UK TV programmes to watch this week : 02/11/2013

Africa 2013: Countdown to the Rains (BBC 2/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Sunday 3rd November 2013)

Kate Humble and Simon King report from Zambia, following the lives of the animals living along the Luangwa River at a critical time in the seasons. There has been no rain for seven months and every animal, large and small, is locked in a struggle to survive – the elephant and her new born baby, the tiny lion cubs threatened by a power struggle in the pride and the hundreds of hippos and crocodiles squashed uncomfortably close as the river bed dries up. 75 cameras capture every moment as it happens through the last days of the longest dry season in memory to the arrival of the rains that will change everything.

Great Continental Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Sunday 3rd November 2013)

Steered by his 1913 railway guide, Michael Portillo takes the train from the former political capital of Italy, Turin, to Casanova’s capital of romance, Venice. Along the way, he recreates the famous Italian Job on an historic Fiat test track and follows fashion in Milan before investigating the early 20th century British love affair with Lake Como in a seaplane. In Verona, Michael discovers the ‘House of the Capulets’, bought to attract Edwardian tourists to the scene of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. He then heads over the rail bridge across the lagoon to Venice, where he finds a microcosm of pre-First World War Europe in the Venice Biennale art exhibition.

Tales From Northumberland with Robson Green (itv/HD | 8:00pm to 8:30pm | Monday 4th November 2013)

Eight-part series in which Robson Green travels across his home county and discovers how this mystical place has played a unique role in shaping contemporary Britain. Robson explores the rich history of a region that has been occupied by Romans, invaded by Vikings, played a key role in the founding of English Christianity and has been the setting for many bloody battles between the English and the Scots. In this episode, Robson ventures off the beaten path to explore the rugged wilderness of the Northumberland National Park, where he passes a night in a ramshackle shepherd’s hut – known locally as a bothy. Meeting a young shepherdess, he learns about the origins of the border collie sheepdog, and goes stargazing into a night sky that is totally unpolluted by artificial light.

The Choir: Sing While You Work (BBC 2/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Monday 4th November 2013)

Choirmaster Gareth Malone returns to create harmony in five of Britain’s biggest workplaces. As the contest to be crowned ‘best workplace choir’ begins, he sets sail with P&O, the UK’s longest-running cross-Channel ferry service. With choir members based at sea and on both sides of the English Channel, can Gareth create a musical entente cordiale?

999: What’s Your Emergency? (Channel 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Monday 4th November 2013)

The series that reveals modern Britain through the eyes of our ambulance staff continues. This episode focuses on the older generation, who now account for two thirds of ambulance calls. With 11 million people in Britain over the age of 65, the NHS is feeling a greater strain than ever before. In the wake of significant cuts to the social care budget, if they’re to live independently for as long as possible the ambulance service have to step in. The personal stories in this film offer an insightful, touching and sometimes humorous take on life for older people today. In Nottingham, paramedic Dave Seaton is dispatched on blue lights to the home of an 86-year-old woman who has collapsed.

The Escape Artist (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 5th November 2013)

Legal drama series. Liam Foyle is back in the dock, and Will’s courtroom nemesis, Maggie Gardner, is defending him. Will’s central moral tenet that ‘everyone deserves a defence’ has come back to haunt him.

Britain by Bike: North Devon. Series 1, episode 1 (BBC 4 | 8:00pm to 8:30pm | Wednesday 6th November 2013)

Clare Balding attempts to rediscover Britain from the saddle of a touring cycle, following in the wheeltracks of compulsive cyclist and author Harold Briercliffe, whose evocative guide books of the late 1940s lovingly describe by-passed Britain. She begins on the Atlantic coast of north Devon – from Lynmouth, scene of Britain’s worst flood disaster in the early 1950s, to Ilfracombe via Little Switzerland, and a hidden silver mine whose riches probably helped England win the Battle of Agincourt.

Grand Designs (Channel 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Wednesday 6th November 2013)

Ten years ago Gil and Hillary Briffa decided to retire to southern Spain. Rejecting the coastal sprawl around Malaga they found a virgin plot of land up in the Andalucian hills for just £35,000. But instead of building a home like the traditional old fincas nearby, their architect son’s design was a confrontational, modernist glass box, surrounded by boldly colourful connected rooms, hidden behind a giant citadel wall. Construction proved stressful. The couple put all their trust in a local Spanish builder who had never built a house like this before. The local residents didn’t like it and the mayor tried to get it re-painted white.

Waterloo Road (BBC 1/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Thursday 7th November 2013)

As Christine and Simon go up for the headship they clash over how to deal with a bullied pupil. Meanwhile, Kacey’s boxing fund is stolen, jeopardising her training trip to America.

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (Channel 4/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Thursday 7th November 2013)

George Clarke continues his adventures in the world of micro builds. This time he meets carpenter Adam, who wants to turn a 30-year-old double decker bus into a luxury holiday retreat. George visits a couple who have given up their jobs and thrown their life savings into designing a boat hotel. There’s also a house in Oxford made of mud and straw. And George and William’s tree house dream now includes an alfresco camping deck made out of a giant motorway drainage pipe.

All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide —

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