These 10 TV picks are all about on-screen talent.
And while there is no end of talent behind all of the programmes we highlight in this column, this week we focus familiar and much-loved faces keeping the nation entertained right now.
From comedy and drama to factual entertainment and the great outdoors, all of these programmes are available to watch now.
John Simm in… Grace - ITV
John Simm stars as Roy Grace, a brilliant detective who is haunted by the unsolved mystery of his wife’s disappearance.
Grace’s fondness for the occult sees him bumped down Brighton police’s pecking order, but he could be just the cop for the job when a stag night prank goes tragically wrong.
Endeavour creator Russell Lewis adapted the first of Peter James’ best-selling series of crime thrillers and it made for a riveting, twist-filled two hours of TV, with a second instalment already filmed and due on ITV later this year.
‘Full of immensely satisfying action - plus a star lead performance.’ The Guardian
Sam Heughan in… SAS: Red Notice - Sky Cinema
Sam Heughan said he would ‘jump’ at the chance to play James Bond and there is no better showcase of his action movie talents than original Sky movie, SAS: Red Notice.
Heughan is SAS operative Tom Buckingham en route to Paris to propose to his girlfriend when the train is hijacked by terrorists intent on blowing up the Channel Tunnel. Only one man can save the day…
Based on a novel by Andy McNab, SAS: Red Notice co-stars Noel Clarke, Ruby Rose and Andy Serkis and is one of 30 Sky original films airing on their new home, Sky Cinema, this year.
What they say: ‘The archetypal square-jawed action hero… Red Notice is Sam Heughan’s Bond audition.’ City AM
Mel Giedroyc in… Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable - Dave
Unforgivable is the panel show in which the worst person in the room comes out on top.
Each week’s guest comics and celebrities have to convince Mel Giedroyc and her sinful sidekick, Lou Sanders, that they are more unforgivable than everybody else.
Graham Norton, Jennifer Saunders, Gemma Collins and Richard Ayoade were among the guests sharing the most outrageous (and hilarious) tales of their shocking, jaw-dropping behaviour.
What they say: ‘A chat show stripped back to the good bits.’ Chortle
Sarah Kendall in… Taskmaster - Channel 4
Actor and comedian Sarah Kendall is one of the five celebrity contestants in the eagerly-anticipated new series of Taskmaster.
Kendall was nominated for a Bafta for Sky One comedy Frayed which has just been commissioned for a second series. Kendall created, wrote and starred in the sitcom about a London housewife reluctantly returning to her childhood home in small-town Australia.
She is joined on Taskmaster by a winning line-up of Lee Mack, Charlotte Ritchie, Jamali Maddix and Mike Wozniak as they do very silly things to win the favour of the Taskmaster himself, Greg Davies, all under the watchful eye of ‘little’ Alex Horne.
What they say: ‘Big laughs, ridiculous tasks and eccentric moments, Taskmaster’s 11h series is set to be an hour of gleeful absurdity we can look forward to on a weekly basis.’ Radio Times
Bear Grylls in… Bear & Jonny Wilkinson’s Wild Adventure - ITV
No-one does adventure quite like Bear Grylls. But the death-defying survival expert isn’t just good at coping with the terrifying challenges the great outdoors has to throw at him.
He’s also good at bringing out the best of the people he takes with him, in this case England’s World Cup winning rugby hero, Jonny Wilkinson, as the pair fended for themselves in the wilds of Dartmoor.
The first of a two-part series on ITV, Bear will later be joined by Olympic gold medal winning and former boxing world champion Nicola Adams, pushing his companion to their physical and mental limits.
What they say: ‘Part survival show, part therapy session… A revealing plunge into the psyche of an athlete.’ iNews
Kate Humble in… Kate Humble’s Coastal Britain - Channel 5
A breath of fresh air in these unprecedented times, Kate Humble is the perfect companion for this journey around some of Britain’s most interesting and attractive coastlines.
Channel 5’s six-part series sees Humble visit Suffolk, Yorkshire, Dorset, Exmoor and beyond, meeting locals and learning all about the fascinating places she visits.
A familiar face on Channel 5 - she welcomed viewers onto her farm in rural Monmouthshire in Escape To The Farm with Kate Humble - it is feelgood escapism of the most welcome variety.
What they say: ‘The indefatigable Kate Humble is happy as happy can be.’ Radio Times
'You might be the next person to disocver that next species of dinosaur'. 🦖— Channel 5 (@channel5_tv) February 26, 2021
Discover Yorkshire's jurassic coast in Kate Humble's Coastal Britain, tonight at 8pm on Channel 5. pic.twitter.com/hWlqu9585V
Romesh Ranganathan in… Rob Vs Romesh - Sky One
One of TV’s brightest and most prolific talents, Romesh Ranganathan is one half of Sky One’s odd couple challenge series, Rob Vs Romesh, along with his long-time friend, Rob Beckett.
Deadpan Ranganathan and excitable Beckett make for a winning combination as the comedians travel the world to take on various unlikely tasks, including in the third and latest series art, golf and drag.
Romesh can also be seen on Sky One in his semi-autobiographical sitcom The Reluctant Landlord and long-running panel show A League Of Their Own, as well as Live at the Apollo on Gold and a whole host of panel shows on Dave.
What they say: ‘There are many successful comedy double acts on TV - and one of the funniest is Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett.’ The Herald
Big Zuu in… Big Zuu’s Big Eats - Dave
Big Zuu is one of the freshest and most original talents in the TV cookery firmament.
The grime artist and self-taught chef served up a big hit with his first series - available in its entirety on-demand - in which he cooked for comedians including Jimmy Carr and Jamali Maddix.
Returning later this year for a new 10-part series on Dave, he will be joined once again by his school friends Tubsey and Hyder in their trusty food truck, creating dishes for some of the biggest names in entertainment. A unique and winning recipe.
What they say: ‘The grime MC and chef’s approach to food in his show Big Zuu’s Big Eats is so fun that it makes him the comedian’s food truck operator of choice.’ The Guardian
Idris Elba in… In The Long Run - Sky One
Not the first person on this list to be touted as the next James Bond, Idris Elba not only stars in but created this sitcom set in a fictional east London housing estate in the 1980s.
Loosely based on the star’s own childhood, it’s a lovingly-constructed period piece about immigrant family life that is big on heart and nostalgia.
Co-starring Bill Bailey, Madeline Appiah and Jimmy Akingbola, all three series, along with the Christmas special, are available to watch on-demand.
What they say: ‘A joyful portrait of community in 1980s Hackney… makes high art out of council estate life.’ The Guardian
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer in… Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It: Brilliant Builds - Channel 4
House prices can go down as well as up but there’s one market that will always remain strong - the property TV shows of Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer.
The very timely Love It or List It features couples and families who are torn between moving house or renovating their home and staying put instead.
And in Brilliant Builds Kirstie and Phil look back on some of their favourite shows and offer tips and advice for people in similar situations. Definitely a show worth investing in.
What they say: ‘Aside from Grand Designs [this] must be one of the most ambitious home shows Channel 4 has in its schedule. I have found myself glued to it.’ Big Issue
What a year it’s been, but let’s end it on a high as @KirstieMAllsopp and @PhilSpencerTV are back to bring a little joy to our screens. KIRSTIE & PHIL’S LOVE IT OR LIST IT. NEW SERIES STARTS 30th DECEMBER CHANNEL 4 AT 8PM #lioli pic.twitter.com/A0H7yoo2UK— Love It or List It (@LoveitListitUK) December 24, 2020