will be a special music performance from singer songwriter Seal as well as a Remembrance Day performance from the Strictly professional dancers, accompanied by the RAF Spitfires Choir.


7. Murder on the Blackpool Express | Saturday 11th November at 9.30pm on Gold

Casts like this don’t come along very often, so make sure you don’t miss Gold’s new feature-length comedy Murder on the Blackpool Express starring Johnny Vegas, Sian Gibson, Griff Rhys Jones, Javone Prince, Una Stubbs, Sheila Reid, Susie Blake, Mark Heap, Kevin Eldon, Nigel Havers, Kimberley Nixon, Nina Wadia, Katy Cavanagh and Matthew Cottle.

Murder mystery writer David Van Der Clane (Griff Rhys Jones) is a household name, but things start to go horribly wrong for him when his super-fans start getting bumped off during a book tour he’s set up with coach tour operator Gemma Draper (Sian Gibson). As the selection of sleuthing misfits visit the infamous settings of David’s novels it’s soon clear that the murders they love to read about are gradually becoming all too real.

Are the deaths all just an unfortunate coincidence or is there a real life murderer in their midst? Everyone has something to hide and as tensions rise everyone becomes a suspect. With the police being wholly unhelpful the tour’s only hope of catching the killer rests in the hands of the coach driver Terry (Johnny Vegas), unless of course he’s actually to blame!

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