Tony on TV - Comedian Miranda delivers as a midwife

Miranda Hart in 'Call the Midwife'
Miranda Hart in 'Call the Midwife'

NEW Year TV is proving a somewhat painful experience that makes me want to reach for the remote and another channel.

The weekend wobblers include so-called celebs slipping and sliding their way across the rink in ‘Dancing On Ice’ (ITV) as a warm-up to more pain and gain in the all-too-realistic ‘Call the Midwife’ (BBC1).

Re-reading the book (on sale at The Works in town for £1.99) shows just how faithful ‘Cranford’ dramatist Heidi Thomas has been in keeping the spirit of midwife Jennifer Worth’s memoirs of working in London’s East End in the mid-1950s, which proved a publishing hit in 2002.

Comedian Miranda Hart as posh midwife Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne (Chummy) shows she’s just as adept in a straight role, something that eluded troubled soul Kerry Katona, who, along with ‘Apprentice’ contestants super-cool Raef Bayou and big-mouth Stuart Baggs, helped couples plan their big day in ‘Celebrity Wedding Planner’ (Channel 5).

Ideas for choosing wedding day menus were in abundance had they tuned into the eighth series of ‘MasterChef’ (BBC1), which has dropped some of the annoying items that upset fans in the previous series, although it does feature a return of India Fisher whose husky-toned narration proves irksome and annoying.

This was particularly noticeable in the opening episode of the 15-part series when she intoned: “Tom from Yorkshire’s chicken . . .” and I thought they were a worldwide phenomenon.

From roosters we move to turkeys, which sums up the less-than-funny ‘The Royal Bodyguard’ with Sir David Jason handing in its warrant card on BBC1 next Monday, while fresh comedy drama is written and delivered with enthusiasm by ‘Gavin and Stacey’ star Ruth Jones in ‘Stella’ (Sky 1, Thursday/ Friday).

The south Wales backdrops are a tourist treat, and the succession of celebs on screen only add to the enjoyment of the highs and lows for single mum Stella and family life in Pontyberry.


Birdsong -- BBC1 Sunday. Must-see Sunday night viewing in the concluding episode of Sebastian Faulk’s modern classic which recreates tensions and torments of times gone by in the story of passionate young lovers Stephen and Isabelle (Eddie Redmayne and Clemence Poesy) brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War.


Celebrity Big Brother: Live Final -- Channel 5, Friday. I’ll be watching ‘The Hustle,’ but for BB fans it’s a 9pm start ahead of a 90-minute countdown to reveal the winner of this three-week boreathon.