This week’s television picks:
Great Canal Journeys, Sunday 8th November, 8.00pm-9.00pm, Channel 4
Over the years, Timothy West and Prunella Scales have taken us on many glorious canal and river journeys around the world. Now, they’re passing on the tiller to two brand-new boaters – actor Sheila Hancock and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth – who are celebrating 40 years of friendship by making new memories together and learning new skills.
Sheila finds she’s a natural helmswoman, while Gyles is, well, a natural passenger. But together they learn, laugh, grow – and fall in love with life at 4mph.
In this first part of a two-part tour exploring London’s waterways, Sheila and Gyles learn the ropes with Tim, and set out by themselves along the upper reaches of the River Thames. It’s the same river that roars past their homes in London, but just 50 miles upstream it’s an Arcadian paradise of unspoiled nature, royal retreats and river regattas.
They make new friends along the way: an inventor who’s building steampunk watercraft in his riverside workshop, and paddle-boarders who are recycling river rubbish into boards. At Henley, Sheila joins in a training session with Britain’s future Olympic female rowers, and at Royal Windsor, they hold an onboard concert of Handel’s Water Music, which was composed to be played on the river back in 1717.
I’m A Celebrity…A Jungle Story, Sunday 8th November, 8.10pm-10.10pm, ITV
Ant & Dec take a trip down memory lane to relive some of their favourite moments from 19 series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, while a host of former campmates talk exclusively about their time in the jungle.
And the tables are finally turned on Ant & Dec as they take on not one but three terrifying Bushtucker Trials.
Summer on the Farm: An Extraordinary Year, Tuesday 10th November, 8.00pm-9.00pm, ITV
This summer, Alan Titchmarsh, Angellica Bell and the Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen dive inside British farms during the critical weeks of peak harvest, to follow the fascinating story of how some of our best loved fruit and vegetables make their way to our supermarket shelves.
Alan, Angellica and Amanda discover how the journey of one piece of fruit or veg to our kitchens involves an extraordinary chain of people, machines and processes. Harvest is a labour of love and a huge endeavour at the best of times, but this summer it is particularly challenging – with a reduced workforce, fluctuating consumer demand and extreme weather in the mix.
Filmed during a remarkable summer, Alan, Angellica and Amanda follow the stories of six individual fruits and vegetables to discover the intricate processes, amazing technology, ability to adapt and attention to detail of British farmers and their teams as they feed the country – ensuring that fresh produce continues to reach us in perfect condition, whatever the obstacles. Along the way light is shone on an industry employing four million people that impacts us all every day – particularly during a year when accessing fresh produce has been more important than ever.
Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country, Wednesday 11th November, 8.00pm-9.00pm, Channel 4
Property expert Sarah Beeny, her husband Graham and their four boys have quit their lives in London to start anew in the country. They’ve bought a semi-derelict former dairy farm in Somerset with 220 acres of land where they’re going to immerse themselves in everything rural life has to offer.
They also plan to build the house of their dreams – a modern stately home – in one of the fields.
In this first episode, the family start to adapt to their new life and draw up plans for their ambitious modern stately home, while Sarah hopes that she won’t miss the buzz of urban life.
The family also return to Rise Hall – a huge old stately home that they renovated – and reveal how, this time, their new home’s running costs and carbon emissions will be as low as possible. B
Back in Somerset, Sarah and Graham meet the planning officer and then cross their fingers. Graham starts to dig a pond, and the whole family help out with lambing season.
Saving Britain’s Pubs with Tom Kerridge, Thursday 12th November, 8.00pm-9.00pm, BBC Two
Since 2000, Britain has been losing its much-loved boozers at a rate of around 12 a week. Tom Kerridge sets out on a mission to revive struggling pubs in a bid to reverse the trend.
His journey begins at The White Hart in Chilsworthy, Cornwall. This 300 year-old free house is the only pub in the village. Publicans Amy and Ian are scraping a living from it – a familiar story for landlords of rural pubs across Britain. Tom suggests renovation work to capitalise on the stunning views across the Tamar Valley. It would involve costly and disruptive building work, but the couple decide to proceed with the plan.
The tenant landlords of The Prince Albert in Stroud are exceptional hosts and the pub is regularly full, so Tom is surprised to hear they are struggling. With no food on sale, profit must come from the sale of beer, so Tom urges them to raise their beer prices for a trial period. However the price they buy their beer is already higher than usual because they are subject to a ‘beer tie’ – a centuries-old system under which tenant landlords must buy beer from the company which owns the building. If prices are raised, the Prince Albert could become the most expensive pub in Stroud.
Tom heads to the South London neighbourhood of Nunhead to meet Lana, leaseholder at The Golden Anchor. When Lana first worked here in the 1980s it was a vibrant meeting place for the Caribbean community. The pub hasn’t changed much since then, but customers have dwindled. Tom encourages Lana to offer a new selection of beers and to stage an ‘open house’ event to pull in more punters. To survive, Tom concludes that The Golden Anchor must modernise without losing the warm Caribbean hospitality it’s known for.