9.00pm Charlie Brooker’s How Videogames changed the World Channel 4 – From Pong to Grand Theft Auto, Charlie Brooker delves into the history of videogames and pulls out a selection of its most significant titles. From Atari to Angry Birds, How Videogames Changed the World explores how interactive entertainment evolved from a penny arcade diversion into a medium that some believe is art, and shows how it is changing the way we work, communicate and, of course, play.
10.00pm Rock Night: 50 Years of Rock Excess Channel 4 – Documentary showcasing the behind the scenes of some of the most infamous stories of rock royalty.
8.00pm A Great British Christmas with Sarah Beeny Channel 4 – Sarah Beeny and her husband, artist Graham Swift, explore the history of Christmas through the ages in their stately home, Rise Hall. After spending ten years restoring the Yorkshire property, the family investigate how festive celebrations in Britain have changed in the past 200 years as they delve into the history of Georgian, Victorian, wartime and present-day conventions. Sarah, Graham and their four children take on the challenge of harnessing the best bits of Christmas past as they don historical costumes and experience the reality of bygone festive frolics, finding out what the festive season meant both in their house and across the country.
9.00pm Liberty of London Channel 4 – This new documentary series goes behind the scenes at Liberty as it gears up for the make-or-break Christmas shopping season. Housed in an iconic half-timber building made from old battleships, Liberty has been drawing in shoppers for over 130 years with its eccentric and eclectic designs. With unprecedented access to the store, its staff and its customers, the series tells the everyday extraordinary stories of life within one of London’s oldest department stores, following the race to get the Christmas shop open on time, via fashion weeks in London and Paris, VIP customer and celebrity visits, and the daily rituals at the heart of the store. In the first episode, the Christmas stock arrives in the middle of a heat wave and the programme meets some of the store’s most interesting customers, including a wealthy VIP who sees Liberty as his local corner shop.
9.00pm Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve BBC2 – This series sees Simon Reeve retrace the adventures of our ancestors. He learns about the forgotten aspects of pilgrimage, including the vice, thrills and dangers that all awaited travellers. He explores the faith, the hopes, desires, and even the food that helped to keep medieval Britons and more recent travellers on the road. Simon embarks on a 400 mile journey to Canterbury from the north of England, beginning at the mystical Holy Island, just off the rugged coast of Northumberland. To reach the island, one of the earliest sites of Christian pilgrimage in Britain, Simon follows a line of posts marking out a crossing that emerges from the North Sea at low tide.
9.00pm Young, British & Broke BBC3 – With a million people set to use payday loans to pay for Christmas this year, Miquita Oliver goes undercover to find out the truth about Britain’s most controversial type of borrowing and meets people whose loans have spiralled out of control, sometimes with devastating results. But for every person she talks to who is desperate for cash to survive, there are others just after money for new clothes and parties.
10.35pm Trauma: Level One ITV – This second of two programme explores how the unexpected nature of trauma can change a person’s life in an instant, and how the medical teams, patients and families deal with the after effects of major trauma.
10.35pm 28Up South Africa ITV – Documentary in the traditions of Michael Apted’s 7UP, following the lives of a group of children in South Africa, and giving us an insight into life in a country that has gone through momentous change. In 1992, when they turned seven, Nelson Mandela had only been out of prison for two years. By the time they were 14, he had become their President. In between, the regime of apartheid had been consigned to history. Chosen from separate communities, the six characters have had starkly differing life experiences.
8.30pm Keeping Britain Safe 24/7 BBC1 – Series meeting the everyday people who keep Britain safe. In autumn, we witness the teams that keep the country moving in the face of the dreaded leaves on the line. Also we see the work of the fire crews of the Cleveland Fire Brigade on Bonfire Night – their busiest night of the year; and as the national birth rate rockets, the midwives of St Thomas’s Hospital in London face an autumnal baby boom.
9.00pm The Silent War BBC2 – For decades, Britain and America’s Cold War submarines waged a secret war of espionage against the Soviet navy. Deep in the ocean, crews were locked in a game of cat and mouse as each side battled to gain the tactical and technological advantage. After decades of silence, submariners from both the east and west are now allowed to talk more openly than ever before about how they plotted to win the war beneath the waves.
9.00pm Getting Rich in the Recession: The Man who Buys Anything Channel 4 – ‘Real-life Del Boy’ Steve Elwis is a prolific trader who buys up all sorts of excess stock and sells it on for a profit. Steve left his job as a second-hand car salesman to run his company, Virrgo. And if you’ve ever wondered where market traders and discount stores get their products from, Steve’s your answer. From corner shops and family-run businesses that have gone bust to large high street stores in administration and manufacturers who’ve run into trouble, every day Steve and his team are out on the road, doing deals with people desperate to scrape back money from their bankrupt or excess stock. With unprecedented access to Virrgo, this documentary offers a new perspective of Britain during the economic downturn, exploring the hidden world of the people making money from other people’s misfortune.
10.00pm The Audience More4 – The series where groups of strangers follow people facing life-changing decisions for a week to help them decide how to resolve their dilemmas returns with three brand new episdoes. Jane Mason is 42, single and disabled. She’s been struggling with a dilemma for more than a decade: should she adopt a child on her own? Jane has a degenerative condition, lives alone and feels there is something missing in her life. She has always longed for a child and wonders if now is the right time to adopt. Is it fair on the child and, with her disability, will she cope? An audience of strangers help Jane resolve her dilemma.
8.00pm Robbie Williams: One Night at the Palladium BBC1 – Robbie Williams takes over the London Palladium for an evening of swing classics and new songs. Special guests joining Robbie and his big band on stage are Lily Allen, Rufus Wainwright and Muppets Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, and grumpy old men Statler and Waldorf.
8.00pm Jimmy’s Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner Channel 4 – Our Christmas dinner feels like it’s been around for ever, but much of it is a surprisingly recent invention. Jimmy Doherty tries to find out where the food on our Christmas plate comes from historically, and how it has evolved in the age of mass production. Jimmy has spent months growing and making his own traditional dinner from scratch, to discover if it tastes better than the modern turkey and trimmings provided by the giant supermarket farms and factories.