Springwatch, Goodness Gracious Me, The Fast Show – best TV on tonight

Start the week off right with the top picks for TV Bank Holiday Monday 26th May


Springwatch – 8pm, BBC2


Not many people remember Wild in Your Garden. The working title was Live from Animal Avenue and at the time – 2003 – it was the Natural History unit’s most ambitious outside broadcast to date, uncovering the secret lives of animals in one Bristol neighbourhood. The idea proved a hit with viewers and evolved into the more wide-ranging Springwatch format that has subsequently made wildlife almost as big a ratings winner for BBC2 as baking and cars.

This year, Springwatch celebrates its tenth birthday, and the show migrates from Wales to a new base at the RSPB’s Minsmere reserve on the Suffolk coast. It is one of the richest spots in the British Isles for wildlife, but as ever Springwatch cameras will be roaming further afield, too – to the west coast of Scotland, where Iolo Williams will be reporting daily on species such as white-tailed eagles, beavers and pine martens. All this, and another familiar furry creature returns to the Springwatch fold: Bill Oddie is back.

The Fast Show – 9pm, BBC2

These reboots are a reminder of how many great running gags The Fast Show had. But even die-hard fans, myself included, would admit those jokes might, via endless variations, have finally run their natural course. Mind you, I still laugh at Rowley Birkin QC’s incomprehensible stories (“Burble, burble… and I rather irrationally put my head inside its mouth!”) and old-school football pundit Ron Manager praising the “Barcelonians”. 

Two minor characters get a nice update here as Bob Fleming (of the troublesome cough) and sidekick Jed Thomas (“Arse!”) do their version of The Trip. And in what may be their last hurrah, Ted and Ralph are rescued by the Italian language.

Goodness Gracious Me – 10pm, BBC2

Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kulvinder Ghir, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia and “token white” Dave Lamb have lost none of their comedic talent since this sketch show last graced our screens in 2001. Shown as part of BBC2’s 50th anniversary celebrations, this one-off is a selection of new sketches featuring familiar characters, including the man who believes everything has its origins in India (Sherlock and pretty well every other TV detective from Poirot to Columbo) and oh-so-British social climber Mr Kapoor (this time hoping to stand as a Ukip candidate for Parliament). 

Among the new routines is an Indian version of Mary Poppins, a clever dig at one of our more right-wing newspapers in The Delhi Mail and a remake of The Frost Report’s class sketch that almost works. It’s not exactly subtle humour but the simple concept of taking Asian stereotypes and turning them on their heads is as relevant as ever.


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