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Best of this week's TV.

Byline: David Mark


TUE, BBC1, 10.35pm

Michael's pleasure principle

Think you know pleasure? Think that having your thighs stroked with a warm, wet shammy leather while eating a Galaxy and watching Miss Marple is an unequivocal joy?

Think you know pain? Reckon that a swift kick to the shins and stepping on an upturned plug in bare feet can never be described as anything other than a sensation of agony? Well, prepare to be surprised in this exploration of what feels nice and what doesn't.

Of course, it tells us a lot of what we already know. Namely, that pleasure is vital for our survival - without it we wouldn't eat or have sex and would soon die out as a species. But how does pleasure work and what gives us the most pleasure in life? Scientist Michael Mosley aims to find out.

Along the way he learns how the hottest chilli in the world creates euphoria in the brain, why parents have an overwhelming surge of love for their newborn child and what happens if you turn your own wedding into a chemistry experiment.

We all know that where there is pleasure, pain can't be far behind, and Michael gamely exposes himself to some painful experiments to show why the two are so interlinked. Why is pain so important and how can we measure it? How much pain are we prepared to endure if the reward is right and what would happen if we couldn't feel pain at all? But how far is Michael prepared to go in the name of pleasure? Will he be able to overcome enormous pain and stress in order to experience one of the biggest pleasure kicks in the world?



A grave concern Ah, those lovable con artists. Decent, selfless and upstanding citizens one and all - once you get past the lying, cheating and swindling.

The scripts can sometimes be a bit daft, but there's little doubt that when it comes to attracting guest stars, few series do it better than Hustle. Maybe that's because the outlandish plots give performers an opportunity to ham it up a little.

The latest in a long line of famous faces to join the gang, albeit temporarily, is Denis Lawson, an actor who really should have his own long-running franchise rather than appearing in those led by other people.

He plays Benny, a friend of the gang.

However, at the beginning of the story, they believe their chum is dead - in fact, Ash is on his way to Benny's funeral when he bumps into him.

Benny reveals he's lost his love of the game, but to escape a mounting debt to Danush, a dodgy credit lender, he has been forced to fake his own death.

Robert Glenister, Robert Vaughn, Adrian Lester, Matt Di Angelo and Kelly Adams head the regular cast.


Nurse Jackie was one of the revelations of last year - an awardladen dark comedy exploring what it is to be a "good" nurse in an age that seems to offer no moral code. So, obviously the BBC has done very little to promote its return - still less place it in peak time.

Needless to say, those viewers who do stumble upon the opener of season two will be delighted to learn it has lost none of its appeal.

After the confrontation with Eddie at the end of season one, it's now a few months later and Jackie is on the beach with her family.

She's cut ties with Eddie and is determined to dive back in and spend more time with her family.

Back at All Saints, Jackie deflects blame about the narcotic shortage. She steadfastly refuses Dr O'Hara's offers of financial help and endures Sam, the altered nurse and his new-found sobriety.

A thwarted Dr Cooper lodges an official complaint against Jackie with Mrs Akalitus as she fights a deaf woman's insurance company to cover her hand injury.

Eddie overdoses and is brought into All Saints just so he can get Jackie's attention.

Rightly garnering much acclaim, much is due to Edie Falco's performance in the title role, and her able cast of supporting thesps - Eve Best, Merritt Wever, Peter Facinelli, Haaz Sleiman, Anna Deavere Smith and Paul Schulze.



Hardly a month goes by without the papers being full of some tragic story about an aspiring model who has died after living on pineapples and salt for the previous six months.

So it's probably just as well that some wise people are doing research on which diets can have deadly consequences.

Here, dietician Anu Bhatia explains the effects of extreme dieting methods on the human body and reveals which are the very best alternatives to lose weight.

The programme also follows six Britons who have opted for a crash diet, and members of the public share their experiences of trying to shed pounds quickly.

Participants include Jacqui Wallace.


Tue, channel 5, 9pm

Survivors star max beesley guests in this instalment of the hit drama. a decapitated man is found entangled in a barbed wire fence in the woods, and further investigation prompts ray and nick to suspect he was a member of a group of fanatical vampire roleplayers. The victim's friends suggest he might have met his end at the hands of a rival faction of would-be werewolves.


Fri, channel 4, 10pm

The ever-busy davina mcCall hosts a new series of the high jeopardy gameshow in which contestants can win a million pounds - all they have to do is hold on'to it until the end of the programme. They are challenged to place large quantities of the cash over trap doors and face a series of questions, the wrong answers to which will lose them money every time they slip up.


SAT, BBc2, 9.45pm

Historical showdown

Historically accurate? Well, no. But as entertainment goes, The Tudors has been a bona fide smash and it is with considerable glee that fans welcome it back to the screen for a fourth series, with sex, drugs and beheadings aplenty.

With his brief marriage to Anne of Cleves annulled, King Henry VIII immerses himself in a new relationship, this time with the teenager Katherine Howard. While Katherine's arrival is marred by the loathing of Henry's daughter, Lady Mary, and dogged by the shadows of her own amorous past, England's king faces a bloody religious reformation, an uneasy relationship with Scotland, and intrigue within the royal court fuelled by those with designs on the throne.

We see how, at first, the monarch is intoxicated by the charms of his seductive young bride. He tells his confidant, Charles Brandon (Henry Cavill), that, "I feel almost like a new man, Charles. Sex - great medicine!"

But, as his courtiers start circling lasciviously round Catherine, Henry soon becomes consumed by jealousy. When he discovers that she has betrayed him with Culpepper (Torrance Coombs), the ailing King flies into a rage and, yet again, has a wife executed.

As Katherine's infidelity and failure to produce a son sentences her to an all-too-familiar fate, the King marries Catherine Parr as England enters an ill-advised war with France that takes its toll on both Henry's fragile health and his army's strength.

And as the showdown between Catholics and Protestants exposes religious fault lines across Europe, Henry's egomaniacal madness reaches new heights as his kingdom threatens to implode.


WeD, STV, 7.30pm

Best of British

There really isn't any good reason to watch the National Television Awards unless your name is Ant, Dec or David Tennant. After all, the nominations make no sense, the winners rarely look surprised and the chances of something controversial happening are utterly nil.

But there's something compelling about this feast of back-slapping, and considering last year served up some genuinely good telly in the form of Sherlock, Ashes To Ashes and Matt Smith's debut in Doctor Who, it might well be worth your time.

Dermot O'Leary is our host here. Meanwhile, on Saturday on Channel 4 at 9pm, big laughs are guaranteed.

This is British comedy's biggest night of the year, where the UK's top comedic talent come together to celebrate the past year's triumphs.

Only Jonathan Ross is brave enough to take them all on with his quick wit and acerbic jibes that have made this the must-see event in the awards calendar.

As the British Comedy Awards enter their 21st year, Channel 4 brings the ceremony bang up to date, reinvigorating the brand and returning to a live broadcast to inject spontaneity, excitement and edge into the already raucous proceedings.


MONDAY, C4, 9pm

Some TV viewers burst into tears every time they see the Andrex puppy, while others didn't even cry when Ashley died in Coronation Street.

But it's impossible not to be caught up in the emotion of this superb fly-on-the-wall documentary that never leaves a dry eye in the house.

Channel 4 bosses have clearly realised that reality telly is 'so last decade' and that something new and inspirational is needed to pull in the audiences.

And the ratings for this effort speak for themselves, as expectant mums tune in, braced to see what birth is all about, and the downright curious fight a losing battle in the urge to flick the channel.

The series continues tonight observing differing responses to labour, as one dad shows how humour can lift spirits, while one prefers to impart motivational pep talks. We're following the journeys of Julia and Dean, whose unexpected pregnancy may prove complicated now it's reached the delivery stage.

Julia was once told her heart wouldn't be able to cope with the stress of pregnancy and will have to be kept under close medical supervision.

Meanwhile, down the corridor, Donna and Wayne await the arrival of their second child, but it's not without its fears. Donna's first labour lasted for days and she's hoping there's not going to be a repeat performance this time around.

Taking the medicine

Do you have a wart in the shape of Walter Smith? Knock-knees? Tusks? Have you got the sort of under-arm aroma that smells like you've got a herring in a headlock? If so, and you're too ashamed to tell your friends and family, why not tell millions of strangers instead?

Yes, the Embarrassing Doctors are back for a new series, ready to treat more brave souls who are at the end of their tether.

This really isn't the kind of show you want to flick over to while midway through your tea. There is always a good chance you will be confronted by some wobbly, middle-aged man squeezing his man-boobs together like he is kneading dough.

Worse still, it could be a "ladies' problems" special, getting up close and personal with people who sneezed mid star-jump - with eye-watering results.

Still, when it comes to compulsive viewing, there really is nothing like it and there are few shows on TV that prompt more "my goodness, did you see that?!" messages on Facebook.

So, we're glad to have them back.

They're taking their mantra, "There's no shame, we're all the same" to seaside and holiday destinations across the UK, and in tonight's opening show, even over to Fuengirola on Spain's Costa Del Sol to help cure those Brits with embarrassing beach body problems.

Dr Dawn Harper's in the mobile clinic on the beach and her first patient is Russell, with a huge protrusion that he's kept under wraps for 10 years. Meanwhile Dr Christian Jessen and Dr Pixie McKenna hit the night-time bars and clubs to find frisky young Brits abroad armed with a new Rapid Test for Chlamydia, the number one sexually-transmitted infection.

Back in the UK, Dr Pixie sees a young woman with two wombs who wants advice on carrying a baby, and a 20-year-old with inflamed tonsils that she has to clean out with a cotton bud.

Dr Dawn helps a woman who's been sitting on her embarrassing rectal prolapse for a decade and Dr Christian tackles a worrying case of warts. Csi: We also meet a woman living with an extraordinary condition which means her left leg is constantly clenched up by her hip.

Clothes guru Gok is taking his fashion-conscious show on tour to help women everywhere

Wan for the road


TUESDAY, ChannEl 4, 8pm

He's made more women take their clothes off than Russell Brand, and spent more time being hugged by plump women than Mr Kipling.

Yes, they say diamonds are a girl's best friend (some would argue for a pastie and an clair), but surely Gok Wan must come a close second.

There's truly nobody like him when it comes to looking at women who think they look like Rab C Nesbitt in drag, and telling them they should feel confident in their own radiant beauty.

Admittedly, it would be nice if the women he speaks to had taken the word of their husbands and boyfriends and hadn't felt the urge to call in a TV crew, but that's just nit-picking.

The flamboyant stylist returns to the schedules with this new and improved version of his Fashion Fix brand - attempting to take the haughtiness out of haute couture and has persuaded women the world over embrace their inner beauty.

The series features multiple makeovers, 'the Best of British' and the all-important catwalk face-off.

Each week, the action unfolds in one location where Gok Wan takes over the entire town with his pop-up catwalk. He treats the local community to mini makeovers, a styling master class and reveals those all-important tricks of the trade to make everyone look fabulous in their clothes. In each edition a group of local ladies receives the full Gok treatment - a fashion makeover that is later revealed to their friends, family and the entire town.

And this year Gok involves the whole community in his mission to banish the nation's wardrobe disasters.

In addition, fashion buyer Brix Smith-Start and Gok reunite as they go head-to-head in a fashion face-off.

The designer diva campaigns for high-end fashion while Gok strives for the high street to prove nobody needs to spend a fortune to look great.

Want to know more about the only man in history who has inspired women to get naked without wanting to sleep with them in return? Gok was born in Leicester, and his father came to the UK from Hong Kong when he was a teenager.

After working for a while doing hair and make-up, he managed to wangle his way in with some big celeb names and this led to several bits of TV work on GMTV, Big Brother's Little Brother, The Xtra Factor and various shows on MTV.

But he got his big break when he landed his own Channel 4 show, How To Look Good Naked.

He made lots of women strip off, stand in the middle of shopping centres and be jeered at by lots of hungry shoppers. Now if that doesn't give you confidence we don't know what will.

Since then he's been virtually ever-present on our screens, serving up endless shows based in the world of fashion and proving himself to be a genuinely likeable soul.


BEST MEDICINE...Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton WEIGHING IN...Jacqui Wallace REGAL...Henry (Jonathan Rhys-Mayers) and Catherine (Joely Richardson) WHAT's UP DOCs... Dawn, Christian and Pixie deal with weird complaints CLOTHES MAKETH THE MAN...Gok Wan goes out and about
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 22, 2011
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