ON THE BOX: A splash of comedy and high-brow music

News Shopper: Alan Davies and Stephen Fry star in QI on BBC Two. Photo: BBC/Talkback Thames/Brian J Rit Alan Davies and Stephen Fry star in QI on BBC Two. Photo: BBC/Talkback Thames/Brian J Rit

A look ahead at the week's TV schedules.

IF THE sight of Jo Brand exploring sewers and falling over in mud is your idea of a good time then Jo Brand’s Big Splash on Dave, tomorrow at 9pm, is the show for you.

“It was originally an idea which came from a production company called Doghouse Media and over the course of a few months it metamorphosed into its finished stage really,” explains Jo.

“Basically it was quite nice swimming ideas at the beginning and metamorphosed into horrible ideas,” she laughs.

She added: “I was tortured in various forms of water or made to jump off things or generally humiliated.”

However, while there are some unpleasant moments, this mix of stand-up comedy and filmed reports linked by nicely animated segments reminiscent of 1970s swimming baths posters is rather well handled.

In this week’s offering, Bill Bailey helps Jo work out whether wild swimming is any better than a trip to the local pool and the comedienne tries her hand at a white-water canoe slalom course.

When you stumble across an instalment of QI you’ve never seen before, it’s almost like winning the lottery.

But there is no feeling quite like sitting down to an all-new episode of this TV institution, which has been educating us and making us roar with laughter for the best part of a decade and is now the best panel show on TV.

About as far removed from the raucous and macho combat of Mock the Week, this cerebral and silly programme is in a class all of its own and in Friday night’s episode on BBC Two at 10pm I can say with absolute certainty you are in for a treat.

A few days after launching new series Fry’s Planet Word, Stephen Fry hosts the quiz with a difference, joined by comedians Phill Jupitus, Rich Hall, Jimmy Carr and regular panelist Alan Davies.

He asks questions based on the theme of indecision and awards points for the most interesting answers.

Choosing what to do with your Friday night can be a tricky thing.

Pub? Well, it’s expensive and there’s the hassle of getting home. The cinema also costs a fortune.

No, the best thing you can do is stay in and enjoy a night’s chilled out viewing in the company of some of the greatest musical performers of all time.

There will be few music lovers who will not be delighted to see the return of Singer-Songwriters at the BBC, on BBC Four, Friday at 9.15pm.

It boasts archive performances from the 1960s and 70s, featuring the Canadian king and queen of soul searching Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, Sandy Denny and the brilliant Don McLean.

And if that leaves you hungry for more, look out for Elton John, Paul Simon, Rab Noakes, Clifford T Ward, Loudon Wainwright III and Cat Stevens.

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