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'Ripper Street', 'Celebrity Big Brother': This week in TV

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Ripper Street: Captain Jackson (ADAM ROTHENBERG), Edmund Reid (MATTHEW MACFADYEN), Bennet Drake (JEROME FLYNN)

© BBC / Tiger Aspect


After a rather underwhelming season of festive telly, I was actually rather pleased to be knocked out of a turkey sarnie and Quality Street-stuffed stupor by the grime of Ripper Street. A mix of Sherlock, The Sweeney and Victorian smut and filth.

Anyone tuning into the Beeb for some Lark Rise or Cranford bonny bonnet frivolity will have got a bit of a shock.

This new period police procedural sees Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg and Jerome Flynn team up (what's a three-way bromance? A trimance?) to rid the gutters of post-Jack the Ripper East End London of its nastiest criminals, scoundrels and, in the first episode, demented snuff-porn filmmakers.

Female characters were merely used for sex or killed (or in some cases both) and the characterisation has about as much depth as Joey Essex (Flynn's the muscle who thinks with his fists, Macfadyen is the good guy with a heart, Rothenberg is the slippery American with an eye for the ladies).

But despite these failings, I rather found myself enjoying the brutalness of Ripper Street. The show certainly isn't for the faint-hearted - Joe Gilgun stars in episode two as a Scouse Fagin type, running a vicious gang of wild youths - but I'd take the blood splatters and dingy Victorian alleyway thrills over any number of mechanical, clinicalCSI nonsense.

Ripper Street continues on Sunday nights on BBC One.

Heidi and Spencer arriving at the launch of Celebrity Big Brother 2013

© PA Images / Ian West/PA Wire


Talking of smut and filth, the New Year also brought with it yet another series of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. After 137 weeks of X Factor, I'm a Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing, you'll have to excuse me if the prospect of watching Frankie Dettori and Gillian Taylforth locked into a compound at Elstree doesn't exactly get my pulse racing.

Other 'stars' partaking in this year's fun and games include a Page 3 model called Lacey Banghard (The "I bet she does" gags are already wearing thin), who pushes the term celebrity to new limits (she was once in a photoshoot with another former Celebrity Big Brother nobody Rhian Sugden); Neil 'Razor' Ruddock, a half-man, half-beer gut former footballer, who casually tosses out misogynistic one-liners like most people throw away their trash; and Rylan from X Factor - the plastic-faced, Katie Price BFF oddball who we banished from our TV sets only a few weeks ago.

The shining light amid the soap dullards and Rylan are the US reality show two-headed monster that is Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. Heidi is a walking butt and boob implant combo smothered in California tan and a blonde wig. Spencer is a chipmunk-faced goof, who has previous for doing just about anything to make a buck and spouting conspiracy nonsense about 9/11 and a New World Order.

A more truly monstrous pairing you couldn't possibly wish for. I hope they win.

Celebrity Big Brother continues every single bloody night on Channel 5.

'Africa' Episode 1 - Kalahari

© BBC / Justine Evans


From the utterly ridiculous and pointless to the simply sublime. While Channel 5 treated us to giddy Brian Dowling pulling up the kilt of an out-of-work actor, BBC One brought some sanity and brilliance to the New Year schedules with David Attenborough's latest mega-project - Africa.

Giraffes whacking each other with their necks, rhinos having a night-time nuzzle, cart-wheeling spiders, blind catfish swimming in caves of water beneath the stunning and vast deserts of the Kalahari. I was won over at the giraffes.

Spellbinding, glorious, beautiful, unmissable TV. And without a single celebrity, public vote or Rylan Clark anywhere in sight.

Africa continues on Wednesday nights on BBC One.

Missed it? Don't miss out

Galapagos 3D with David Attenborough

© Sky


David Attenborough's Galapagos - If the weekly hour slabs of Africa aren't enough for you, try sampling Attenborough's more in-depth and educational approach on Sky1 and Sky 3D (if you don't mind wearing the silly glasses) as he explores the beauty and rare wildlife of the exotic Galapgos - Still available on Sky Go

Big Fat Quiz of the Year - The Daily Mail have spent the past week complaining and ferociously hitting the redial to Ofcom about the smut on Channel 4's annual chuckle-fest from Jimmy Carr and his chums. And if upsetting the Mail isn't advertisement enough for a TV show, I don't know what is - Still available for all Daily Mail readers to moan about on 4OD

What TV have you enjoyed in the New Year? Let us know below!

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