Feel-good factor makes way for the X Factor

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WELL, that’s it for the time being. Seventeen days of stunning TV from the BBC, gold medals galore and a feel-good factor from contestants and spectators that defied the critics of the London 2012 Olympics.

And, if you were not sporty in anyway there was always Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony, neatly contrasted by Sunday’s somewhat uneven party finale. This was subtitled ‘A Symphony of British Music,’ although the sight of “Posh Spice” swaying on the top of a London taxi had me dispensing an extra tincture of one of the Highland blends from Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ range to steady my nerves.

Now, there’s a fortnight’s breather before the start of the Paralympic Games, which runs until Sunday 9th September, and for those who like planning ahead, four years until the 31st Olympiad in Rio de Janiero.

Before then it’s back to normal with a triple treat of summer mulch returning to ITV, starting on Saturday evening with a seven-week run for ‘Red or Black?’ as Ant and Dec oversee eight contestants, including 49-year-old finance manager Jeanette from Nottingham, as they hope to pick the right colour and collect £500,000.

More of the same follows with the ninth series of ‘The X Factor’ as Gary Barlow and company continue their search for the nation’s next singing sensation (how many of the previous eight can you name?) while bedtime beckons after Jonathan Ross goes into overdrive to launch his 13-week talkathon show with guests Irish superstar Colin Farrell and curvy Kelly Brook.

The rest of the mid-summer line-up looks like a mix of crime, cookery and celebrities. The former is dealt with by ‘Wallander’ who wraps up the case of an elderly poet found impaled on spikes in ‘The Fifth Woman’ (Saturday, BBC4) while on Monday on ITV it’s the concluding part of Ruth Rendell’s psychological thriller ‘Thirteen Steps Down’ set in west London’s Notting Hill, the haunt of mass murderer John Christie.

Food and the “famous” get mixed up on various channels with BBC2 screening the seventh series of ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ throughout the week while those with a “sweet tooth” might want to watch the great British public aiming to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood in a new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off,’ which continues its 10-part countdown on Tuesday.

Celebs, if that’s what they are, are heading for the Channel 5 hospitality suite as the doors open tonight on another long-winded process of elimination, but without any cakes, as ‘Big Brother’ frenzy gets cranked up by over-the-top Brian Dowling.


Who Do You Think You Are? -- Wednesday, BBC1. Former EastEnders’ actress Samantha Womack sets out the uncover her family history in the first of another 10-part trip down memory lane.

The Best of Men -- Thursday, BBC2. Timely and uplifting drama about the birth of the Paralympic Games and its visionary creator, talented neurologist Dr Ludwig Guttman, who in 1944 arrives at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and against the odds transforms its Spinal Injuries Unit into a place of miracles, hope and determination. Comedian Rob Brydon adds to his TV credits as ward joker Cpl Wynne Bowen.

Corrie Goes to Kenya -- Friday, ITV. Four of the Streets stars (Sue Cleaver, Ryan Thomas, Brooke Vincent and Ben Price) take a break from the cobbles of Weatherfield to spread a life-saving message in Africa about the dangers of HIV and drug abuse.