UK TV programmes to watch this week : 19/07/2014

Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (YouView app screenshot)Live at Edinburgh Castle (BBC 1/HD | 8:30pm to 10:30pm | Saturday 19th July 2014)

A spectacular live concert staged in front of Scotland’s most iconic landmark, as daylight turns to dusk. The show caters for all, with hit songs from the likes of Smokey Robinson, Kaiser Chiefs, Jessie J, Culture Club, Paloma Faith, OneRepublic, Rizzle Kicks, Ella Henderson, Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Pumeza. Bill Bailey is on hand to provide the musical comedy, surprise guests appear too and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are on stage to accompany many of the performances – not least the spectacular finale. Hosted by The One Show’s Alex Jones the concert also includes the final leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay before it arrives in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.

Seven Wonders of the Commonwealth (BBC 1/HD | 9:10pm to 10:10pm | Sunday 20th July 2014)

A one-off special to herald the start of the Commonwealth Games. Some of the nation’s best-loved presenters – Clare Balding, Denise Lewis, Anita Rani, Dan Snow and Reggie Yates – travel around the globe to marvel at seven diverse natural wonders and meet some of the two billion members of the Commonwealth. They venture to the oldest desert on the planet, the most pristine rainforest, the world’s greatest waterfall, the largest mangrove swamp, the richest coral reef and the world’s most spectacular fjordland. The final wonder is found deep in a cave far closer to home. Along the way they discover what it means to part of the Commonwealth today.

John Bishop’s Australia (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Monday 21st July 2014)

Series following comedian John Bishop as he sets off on an Australian adventure, cycling from Sydney to Cairns. In episode three John travels deep into tropical Australia. Pedalling through the heat and rain, John takes on a gruelling military fitness test, rides motorbikes with Vietnam veterans, and gets completely caked in mud while working on a banana farm. (It’s harder than it looks apparently). As the trip reaches its conclusion John takes in the breathtaking natural beauty of both the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rainforest, before ending his incredible journey with a surprising personal twist.

Coast (BBC 2/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 22nd July 2014)

The team explores the treasures to be found on surprising, secret paths around British shores. Nick Crane visits Cape Wrath, discovering where wolves once trod and a notorious hermit made his home. Ruth Goodman reveals how the bizarre Victorian craze for collecting ferns drove genteel women to extraordinary lengths in search of the much prized botanic treasures. Gem stone hunter Adam McIntosh follows a secret underwater path off the isle of Iona to discover rare and beautiful ‘green marble’. On the tiny island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel Mark Horton unearths remarkable historical treasures stretching from the stone age to the second world war to create a coastal walk that encompasses ten thousand years of the history of Britain in just ten miles. The steel track of a Blackpool roller-coaster intrigues physicist Helen Arney. On Anglesey Andy Torbet attempts one of the most spectacular sea cliff climbs in Britain, the infamous ‘dream of white horses’ route.

Undercover Boss (Channel 4/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 22nd July 2014)

High-flying executives take extraordinary steps to ensure their companies are fighting fit by going undercover in their own businesses. The sixth series continues with Oxfam. CEO Mark Goldring is the man at the top of one of Britain’s best known and biggest charities. Awarded a CBE for his life’s work tackling poverty, he’s responsible for Oxfam’s balance sheet. But with income down by £18 million in a year, Mark’s worried the charity is over stretched.

Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony (BBC 1/HD | 8:00pm to 11:00pm | Wednesday 23rd July 2014)

Gary Lineker, Hazel Irvine and Clare Balding present the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games live from Celtic Park. The ceremony marks the end of the epic journey of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which has visited every Commonwealth nation in the lead up to the event, and Her Majesty the Queen will declare the Games officially open. A cast of more than 3,000 volunteers will take part in what promises to be a spectacular occasion. The Parade of Nations will welcome the thousands of athletes from the 71 nations and territories across the Commonwealth. Huw Edwards joins Hazel Irvine in the commentary box.

Operation Cloud Lab: Secrets of the Skies (BBC 2/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Wednesday 23rd July 2014)

Two-part documentary following a team of scientists as they take to the skies in one of the world’s largest airships for a unique exploration of the earth’s atmosphere. Continuing their journey across the USA, the team questions how the atmosphere changes with altitude and how that has an impact upon the life found there. Microbiologist, Dr Chris van Tulleken and former paratrooper, Andy Torbet, search for living microorganisms in the ‘death zone’ of high-altitude. Aboard the airship, expedition leader Felicity Aston and Dr Jim McQuaid explore the impact of human behaviour upon the atmosphere, questioning whether cities can create their own weather. Plus, Dr Sarah Beynon paraglides for a close encounter with a hawk.

The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway (BBC 2/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Wednesday 23rd July 2014)

This episode follows engineers building London’s brand new underground railway, Crossrail, as they take on a Great British obsession – building train tunnels under water. Linda Miller, an engineer more at home building space launch complexes at Cape Canaveral, battles to rebuild a Victorian tunnel under the Royal Docks in London’s east end. While a British tunneling dynasty – the Bermingham family – follow in the footsteps of the original father-son team of Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel to build a brand new tunnel under the river Thames.

The Secret Life of Students (Channel 4/HD | 10:00pm to 11:05pm | Thursday 24th July 2014)

The Secret Life of Students follows 12 freshers in their first year at university, exploring the drama of their new experiences and sharing their texts, tweets, pictures, videos and status updates. As the freshers approach the end of their first term, how well have they really settled in? Have they worked out the magic formula to balance a life of partying, studying, paying the bills and living with a group of students they have only just met? Living with other students can be messy and can distract you from your work. How do the students cope as exams draw nearer and they need to buckle down and revise? Will they crack under the pressure or manage to perfect the balancing act? And how will their social media updates correlate with their real life experiences?

All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide —

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