This week’s television picks:
Scotland’s Costal Railways with Julie Walters, Sunday 10th January, 6.15pm-7.45pm, Channel 4
In this 90-minute special, national treasure Julie Walters travels the beautiful coastal railways of Scotland and meets the people who live and work along its shoreline. With her combination of warmth, humour and naughtiness, Julie makes for a delightful travelling companion.
Julie rides the East Coast Railway to North Berwick where she meets Jane McMinn, IT consultant-turned-master mariner and lobster breeder, who takes her out to sea to the spectacular Bass Rock and the biggest gannet colony on Earth. From there Julie heads to Edinburgh, where she discovers the intriguing connections between the railway and the famous Balmoral Hotel’s Palm Court and Clock Tower.
Further on her travels, Julie rides the West Highland Railway on board the famous Jacobite steam train, which starred in the Harry Potter films, before visiting Arisaig House – home to the Special Operations Executive that trained agents in World War II.
Arriving at Mallaig, Julie gets a lesson in herring gutting and smoking, among other delicacies, before catching the ferry to the Isle of Skye where she meets one of the last ‘seanchai’ or traditional Scottish storytellers.
At Kyle of Lochalsh, she catches the Inverness-bound train to Duirinish, one of the most remote communities in the western Highlands, where she works with the Highland cattle and their wrangler, the redoubtable Morag, who takes her into the bosom of the hamlet.
Happy Birthday Mr Bean, Sunday 10th January, 8.00pm-9.00pm, ITV
This celebratory documentary looks back at the 30 years since comedy legend Mr Bean landed on our screens.
On 1st January 1990, ITV broadcast a new comedy show, one stand-alone episode called Mr Bean, starring Rowan Atkinson, who had already gained fame through the hit comedy show Blackadder. Mr Bean ingeniously demonstrates the frustrations of everyday life but with disastrous consequences. This hapless character of a child trapped in a grown man’s body had been the creation of Rowan and his friends who met at university many years before.
This documentary explores the magic behind this unlikely hero and how just 14 episodes of the live action TV show went on to become a global sensation that is still making us laugh today. There have since been two top grossing feature films, three animated series and an online phenomenon. Mr Bean has a staggering 150 million followers and has over 11 billion lifetime views.
With classic clips and interviews from key creators, including Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, we’ll hear the real story behind this iconic character. Find out how he was almost called Mr White and how a famous scene from Four Weddings and Funeral, written for Hugh Grant, was originally conceived to be a Mr Bean sketch. Rowan, in his first recorded TV interview in many years, is candid about the pressures of playing and filming this iconic character, who has gone on to make him one of the most recognisable faces in the world.
Full of laughs we relive the best and funniest clips of the show, including the iconic turkey on the head sketch and Mr Bean at the dentist.
Junior Bake Off, Monday 11th January, 5.00pm-6.00pm, Channel 4
Junior Bake Off returns! Selected from thousands of applicants, 16 talented junior bakers enter the iconic white tent and compete in the most challenging and exciting contest to date.
Host Harry Hill brings warmth and humour, as Liam Charles and a new judge – professional pastry chef Ravneet Gill – take on the tough task of finding Britain’s best junior baker.
The first heat of eight junior bakers enter the Bake Off tent for two exciting baking challenges.
Sponge baking and jelly making are put to the test in a tricky first Technical Challenge where the bakers are asked to follow Liam’s recipe for a bake every baker has eaten before – but with an unusual twist.
The bakers also make impressive fantasy cakes themed around their wildest dreams.
Expect imaginative and extraordinary bakes from the new class of 2020 bakers.
The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes: Season by Season, Monday 11th January, 9.00pm-10.00pm, More4
Filmed over a calendar year, The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes returns with a new series, following a range of remarkable characters who live and work in England’s biggest expanse of protected countryside.
This four-part series celebrates life in the Lake District and the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Parks across the four seasons, meeting real and engaging Yorkshire and Cumbrian folk.
Life can be challenging in the Dales and the Lakes, particularly during the colder months but there are brave folk out there who work hard whatever the weather, because they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
This episode looks at winter in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lakes.
In Grasmere in the Lake District, father-and-son shepherding team Peter and Robert Bland have worked Herdwick sheep all their lives. They’re heading up the fell, like they do every season, to gather their sheep. This time, the flock must be brought to the farm for pregnancy testing, to see how busy spring will be.
Not all journeys to school are the same, and in Hawes in the rural Yorkshire Dales, the local bus service goes above and beyond to ensure all pupils get to school, no matter where they live.
For mountain runners Charlie Sproson and Paddy Cave, they can’t wait for winter conditions. After a perfect storm, snow has settled on Helvellyn – the third highest mountain in England – and it’s time to get the ice axes and skis ready.
On Coniston Water, the Steam Yacht Gondola has graced the lake for generations, ferrying tourists up and down. Every winter, she receives some much-needed TLC. This time, she also requires new bespoke parts – and steam engineer Alex Sharphouse is just the person for the job.
And in Appletreewick in the Dales, pub landlord David Aynesworth has a special night up his sleeve. Along with friend Mick, he’s preparing the pub for the annual ferret racing championships.
Cornwall and Devon Walks with Julia Bradbury, Wednesday 13th January, 8.00pm-8.30pm, ITV
This new eight-part series for ITV features Julia Bradbury taking us to parts of the West Country that can only be explored on foot – from the epic wilderness of Dartmoor, to the white sands and azure seas of the Atlantic coastline, to the soaring cliffs of Land’s End.
From beautiful beaches to ancient woodlands and winding estuaries, this uplifting new series harnesses the country’s love of the outdoors and the best walks the south west has to offer.
Cornwall and Devon are home to thousands of miles of the country’s most varied terrain and walking routes, and along the way Julia meets the people who live and work in these two counties as well as sampling some of its legendary fare.
During the series, she visits Salcombe, Dartmoor, the Dart Valley, Isles of Scilly, Land’s End, Helford, The Lizard and Padstow.
In this episode, Julia walks five miles along the stunning north Cornish coast, from popular and picturesque Padstow to the surfing hotspot of Trevone Bay.
Along the way she comes across dramatic coastal landscapes featured in BBC drama Poldark, passes by some of the prettiest secret coves in the country, and gets up close to a herd of Fallow Deer in the historic Prideaux Estate.
To end her epic trek, Julia eats a special fish dish cooked on the beach by local chef, Jack Stein – the son of famous Padstow restaurateur Rick.