GAME SHOW FUN: Catchphrase Christmas Special (ITV, 7pm)
There was a time we would have thought Stephen Mulhern was a very brave man indeed – mad, but brave.
Last April, he stepped in to the presenting slot one of the biggest game shows of the nineties, Catchphrase, and, given that the legendary presenter Roy Walker had such big shoes to fill, fans worried the young presenter might be setting himself up for a fall.
But he proved us all wrong, and now he’s even been invited back for another Christmas special of the ever-popular show. Just for good measure, Stephen has roped in some familiar faces who are sure to provide plenty of laughs for the evening – Warwick Davis, Katie Price and Christopher Biggins, who will all be playing for their chosen charities.
All together now... “say what you see!”
DOCUMENTARY: One Ocean: No Limits (RTE Two, 8pm)
‘One Ocean: No Limits’ follows a young Irish novice rower through the highs and lows of rowing unassisted as part of a crew of 6 across the vast Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Barbados.
Ocean Rowing is an extreme sport and from an endurance viewpoint, this feat of crossing the Atlantic by oar is similar to running over 100 marathons, back to back.
‘One Ocean: No Limits’ is a documentary film about an extreme sports triumph – however, at its core, it is a human interest film that charts the experiences of a group of strangers forced into an extraordinary situation in an enclosed space crossing an ocean.
It is a story of human triumph against the odds. It offers access to sights that very few of us will ever get to experience and shows how determination and the desire to achieve can take one person from a dream to a reality.
SPORT: Sports Personality of the Year 2014 (BBC One, 8pm)
Christmas is just around the corner, and if you needed a reminder of that then the appearance of the BBC’s annual celebration of all things sporty should give you a heads-up.
During the programme, eight awards will be presented: Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Unsung Hero, Overseas Personality of the Year, The Helen Rollason Award and the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award. The latter is given to an outstanding competitor, aged 16 or under, selected from nominations made by Blue Peter viewers.
However, the most coveted of the lot is, of course, the Sports Personality of the Year.
Charged with getting everyone in the mood to celebrate will be the band Simple Minds, who return to their hometown to open the event.
We can’t wait to see how they get on – and how the voting goes, either.
ENTERTAINMENT: The X Factor Results (TV3, 8pm)
Oh my, how there’s been plenty to talk about during this latest series, but as The X Factor draws to a close tonight, viewers need to forget the months of headline-worthy gossip and focus entirely on the talent laid out before them.
... Of course, that’s easier said than done.
Telly bosses mustn’t be disappointed at the amount of publicity and controversy the show has conjured up this year – after all, any publicity is good publicity. Right? Who could forget the rumours that Simon begged Cheryl to return following their well-documented fall out, and those whispers that Stevi and Chloe Jasmine shared a smooch in the house?
The X Factor has got its crown back as the place to be of a weekend, and tonight, it’s all about the final acts who are now within touching distance of that record contract.
And there’s only one way to ensure your favourite is in with a chance of winning... pick up the phone and vote!
FILM: What Women Want (BBC2, 8pm)
(2000) Being able to hear women’s thoughts might sound like a dream come true, but try telling that to Mel Gibson, who is on top form in Nancy Myers’ pleasant romantic comedy.
He plays Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic advertising executive who discovers he can read women’s thoughts after he receives an electric shock. He decides to use his newly acquired skill to fight dirty when a tough-talking female ad exec beats him to a top job.
However, as he begins to plot her downfall, he soon finds himself falling head over heels in love with her.
Gibson is superb throughout this film, first as the obnoxious ladies’ man, then as a charming parent who unexpectedly gets in touch with his feminine side.
The transformation is hilarious to watch, but the scene in which his daughter walks in on him trying an array of feminine products is easily the best bit of the film and will make you laugh out loud.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Lauren Holly, Mark Feuerstein, Ashley Johnson
IMPORTED DRAMA: Homeland (Channel 4, 9pm)
Blimey, Homeland’s getting good.
We are racing towards the end of this fourth series now so the leading lights behind it are unlikely to slow the pace down any _ thank goodness. The previous episode provided quite the edge-of-seat cliffhanger as, at one point it seemed.
We’ll have to tune into tonight to see if all is well, but even if it is, we’re guessing Carrie and Saul aren’t out of the woods yet.
Smooth, happy endings don’t often make for the kind of ratings figures Homeland is enjoying at the moment, after all.
One thing is for certain; make sure you’re settled with a nice warm drink and a packet of biscuits for tonight’s episode, which follows the far-reaching consequences of the security breach at the embassy.
DOCUMENTARY: Sky at Night: Pillars of Creation (BBC4, 10pm)
Stick with the Beeb this week, and there’s plenty fodder with which to brush up on your general knowledge.
Professor of Astrophysics Chris Lintott and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock took over this astrology series when original presenter Patrick Moore died in 2012. He’d been fronting the show since its first airing in 1957, so it’d be no surprise if this new pairing felt the pressure.
However, they return once more tonight, with a look at nebulae – the vast clouds of dust and gasses, which they explain are much more than just pretty objects. They play a key role in the birth and death of the stars, and thus in our own origins.
Furthermore, their creation is driven by a kind of chemistry that the textbooks insist shouldn’t be happening.
And if you fancy using your brain cells that little bit more, be sure to tune into Richard Hammond’s Wild Weather tomorrow night.
FILM: Mrs Henderson Presents (BBC2, 10.30pm)
(2005) A recently widowed wealthy woman decides to invest her time and vast fortune to help restore a dilapidated London theatre to its former glory.
The widow also hires a respected director to bring an original production to its stage. However, it is not long before their competition proves too much and they have to go to new (not to mention lewd) lengths to fill seats.
The acting is quite simply sublime. Judi Dench delivers every one-liner with a winning twinkle, a cast-against-type Hoskins is surprisingly effective and Pop Idol winner Will Young gives an impressive performance in his film debut.
Starring: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Guest, Thelma Barlow, Will Young
FILM: Insidious (Channel 4, 10pm)
(2010) A family move into a new house and have barely unpacked when their son goes exploring in the attic – and falls into a coma.
The doctors are unable to explain his condition, but a series of strange events and bumps in the night leave his parents wondering if the supernatural may be to blame.
It seems the only way to get their son back is to call in someone who can get rid of the ghosts...
Insidious initially holds us in a vice-like grip, following the Paranormal Activity template (with a sprinkling of Poltergeist) by escalating the threat to the family from creaking doors and strange shadows to full-blown physical violence.
If this supernatural horror had ended after the first hour, it would be the creepiest thriller of the last few years.
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey