Tony on TV - 2nd May

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THE steamy sex scenes in BBC1’s recent period drama ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ certaintly had my neighbours’ net curtains twitching . . . but now normal service has been resumed.

That’s the curtains I mean, as the Beeb’s ploy to rival the continuing success of ITV’s country house saga ‘Downton Abbey’ did not find favour with viewers, despite the racy cavortings of many big name stars, as the story of a top-drawer family unfolded against the backdrop of a Britain in the run-up to World War II.

The ratings drop, and the hint from the BBC that any new series is not in its future plans, means that the only “upstairs, downstairs” show currently on-screen is the fifth series of the quirky sitcom ‘Not Going’ (BBC1, Friday), which sees comedian Lee Mack as the jobless lodger of upmarket Lucy (Sally Bretton) and her brother, Tim (Tim Vine).

This show had earlier faced the chop from TV bosses, but fans ensured that it survived. But there does not seem the clamour for a stay of execution on ‘Upstairs, Downtairs,’ which many agree had its glory days 40 years ago.

Nowadays there are some many channels and programmes to watch, that many gems, both funny and serious, go un-noticed. These would include a ‘Numberwang’ type approach to finding the perfect mate in the surreal comedy reality show ‘World Series of Dating’ (BBC4, Monday), a welcome return of the much-missed ‘Buzzcocks’ host Simon Amstell in ‘Grandma’s House’ (BBC2, Thursday) and history made interesting as Prof Mary Beard invites viewers to ‘Meet the Romans’ (BB2, Tuesday).

Once your homework is done, there’s time to catch up on some trash TV of which there’s plenty on offer. This starts at the weekend on ITV with ‘Keith Lemon’s LemonAid’ trying to get Saturday night viewing off to a good start, although I’m mystified that the studio audience find so much to laugh about.

The TV terrors continue on Monday on Sky Living with ‘Steps: On the Road Again’ and then later with series three of the mind-numbing ‘Made in Chelsea’ (E4); more of the same on Tuesday with ‘Peter Andre: My Life’ (ITV2) with the channel adding to the misery as it continues with the fifth series of ‘The Only Ways Is Essex’ on Friday.


The Restaurant Inspector -- Channel 5, Thursday. Return of this enjoyable “let’s fix it” series as the Ivy restaurant’s managing director, Fernando Peire, serves up some more no-nonsense advice as he tries to sort out what’s wrong, both front of house and in the kitchens, at a curry house in London’s Soho, which is losing £5,000 a week.