After getting thoroughly soaked this morning on the way to work (TV Troll's tolerance for H2O is somewhere around the level of the Wicked Witch of the West's) , we are in need of a nice night at home in front of the telly - and what a night it will be, oh yes. The problem is going to be deciding which channel to watch. For those who fancy a lot of back-slapping, a hefty dose of designer oh-my-god-what-was-s/he-thinking (oh wait - it's Jonathan Ross, he always looks like that) and some speeches thanking parents, the heavens and the creative influence of LSD (that last one might be a lie), the only choice is The British Academy Television Awards (aka the Baftas, Mon 9pm/11pm ITV1). If you read the papers this morning, you probably already know who won what; still, awards ceremonies are their own kind of fun, even if you pretty much know what's going to happen beforehand.
If lashings of luvvie love-ins make you feel like a lairy lumpenprole, then the Baftas probably aren't for you. We'll be watching the semifinals of
Universally Challenged University Challenge (Mon 8pm/8.30pm BBC2) and oscillating between feeling smug (for questions on reality TV shows and 19th century French literature) and stupid (for questions on, er, everything else), while wishing that one of the teams would emulate the magnificent performance by the Manchester lot - including cuddly media nexus David Aaronovitch - who in 1975 answered every question Bamber posed with either "Trotsky", "Che" or "Lenin". After Uni Challenge we're 'treated' to a double-bill of new comedy: a welcome new series for Dead Ringers (Mon 9pm BBC2) - although in our opinion it's one of those shows that truly is better on the radio - and Feel The Force (Mon 9.30pm BBC2), about incompetent police officers, which may be too close to the truth for comfort or, indeed, comedic effect. Written by a former Smack The Pony comedian and starring Green Wing alumna Michelle Gomez, the first episode of what is billed as a comedy for a"family audience" features - or rather, doesn't feature - the disappearing corpse of a suicide and "a situation where the stakes are high and where [the characters'] faults and inadequacies have huge consequences". Morbid laughs all round! Dead Ringers, on the other hand, is to take the piss out of scat-freak "Dr" Gillain McKeith. We thoroughly approve.
The third competitor in the 9pm slot is Five's Larger Than Life: Big Love (Mon 9pm Five), featuring the familiar televisual equivalent of a Snickers pie, i.e. something appallingly calorie-laden which you just know is going to fug your arteries up at hyperspeed but which, somehow, you just can't resist: lots of really, REALLY fat people talking about their sex lives. The fetish of 'feeding' - once confined to the internet's wild frontier, now part of everyday speech - is featured, along with a woman who explains the erotic possibilities of super-sized sex. Prurient? You think? Continuing the vein of being told all about the love-lives of people we have never met, there's always Bride And Grooming (Thur 8pm Five) about a couple of eejits who think that undergoing cosmetic surgery a month before their wedding is a) a good idea and b) going to make their lives sooooo much better. Watch their dreams fall apart, and smile grimly or sympathise - your choice.
Speaking of weird fetishes, we understand there's some sort of book about paintings, codes, murderous albinos and the perpetuation of national stereotypes that's been quite popular in some circles, and Five has decided to
cash in devote a whole night to the exegesis and analysis of the phenomenon. Da Vinci Code Night (Wed from 8pm Five) will give yet more airtime and appearance fees to experts in Merovingian dynasties, biblical background, and Templar lore. Who would ever have thought a PhD in Magdalene studies could be so lucrative? Probably much more lucrative than winning The Apprentice (Wed 9pm BBC2), which offers the winner a mere £100,000-p.a. job. Working flat-out for Sir Alan sounds a lot less enjoyable than swannign around Paris talking about knights, artefacts of power and secret societies; maybe the failed Apprentices should consider a career change.
After the demise of Footballers Wive$ (RIP), we'll never know if Tanya survived the poison-laced line Garry fed her, if Jackie will ever bring Garry to justice, and what colour Lucy's baby will be. Damn you, ITV! Just a Christmas special, something, anything to ease the pain? Bastards! Channel 4 have pinched the Thursday slot for their one-off, thematically similar All In The Game (Thur 9pm C4), about the back-room deals and backstabbings at a premiership club - bound to be a pale imitation of Earl's Park. AITG is a one-off drama - the petition to get C4 to extend it into a series starts here. Along with the petition to cast Zoe Lucker as the recently-widowed wife of the new star player. And Gary Lucy as the troubled young striker. Oh, go on ...