TIM FANNING MY VIEW
Wear a hole in your sofa watching all the new and returning shows of 2014
Christmas is over for another year but there’s plenty on the box to keep us occupied as we head into 2014. The New Year kicks off with some of the biggest shows on TV, not least the return of Holmes and Watson in a new run of the BBC’s Sherlock (see below right).
While the run-up to Christmas saw the grand finales of The X Factor and I’m A Celebrity…, there’s plenty of juggernaut shows to keep fans of the modern talent contest happy, including RTÉ’s The Voice Of Ireland, which returns with new judge Dolores O’Riordan replacing Sharon Corr alongside King of the Jungle Kian Egan, Bressie and Jamelia. With many of us of a mind to diet at this time of year, Kathryn Thomas is back with some great advice, as she presents a new run of the fat-fighting show Operation Transformation, while Dancing On Ice and diving contest Splash both kick off on TV3/ UTV. And if all that exercise and dieting are too much, The Great Irish Bake Off returns on TV3.
On RTÉ, crime and mystery fans can look forward to Quirke, three featurelength adaptations of Benjamin Black’s crime novels set in 1950s Dublin, starring Gabriel Byrne, while Amber is a four-part series – starring Raw’s David Murray and Eva Birthwhistle from Waking The Dead, and directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan – following the disappearance of a 14-yearold girl from different perspectives. For those who prefer true crime, 24 Hours To Kill begins a new run next week on TV3.
Filmed in the Wicklow Mountains, the big- budget Irish- Canadian production Vikings is a nine-part series based on the life and times of Norse warrior Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) who yearns to explore the world outside his village. It airs on RTÉ in the New Year.
Finally, after his experience of learning and performing a stand-up routine in Irish, comic Des Bishop goes a step further in his Chinese Revolution, when he moves to China for a year and sets about learning Mandarin with the aim of performing a show in front of a Chinese audience.
So settle down and prepare to hibernate in front of the TV for the winter… This is surely the most eagerly awaited return of a TV drama in years. Not only are fans of this brilliant reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes stories desperate for more; we’re also itching to find out how our hero could possibly have survived what seemed to be his certain death at the end of the last series. On that subject, my lips are sealed – as they are about much else in this opening episode of series three, which (believe me) is full of surprises. What I can say is that it’s another gripping story, full of dazzling moments of drama and comedy – and that Martin Freeman’s Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock remain one of the all-time great dramatic double acts. There are only three episodes in this new series – make the most of them.