This week's top TV: 14 - 20 December

This week's top TV: 14 - 20 December

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Monday, 14th December 2015
Idris Elba stars as detective John Luther
Idris Elba in BBC One's Luther (Credit: BBC)

President Obama joins Bear Grylls in the wild


Back in Time for Christmas



The Robshaw family finds out what Christmas was like in the 1960s
(Credit: BBC / Wall to Wall / Duncan Stingemore)

The brilliant Robshaw family is back on our screens this December, having previously travelled Back in Time for Dinner, experiencing just how much British dining has changed since the 1940s.This time, they’ll discover how Christmas has evolved over the same period. In the first of two programmes, they sample festive dining from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, including unrationed ox heart and tinned peaches. Yum.

Concludes on Tuesday.







DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) is on a leave of absence on the south coast, far away from the dilapidated urban housing estates we’re used to seeing him in. In London, a gruesome serial killer is wreaking havoc on the capital, and his crimes are outsmarting the police at every step. After a visit from his old colleagues from the Met, Luther returns to London to track down the elusive killer before it’s too late.

Missed the story so far? Visit BBC iPlayer for a 12-minute journey through the first three series.



You Saw Them Here First 



Eastenders' Jake Wood comes face-to-face with his TV past
(Credit: ITV / Shiver Productions)

A twist on the ‘before they were famous’ format, Eastenders’ Jake Wood, Coronation Street’s Jane Danson and Emmerdale’s Chris Chittell get personal screening of the TV appearances they made before they hit the big time on Britain’s favourite soaps. Also featuring in the show are appearances of a young Rita Ora, a teenage Graham Norton, and The Fall’s Jamie Dornan back in his modelling days.



Very British Problems at Christmas 

Channel 4 


Former Doctor Who star David Tennant discusses festive problems
(Credit: Channel 4 / Alaska)

Being British is fraught with problems at the best of times, but the festive period really tests the nation’s mettle. Between the saccharine music and an influx of family members, the season is an etiquette minefield. David Tennant, Romesh Ranganathan and Danny Dyer are among the celebrities airing their social anxieties about the season.



Text Santa Christmas Jumper Day 



Bruce Forsyth stars in the Text Santa special of Downton Abbey
(Credit: ITV Studios)

You might have already spotted Phillip Schofield encouraging his ITV colleague to “do their bit in a Christmas knit.” Now Schofield and co unite for ITV’s annual charity appeal Text Santa, raising money for Save the Children, Macmillan Cancer Support and Make-A-Wish UK. Plenty of ITV favourites will appear with a special Text Santa twist, from a star-studded Ninja Warrior, to a rather unusual mini episode of Downton Abbey.



Strictly Come Dancing 

BBC One 


Will we see more tens from Len in the final?
(Credit: BBC / Guy Levey)

This year’s Strictly contestants have dazzled us with their sequin-studded dance moves over the last few months. Sadly this comes to an end this weekend, but not before a finale that will no doubt astound us with complex moves we can’t help but admire. Remaining celebs Jay McGuiness, Kellie Bright, Georgia May Foote and Katie Derham and their partners will repeat one their previous routines, before bringing out show dances to show us what they’re really made of.

Tune it at 9pm for the results show.



Bear Goes Wild with Barack Obama 

Channel 4 


President Obama learns some wilderness skills from Bear Grylls
(Credit: C4 / Delbert Shoopman / NBC)

Sunday sees the Christmas telly really find its ground, making it tough to choose just one programme for our pick of the day.

Starting at 6.50pm on BBC One, this year’s Sports Personality of the Year will be crowned,  followed by the final of The Apprentice. Meanwhile over on ITV, Kara Tointon stars as Maria in The Sound of Music Live (7.30pm), starring alongside Julian Ovendon as Captain Georg von Trapp and Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweiler.

However the Sunday night crown must surely go to Channel 4, where the President of the United States Barack Obama joins survival expert and RTS award-winner Bear Grylls in Alaska. They will journey across a glacial outwash and through a dense forest to the famed Exit Glacier, where the pair will witness the effects of climate change at first hand. As well as the programme featuring the stunning Alaskan wilderness, it also offers insight into Obama’s life away from the Oval Office.

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President Obama joins Bear Grylls in the wild