UK TV programmes to watch this week : 02/05/2015

The World’s Most Extreme: Railways - 02-05-2015 (YouView app)All Aboard! The Canal Trip (BBC 4/HD | 8:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 5th May 2015)

A two-hour, real-time canal boat journey down one of Britain’s most historic waterways, the Kennet and Avon Canal, from Top Lock in Bath to the Dundas Aqueduct. Using an uninterrupted single shot, the film is a rich and absorbing antidote to the frenetic pace and white noise of modern life. Taking in the images and sounds of the British countryside, underpinned by the natural soundscape of water lapping, surrounding birdsong and the noise of the chugging engine, this is a chance to spot wildlife and glimpse life on the towpath while being lulled by the comforting rhythm of a bygone era. Along the journey, graphics and archive stills embedded into the passing landscape deliver salient facts about the canal and its social history.

How Scotland Works (BBC 2 Scotland & BBC iPlayer only | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 5th May 2015)

Documentary series exploring life in 21st-century Scotland. This programme tells the story of Scotland as a brand and goes behind the scenes at the Edinburgh Tattoo, a visiting cruise liner and the New York Whisky Fest to find out how the rest of the world views Scotland.

Ballot Monkeys (Channel 4/HD |10:00pm to 10:30pm | Tuesday 5th May 2015)

There are now two days to go before the country goes to the polls and this highly topical comedy – much of it written on the day of transmission – sees fear is gripping the four campaign buses. The top drawer cast includes Ben Miller as coalition-weary Lib Dem campaign co-ordinator Kevin Sturridge, Sarah Hadland as Ukip’s ex-TV presenter Kate Standen, and Hugh Dennis as Martin Frost, the Tory’s caustic Deputy Campaign Manager. Created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin provides a wonderfully absurd slant on the climax to this roller coaster election.

The World’s Most Extreme: Railways (Channel 4/HD | 8:00pm to 9:00pm | Thursday 7th May 2015)

From India to Japan, Peru and the Philippines, railways mean awesome engineering in extreme environments. From high-tech to home-made and from the highest to the fastest, this programme gets on board, in the driver’s cab and even on the roof, to present the 10 most extreme railways on Earth. In Colombia, thrill-seeking kids lie down under moving trains. India’s trains can become so busy that passengers have to ride on the roof. In Thailand, a commuter train line runs directly through a busy market, passing inches away from stalls and shoppers. And in Johannesburg train surfers risk their lives for the thrill of riding trains in a way that was never intended.

The Last Leg Alternative Election Special (Channel 4/HD | 9:30pm to 10:00pm | Thursday 7th May 2015)

Adam Hills, Josh Widdecombe and Alex Brooker host an election-themed edition of the award-winning show, taking a comedic look at the campaign. Returning throughout the night, the gang are joined in the studio by special guests.

W1A (BBC 2/HD | 10:00pm to 10:30pm | Thursday 7th May 2015)

Award-winning comedy about the BBC. Former head of output Anna Rampton has been crowned director of better. No-one on the management team is quite clear what the job entails, but one thing is certain – whatever it is, the concept of better needs to be announced to the world at large. Tracey Pritchard, senior communications officer, suggests an event in the BBC Radio Theatre, but brand manager Siobhan Sharpe has altogether more awesome ideas – none of which involve the words radio or theatre. Elsewhere, format-entertainment executive David Wilkes continues his seemingly unstoppable rise through the organisation with some surprising job news, and the BBC mega-hi-tech software programme Syncopatishare (designed to make life easier for busy executives) is proving difficult to master. Especially for ex-intern Will. Finally, director of strategy Simon Harwood comes up with a brand new management structure for the BBC, which is essentially the old one rotated 90 degrees.

Slow Train Through Africa with Griff Rhys-Jones (itv/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Friday 8th May 2015)

Griff Rhys Jones makes five train journeys across the world’s most spectacular continent. In the final episode, Griff is in South Africa. He sets off from Pretoria, catching Africa’s most modern train on the short journey south to Johannesburg. On board he almost finds himself in trouble for attempting to eat his breakfast – against the strict train rules. Johannesburg is home to over four million people. a sprawling city that grew because of the gold discovered there in the 19th century. The goldmines needed workers and railways were built to transport them. On to Kimberley, site of the diamond mines and the largest hole dug by hand anywhere on Earth. Griff then catches one of the most luxurious trains in the world for a seven-hour journey to Cape Town. He has to work his passage serving drinks – but there is one perk to the job, a hot bath on a train travelling at 70mph. Past Cape Town is the end of the line, the little coastal settlement of Simon’s Town.

All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide —

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