UK TV programmes to watch this week : 31/12/2016

Sherlock (BBC 1/HD | 8:30pm to 10:00pm | Sunday 1st January 2017)

Contemporary crime drama, based on the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock waits to see where Moriarty will make his posthumous move. One mysterious case in particular baffles Scotland Yard, but Sherlock is more interested in a seemingly trivial detail. Why is someone destroying images of the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher? Is there a madman on the loose? Or is there a much darker purpose at work? Something with its roots deep in Mary Watson’s past…

Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Monday 2nd January 2017)

Michael Portillo embarks on a journey from London to Edinburgh with the help of his 19th-century guidebook. A once-in-a-lifetime journey aboard the most famous train in history, the Flying Scotsman, begins for Michael before dawn at London’s King’s Cross. Excitement builds on the platform as the world’s media, fans and 300 passengers await the arrival of railway royalty. Boarding a vintage carriage, Michael recaptures the glamour of the 1930s, when the Flying Scotsman’s passengers dined, sipped cocktails and had their hair done en route to Scotland. Among his fellow passengers are a former Flying Scotsman driver and a previous owner of the locomotive. But all does not go to plan, and the historic non-stop service is forced to halt for trespassers on the track. Arriving at York, Michael meets the restoration team and gets his hands on the hallowed controls.

Silent Witness (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Monday 2nd January 2017)

Forensic crime drama series. When a people smuggler is found dead in the City, Nikki must delve into London’s illegal immigrant community. She meets a vulnerable Syrian teen called Akka who is in need of help, putting Nikki in a moral dilemma – and the killer is still on the loose.

Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney (BBC 2/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Monday 2nd January 2017)

Three-part series in which Neil Oliver, Chris Packham, Andy Torbet and Dr Shini Somara join hundreds of archaeologists from around the world who have gathered in Orkney to investigate at one of Europe’s biggest digs. Seven miles off the coast of Scotland and cut off by the tumultuous Pentland Firth, Orkney is often viewed as being remote. Yet it is one of the treasure troves of archaeology in Britain. Rather than an outpost at the edge of the world, recent finds suggest an extraordinary theory – that Orkney was the cultural capital of our ancient world and the origin of the stone circle cult which culminated in Stonehenge. Chris Packham uncovers the secrets revealed by the DNA of Orkney’s unique vole, Neil Oliver explores Orkney’s tombs and monuments, Dr Shini Somara experiments to discover how the Orcadians could have moved giant blocks of stone over rough ground and Andy Torbet climbs Orkney’s most challenging sea-stack to unlock the story of Orkney’s unusual geology. episode 1.

Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Tuesday 3rd January 2017)

Michael Portillo continues his journey from London to Edinburgh with the help of his 19th-century guidebook. After the excitement of his ride on the Flying Scotsman, Michael begins a new journey with his Bradshaw’s guide book north from London, following the historic service’s path at a more leisurely pace. Along the way he is forced to expend more effort than usual on the rails as he pumps a track inspection trolley. A Swiss garden in Bedfordshire delivers an unexpected spectacle of early 20th-century engineering marvels and the chance to drive a ‘locomobile’. Michael then goes back to school at Haileybury, once a training college for the East India Company, where the master is unimpressed by Portillo’s exam performance. At Rothamsted Research, Michael discovers the Victorian origins of the fertiliser industry and a treasure trove of plant and soil samples.

Silent Witness (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm to 10:00pm | Tuesday 3rd January 2017)

Forensic crime drama series. When Nikki, Jack and Thomas make a horrific discovery in the van, they are confronted with the work of a killer who preys on illegal immigrants. With the help of Clarissa, they must work out where the killer will strike next before more vulnerable people meet the same fate.

Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Wednesday 4th January 2017)

Michael Portillo continues his journey from London to Edinburgh with the help of his 19th-century guide book. Following his trip from London to York on board the Flying Scotsman, Michael uses his Bradshaw’s to trace the path of the famous service, beginning in the ‘Key of the North’ Newark-on-Trent and finishing in the cradle of the railways, Stockton-on-Tees. Michael rallies the choristers of a Tudor song school and admires the art of the railways before travelling to Retford, where he discovers a high-tech application for a Victorian rubber technology. A scandalous novel written in Thirsk leads Michael to a wildlife centre, where he is enlisted to feed a hungry young hedgehog named Charles.

Italy’s Invisible Cities (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pn to 10:00pm | Wednesday 4th January 2017)

Documentary series. Using the latest 3-D scanning technology, Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott uncover 2,500 years of hidden history in Naples from its earliest Greek and Roman origins. They explore how the volcano of Mount Vesuvius both nurtured the region and exacted a terrible price on the local population. Plus, they delve into a labyrinth of fascinating underground spaces that helped build and sustain the city.

Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Thursday 5th January 2017)

Michael Portillo continues his journey from London to Edinburgh at a leisurely pace up the East Coast Main Line. In Newton Aycliffe, he tests a state-of-the-art passenger train on tracks which follow the route taken by George Stephenson’s steam engine on its historic journey in 1825. Through the looking glass at Croft-on-Tees he discovers a curious potion at the childhood home of Victorian writer Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, and finds the author was also a fan of Bradshaw. In the coastal village of Craster, Michael discovers the Victorian smokehouses of a family firm still active today and learns how to smoke a kipper. Crossing the Scottish border he reaches Dunbar, birthplace of a visionary Scot who made his mark on the landscape of America. Michael ends this leg rocking the boat on the River Tyne in a coracle.

Death in Paradise (BBC 1/HD | 9:00pm t0 10:00pm | Thursday 5th January 2017)

Detective drama series set on a Caribbean island. The death of a scientist on the side of a live volcano proves a difficult case to crack for Humphrey and his team when everything appears to point to a death from natural causes.

Great British Railway Journeys (BBC 2/HD | 6:30pm to 7:00pm | Friday 6th January 2017)

Michael Portillo concludes his journey from London to Edinburgh. Steered by his Bradshaw’s Handbook, Michael helps himself to a ukulele lesson in Haddington, birthplace of Victorian self-improvement guru Samuel Smiles. In Musselburgh, he gets a taste of life as a fishwife before exploring the Scottish capital Edinburgh, where a popular 19th-century mode of transport is making a comeback. The city’s proud medical heritage, highlighted in his guide book, takes Michael to the Royal College of Surgeons, where he discovers the macabre history of body snatchers and murderers who contributed to the science of anatomy. At the University of Edinburgh Medical School, Michael learns from the Queen’s surgeon in Scotland how students use sophisticated technology to study anatomy today.

Best Walks with a View with Julia Bradbury (itv/HD | 8:00pm to 8:30pm | Friday 6th January 2017)

Julia Bradbury chooses some of her favourite and most accessible family treks from across the UK. In this episode, she sets off on her favourite coastal walk to one of the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast – Old Harry Rocks. Taking in miles of golden sandy beaches and the dramatic history of the bay, Julia’s walk offers a fantastic example of the British coastline at its best.

All TV guide information taken from DigiGuide —

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