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TV highlights of the week including the return of MasterChef and The Voice

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: March 17, 2014

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Saturday 22/03/14

The Voice UK (BBC1, 6.45pm)

What's It All About? It's the Beeb's latest bash at the reality talent genre - and it's a good one. Now in it's third series, it's undergone a bit of a facelift, had two brand new shiny coaches thrown at it (Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson) and seemingly it's been written in to Will.i.am's contract that he must swallow a dictionary before every show (that man has some strange yet hilarious thoughts).

After 12 drama-packed, tear-stained weeks, we've finally reached the first live round of the singing contest - and here's where it really gets interesting.

It's time to stop mourning the loss of any favourites who haven't made it this far, and pick a new favourite.

The brilliant Emma Willis and Marvin Humes introduce the action and bring all the backstage reaction, as the remaining dozen acts battle it out for a place in the semi-final.

After three acts in each team have performed, Tom, Will.i.am, Kylie and Ricky will choose one act to go straight through to the next stage - leaving us to vote on the remaining two after their head-to-head showdown.

Look Out For: That competitive streak among the coaches coming out.

Kylie says: "I am strict if I have to be. I want [my team] to feel they have the support from me. I have been advising them on things that I have learned as a performer like light and shade, delivering the song in a certain way or showing them how to use the stage in a certain way."

Sunday 23/03/14

Harry's South Pole Heroes (ITV, 8pm)

What's It All About? Trekking to the South Pole would be a demanding task for anybody.

But if you watched the first instalment of this two-part documentary last week, you'll know that Prince Harry and his team had even more reason to feel nervous.

The royal set out on the 200km-journey with four wounded servicemen and women - his teammates include double leg amputee Duncan Slater, arm amputee Ibrar Ali MC, right leg amputee Guy Disney, and left leg amputee Kate Philp, the first British woman to lose a limb on the frontline.

Just to add to the pressure, there was also a competitive element, as they prepared to take on a Team Commonwealth and Team US, and their respective honorary members, actors Dominic West and Alexander Skarsgard.

Or at least, that was the plan. But as this concluding documentary discovers, the expedition didn't turn out quite the way anyone was expecting.

At least spirits are high as we rejoin the prince on the first day of the race, especially as the Brits establish an early lead.

But even after all their intensive training, it's just a matter of hours before the realities of hauling 80 kilos of kit in temperatures as low as -40c begins to take its toll.

Look Out For: Ed Parker, expedition director and co-founder of the organising charity Walking With the Wounded, who is forced to make a decision that changes the nature of the challenge.

Prince Harry says: "For me, it's bigger than just these guys, we are trying to raise money but also raise awareness for the fact that the injuries they have sustained they are going to carry for the rest of their lives."

Monday 24/03/14

Rev (BBC Two, 10pm)

What's It All About? Two years is a long time between sermons - here's hoping the Reverend Adam Smallbone has spent that time away from our screens coming up with inspiring new subjects and honing his delivery.

There's about to be a new addition to Adam's life when we meet him again - his solicitor wife Alex gives birth to their long-awaited first child, a girl, in dramatic circumstances.

But there's little time for paternity leave, because his parish duties continue to weigh heavy on him. Adam joins forces with an Imam in an attempt to improve the local community, but is left wondering if his new colleague has a hidden agenda.

Also giving poor Adam a headache are the new Area Dean and Diocesan secretary who seem to have big but destructive plans for St Saviour's.

Look Out For: Guest stars Kayvan Novak, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, who play the opening episode's three newcomers. It's also good to have Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman back as Adam and Alex, while most of the original cast remain in place too.

Hollander says: "There was none of the stress you normally have playing a new part where you go, 'Oh, I wonder if it works if I do this or if I do that' whereas, because we've done two series there's a relaxation of putting on a favourite old cardigan or something."

Tuesday 25/03/14

The Mentalist (Channel 5)

What's It All About? For those playing catch-up since the last series, Sacramento sleuth Patrick Jane sought refuge on a tropical island after killing Red John. He has been tempted back to America with the promise of immunity from prosecution over the serial killer's murder.

Now our hero and ex-CBI buddy Lisbon are back together, while fellow crimebusters Rigsby and Van Pelt are busy either raising their first child or running their own online security service.

This week, the tea-loving hero joins a commune to investigate the curious case of a US attorney. Her body was found in Mexico, but there was no record of her crossing the border.

Meanwhile, Van Pelt and Rigsby try to convince former boss JJ LaRoche to help them discover who is hunting ex-CBI members.

Look Out For: True Blood's Pruitt Taylor Vince guest starring alongside regulars Simon Baker (Jane), Owain Yeoman (Rigsby), Amanda Righetti (Van Pelt) and Tim Kang (Cho).

On the subject of 'overnight fame', Robin Tunney (Lisbon) says: "I never had one of those moments where one day I hadn't done anything and the next day everybody knew who I was. It was a sort of slow and steady build. I've had a different sort of trajectory, and it's been very balanced."

Wednesday 26/03/2014

MasterChef (BBC1, 9pm)

What's It All About? For those of us who struggle to recognise one end of a spatula from the other, or can't even knock up a salad without burning it, the Beeb's signature culinary effort has kept us entertained for years.

But now that MasterChef has hit its 10th series, we're left with little choice but to sit up and learn a thing or two, as John Torode and Gregg Wallace return with a new batch of amateur cooks keen to prove their worth.

The first six hopefuls take on a new challenge as they prepare their Calling Card, a dish which represents who they are and showcases their talent.

But the group are soon whittled down, and the decision lies with John and Gregg as to who will reach the quarter-final.

Look Out For: The interplay between chef John and former greengrocer Gregg. Regularly dubbed a 'bromance', the pair go together like fish and chips - or should that be beer-battered line-caught Atlantic cod and rustic, hand-cut organic maris piper frites.

It helps that they worked together before they found fame on our screens, after the latter impressed the former by tracking down a particularly rare ingredient for his kitchen and won his whole supply contract in the process.

John says, speaking to The Sun, "We have different thoughts on life and that's why it works. If we were the same, it'd be really dull. We're not scripted, so we say what we want."

Thursday 27/03/14

Ade at Sea (ITV, 8.30pm)

What's It All About? Adrian Edmondson continues to explore our island nation's harbours and ports, and this week sets sail for the Thames Estuary - once the most important trading route in the world.

His journey begins at one of Britain's most historically important sites: Chatham Dockyards.

For over four centuries the Royal Navy's ships were built there and provided work for thousands of men and women, including carpenters and flag and rope-makers.

Leaving Chatham, Ade heads down the estuary on his small craft Elvin.

Ade discovers how this waterway will become a route to London Gateway, Britain's largest deep-sea super port. Enormous new cranes will cope with the supersized boats of the future, so he chats to beautician-turned-trainee crane-driver Nicky among others.

Finally he boards the Cabby, the last wooden traditional Thames Sailing Barge built in Britain. Charlie McLaren, Cabby's competitive owner, and his crew partake in a sailing match that goes back more than 140 years.

Look Out For: The moving story of Ade's vessel Elvin, its previous owner, and his brave involvement in Dunkirk.

Regarding his crane-driving experience, Ade says: "It's incredible how far we've come from just hoiking goods about by hand to electric-powered hydraulic lifts."

Friday 28/03/14

Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10pm)

What's It All About? With Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton both taking a break, Michael McIntyre has had a couple of weeks to himself to bed in his new talk show. But now he faces competition for the crown of TV's current King of Chat, as Alan Carr is back with a new series. And he's starting as he means to go on with some very high profile guests.

First up is singer, songwriter and former X Factor judge Gary Barlow, who treats us to a performance of his new single, Since I Saw You last, as well as an account of what he's been up to, well, since we saw him last. Also taking up residence on the sofa is Ricky Gervais, who will be talking about his latest film, Muppets Most Wanted.

However, arguably the biggest, most iconic celebrity of all is Gervais's co-star, Kermit the Frog, who is also dropping by.

Look Out For: Although some people may be crossing their fingers for an unbilled appearance by Miss Piggy - providing Carr can meet her diva demands - we are promised a chance to meet Kermit's newest nemesis, amphibian master criminal Constantine.

Carr says: "I don't want to see anyone crying, I don't want to hear about how they were abused as a child, we just want a laugh and a bit of fun, as if they're a friend and they've just come round and sat at my table and we're having tea and cake or whatever."

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