It's a big week for Sir Lenny Henry!
This week's best telly includes the return of Sir David Attenborough with Planet Earth III, Zoe Ball fronts new talent show Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream and Romesh Ranganathan returns with the 18th series of A League of Their Own.
Plus, it's a big week for Sir Lenny Henry with the launch of Three Little Birds, a new six-part ITV1 drama inspired by his mother’s journey to Britain in the late 1950s and after nearly 50 years in the spotlight, colleagues, friends and family members celebrate his talents in a one-off retrospective, whilst the comedy legend himself looks back at his career highlight.
Here are 5 TV shows you can't miss this week...
1. Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream
Sunday 22nd October at 6pm on ITV1
Zoe Ball hosts, Mamma Mia! I Have A Dream, a new theatrical competition on ITV1 searching to find two future musical theatre stars to play the integral roles of Sophie and Sky in hit feel-good musical Mamma Mia!
Set within the beautiful backdrop of the idyllic Greek islands, viewers will have front-row seats as the contestants will be judged and mentored by guest industry stars through unique workshops, masterclasses and performances, as they aim to cast these highly sought-after roles.
The competition will culminate in a live and dazzling grand finale broadcast from a theatre in London’s West End, where two winners will take it all and win the roles of Sophie and Sky in Mamma Mia! and perform in the 25th-anniversary production at the Novello Theatre. This will be a unique opportunity as they’ll be starring in one of the world’s most successful smash-hit musicals as it turns 25 on the 6th April 2024.
The hopefuls will be judged by comedian and TV personality Alan Carr, singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, Olivier Award-winner Amber Riley, and Samantha Barks, a star of Frozen in London’s West End. Each will bring their own unique blend of expertise, from comedic interpretation to providing an invaluable insight into the skills required to perform to a West End theatre audience.
1/8 Continues weekly
2. Planet Earth III
Sunday 22nd October at 6.15pm on BBC One
Sir David Attenborough returns to BBC One this week to present Planet Earth III, which follows some of the world’s most amazing species, telling extraordinary stories that are dramatic, thrilling, funny and sometimes heartbreaking, but always full of hope.
Filmed over the course of nearly five years, the new series uses pioneering filmmaking technology to reveal the greatest wonders of life on earth. Lightweight drones, high-speed cameras and remotely operated deep-sea submersibles transport viewers to spectacular unseen landscapes, from remote jungle to scorching deserts, and from the darkest caves to the depths of the ocean.
In the first episode, Sir David Attenborough looks at the world’s coasts. Dangerous frontiers are ruled by powerful forces, where animals battle to survive amidst constant change.
1/8 Continues weekly
3. Three Little Birds
Sunday 22nd October at 8pm on ITV1
Inspired by Sir Lenny Henry’s mother’s journey to Britain in the late 1950s, Three Little Birds promises to be a life-affirming six-part drama series exploring untold stories of sisterhood, love, friendship, and the joys, laughter and struggles of making a new life in the so-called mother-country.
It follows, Leah Whittaker, played by Rochelle Neil, who tussles with her conscience about what she has left behind in Jamaica. Running out on her abusive husband, Leah packs her three children off to live with her mother whilst she travels to Britain determined to make a new life for herself and to bring her children over once she has settled there.
Leah travels to England with her younger starstruck, glamourous sister Chantrelle, played by Saffron Coomber. The two chaperone their pious and Christian friend Hosanna, played by Yazmin Belo, who they have chosen as a potential bride for their brother Aston.
Leah is a pioneer who wants to build a better future for her kids but every step of her journey is dogged by guilt, fear and fresh challenges in the hostile mother country. Spurred on by her determination to be reunited with her children, it is her journey of building a new home for all of them that’s truly transformative for Leah. In her new community in the West Midlands, Leah finds friendship, love, joy and the woman she was always destined to become.
Chantrelle dreams of stardom, and her job as a live-in nanny to a respectable British family living close to the famous film studios in Borehamwood, is just the ticket to fame that she craves. As the scales fall from her eyes, Chantrelle discovers the devastating truth about this ‘respectable’ family and that the short-cut route to stardom is a million miles away from her reality.
Hosanna arrives in Britain full of high expectations for her potential husband but both of them are concealing secrets about their previous lives that threaten to derail any future they might have together.
As each of the three women begin to find their feet they must navigate unexpected and sometimes shocking challenges. Will they hit rock bottom with a resounding thud, or will they finally fly?
1/6 Continues weekly
4. A League of Their Own
Wednesday 25th October at 9pm on Sky Max
A League of Their Own returns this week for its 18th series with Lioness legend Jill Scott joining the show as the blue team's new captain alongside returning panellist Micah Richards whilst comedian Mo Gilligan joins the red team as a regular panellist alongside returning captain Jamie Redknapp.
Returning to take on the managing role of host is comedian and presenter, Romesh Ranganathan and together, the gang will take on more challenges and more wild stunts while dishing out cup-lifting comedy with some of the best names from the worlds of TV and sport.
Joining the ALOTO gang this week will be former Real Madrid and Wales legend Gareth Bale and comedian Katherine Ryan. They'll be 'glowing up' football managers lain Dowie and lan Holloway, before revealing their new looks on the ALOTO catwalk. Gareth Bale's shooting accuracy will be put to the test in a transfer market-themed shooting game.
1/8 Continues weekly
5. Lenny Henry: One Of A Kind
Thursday 26th October at 9pm on ITV1
Trailblazer Sir Lenny Henry has spent nearly 50 years in the spotlight, but what do colleagues, friends and family members make of the entertainer’s many talents? In this new candid and affectionate retrospective, the comedy legend looks back at his career highlights and takes viewers on a journey from the Midlands to Middle Earth.
Famous faces including David Tennant, Ben Elton, Alesha Dixon, Richard Curtis, Sir Trevor McDonald and Mo Gilligan are among those offering their own insights on why Lenny remains such a unique figure in the world of entertainment – and Hollywood superstar Whoopi Goldberg champions the man she declares “a real-life superhero”.
From custard pies to Comic Relief and from Broadchurch to the Bard, this is a funny, fascinating, and ultimately inspiring portrait of a true national treasure.