Tony On TV - 21st March

Britain's Got Talent - the judges.
Britain's Got Talent - the judges.

HOW good are you at spotting a winner with money-making potential in the world of music and showbiz?

If you think you are in with a chance, then your skills are going to be put to good use for the next few weeks with both main channels hogging the Saturday night schedules with big-name line-ups presiding over new voices and acts aplenty.

For the BBC “it’s move over Simon Cowell” as the Beeb launches three months of ‘The Voice’ in which contestants are judged on their vocal talents alone -- not on appearance, sob story or whooping audience.

The big-name coaches (legendary Sir Tom Jones, singer-songwriter Jessie J, Danny O’Donoghue from Irish band The Script, and Will-i-Am, a founding member of the Black-Eyed Peas) sit with their backs to the would-be stars (if only the panel on ‘Loose Women’ would do the same), bringing their proven track record and musical success to the fore in a UK version of this worldwide hit, which cost the BBC £22million to bring to our screens.

The fun starts this Saturday at 7pm, an hour ahead of of ITV’s revamped ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ which sports a return of Simon Cowell who is joined on the judging panel by David Walliams, Amanda Holden and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ defector Alesha Dixon.

Simon’s attempt to beef up the format sees a cash prize of £500,000 dangled in front of the winner, while ‘The Voice’ is offering a record contract ahead of any other goodies.

For a more realistic and immediate look at how money can change people for better or worse check out ‘The Syndicate,’ a new five-part drama on BBC1 next Tuesday starring Timothy Spall and Joanna Page (‘Gavin and Stacey’) about five workers at a cut-price supermarket in Leeds whose lives are turned upside down when they jointly win £18 million on the lottery. But as the story unfolds it shows that the windfall causes more problems than it solves.

Problem solving is just one of the essential ingredients of ‘The Apprentice,’ which returns for its eighth series on BBC1 this Wednesday when 16 bristling wannabees vie for the top prize of a business partnership worth £250,000 with Lord Sugar. There are also 12 weeks to watch those making an early exit via the ‘You’re Fired’ inquest presided over by fast-talking Dara O’Briain on BBC2.

WORTH WATCHING

Inside the Titanic -- Channel 5, Thursday. This drama documentary, a timely addition to the many programmes that mark next month’s 100th anniversary of the liner’s sinking, focuses on the engineers and stokers working below decks.

Britain’s First Photo Album -- BBC1, Friday. John Sergeant rounds off his UK tour with a local stop off in Chesterfield, home town to the renowned Victorian photographer Francis Frith.

WHAT A WASTE!

The Love Machine -- Sky Living, Sunday. Bad dating programme and even worse spelling with Stacey Solomon writing “umf” rather than “oomph” among other new words on her tablet PC.