TV fans have cause for celebration this week

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until: 27/01/2015 - Programme Name: The Casual Vacancy - TX: n/a - Episode: Generics (No. 1) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Howard Mollison (MICHAEL GAMBON), Shirley Mollison (JULIA MCKENZIE) - (C) Bronte Film and Television Ltd 2014 - Photographer: Steffan Hill

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until: 27/01/2015 - Programme Name: The Casual Vacancy - TX: n/a - Episode: Generics (No. 1) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Howard Mollison (MICHAEL GAMBON), Shirley Mollison (JULIA MCKENZIE) - (C) Bronte Film and Television Ltd 2014 - Photographer: Steffan Hill

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There’s double cause for TV celebration over the next few days.

The first is a live episode of EastEnders (BBC1) this Friday, topping off the soap’s 30th birthday week.

This milestone seems light years away from the second series of the thriller Broadchurch (ITV1), which unravels its final clues on Monday.

While EastEnders has weathered the storms over the past three decades, the Broadchurch sequel has faced constant criticism over the past seven weeks - whether it was the judge wearing the wrong wig, Insp Hardy (David Tennant) getting his will sorted out by a passing QC or Lee Ashworth “strangling” his wife, Claire, in a scene trying to outdo Fifty Shades of Grey.

Any such steamy antics at the court of King Henry VIII are discreetly moved to the sidelines in Wolf Hall (BBC2) - which combines great historical drama with a line-up of National Trust properties that are stars in their own right - but this doesn’t appear to be the case in more recent times in Indian Summers (Channel 4).

This Sunday night treat - which goes up against politicking in the Cotswolds in an adapation of J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (BBC1) and Mr Selfridge (ITV1) - is set in 1930s India against the backdrop of the decline of the British Empire and the rise of Indian independence.

Julie Walters heads the cast of this ten-part drama playing Cynthia, the non-PC ex-pat who runs the Royal Club in Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is refuge for the ruling elite and their wives. who head to the cooler climes to escape the searing summer heat of Delhi.

However, while cocktails and curry might be on the club’s menu, there were other ways of hotting up the action where high living and affairs were an all-too-common part of the social scene in bygone Simla, which, for those planning their next holiday, was filmed thousands of miles away in the former British colony of Penang in Malaysia.

For more “hot action”, you can tune into ITV1 this Friday when survival expert Bear Grylls shepherds eight celebrities to central America to see how they cope with 12 days away from modern-day comforts in the Costa Rican rainforest, in the new programme Mission Survive.

Hoping to shape up to the challenges, and avoid the weekly elimination in this six-week reality show, are actors and cousins Emilia Fox and Laurence Fox, singer Max George, double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, TV presenter Jamelia, comedy actor Tom Rosenthal, DJ and model Vogue Williams and former England International rugby player Mike Tindall.

For something more restful, there’s a chance to join Mansfield’s own TV and radio presenter Richard Bacon as he and Una Stubbs follow the highs and lows of ten budding artists as they vie for the title of Britian’s best amateur artist in The Big Painting Challenge.

The contest gets underway this Sunday on BBC1 as the artists visit Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, known to many as Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films.

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