Early festive goodies on the TV a real winner

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CHRISTMAS is just under two weeks away, but there are plenty of festive goodies on “the box” to give you a rest from all that present buying and wrapping.

ITV1’s offering tonight is quite timely for this time of year with ‘Weight Loss Ward,’ a two-part visit to Sunderland Royal Hospital’s obesity unit, one of the biggest and busiest in the UK, while over on BBC1 it’s the other end of the scale in ‘Miniature Britain’ as entomologist Dr George McGavin uses a microscope camera that’s 7,000 times more powerful than the human eye to reveal the amazing wildlife around us the UK.

And if that’s all too much to endure Channel 4 has the perfect antidote in ‘The British Comedy Awards’ as Jonathan Ross oversees two hours of live TV paying tribute to the best of the year’s TV and film comedies.

Comic capers of a different sort are served up the folllowing evening with Channel 4 continuing its ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club’ featuring Messrs Oliver and Doherty aiming to bring some superstar sparkle to their end-of-pier restaurant at Southend, which lives up to its aim with a visit from actress/cook Gwyneth Paltrow.

Over on BBC4 at the same time there’s a chance to go back a few decades when Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus were household names in ‘Timeshift: Wrestling’s Golden Age.’

Subtitled ‘Grapples, Grunts and Grannies,’ this affectionate documentary transports viewers back to the 60s and 70s when the Saturday afternoon grunting and groaning of grown men in trunks regularly drew audiences of more than 20 million (something that’s a TV rarity nowadays) as well as making a national hero out of ‘Big Daddy,’ alias Shirley Crabtree.

Real-life ladies take the limelight on Saturday evening when ITV1 celebrates ‘Girls Aloud: Ten Years at the Top,’ charting the lives and music of the five since winning ‘Popstars -- The Rivals’ all those years ago to their re-launch single, ‘Something New,’ and joining a star-studded evening of entertainment before the Queen at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.’

The stars are also in force, or maybe not for some, on Sunday on BBC1 when Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman reveal after 11 weeks which three couples will be dancing in the ‘Strictly Come Dancing 2012 Final.’ And if that’s too much of a nail-biter, mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins will be performing in the ballroom, no doubt to the accompaniment of an audience clapping at all the wrong times, which for some might be music to their ears.

Later on the action moves to London’s Excel playing host to the ‘2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ as Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding join more than 15,000 people celebrating one of the greatest years in British sporting history, which is shown by a 12-strong field vieing for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.


The Hour -- Wednesday/ Thursday. Final two episodes of the second series sets on a 1950s news programme sees scandal hitting the newsroom in ‘The Hour’ on the day of the show as Hector’s face hits the tabloids, along with leaked stories of Kiki’s accusations.

The Town -- Wednesday, ITV1. Martin Clunes as the boozy mayor seems to get all the best lines in the second of this gripping, three-part drama, which sees newly bereaved Mark (Andrew Scott) getting a temporary job with the council as a long-kept secret starts to emerge.