This is the first of a new regular feature on Clear Blue Skies: "The CBS TV Week", taking a look at the gems (or dross) on our screens over the following seven days. I'll only be looking at the five basic channels and each week I'll pick a particular type of programme to concentrate on. If you want to suggest a theme for a particular week then feel free to do so in the comments. This week, to celebrate the return of Spooks to BBC1, the theme is British Dramas.
In recent years the BBC has produced a number of good quality new dramas - it's one of the things it does very well indeed, if you ask me. There have been slick shows like Trust and Hustle and more homely ones like Born or Bred and Down To Earth and a whole range in between. Spooks definitely belongs at the slick end of the spectrum, a show about the workings of MI5 that gets the mix between realism and fantasy just right, in a way that Bugs (that 90s show that had Craig McLachlan and that guy from Eldorado in it) never did. Everything, from the characters to the scenarios to the technology is just implausible enough to be entertaining without going so far that it becomes silly. Very good television. Spooks starts on Monday on BBC1 at 9p.m.
On Tuesday at the same time, BBC1 broadcasts a very different sort of drama. I wasn't going to bother watching A Thing Called Love but there was nothing else on on Tuesday night while I was doing the washing up so I did. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was well acted, thought-provoking and slightly irreverent. There was a nice touch of farce, at one point, too. I'll definitely be tuning in again next week.
Elsewhere on BBC1 there's the usual two trips to Holby for the weekly dose of medical dramas (Sat 8.20 p.m. and Tue 8 p.m.), a trip up to the Highlands for Monarch of the Glen (Sun 8 p.m.) and a repeat of the highly rated (though I didn't watch them) Canterbury Tales (Thu 9 p.m.). That quite a mixture.
On the other hand, the ITV schedule seems overfull with murder. There's Midsomer Murders on Sunday, Trial and Retribution on Monday and Tuesday and Rosemary on Thyme on Friday (all at 9 p.m.). Surely that's too much for anyone? Heartbeat (Sun 8 p.m.) and Steel River Blues (Wed 9 p.m.) complete the line up. Somehow, I think I'll be watching the Beeb.
And that's it. The other three channels don't show much in the way of British Drama but I'm sure they'll all get a mention as the theme changes.