After a quiet summer, television is bursting at the seams this week with one of the busiest weeks for new telly in ages with brilliant new drama, great returning comedy, obsession-worthy reality TV, two legends fishing and a look back at the career of one of our finest broadcasters.
Here are 10 TV shows you can't miss this week...
1. Parkinson at 50
Saturday 28th August at 8.30pm on BBC One
On Saturday night, Sir Michael Parkinson will look back over his 50 years as a broadcaster, revealing some tricks of the interview trade and remembering some of his favourite encounters.
For the first time ever, Sir Michael Parkinson has been able to look back over the archive of his interviews with some of the most culturally influential people of the late 20th Century and curate this special retrospective of the show that for many defined their Saturday night viewing.
On 16 June 1971, Michael Parkinson walked down those famous stairs for the first time and introduced the first-ever Parkinson show. Seen as a temporary ten-week filler programme, it went on to record over 650 episodes featuring interviews with over 2,000 guests.
This celebration will tell the full story of the humble beginnings of the show and how it rose to become an award-winning Saturday night staple and how Michael left Fleet Street and stumbled into television at Granada, where he made his first attempt at celebrity interviewing in an encounter with Mick Jagger.
Poached by the BBC, he then found himself hosting the show that would make his name, and he recounts how the success of the show was secured by convincing Orson Welles to appear, as well as how the first series was wiped, losing interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono amongst others. It was a time when the likes of Jimmy Cagney, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman could be interviewed in-depth for the first time, though the show developed into something more than just a celebrity gabfest.
Michael reveals some tricks of the interview trade and remembers some of his favourite moments, including his encounters with Muhammad Ali and Billy Connolly, as well as some less successful meetings with Meg Ryan and Helen Mirren. He also explains his decision to leave the interview game in 2008.
Straight after over on BBC Two, there'll be another chance to watch an episode of Parkinson from 1998 featuring Billy Connolly and David Attenborough. That will be followed by highlights of Michael's interviews before the night of celebrating Parkinson ends with another showing of Parkinson Meets Muhammad Ali where the presenter revisits his four interviews with the former world heavyweight boxing champion.
2. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing
Sunday 29th August at 8pm on BBC Two
Who would have ever thought that Bob Mortimer and Paul Whithouse, two comedy legends in their early sixties, fishing - would be the most enjoyable, heart-warming and comforting show on television, yet that's exactly what Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is and I'm so glad it's back for a fourth series - sticking to the Sunday night slot that worked so well for series three.
With no format to stick to and no apparent interference by producer, Gone Fishing really is just two old mates having a chat whilst fishing. And thankfully we've been allowed to watch.
The series begins with Paul and Bob taking a trip to their most dazzling and extraordinary destination to date, North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Completely unlike anywhere they have fished before, this small, remote but beautiful island has an intricate network of tidal pools and sea lochs, making it near enough equal parts land and water and therefore the perfect place to fish for sea trout.
1/6 Continues weekly
Sunday 29th and Monday 30th August at 9pm on BBC One
From the same producers as Line Of Duty, The Pembrokeshire Murders, Save Me, and Bodyguard, World Productions, comes BBC One's new Sunday night drama Vigil, starring Suranne Jones, Martin Compston, Rose Leslie, Paterson Joseph, Anjli Mohindra Lolita Chakrabarti, Connor Swindells, Adam James, Gary Lewis, Shaun Evans and more!
When a crew member is found dead onboard the Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil, police in Scotland are called in to investigate. The catch? The UK’s nuclear deterrent must remain unbroken, so the submarine stays on patrol and Detective Chief Inspector Amy Silva must go aboard to begin an investigation.
Although the death was written off as an accidental overdose, Amy suspects foul play. But when the crew close ranks in the face of Amy’s questioning, a new threat overshadows her inquiry.
1-2/6 Continues weeklyNight
4. Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins
Sunday 29th August at 9pm on Channel 4
As Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns to Channel 4 for its third series, as twelve well-known faces who think they have what it takes to pass SAS Selection will abandon their glamourous lifestyles and head into the wilds of the Scottish Hebrides in the remote island of Raasay, on one of the toughest selection courses yet.
The new celebrity recruits are; TV presenters Ulrika Jonsson, Saira Khan and Ore Oduba, TV personalities Kerry Katona, Vicky Pattison and Jake Quickenden, singer and actress Alexandra Burke; Olympic Gold medallist James Cracknell; former Premiership Footballer Kieron Dyer, Paralympic Athlete Aled Davies, Reality TV star and musician Wes Nelson and BMX and track world champion, Shanaze Reade.
Putting them through this condensed SAS selection course is the elite team of ex-special forces soldiers; Chief Instructor, Ant Middleton and his team of Directing Staff (DS), Foxy, Billy, Melvyn and Staz. The DS don’t care how famous the recruits are, how many social media followers they have or what they have done before this. As soon as they enter the selection process, their celebrity status and luxuries will be stripped away.
Over eight days, the twelve celebrities will be put through a series of gruelling tasks and interrogations that will test them both physically and mentally. Each will confront surprising truths about themselves, to discover their true self. Not everyone will have what it takes to make it to the end of this unique version of SAS selection.
1/6 Continues weekly
Monday 30th August at 9pm on ITV
Sharlene Whyte, Steve Coogan and Hugh Quarshie star in Stephen, the three-part sequel to ITV's groundbreaking drama, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence from 1999, which portrays events from 2006, thirteen years after Stephen’s death on the evening of 22 April 1993 in a racially motivated attack whilst waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham.
Even though Doreen and Neville Lawrence, played by Sharlene Whyte and Hugh Quarshie, knew the identity of their son’s killers, the original investigation had failed to convict those responsible, and their extraordinary campaign for justice led to a public inquiry which branded Metropolitan Police institutionally racist and brought about sweeping changes in the law and police practices and transformed thinking and understanding of racial inequality in the UK.
Yet six years on from the Inquiry no progress had been made into the case and Stephen tells the story of the ongoing struggle by Doreen and Neville Lawrence to achieve justice and how a detective, DCI Clive Driscoll, played by Steve Coogan, working closely with the Lawrences, puts together an investigation that finally, more than 18 years after his death, secures the convictions of two of the gang who committed the murder of Stephen.
1/3 Continues weekly
6. Married at First Sight UK
Monday 30th August to Thursday 2nd September at 9pm on E4
Taking inspiration from the hugely successful Australian version, Married at First Sight UK is set to be a bigger and more dramatic take on the format, following a fresh batch of singles as they search for love and a happy-ever-after with complete strangers. The series will follow 8 couples, across 21 episodes, as they meet for the very first time at the alter!
Following the Australian format, rather than legal marriages, the couples will make a lifelong commitment to one another at a glamorous ceremony, overseen by a wedding celebrant, that includes guests, bridal gowns, dancing, speeches and cake.
After the ceremony and celebrations are over, true love is well and truly put to the test, as they embark on a luxurious honeymoon, before moving in with each other and their fellow couples.
Relationships will be put under the microscope, by fellow brides and grooms at weekly dinner parties, as well as by the experts at recurring commitment ceremonies where couples choose whether they want to stay in or leave the process. All this and more will build to a dramatic series finale; glossy, high-stakes vow renewals, in which each couple must decide if they will recommit to their partner or go their separate ways.
No-nonsense Married at First Sight Australia expert Mel Schilling and Sex and Relationship Therapist, Charlene Douglas will be joining returning star Paul C. Brunson for this brand-new series. Mel and Paul will be tasked with matching a group of singles hoping to find love when they meet for the first time at the altar, whilst Charlene works with the couples as they navigate their new relationships and get to know their partners on a more intimate level.
And after Thursday night's show, AJ Adudu will host the first of five weekly companion shows, Married at First Sight: Afters.
It will take a peek behind the altar for behind the scenes gossip, interviews and a sofa packed with famous faces and fans of the series, who’ll be revealing their thoughts on the weeks’ drama.
Meet the brides and grooms here.
1-4/21 Continues weekly, Sunday to Thursday
7. Back to Life
Tuesday 31st August on BBC Three / at 10.35pm on BBC One
Back to Life, written by and starring Daisy Haggard, returns to BBC Three for a second series as Haggard returns as Miri Matterson, who in the first series returns to her seaside family home, having spent 18 years in prison for a crime committed during her formative years.
Miri, now a determined yet naïve adult, attempts to put the past behind her in order to have a normal life and series two picks up three weeks after we last saw her, and six weeks after leaving prison,
Optimistic about her future, Miri has got a trial shift at the supermarket thanks to her probabtion officer, Janice, and she has been spending more time together with Billy. One person she's still not talking to is her mother, Caroline, following the revelation that she was having an affair with Miri’s ex-boyfriend Dom.
However Miri is going to need a lot of shifts at the supermarket before she can afford to move out. She’s also avoiding her best friend Mandy, after learning that Mandy’s secret affair with Lara’s father, John Boback, led to Lara’s death all those years ago.
And things are about to get a whole lot worse with the arrival in Hythe of Lara’s mother, Norah. Still grieving her daughter, it’s clear her presence will ensure Miri cannot escape her past.
1-6/6 All episodes available at launch
8. Only Murders in the Building
Tuesday 31st August on Star on Disney+
Only Murders in the Building, a new comedic murder-mystery series for the ages, from the minds of Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman launches this week on Star on Disney+, following three strangers - played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez - who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one.
When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth.
As they record a podcast of their own to document the case, the three unravel the complex secrets of the building which stretch back years. Perhaps even more explosive are the lies they tell one another.
Soon, the endangered trio comes to realize a killer might be living amongst them as they race to decipher the mounting clues before it’s too late.
1-3/10 Continues weekly
9. Code 404
Wednesday 1st September at 10pm and 10.30pm on Sky Comedy
Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays are back as crime-fighting duo of the future, DI Carver and his AI-driven partner DI Major in the second series of Code 404, now on Sky Comedy following the closure of Sky One.
Having cracked The Juggler case with his long-suffering partner, the resurrected DI Major has finally reached his potential as the top cop in the SIU. But it came at a price. At last realising that his best friend had shacked up with his wife Kelly, played by Anna Maxwell Martin, while he was “away” (and a bit before), their partnership is over, and the pair go their own ways.
But when a 20-year old cold case is reopened, the pair find themselves back together and thrown into the action. With an impending divorce, the return of his long-time absentee dad, and danger around every corner, the pressure seems to be getting to Major and he starts exhibiting strange behavioural glitches.
However, much to Carver’s concern, the problems are more serious than a typical reboot can solve, and our cyborg hero may be looking at terminal failure.
1-2/6 Continues weekly. All episodes available at launch
10. Late Night Mash
Thursday 2nd September at 10pm on Dave
When BBC Two cancelled The Mash Report in 2020, there were cries on social media for another channel to pick up the popular format... and now Dave have answered those calls and are continuing the show under the title Late Nigh Mash and with Nish Kumar back at the helm.
Recorded the night before broadcast, Nish will be joined by Rachel Parris and Ellie Taylor as they deliver topical insights and fake news reports from the dystopian parallel universe we affectionately call “modern Britain”.
News correspondents, including Geoff Norcott, Catherine Bohart, Fin Taylor, Michael Spicer, Steve N Allen and Ahir Shah, will front acerbic sketches and reports about all the things happening in the world that probably shouldn’t, as well as all the things that aren’t happening that probably should.
1/8 Continues weekly