Alan Dee’s guide to the pick of the week’s TV


The Late Great Eric Sykes 
(BBC Two, 8.45pm)

Eric Sykes devoted his life to making people laugh, so the world was a lot duller when the final curtain came down on his showbiz career on July 4 this year.

Now, the BBC devote an evening to the man himself, beginning with this documentary. Later, there’s a classic episode of the sitcom Sykes, and then another chance to see Arena: Sykes and a Day from 2001 in which he reflects on his life and career.


Downton Abbey (ITV1, 9pm)

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In the last of the current series, it seems Matthew and Mary may be keeping secrets from each other. Did they really learn nothing from the first two series?

Meanwhile, in the house and the village, all the talk is of the annual cricket match, which brings out Robert’s competitive side.

Violet’s great niece Rose arrives, and Carson has the power to decide Thomas’s future _ but the scheming valet could have a most unexpected ally.


MasterChef: The Professionals 
(BBC Two, 8.30pm)

For those of us who struggle to recognise one end of a spatula from the other, the Beeb’s signature telly culinary effort has kept us entertained for years.

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Most of us know the drill by now, but for the uninitiated, the Bafta award-winning competition tests the skills of professional chefs, who are pushed to the brink of their gastronomic limits, before a winner is crowned the next big thing in the culinary world.


Dara O Briain’s Science Club 
(BBC Two, 9pm)

Stand-up comedian and all-round clever clogs Dara O Briain again proves his uncanny ability to make complex science both fun and funny. For this new series, the Mock the Week frontman will focus on one topic each week, ranging from space exploration to music, and examine it from every possible angle. We’re promised in-depth discussions, illustrative films and on-the-spot reports into some of the more fascinating aspects of modern science.


Secret State (Channel 4, 10pm)

Very loosely based on Chris Mullins’ A Very British Coup, this political drama stars Gabriel Byrne as Tom Dawkins who, as deputy prime minister, decides to take on the American petrochemical company Petrofex after a devastating accident on British soil.

But it’s not going to be easy for him. As a man who believes in transparency and open government, he’s got his work cut out in tackling vested interests as he goes about finding out the truth and getting justice for the families.


Kirstie’s Vintage Home (Channel 4, 8pm)

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In her new series,Kirstie will be showing us how to bring a little retro style to our properties.

The first people to undergo Kirstie’s handicraft masterclass are Colin Webster and Amber Moss, whose 1960s maisonette in Edinburgh should be the perfect pad for a couple of young groovers. Instead, they are drowning in clutter, some of it belonging to their baby, but some the result of panic buying bargains from the internet.

As well as teaching them to be more selective with their shopping, Kirstie shows them how combining classic techniques with cutting-edge materials can give their home a retro feel and take it back to its 1960s roots.


Castle (Five, 9pm)

This witty saga also appeal as it exploits the winning formula ofcharismatic protagonist (Nathan Fillion); gorgeous sidekick (Stana Katic), and a ‘will they, won’t they?’ frisson that runs throughout.

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A dead 20-something woman is found hanging by her wrists from a playground climbing frame, her semi-clothed body covered in caramel sauce. Barry, the owner of bondage shop The Love Shackle, provides handy information that identifies the victim and ex-shopper as Tyler Benson’s girlfriend. Could Lady Irena hold the key to unlocking the case?

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