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WHAT TO WATCH 11-17 December

This week’s best telly includes the last in the series of The A Word plus two huge telly finals - Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice!


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


1.  Bancroft

Monday 11th - Thursday 14th December at 9pm on ITV

Replacing a TV drama that has been heavily publicised last minute can’t have been a very easy decision to make. Hatton Garden, starring Timothy Spall was due to air for four consecutive nights this week but has been mysteriously replaces in the schedules with Bancroft, a drama originally meant for soon to be defunct channel ITV Encore.


With ITV Encore closing in 2018, moving Bancroft to the main channel can be seen as a promotion. But is it any good? Actually, yes it is.


Sarah Parish leads a great cast playing Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft, a cast that includes Faye Marsay, Amara Karan, Linus Roache, Art Malik and Kenneth Graham. Ruthless and courageous, Bancroft is a brilliant copper and has given her life to the police force. But when ambitious fast-tracked recruit, Katherine Stevens joins the force, Katherine takes on a cold case and unwittingly disturbs the ghosts of Bancroft’s devastating past.


In the opening episode, as Bancroft leads the charge against the violent Kamara gang, DS Katherine Stevens is given a cold murder case. In 1990, Laura Fraser was stabbed 18 times in frenzied attack at home and as Elizabeth and Katherine’s paths cross for the first time, Katherine finds that there’s more to the Fraser case than it seems. And Elizabeth has some secrets in her past which may prove difficult to hide.


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2. The A Word

Tuesday 12th December at 9pm on BBC One

Series like The A Word don’t come around very often, well-written, superbly acted and brilliantly well observed. The series which centres around seven-year-old Joe who has autism is about communication, or rather the lack of communication between the many people in Joe's family.


In the final episode, the whole family are brought together for the End Of Year Show at Joe’s old school. But can they remain the family he knows?


6/6


3. Taskmaster: Champion of Champions

Wednesday 13th December at 9pm on Dave

It’s hard to believe that Dave’s hit show Taskmaster only launched towards the end of July 2015 because already there have been five series and subsequently five champions. Which leads me nicely into the new two-part special of TaskmasterChampion of Champions.


The champions of the five previous series; Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Rob Beckett, Noel Fielding and most recently Bob Mortimer, will be put through their paces with a collection of confounding new assignments in a fight to become the ultimate Taskmaster champion.


The first episode involves getting an exercise ball into a bathtub, blowing something substantial off a table, performing a miracle and writing down words beginning with 'T’.


1/2


4. Celebrity Juice Christmas Special

Thursday 14th December at 10pm on ITV2

The latest series of Celebrity Juice ended last month, but this week it’s back for an outrageous one-off Christmas Special which sees team captains Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton going head to head in a series of hilarious games, alongside Celeb Juice regular Gino D’Acampo.


Joining the panel are actor and TV presenter John Barrowman, musician and songwriter Alex James, TV personality and actress Denise Van Outen, Kaiser Chief frontman Ricky Wilson and Loose Women host and singer Stacey Solomon.


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5. Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final

Saturday 16th December at 6:30pm on BBC One

After 13 amazing weeks of glitter, excitement and sensational dances, we now have our final four celebrities; Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee, Gemma Atkinson and Joe McFadden who will all be hoping to lift up that glitterball trophy on Saturday night.


Each couple will battle it out in the ballroom for the very last time as they perform three dances in a bid to impress the judges and the audience at home. The judges scores will be for guidance only though as the winner will be decided entirely by the viewer's votes.


Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will then reveal which celebrity and professional dancer the viewers have chosen to lift the famous Glitter Ball Trophy and be crowned the champions of Strictly Come Dancing 2017.


6. Man Like Mobeen

Sunday 17th December from 10am on BBC Three

Following a successful pilot last year, Guz Khan has been given a full (well, 4 episodes) series of Man Like Mobeen. Throughout the four episodes, you are welcomed into the life of Mobeen Deen, a 28 year-old from Small Heath in Birmingham played by Guz Khan.


All Mobeen wants to do is follow his faith, lead a good life, and make sure his younger sister fulfils her potential. But can he juggle these when his criminal past and reputation is always chasing him?


In the opening episode,  Mobeen receives a surprise visit from the armed police, who arrest his friend Eight on suspicion of supplying drugs to school children in Small Heath, based on the description of an 'Asian male in jogging bottoms'.


The series also stars Tez Ilyas and Tolu Ogunmefun and you can read my interview with Guz Khan later this week.


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7. The Apprentice Final

Sunday 17th December at 9pm on BBC One

It’s that time of year where the shows we’ve invested weeks and weeks in all come to an end. The X Factor and I’m A Celebrity are all over and on Saturday we find out this year’s Strictly Come Dancing champions which only leaves one show without a winner... The Apprentice!


After eleven weeks of firing, it’s time for Lord Sugar to do the hiring. Whilst Wednesday night will see the final five whittled down to two, Sunday night will see the final two candidates battle it out to impress Lord Sugar with their business idea. Who will he go into business with? You’ll have to watch to find out!


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