Imagine working for 24 hours on a ship in choppy waters, with nowhere to escape to. That’s the challenge facing Ben Fogle in his latest series. He’ll be setting sail on three very different boats.
“I want to find out just what draws these men back to the sea, day after day, each time putting their lives on the line.”
Ben’s journey begins on the rugged north east coast of Scotland, a place where fisherman have spent centuries departing in search of their livelihood.
Fogle drives there in January, so it’s clear he’s not going to have an easy ride weatherwise.
For a man who’s rowed the Atlantic and crossed the Arabian desert, going fishing should be a piece of cake... shouldn’t it?
Well, not quite. He’s about to sample one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, one that has claimed the lives of more than 250 British fisherman over the past 15 years.
In the movie How To Train Your Dragon, millions were moved when the heroic Hiccup created a new tail tip for his pet beast, Toothless.
Of course in the real world, there are plenty of animals whose lives have been affected by accidents or illness, with often debilitating repercussions.
However, as long as there is enough cash, ingenuity and patient folks around, there are solutions to many a disabled creature’s plight.
In this week’s show, Clare Balding is off to Japan where she meets vet and inventor Dr Keiichi Ueda. He has spent the last dozen years attempting to improve the life of a dolphin with very little tail. The results make for some of the most touching viewing of the week.
Meanwhile, Steve Leonard is in the rainforest of Laos where vets attempt ground-breaking keyhole brain surgery on an endangered moon bear. And in Florida he meets Martha, an alligator with a chronically blocked gut.
Ray Winstone has made a career out of playing mentally unhinged hardmen in films such as The Departed. Now we get a rare chance to see his softer side when he delves into his past with this Who Do You Think You Are?-style show.
It’s the first of two programmes in which famous faces discover how their ancestors coped in Victorian asylums.
Ray pays a visit to Colney Hatch Asylum in north London, where his great-great grandmother’s first husband was committed in 1875.
There’s also a chance to see Al Murray, better known as jovial licensee the Pub Landlord. He follows in the footsteps of Vanity Fair author William Makepeace Thackeray.
Al discovers the measures his relative took to save his suicidal wife from the horrors of institutionalisation.
And actress and singer Claire Sweeney gives us an insight into how senile dementia and old-age mental health was treated in the 19th century.
In July 2013, after the success of their first series, actor Terry Mynott and Matt Morgan – writer and creator of The Mimic – got together to plan series two.
“It was a lot more work on the impersonations this year,” explains Terry. “Sometimes you try some, and you just can’t do them, and you have to abandon them. And others, that you thought you couldn’t do, you end up being able to do.”
It’s not just good impressions that made the show, as star and showrunner wanted some bad ones in there too.
“We wanted him to be fallible,” explains Terry. “We never wanted him to be slick. So there are always remnants of me in there – that’s the way Matt and I work.”
In this series finale, Harriet and Martin are due to tie the knot. However, as Martin has backed out of the circumcision required by Harriet’s family, it now falls on him to finance the nuptials.
Tom Cruise is IMF agent Ethan Hunt in this blockbusting sequel to the smash-hit 1996 movie, itself based on the classic 1960s TV series.
His mission, should he choose to accept it, requires him to retrieve and destroy the supply of a genetically created disease called Chimera before it falls into the hands of a gang of international terrorists intent on infecting the world.
There are spectacular action scenes galore, which don’t disappoint in the capable hands of special effects maestro and director John Woo, as the hero engages in a desperate race against time to save not only the world, but also his new love from a potentially gruesome fate.
Anthony Hopkins overcomes a rather tricky prospect himself, stealing the show from the high-profile cast around him with a brief cameo performance.
Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandie Newton, Anthony Hopkins
A student finds the journals he kept during his troubled childhood and discovers that by reading them, he has the ability to go back in time.
He hopes by doing this he will be able to change traumatic events and keep the promise he made to his childhood sweetheart, but unfortunately his attempts to tamper with the past only make the present even worse.
The grim subject matter means this movie isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it is an intriguing sci-fi thriller which puts a new spin on the old idea of time-travellers interfering with fate.
Ashton Kutcher proves he can do more than play laid-back charmers in the lead role, and there’s a very strong supporting cast.
It does occasionally veer towards the melodramatic or slightly silly, but the story should keep you hooked regardless.
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, William Lee Scott, Melora Walters, Elden Henson, Callum Keith Rennie, Lorena Gale