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Christmas 2016: best TV on today, Friday 30th December

Sky1 cooks up a banquet of betrayal with Delicious, plus EastEnders gets dramatic and The Real Marigold gang go on tour to Japan

Published: Friday, 30th December 2016 at 8:39 am

Delicious, 9pm, Sky1


Celebrity chef Leo (Iain Glen) has it all — a beautiful wife, Sam (Emilia Fox), a thriving hotel business and a passion for food. But he can’t keep away from his ex-wife, Gina (Dawn French), and the two are having food-fuelled sex in the secluded cabin where he first betrayed his vows. Whether he loves Gina or her incredible cooking (he built his reputation on recipes “stolen” from her) isn’t immediately obvious. But the truly tasty and intriguing thing about this drama is its sudden change of direction at the end of this first instalment. (I won’t say what, but the clues are there.)

Set in Cornwall, it looks beautiful as well, and I’m not just talking about the chiselled torso of son Michael (Ruairi O’Connor), who rather shamelessly creates his own Poldark-inspired West Country hayfield moment while hewing wood. But it’s not unalloyed cheer. A suicidal Michelin judge and Sam and Leo’s troubled, anorexic daughter, Teresa, add a dark, piquant edge to an ultimately satisfying platter.

The Real Marigold on Tour, 9pm, BBC2

The quartet (Miriam Margolyes, Wayne Sleep, Bobby George, Rosemary Shrager) resume their research into where to spend their golden years with a home stay in Kyoto, Japan. It’s totally different from Florida: the formality is a bit of a shock for this noisy, outspoken lot, although they’re impressed by the communal exercise routines and healthy diet alleged to improve longevity. These films give an entertaining, uplifting view of the challenges of old age with all its aches, prejudices, irritations and reliance on a loo being nearby. A bonus is the glimpse of what life is like for the elderly in other cultures.


Noel’s Sell or Swap Live, 7pm, C4

It’s Multi-Coloured Swap Shop! Or at least, it’s a modern spin on the 1970s/80s Saturday- morning show on BBC1 that first established Noel Edmonds as a master of live television formats that look unworkable on paper. Prowling around a rotating stage, Noel will whip up bids for as many as three auctions at a time, with an eclectic range of lots. They’ve been provided by people who have received a bad gift, made a rash purchase or simply grown tired of an object that causes family rows. We’re promised both funny and touching reasons for the sales, with long-held dreams depending on getting the right price.

Judi Dench: All the World’s Her Stage, 8pm, BBC2

She’s played everyone from Sally Bowles in Cabaret to 007’s M, a delinquent in Z Cars to Queen Victoria; and even in her 20s Judi Dench was being hailed as a Shakespeare veteran. In this glowing profile looking back over her 60-year career, she is rightly raved about by pals such as Ian McKellen, Billy Connolly, Samantha Bond and Bond himself, Daniel Craig. What people adore about her, apart from her supreme skill as an actor, is her warmth, wicked wit and lack of grandeur. In the very first interview she gave to RT in 1960, she met the interviewer at the Old Vic stage door, looking “quite unlike the quiet, demure Princess Katherine” she was playing in Henry V, and said: “There’s someone in my dressing room watching television. Let’s go round to the pub to talk.”

EastEnders, 8pm, BBC1

It's a strange old business, but it's often the case that when EastEnders announces a character is leaving, we suddenly start caring for them more. It happened with the Cokers early this year and now we're agonising over Lee, who reaches breaking point tonight.

Max's return causes friction as loyalties are questioned. And after years of lurking in the background, Shrimpy gets a storyline of his own when Donna and Roxy both vie for his attention at the hen party. Could this be the start of something massive for the hat-wearing, mod-haired market trader?

Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, 8pm, C4


The boysy, 100mph food show roars back to that cool caff on the end of Southend Pier. There, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty cook up a storm with the help of celebrity guests and fire up campaigns to make us eat like kings. This series they’ll be championing new causes including fresh-blood black pudding, British mussels and community fridges. In tonight’s opener, Jamie shows guest John Bishop how to knock up the perfect lasagne. Then the boys try to change the way children are fed during school holidays. And Jimmy builds a log hive to attract bees to his farm.


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