Summer holidays still feel like they’re months away? Need to get away from the daily grind? We’re here for you. Everyone feels better for a bit of escapism now and then – especially when all the election covfefe dies down… Here are our top shows for getting away from it all.
Monday to Thursday at 8pm
This year, the Springwatch team is based in the National Trust’s Sherbourne estate in the glorious Gloucestershire countryside. Regular presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games have been joined by new girl Gillian Burke. But the real stars of the show are the badgers, barn owls, foxes, swans and kestrels. The programme’s been a regular fixture on our screens for more than ten years, but the sight of a peregrine mother feeding her chicks still has the power to tug on the heartstrings.
Monday to Sunday at 10pm (Friday 9pm)
Just as the first cuckoo is an early herald of spring, one of the sure signs of summer is the sighting of a new bunch of wannabe celebs striding down the stairs into the Big Brother house. This year, viewers might recognise a few familiar faces. Chanelle McCleary has already been on Take Me Out and Dinner Date. And she’s one of three housemates to have appeared in Ex On The Beach. Meanwhile, Arthur Fullford (heir to his family’s 3,000 acre estate) has appeared on the BBC Three reality show Life is Toff. As usual, it’s all smiles to start with, but it’s only a matter of time before it all kicks off. Who’ll be branded a fake? Who’ll talk about nominations? Who’ll earn a punishment for the whole house and get the hot water turned off? And who’ll be crowned the winner? As Emma Willis says: “You decide!”
Monday at 8pm
With its dazzling visual effects, Avatar transports viewers to an alien world of vivid tropical forests populated by eye-popping creatures. But Avatar’s not just a sci-fi version of Springwatch. It’s a compelling story of a planet being stripped of its resources, of natives being driven off their land, and of an unlikely love affair between a disabled war veteran and a beautiful quasi-humanoid. When it first appeared, in 2009, Avatar was called a game changer, and James Cameron’s sci-fi spectacular remains an out-of-this-world experience.
Escape to the Country
Monday to Friday at 9pm
At this time of year, we could all do with a breath of fresh air. But even if you can’t saddle up your pony for a trot down to the village green, you can still enjoy the beauties of the British countryside. This week, we join couples searching for their perfect properties in the Scottish Borders, North Yorkshire, the Lake District and Somerset. Their demands are formidable – one couple is looking for a property with a garage big enough to build an aeroplane inside. And another pair of rural house-hunters needs their dream home to include a paddock for raising llamas!
Monday to Sunday at 9pm
Just like Freeview, Love Island is the gift that keeps on giving. One minute, a bloke’s manspreading his way into a young woman’s heart, pledging his undying love and promising her the moon and the stars, the next he’s whispering sweet nothings in a new arrival’s ears. It’s the show that has everything: lingering glances, dirty looks, bruised egos, sneaky snogs and all-out romps. Not to mention the terrible truths exposed by the cruellest spin-the-bottle game on telly. This year’s sun-kissed singletons include Marcel – who was a member of the hip-hop group Blazin’ Squad, Olivia – a motorsport grid girl, and Harley, who describes himself as “a bit of Ken Doll”. They’re all on Love Island, and they’re ready to meet their match.
Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands
Thursday at 9pm
From one island to another, and the contrast couldn’t be greater. The Japanese island of Honshu has a population of more than 100 million people, living in close proximity. But beyond the urban jungle of Tokyo, Honshu still has room for an astonishing diversity of wildlife. In this programme, Michelle Dockery describes the natural beauties of this mountainous landscape, which is home to sika deer, black bears and macaques. Inevitably, the paths of people and nature are crossing, but in the most unexpected ways.
Night at the Museum
Thursday at 6:50pm
History has never been so much fun. Ben Stiller plays new night guard at New York’s Museum of Natural History. All seems well until an ancient Egyptian spell brings the exhibits to life. The special effects really are special, and there are some great performances by Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and David Brent – sorry, Ricky Gervais – as the museum’s self-important director. It’s escapist comedy at its best – and not a ballot box in sight!