Our top daily TV programmes for the coming week.


Britain's Got Talent Final (ITV, 7.30pm)

Does it really matter who wins a talent show these days?

Over the years, Britain's Got Talent has produced some exceptional winners like Paul Potts, Diversity, George Sampson, Richard Jones and Tokio Myers. However, there are plenty of others who, despite not taking the BGT crown, have since become stars in their own right, including Susan Boyle, Stavros Flatley, Megan McKenna, Escala, Connie Talbot and Twist & Pulse.

Say what you want about this show - if you indeed have talent, Simon Cowell and co will do what they can to make sure you get maximum exposure - and that you go on to be signed to his/their agency.

During the spring, there was a strong possibility that the 2020 run of Britain's Got Talent would have to be cancelled. ITV's flagship talent show had to go off-air after the coronavirus pandemic halted the live-show stages of the competition.

However, Cowell and his production team refused to admit defeat and were able to put in some measures (including giant TV screen wall showing members of the cheering public), so the show was able to make a welcome comeback last month.

As is often the case with BGT, it has been the judges who have been grabbing the headlines in 2020, rather than the talented acts on stage.

First up, judge Cowell had to drop out after breaking his back following an electric bike mishap. Then his replacement Ashley Banjo was at the centre of a media storm after performing a controversial new dance with his crew Diversity. Then, there were some very near wardrobe mishaps courtesy of Amanda Holden.

On the whole, you could say this series has been eventful.

Tonight, Ant and Dec host the 2020 final, as 10 acts battle it out to be crowned Britain's Got Talent Champion and win the life-changing £250,000 prize plus a coveted role on The Royal Variety Performance.

So far, we know that comedian Steve Royle, dancers Aaron and Jasmine, magician Magical Bones and comedic pianist Courtenay are all in the final having been sent through by judges Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Banjo. They will be joined in line-up by the victor of last weekend's fifth semi final, as well as five more acts who received the most public votes during each of the semis.

But in the end, who really cares who wins, other than the acts themselves? As they've all made it to this stage, they're all clearly great performers, and are all winners in the eyes of the viewing public.

What's more, BGT could be just the beginning for a lot of them.


Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson (BBC Two, 10pm)

The last time many of us saw Samuel L Jackson in a TV programme, he was appearing in Staged, the lockdown comedy starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

Now the Oscar-nominated star of Pulp Fiction is back on the small screen in a very different project.

Enslaved, which he fronts with writer Afua Hirsch and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, has been made by the production company run by Jackson and his wife, LaTanya Richardson.

Originally shown in the US as a six-part series, it will be broadcast in the UK to tie in with Black History Month as a four-episode programme. Enslaved uses state-of-the-art technology, reportage and dramatic reconstructions to retell the stories of some of the 12 million Africans kidnapped, sold into slavery and transported from their homeland to the Americas by European slave traders.

There's also a focus on those who died en route due to shipwrecks or the appalling conditions in which they were kept throughout their long and difficult journeys; 3D mapping has even been used to locate and explore sunken slave ships on three continents.

"British viewers will also be fascinated to see Bristol's role in this history, as writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch visits the now infamous - and since toppled - statue of Edward Colston," adds Jamie Lynn, an executive who brought the series to the BBC. "With impressive and groundbreaking production values, this is an unmissable look at a near lost history."


Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One, 9pm)

After 16 years on our screens and 145 episodes (not including two specials), you might think that the BBC's researchers had run out of people to appear on its genealogy show.

But not a bit of it. There may be only four celebrities appearing in the latest series, but that's because filming had to be halted due to coronavirus restrictions rather than a lack of interest.

David Walliams embraced the experience, and was thrilled to hear stories of long-forgotten relatives including his great-great-grandfather who, after going blind, forged a new career as a travelling entertainer. He's also moved by another tale involving the battlefields of the First World War.

Actor Liz Carr also unearths personal tales from the Great War while investigating her paternal grandfather, who served in the Royal Navy's Northern Patrol. She then learns about an ancestor who, unlike her former Silent Witness character Clarissa Mullery, was on the wrong side of the law.

Ruth Jones, one of the stars and creators of Gavin and Stacey, says: "I feel so privileged to have been taken on this spectacular journey into my heritage and to have discovered so much about my ancestors. I feel like I've got to know the real people behind the fading sepia photographs and it's made me want to find out more."

But first up is Jodie Whittaker. As the star of Doctor Who, she's used to travelling through time, but delving into the past has never been so personal before.

"I discovered people and events that I had no idea existed," claims Whittaker. "I was lucky to go home and see my Mum and Dad, lucky to see places I'd never been to before, and lucky to meet and shake hands with some wonderful and intelligent people whose insight into history blew my mind."

Watch out for her reactions to information about her great uncle's wartime sacrifice and some uncomfortable facts concerning her great-great-grandfather.


The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4, 8pm)

Some of us didn't realise just how much we needed The Great British Bake Off until it came back onto our screens last month.

That's partly because it provided a touch of normality in what has been a very strange year, even if it didn't come back quite as we know it. For a start, Sandi Toksvig has left the tent to be replaced by new co-presenter and Little Britain veteran Matt Lucas.

He started the new run with a parody of Boris Johnson, just moments after the genuine article had addressed the nation, which admittedly didn't go down well with everyone - there were 200 complaints to Ofcom.

However, once the episode began in earnest, it was clear he was a natural as he bonded with the bakers and demonstrated his obvious rapport with co-host Noel Fielding.

The latest batch of contestants, who formed a bubble so they could take part, also proved to be a likeable bunch, and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith were both on fine form. But arguably the real hero of the opening episode was whoever had the bright idea that the bakers' first showstopper challenge should involve making busts of celebrities out of cake.

The results were quite simply extraordinary. It feels wrong to pick a favourite, but Laura's Freddie Mercury (who was sporting his iconic yellow jacket, but missing a big part of his head) and Hermine's completely unrecognisable Lupita Nyong'o must be among the contenders.

It was one of the funniest rounds in Bake Off history.

It's set a very high bar for the rest of the series (in terms of entertainment, if not decoration), but hopefully this latest edition can match it as the bakers get to grips with Chocolate Week.


Autumn at Jimmy's Farm (Channel 4, 8pm)

Fresh from his recent series campaigning to save our summer pollinators - namely bees, but basically anything with six legs and a penchant for flowers gets a big tick - Jimmy Doherty returns to his Suffolk farm for another of his semi-regular seasonal strides through the countryside.

For many of us, autumn's bounty only really begins with the re-emergence of the pumpkin spice latte (other fancy coffee flavours are apparently available), but around the country's farms and fields there are different signs that the wheel of the year is turning: leaves changing colour, the late fruits ripening on the boughs, and the native animals industriously preparing themselves for the coming winter. And the local critters aren't the only ones with work to do...

As we pick up with them, Jimmy and his team are working flat out, taking delivery of some 6,000 turkeys and preparing for the births of a few dozen piglets (in time for them to achieve their ultimate form: Christmas dinner pigs in blankets?). Meanwhile the rare-breed ewes feel the need to breed, if they are to be ready in time for lambing during the next spring.

There's a potential surprise in store, too, as the female tapir (whom Jimmy has creatively dubbed "Mrs Tapir" on recent Twitter and Instagram posts) seems to be gaining a lot of weight. The natural conclusion is that she is pregnant - although this would be unusual to say the least, since she has supposedly been on contraception throughout the year. The piglets and lambs are something the farmer is prepared for, but a tiny tapir or two might truly test them.

Animals are apt to defy expectations, however - and not only among the tapirs. The appositely named Steve McQueen the meerkat has been up to his old tricks again, orchestrating another 'great escape'. It appears that he has finally been contained - however is he merely lulling his handlers into a false sense of security before trying his most daring feat of escapology yet?


Taskmaster (Channel 4, 9pm)

As the trailer for the new series of Taskmaster makes very clear, Channel 4 wasn't always convinced that this show had the makings of a hit - they initially turned it down.

However, the Freeview channel Dave clearly saw the potential in a format where Greg Davies, ably assisted by 'Little' Alex Horne (as Horne occasionally points out, he's actually 6'2", but most people look small next to the 6'8" Davies), gets a group of comedians, actors and presenters to take on unlikely challenges.

Dave was proved right - Taskmaster went on to be a hit with viewers and critics alike, winning broadcast awards and being nominated for multiple Baftas. It ran for nine series on Dave, has been sold to multiple countries and now Channel 4 has seen the light and picked it up for the 10th run.

Horne, who despite his sidekick role is also the show's creator, said: "We've had an amazing nine series on Dave and I'd like to thank UKTV for letting us do such ridiculous things for so long. It seems like the right time to move to a channel with a broader audience and I can reassure people who like the show that it won't be changing one bit and I'll still be forced to do things no one should ever have to do."

So, for newcomers, what makes Taskmaster so compelling? Well, there's the nature of the tasks for a start. From writing songs about a stranger and creating live-action versions of computer games to knocking over a row of rubber ducks, they are endlessly inventive and sometimes fiendish - like the time the contestants had to make the most exotic sandwich, without realising that for the second part of the task, they would have to eat it themselves.

Then there's the celebrity line-ups. The five contestants take part in a whole series, which can sometimes be a problem if the combinations don't quite work (not mentioning any names) but yields fantastic results when the chemistry is right. Many fans will have their own favourite series, but the fifth run, which was ultimately won by Bob Mortimer, and the seventh season, where James Acaster became incensed at what he saw as Davies' favouritism towards his old friend Rhod Gilbert, must be near the top of most people's lists.

Now it's time to discover the hidden talents of a brand new line-up, which consists of two Bafta winners in the form of This Country actress and writer Daisy May Cooper (This Country, BBC Three) and the IT Crowd's Katherine Parkinson, and acclaimed comedians Johnny Vegas, Mawaan Rizwan and Richard Herring.

And, as Horne has said, while there may be some tweaks due to Covid-19, the format remains largely the same, as the contestants face giant bears, disappearing cows and flying eggs.


Cliff Richard Night (BBC Four, from 8pm)

Congratulations... and celebrations! Sir Cliff Richard turns 80 on Wednesday, and to mark the milestone, BBC Four is dedicating a night of programming to the national treasure.

Having sold more than 250 million records worldwide, Cliff, who was born Harry Rodger Webb in India in 1940, is one of the most successful musicians ever. A fixture in the charts since the 1950s, he is the only artist to have had a UK No.1 single in five consecutive decades.

And with an astonishing back catalogue under his belt - more than 130 of his singles, albums and EPs have reached the UK Top 20 - you could forgive the veteran singer for taking it easy as he enters his ninth decade.

However, Cliff just doesn't have the heart to tell his millions of fans that he's calling a day on his music career.

His last release was 2018's Rise Up, and now he is celebrating his 80th birthday by releasing Music... The Air That I Breathe, an album of new songs and duets.

"What's even better than that [turning 80] is I have a new album!" he said when he announced the release at the end of last month. "I loved recording it and hope you will enjoy listening to it."

With an album of new music on the way, as well as an autobiography entitled The Dreamer, a 2021 calendar (his 42nd), and a (likely) Christmas single, the Bachelor Boy's 80th should be one to remember.