Pat Stacey rounds up the TV highlights for the weekend...
If it’s January, it must be time for The Voice UK (UTV/ITV, 8pm), which has so far failed to create a star with any durability. Apparently, last year’s winner, Ruti Olajugbagbe (nope, me neither), saw her debut single reach the lofty heights of No 14 in the charts, before disappearing a week later. Will they ever learn?
It’s feet, not vocal cords, doing the hard work in yet another new talent show, The Greatest Dancer (BBC1, 8pm). The gimmick here is that the contestants dance behind a walled screen.
The aim of Tony Robinson’s Time Travels (Channel 5, 7pm), says its host, is to “shine a light on the moments when history changed forever”. He’s going to need a lot of flashlight batteries, so, as this first of five episodes positively rips through the history books, from the Roman invasion of Britain in 60 AD to the first shots fired in World War One in 1914.
It’s FA Cup Third Round day, with the likes of Arsenal and the resurgent Manchester United in action, but if you don’t subscribe to BT Sport, which is showing games live, the extended FA Cup Match of the Day (BBC1, 10.20pm) has a full highlights package.
For the masochists among you, there are new runs of Winning Streak (RTE1, 8.15pm) and The Ray D’Arcy Show (RTE1, 9.45pm).
Those that go in for this kind of thing won’t need alerting to the return of Dancing with the Stars (RTE1, 6.30pm), or indeed Dancing on Ice (Virgin Media 1/UTV/ITV, 6pm).
Of more significance to some of us, however, is the first episode of Resistance (RTE1, 9.30pm), the new five-part War of Independence drama that comes, to quote the publicity, “from the team that brought you Rebellion”.
How you feel about that depends largely on your reaction to the first series. Personally, I found it alternately dull and soapy, and far from convincing. The new series has the same writer as Rebellion, Colin Teevan, but a different director, Briton Caroline Morshead, who has worked on Downton Abbey, No Offence and countless others, and promises it will be more of a pacey thriller than its predecessor. That can’t hurt.
The cast is headed by the returning Brian Gleeson and that fine British actor Paul Ritter.
Nobody will need convincing about the quality of Les Misérables (BBC1, 9pm) after last week’s excellent opening episode, but it faces stiff competition tonight from Manhunt (UTV/ITV, 9pm), a three-part true crime drama showing on consecutive nights.
Martin Clunes sheds his comedy persona and dons glasses to play detective Colin Sutton, whose dogged work and attention to detail eventually convicted the man who murdered young Milly Dowler.
As if one-hit sitcom (Not Going Out) is not enough, Lee Mack chases another with the comedy pilot Semi-Detached (BBC2, 10pm). He plays a wedding DJ. Oddly, it’s just 20 minutes long.
I imagine someone wants to see The James Corden Story (Channel 5, 10pm). I just can’t imagine who. Or why.