TV this week: Text Santa| Strictly Come Dancing

The Great Train Robbery. Pic: BBC
The Great Train Robbery. Pic: BBC
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Your picks of the TV shows this week.

MONDAY

A Night Of Heroes - The Military Awards (STV, 9pm)

THIS event at London’s National Maritime Museum sees a total of ten awards given those who have made outstanding contributions to Britain’s armed services.

Each year senior members of the royal family attend, along with celebrities, and although no specific guests have been announced yet, we’re promised the appearance of some suitably big names.

TUESDAY

The Great British Christmas Bake Off (BBC Two, 8pm)

THE Beeb are holding this up as one of the jewels in the crown of their festive TV highlights, and understandably so.

This masterclass-style edition will prove must-see viewing as judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood impart more of their endless knowledge.

WEDNESDAY

The Great Train Robbery (BBC One, 8pm)

ON 8 August 1963, the men who would be dubbed ‘the Great Train Robbers’ targeted a mail locomotive from Glasgow, getting away with £2.6million (£40million today.) Now, two dramas over consecutive nights explore the heist: one from the perspective of the criminals and one from the point of view of the coppers.

THURSDAY

Alex Polizzi’s Perfect Christmas (BBC Two, 8pm)

THERE was once a time when all you expected from Alex Polizzi was to see her sort out people’s failing businesses. Not any more. Alex is a massive fan of Christmas, so she was thrilled when she was offered the chance to host this programme, in which she uses not only her own good taste, but also the skills of experts in their fields to create a festive atmosphere in her own home.

FRIDAY

Text Santa (STV, 8pm)

THIS three-hour-long fundraising extravaganza is filled with celebrities doing all manner of silly things, as well as festive performances and tear-jerking reports about those who stand to benefit from the money raised. Presented by Ant and Dec, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley and Paddy McGuinness.

SATURDAY

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One, 6.30pm)

Trying to guess the winner of this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing hasn’t been easy. Sophie Ellis-Bextor emerged as an early favourite; Natalie Gumede appeared to be more consistent, while Abbey Clancy won maximum points with a Saturday Night Fever-inspired salsa.

Meanwhile, Patrick Robinson and Susanna Reid have also both had a turn on top of the leader board. But the speculation will soon be over, as we’re about to learn who will be lifting the coveted mirror ball trophy, won last year by Louis Smith.

SUNDAY

The Whale (BBC One, 9pm)

Martin Sheen plays Old Thomas Nickerson, a maritime veteran who recalls the time he was a cabin boy aboard the Essex, an ill-fated whaling ship.

Charles Furness also stars as young Tom, and we see him dealing with everything Mother Nature can throw at him, from destructive sea storms to powerful whales and the desolation of the sun. He also has to carry out dark, dangerous deeds in order to survive after being shipwrecked.

Sheen, a keen activist when he’s not working in high-profile movies and TV shows, was drawn to the project by its subject matter.

He’s well supported by co-stars Jonas Armstrong and Adam Rayner, who portray First Mate Owen Chase and Captain Pollard respectively, on whose accounts of the Essex’s sinking the drama is based.