The next two week's top TV

by Ben Felsenburg

Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc and Tess Daly are a few of the stars joining forces for the Children In Need (Friday 16, BBC1, 7.30pm) extravaganza, featuring a one-off edition of Strictly Come Dancing and the conclusion of The One Show’s epic rickshaw challenge as the trekkers who set off from Calais finally arrive almost a week later in Salford, while in Mastermind: Children In Need Special (Friday 16, BBC2, 10pm), youngsters and celebrities face questions from quizmaster Stephen Mangan. Presented by music scholar Tom Service and historian Amanda Vickery, Holst and Vaughan Williams: Making Music English (Saturday 17, BBC2, 9pm) celebrates the work of the two great composers who looked back to the national legacy of Thomas Tallis and Henry Purcell to create work that enthralled the concert-hall audiences of the 20th century and is still an essential part of the classical canon, from the stirring epic moments of The Planets to the lyrical delights of The Lark Ascending.

In Dynasties (Sunday 18, BBC1, 8pm), David Attenborough's epic natural history survey turns to Atka bay in Antarctica, where Emperor penguins mount a determined struggle to rear their chicks amid the frozen barren wastes. What kind of dastardly rogue would with cold, calculating and unconscionable avarice exploit the longings and even desperation of those who are searching Simply for Love? Find out in Panorama: Billion Pound Romance Scam (Monday 19, BBC1, 8.30pm) as the tables are turned by investigative reporter Athar Ahmad, who goes undercover to expose the organised international criminal gangs using internet dating sites to rob the naive and vulnerable, in some cases siphoning off many thousands of pounds. Could solid, dependable Adrian Dunbar – best known as superintendent ted Hastings from Line of Duty – really be capable of murder? That’s the question on which the new thriller drama Blood (Monday 19, Channel 5, 9pm) turns, as Dunbar plays a doctor in a small Irish town on whom suspicion falls after his wife dies in an apparent accident that causes his black sheep of a daughter to return home and question everything she thought she knew about her family. ‘We may not be totally up it – let’s admit that,’ says John Sergeant with considerable understatement in Britain By Boat (Friday 23, Channel 5, 8pm).

The former political reporter, whose turn on Strictly Come Dancing we shall forever treasure, has been paired with former newsreader Michael Buerk, taking to the seas in the 50ft yacht Bonaventure for a scenic, accident-prone voyage, starting off in Suffolk and going around the south-east coast, with a stop-off for oysters. Just what exactly is it that’s going on inside a baby’s brain? Paediatrician guddi singh leads a fascinating series of experiments over three episodes in Babies: Their Wonderful World (Monday 26, BBC2, 8pm) to reveal the psychological workings of those who are too young to speak but know their own minds, and amid the moments of fun there are revealing insights, particularly into early attitudes to gender.

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