Neil Midgley is a freelance journalist who writes about TV for The Daily Telegraph (and anyone else who’ll buy him sweets, for that matter). He shares his sofa with his black cat, Starbuck.
Long Lost Family
Must be something in my eye
17th June, ITV, 9.00pm
As 68-year-old Sue Udy sets off to trace her daughter, given up nearly 50 years ago for adoption, you’ll know you’re going to cry. You'll cry early and often, in fact, at ITV's returning sob-fest. When Sue got pregnant, her boyfriend abandoned her – leaving her all alone to face a dangerous breach birth. The hospital phoned Sue’s estranged father, to get permission for a Caesarean section – but he refused. “If she’s going to die, let her die,” said Sue’s dad. “She may learn her lesson that way.”
The Route Masters: Running London's Roads
Lanes, brains and automobiles
18th June, BBC Two, 9.00pm
Having been snarled last weekend among Bradford's relentlessly red traffic lights, I can only marvel at the skill and expertise that goes into managing the London road network every day. This new series takes us inside the nerve centre to meet Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer of Surface Transport, and his team. Emmerson has £30million worth of computerised control-room kit, and his top priority is the antiquated but pivotal Blackwall Tunnel. If its south side gets blocked, the orbital M25 motorway will grind to a standstill within 45 minutes.
Like Trevor Sorbie, but slightly deranged
19th June, BBC Four, 10.00pm
My hairdresser, Ben, gossips for Britain – and sometimes brings his two tiny gay dogs into work. But Ben looks like a librarian next to Sue (Doon Mackichan), the owner of Quick Cuts salon in this new sitcom. Sue breaks up with her boyfriend by throwing his XBox out of the window, and then takes dodgy tranquillisers that turn her wee blue. Her customers spout filthy one-liners, too. "It was the worst sex I ever had," says one. "He was like a seal trying to stay on a rock."
Saving the world, one puppy at a time
20th June, Channel 5, 8.00pm
The puppies featured in this returning consumer-rights series had short, sad lives. Sold when she was too young and too ill, one tiny Jack Russell died just days later - leaving her new owners broken-hearted. Melinda Messenger visits the rogue puppy farm, and manages to save two equally fragile pups. The relentlessly gruff Dominic Littlewood, meanwhile, takes the role of Mr Angry. "You should be ashamed," he shouts at the guilty dog-breeder, manically thrusting a photo of a sick puppy at her car window as she drives away.
Adults do the funniest things
21st June, Channel 4, 11.05pm
If a stranger tries to rope you into their harmless-but-weird behaviour, be warned: you could be the next victim of this hidden-camera prank show. ‘Ursula’, billed as a ‘celebrity stalker’, sits down on the bus next to an ordinary bloke – and tells him she thinks he’s Peter Andre. At first, he just laughs it off. But Ursula is so persistent that, by the time he reaches his stop, he’s recorded an outgoing message on her voicemail. And yes, it includes the words: ‘This is Peter Andre. I love Ursula.’
The Voice UK: the Final
Now turn your chairs to face the TV
22nd June, BBC One, 7.15pm
BBC One's singing show is coming back for a third run next year, but not necessarily with the same judging panel. So tonight's second-series finale might be your last chance to see Sir Tom Jones, Jessie J, Danny O'Donoghue and will.i.am performing their unique brand of four-part harmony. The two-hour show also features guest performances from Michael Bublé, Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams. Oh, and after a fourth-place elimination round, the remaining contestants will sing one last song to determine this year's winner.
Andy Murray: the Man Behind the Racquet
From Dunblane to Centre Court
23rd June, BBC One, 10.25pm
Tomorrow, Freesat's massive summer of sport gets its strawberries-and-cream on – it's the opening day of Wimbledon. Hopes have never been higher that Andy Murray will, after his Olympic success, finally lift the trophy. This documentary shows how the reticent Scotsman stays at the top of his game, using ice baths and huge elastic bands. And celebrity fans chip in, assessing Murray's unique appeal. "The worst thing that could happen to Andy Murray," says James Corden, "is he suddenly gets his teeth veneered and starts acting like a superstar."