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10 TV picks: having a laugh

We’re having a laugh with this week’s 10 TV picks.

From stand-up to sitcom, from shiny floor entertainment to gumshoe comedy drama, here are 10 new or returning TV shows to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway - ITV

Ant and Dec promised viewers the ‘happiest 90 minutes of the week’ with the return of their much-loved Saturday Night Takeaway to ITV.

The first of the new seven-part run, featuring brand new surprises and stunts alongside familiar favourites such as ‘Undercover’ and ‘I’m A Celebrity … Get Out Of Me Ear’, was watched by more than 7 million viewers on Saturday.

Hard to believe we know but this is the 17th series - and 20th year - of Takeaway since it first aired on ITV in 2002. It is also the first to feature a special behind-the-scenes show, available on the ITV Hub.

What they say: ‘The undisputed kings of the shiny-floor show return to bring some sparkle to our stay-at-home Saturday nights.’ Radio Times


Dating No Filter - Sky 1

You’d trust these comedians to make you laugh, but could they also help you find love?

This new Sky 1 series, beginning on Thursday puts that theory to the test as comic pairings including Daisy May Cooper and Susan Wokoma, Josh Widdecombe and Rosie Jones play Cupid with members of the public.

The comedians then provide ‘no filter’ commentary as we watch the singletons they set up on their first date. Whether it’s a match made in heaven - or hell - this new eight-part series based on a hit US format is a date very much worth keeping.

What they say: ‘The potential suitors will be treated to a series of activities to try to break the ice, ranging from axe throwing and ballroom dancing to pole dancing and a visit to a goat farm … Hilarious.’ Metro

Dating-No-Filter

Dead Pixels - E4

Dead Pixels is a comedy set in the world of gaming but you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy it.

Meg (Alexa Davies) and Nicky (Will Merrick) are loser flatmates who only come to life when they play the fictional massive multiplayer video game Kingdom of Scrolls, along with fellow veteran gamer Usman (Sargon Yelda) from the US.

Written by Jon Brown (Fresh Meat, Veep) and executive produced by Peep Show’s Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, it’s packed with as many one-liners as those shows would suggest. Relatable, true to life, and hilarious.

What they say: ‘A gamer comedy that's as addictive as World of Warcraft … Gut-bustingly funny.’ The Guardian


Resident Alien - Sky 1

This fish out of water (and out of this world) comedy drama tells the story of an alien on a mission to wipe out humanity but fortunately for everyone involved begins to have second thoughts.

Based on the cult Dark Horse Comics series and adapted by Family Guy’s Chris Sheridan, Alan Tudyk plays the alien who has to disguise himself as a human after his spaceship crash lands on earth.

Assuming the identity of a doctor in small town Colorado, he finds himself roped into solving a local murder mystery and wrestling with the moral dilemma ahead.

What they say: 'Retains a hint of darkness throughout that means you never quite become complacent … [this] shapeshifting sci-fi caper offers perfect escapism.’ The Guardian

Stand Up and Deliver - Channel 4

It’s one thing making your friends laugh down the pub (hypothetically speaking, obviously), quite another taking to the stage and trying to entertain an audience as a stand-up comedian.

But this is the unforgiving challenge facing five celebrities including the Rev Richard Coles, Sean Ryder and former Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn in this two-part Channel 4 special in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, beginning on Thursday.

But at least they each get two weeks of expert tutoring from their mentors including David Baddiel, Jason Manford and Zoe Lyons before they perform at Battersea Arts Centre.

What they say: ‘So much more interesting than a stand-up charity comedy gig. Will any of them turn out to have real comedy chops?’ Radio Times

Hypothetical - Dave

James Acaster and Josh Widdecombe are the MCs of this panel show in which the situations are hypothetical but the laughs are real.

Each week the pair present four quick-witted comedians with a series of absurd made-up scenarios, awarding them marks depending on how well they would deal with them.

The third series is currently airing on Dave on Wednesday nights and features guests including Richard Ayoade, Roisin Conaty, Sophie Duker and Joe Wilkinson.

What they say: ‘A world filled with improvisation, absurdity and the who's-who of the comedy circuit.’ The Herald


Ramy - Channel 4

This comedy drama about the pressures and dilemmas of growing up as a Muslim millennial in New Jersey has been garnering accolades on both sides of the Atlantic.

Co-creator Ramy Youssef is the Egyptian American grappling with his faith and lifestyle, caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a twentysomething generation for whom life has no consequences.

Youssef won a Golden Globe for the Emmy-nominated show which has been commissioned for a third series and is available to watch in its entirety on All4.

What they say: ‘Both a hoot and a fresh look at the complex issue of identity … Funny, sincere and like nothing else on television.’ London Evening Standard

Younger - Comedy Central

Younger tells the story of a 40-year-old single mother who lies about her age to get a job in the highly competitive world of publishing.

A winning mixture of comedy, drama and romance, Liza (Sutton Foster) pretends to be 26-years-old, a lie that gets her through the door but leads to her professional and personal lives becoming impossibly complicated.

Created by Darren Star (Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Sex and the City) it has been renewed for a seventh and final season by American broadcaster TV Land and just started airing its fifth series on Comedy Central UK on Monday nights.

What they say: ‘A fizzy New York fantasy that’s light without sacrificing its intelligence, a pleasure that comes with no residual guilt whatsoever.’ New York magazine


The Stand-up Sketch Show - ITV2

The stand-up comedy show with a twist has just returned to ITV2 for a third series on Monday nights.

The Stand-up Sketch Show features comics performing a routine in front of a live audience and recreating them in sketch form.

The ‘double your laughs’ format is a showcase for both established and new talent, with the new series featuring Russell Kane, Seann Walsh, Judi Love and Huge Davies.

What they say: ‘The funniest routines by renowned and up-and-coming comedians - bringing them to life in sketch form.’ Radio Times


Private Eyes - Sky Witness

Cindy Sampson and Jason Priestley star in this odd couple comedy drama which has just begun its fourth series on Sky Witness on Thursday nights.

Priestley plays a former ice hockey player turned talent scout who hires a private detective (Sampson) to investigate at a case involving one of his clients. And he finds sleuthing so much fun that he decides to become one himself.

Renewed for a fifth series last month, it previously aired in the UK on Universal, with all three previous seasons available to watch on Sky and Now TV.

What they say: ‘Former professional ice hockey player Matt “Shadow” Shade hangs up his skates and upends his life by teaming up with intense Private Investigator Angie Everett to solve cases in their hometown of Toronto.’ Geektown


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