What to watch on TV this week

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist - Credit: BBC/Two Brothers Pictures/Ian Routledge

The Tourist, BBC 1, Saturdays, 9pm – all episodes also available now to stream on iPlayer 

I spent a Baileys-fuelled post New Year afternoon and evening rattling through episode after episode of the Beeb’s new Saturday night thriller which is almost, but not quite, as good as previous seasonal heavy hitters The Night Manager and The Bodyguard. 

The action begins almost from the off with our arrogant, unnamed protagonist, played by Jamie Dornan (The Fall, 50 Shades of Gray) being chased across the dusty, unrelenting Australian Outback by a maniac in a lorry. 

Needless to say, fate isn’t on his side, and ‘nameless man’ ends up in hospital with absolutely no memory of anything. His name. Where he’s from. What he does for a living. Even which foods he likes. 

At first, it seems he’s just the victim of a random maniac. But when a booth at a diner explodes, in the very spot he was sitting in just minutes before, it’s clear there’s nothing random or unplanned about what’s happening. Somebody wants this guy dead. 

And so begins a game of cat and mouse, with ‘nameless man’ scurrying to pull together any clues that could lead him to the answers he needs. 

He’s aided by shy probationary constable Helen (the excellent Danielle Macdonald) desperate to prove to herself, and her frustratingly controlling, gaslighting fiancee Ethan, that she could be a good copper. 

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Also on the scene is Luci (Shalom Brune-Franklin) - who possibly (definitely) knows more than she’s letting on. 

This is a twisty, turny ride of a show, with thrills and spills aplenty, and a sprinkle of humour thrown in for good measure. 

The shooting is clever and thoughtful too. While in hospital we don’t see faces of hospital staff or visitors, only their arms, legs and bodies from ‘unnamed man’s’ perspective. A device that literally puts us in his place.  

And there are long sweeping shots of highways and roads between the sparse towns and villages around Burnt Ridge (where much of the action takes place), accentuating just how remote the area is – the distance somehow mirroring how far and how long it will take ‘nameless man’ to uncover the truth of his life. 

The cast of Around The World in 80 Days

The cast of Around The World in 80 Days - Credit: BBC / Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films (RTBF)

Around the World in 80 days, BBC 1, Sundays, 7.10pm and all episodes on iPlayer now 

This is surely what Sunday night TV is all about. Something riveting, playful and beautifully filmed to watch with the family after a big roast. 

Kudos to the BBC for showing its adaptation of Jules Verne’s much-loved novel in double bills – yes, two whole episodes every Sunday, back-to-back.  

David Tennant (who seems to be everywhere at the moment) stars as our hero. A wealthy, enigmatic and practical Englishman who seems to spend most of his time at the Reformer Club. 

There is much to divide the BBC’s version from the classic tome. Rather than Detective Fix, who has his sights set on Fogg as a criminal, we have Abigail Fix, strong-willed journalist daughter of Telegraph owner Fortescue (Jason Watkins). 

While Peter Sullivan is marked as the series’ ‘baddie’ as Bellamy who, despite being in the red, wages £20,000 that Fogg can’t (as he suggests) circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days, returning on Christmas Eve. 

With Abigail tailing, valet Passpartout (Ibrahim Koma) at his side, and with a determination that borders on manic, Fogg sets sail on an epic adventure that does not mirror the book, but is rather written in the spirit of Verne. 

And what an adventure it is. With balloon flights. Sandstorms. Shipwrecks. A Wild West shoot out. Exotic hotels. Even a bit of romance. 

You’ll want to watch it all in one sitting! 

The Masked Singer

Can you guess who's inside the outfits on The Masked Singer? - Credit: ITV/Bandicoot TV

The Masked Singer, ITV, Saturdays, 7pm 

On paper surely this show shouldn’t work? A bunch of celebs dressed in silly outfits singing and having a boogie, while a panel tries to decide who they could possibly be. But...this is addictive viewing. And a brilliant laugh on a Saturday night. 

Hosted by Joel Dommett, whose suits get more outlandish by the week, and fronted by a panel with electric comedic chemistry (Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora and Mo Gilligan), The Masked Singer is pure weekend joy, with something for everyone. 

There’s the fun factor of course, singing (some of them are rather good) and the chance to play detective. I’m not ashamed to say I have a little notebook where I jot down the clues revealed in VTs before each performance, desperate to try and outwit my daughter and mates in my guessing. 

Every year the star status of contestants climbs. Last year Grammy winner Joss Stone took the top prize, with other reveals including R&B heavyweight Ne-Yo, Lenny Henry, Mel B, Gabrielle and Sue Perkins. 

So far in 2022 Glora Hunniford has been unveiled as the celeb inside the Snow Leopard mask, while M People singer Heather Small has been outed as Chandelier. 

Fan theory abounds online over who Lionfish, Doughnuts, Traffic Cone, Panda, Rockhopper, Mushroom, Firework, Poodle and Robobunny are. Give it a watch and see whose voice you recognise. 

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