TONIGHT: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Five, 9.40pm) In 1990, Dick Wolf unveiled Law & Order, the drama series which told a fictional version of real news stories from the point of view of cops and lawyers. That series was cancelled in 2010, but this show, one of the assorted spin offs, is in its 14th year. It originally centred on a fictional version of New York City Police Department’s 16th Precinct, but as the years went by, additional characters from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the Medical Examiner’s office were included in the mix. The first case of the ‘new’ run involves alleged rape victim Rena West. She will only talk to law enforcer Nate Kendall, an officer from another precinct who was the first to help out after the incident. Benson and Stabler hope the Domingo Deli will reveal some clues.
SUNDAY: Wonders of Life (BBC Two, 9pm) Professor Brian Cox presents a story of life’s journey from single-celled organisms to sentient beings. The D:ream veteran goes in search of the Mantis Shrimp, a type of crustacean with the most sophisticated eyes in the natural world, each with over 10,000 hexagonal lenses. He also visits Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves, which boast more than 300 miles of mapped passages. It’s the longest cave system in the world, which, ironically, is perfect for illustrating the fact that Brian can’t see anything in the dark. While there he collects a micro organism called a Paranesium, which has changed little in the last billion years. Look out for: Cox’s fishing haul – a 25-pound flathead catfish, whose head protrusions detect vibrations on the riverbed, and whose tongue builds up a three dimensional picture of the river by detecting chemical scents of animals.
TUESDAY: The Undateables (Channel 4, 9pm) If you've been a fan of this touching series from the start, you won’t want to miss this episode which catches up with some of the daters from the first series. While their experiences on the show proved invaluable back then, giving them the confidence to chat to new people, the burning question is: were they successful in finding love? The show catches up with amateur radio enthusiast Richard who has Asperger’s and up until last year hadn’t been on a date for 20 years, while media student and actor Sam, who has Down’s syndrome, fills us in on his dating situation. He’d never been on a date before, but as the cameras rolled, Sam fell in love with Jolene, and seven months on, their romance is still going strong. Look Out For: An overwhelming sense of respect for all the daters. Check your pulse if you are not moved!
WEDNESDAY Derek (Channel 4, 10pm) The tale of the eponymous kindly-but-simple care-home worker, written by and starring Ricky Gervais. It must have struck a chord with many, as it’s been brought back for this freshman series after the pilot episode aired last year. In the second instalment of the comedy, Derek has something to celebrate – his 50th birthday – so he’s rallying the troops for a party at Broadhill. He’d like them to include JLS, Susan Boyle and Stacey Solomon; whether he gets them or not is another matter entirely. He’d also like vol-au-vents, sausage rolls and chicken kiev for food, which is probably a little more doable. Community service worker Vicky (Holli Dempsey) joins the team, and earns herself some funny looks when it becomes clear she’s convinced she resembles Victoria Beckham. Look Out For: A scene-stealing Karl Pilkington.
FRIDAY: Monty Don’s French Gardens (BBC Two, 9pm) If you want to know about gardens, you’d be hard-pushed to find anyone as well-qualified to expound upon the topic than Monty Don. Here, the horticulturalist and Gardeners’ World presenter is in France, where he focuses on the plots which are closest to the French people’s hearts – or at least their stomachs. He looks at how the nation’s love of food has influenced its horticulture, beginning by visiting a number of ‘potagers’, gardens in which both vegetables and flowers are planted together in elaborate and beautiful – yet productive and functional – displays. Monty – himself the president of the Soil Association – then finds out why the French attach a great deal of importance to the soil in which they grow their food, and the ways in which it can affect the end produce. Combines travelogue, cookery and gardening.