Our day-by-day choice of programmes to watch in the week ahead...

ON DEMAND: The Doctors (BritBox, from Thursday)

Believe it or not, there are Doctor Who fans out there who feel that the original run of the series, which ran from 1963 to 1989, remains far superior to the revamped version, which has been hugely popular since its first appearance in 2005. You might agree with them after watching this in-depth, 11-part documentary, which features more than 60 hours of insights, including clips and interviews with those who have appeared in the show.

SATURDAY: When the Spencers Met the Monarchy (C5, 9pm)

She may have been the ‘people’s princess’, but Diana Spencer came from a very aristocratic background. So, when she married into the Windsors, it set the scene for what became an acrimonious fallout between two strong and noble families, who found themselves on either side of a conflicted royal couple. This documentary explores how the Spencers and the Windsors were thrust together and then torn apart.

Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday (BBC2, 9.45pm)

The singer is generally considered to be one of the greatest voices of all time and remains hugely influential, continually winning over new fans. Yet despite her fame and legacy, Holiday is something of an enigma, which is why in the late 1960s journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of her. The author died before she could complete the book, but this documentary draws on the remarkable interviews she conducted with some of the key figures in Holiday’s life.

SUNDAY: The Great Pottery Throw Down: The Final (Channel 4, 8pm)

The battle of the clay concludes, as host Siobhan McSweeney invites the final three home potters to compete one last time and become champion. The pressure is on as they face two of their toughest challenges, as we turn back the clock 100 years to the 1920s for an art deco-inspired final. Then, it’s party time, as the finalists make a punch bowl and decanters, before they face the tiniest throwing challenge ever set by the show.

Grace (ITV, 8pm)

If ever a TV drama had ‘surefire hit’ written all over it, it’s Grace. The two-part series is based on bestselling novels by Peter James and star John Simm as DSI Roy Grace, a police officer based in Brighton. What’s more, the tales have been adapted by Russell Lewis, creator of Endeavour. The first film, Dead Simple, sees Grace occupied with cold cases but haunted by thoughts of his wife Sandy, who has disappeared. His unorthodox methods have raised eyebrows among the powers-that-be, but his colleague, DS Branson, thinks Grace’s sharp mind might prove useful in finding out what has happened to a groom-to-be who vanished while on his stag night – and our new hero realises someone close to home may know more than they’re letting on.

Top Gear (BBC1, 8pm)

This is Top Gear’s 30th series, and not many shows have reached that milestone. So, what can we expect from Paddy McGuinness, Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and Chris Harris across the run? The usual mix of mayhem and road tests, of course. Among the highlights are a James Bond-themed adventure, a trip down memory lane involving drives in their fathers’ cars, and a race between an Extreme E motor and a man with a jetpack.

MONDAY: The Truth About Long Covid: Dispatches (C4, 8pm)

How long it takes to recover from coronavirus is different for everybody. While many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within three months, for some people, the symptoms can last longer. It’s predicted that up to half a million people in the UK are now living with so-called ‘long Covid’, and with those numbers in mind, Dispatches reports from Bradford, one of the UK’s worst hit communities during the pandemic. The programme hears from sufferers and asks if the NHS will be able to cope with the lasting legacy of the virus.

Unforgotten (ITV, 9pm)

DS Boulting hears about an incident at the Ifield Pub where police probationers used to drink that took place three weeks before Walsh disappeared. Could this provide a link to the suspects that the detective have been looking for?

TUESDAY: The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer (C4, 8pm)

Matt Lucas welcomes award-winning X-Men actor James McAvoy, popstar and The Voice UK judge Anne-Marie, comedian and writer David Baddiel and double Olympic gold medal-winning athlete Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes into the nation’s favourite tent.

2020: The Story of Us (ITV, 9pm)

During 2020, Covid-19 turned our world upside down, with so many suffering loss and hardship, and our freedoms being curtailed. Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald’s feature-length documentary tells the story of Coronavirus in Britain through the experience of people immersed in its impact, both personally and professionally. Using testimony from staff in hospitals – consultants, doctors and nurses – as well as weaving in the experience of patients, this documentary paints a vivid portrait of the working lives of ICU staff and those they treat.

The Circle (C4, 9.15pm)

Following the Stand Up To Cancer celebrity special, the regular show returns for a new run. Emma Willis is back to host with comedian Sophie Willan resuming her role as the inimitable voiceover. Tonight, the block of flats welcomes its latest set of residents and a £100,000 prize is at stake in an unpredictable game of popularity. The players will be metres apart, but they can’t see or hear each other. Instead they communicate via a voice-activated platform called the Circle. But on the Circle, not everyone is who they seem, and the players have no idea who is real and who is a ‘catfish’.

WEDNESDAY: Bill Bailey: Limboland (BBC1, 9pm)

Where else do you get a death metal version of Candle in the Wind and a dance version of the iPhone ringtone, as well as comparisons between Paul McCartney and One Direction, and a section on birdwatching? That’s right, at a Bill Bailey gig. This programme, recorded at Hammersmith Apollo, pre-lockdown, sees him perform his ‘best show for years’.

Caroline Flack: Her Life and Death (C4, 9pm)

For many of us, our enduring image of Caroline Flack is of her lifting the glitterball trophy after winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. Nobody who saw the sheer joy on her face could have imagined that, just over six years later, she would take her own life. It’s almost 13 months since the announcement of her death, which left many who had followed her career shocked and saddened. This new documentary sees her family and friends pay tribute to the Caroline they knew, while the programme’s makers goes behind the headlines to offer a truthful profile of the complex woman behind the public persona.

THURSDAY: Taskmaster (C4, 9pm)

Last year, the 10th series of the comedy game show proved that even a pandemic and a move from Dave to Channel 4 couldn’t dim the Taskmaster magic. Charlotte Ritchie, Jamali Maddix, Lee Mack, Mike Wozniak and Sarah Kendall all ready to battle it out to win a trophy that is supposed to look like host Greg Davies. Naturally, the man himself is back, along with Alex Horne, who will be keeping an eye on the contestants as they tackle challenges which in the first episode include controlling pest and delivering plates.

Billy Monger’s Big Red Nose Day Challenge (BBC1, 9pm)

Professional racing driver Billy Monger set out to walk, kayak and cycle 140 miles across England. Four years ago, Billy became a double amputee as a result of a horrendous racing accident, and the challenge saw him walking further than he’s ever had to before, while also kayaking for the first time in his life and re-learning how to cycle. Throw in the unpredictable weather, and this was a truly daunting challenge.

The Good Fight (More4, 9pm)

The fourth season of the American legal series and The Good Wife spin-off begins. In an alternate reality, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) is delighted that Hillary Clinton has beaten Donald Trump in the 2016 election and is now serving as the 45th President of the United States. But while Diane’s liberal self is overjoyed, she quickly discovers that this alternative world is not the paradise she hoped it would be.

FRIDAY: ITV Racing: Cheltenham Festival Live (ITV, 1pm)

Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani present coverage of the fourth and final day of Cheltenham 2021. Today’s feature race is the Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.05pm), which sees Al Boum Photo going for a remarkable third straight win in the race.

Comic Relief 2021 (BBC1, 7pm)

Like most things, Red Nose Day has been affected by Covid, and as we are still in the middle of a lockdown, the majority of Comic Relief’s fundraising activities will have to be done at home this year. With that in mind, the aim of this year’s show is to ‘get us laughing at home’. Hosted by Sir Lenny, as well as Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness, Alesha Dixon and David Tennant, among the highlights are David and Michael Sheen teaming up once more for a special instalment of Staged. Plus, Anna Friel and Keira Knightley co-star in the greatest disaster movie never made, and Paddy and his fellow Top Gear hosts face interrogation by some savage critics. There are also appearances by Dawn French, the Rev Kate Bottley, Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas, Jack Whitehall, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Karim Zeroual, Joe Lycett, Mo Gilligan, Roman Kemp and Shappi Khorsandi.

Russia vs the World (C5, 9pm)

Killing Eve star Fiona Shaw narrates this programme exploring Russia’s medieval origins through to its bloody expansion to become the biggest country in the world. It’s an extraordinary tale that set the scene for one of the world’s most enigmatic figures, Vladimir Putin, and his vision of modern Russia. From a tyrannical grip on ordinary citizens to rampant corruption at the highest level, this film reveals the secrets holding the world’s largest country together. However, it begins with a look at the role of the first tsars, including Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, before moving onto Catherine the Great, Lenin and Stalin.