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TV PREVIEWS: Paul Whitelaw picks the best programmes for the week ahead

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This week, TV critic Paul Whitelaw recommends a sobering but respectful look at the Dunblane Primary School shootings and some light relief with a serious message with The Bake’s Off’s Stand Up to Cancer show and heart-warming moments in The Repair Shop.

Return to Dunblane with Lorraine Kelly – ITV, Thursday, 9pm
Lorraine Kelly looks back at the terrible events that took place in Dunblane 25 years ago.

25 years ago, 16 children and a teacher were shot dead at Dunblane Primary School. This terribly moving programme captures the sheer scale of that tragedy. Kelly reported on the case, but this, wisely, isn’t her story. She’s merely an empathetic conduit. It’s a tribute to the woman and children who were killed that day, and to all of those whose lives they touched. It also reminds us that the traumatised people of Dunblane, backed by huge public support, succeeded in their campaign for an almost total ban on private handguns. Through their unimaginable grief and pain, they changed this country for the better. In a commendable display of respect for all concerned, the killer is never shown or named.

Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On – BBC1, Monday to Friday, 1.45pm, 2.15pm and 3pm

That title always conjures an image of the firebrand dramatist trudging along a lonely country road like Bill Bixby at the end of The Incredible Hulk. He doesn’t actually write these standalone daytime dramas; rather he curates them as a vehicle for emerging writers. The latest batch involves a man meeting his supposedly dead father; a woman struggling to come to terms with the fact that her recently deceased dad had a secret second family; a retiree gaining a new lease of life when his daughter books him some fitness sessions; a gifted teenager whose education is jeopardised when she’s made homeless; and a hearing-impaired woman who vows to learn sign language.

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer – Channel 4, Tuesday, 8pm

This charitable endeavour stars Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame and singer Alexandra Burke, plus comedians Tom Allen and Rob Beckett. Mercifully, that overgrown student nuisance Noel Fielding is on paternity leave, so your sole host is the charming and legitimately funny Matt Lucas. In episode one, the celebs are tasked with baking some millionaire shortbread, a fruity tart (there will inevitably be tired jokes about that), and their own pet hate cakes. It’s followed at 9:15pm by the first episode of The Celebrity Circle for Stand Up to Cancer, a reality show which apparently involves Denise van Outen, Nadia Sawalha and loads of people I’ve never heard of. Look, it’s all for a good cause.

The Repair Shop – BBC1, Wednesday, 8pm

In the final episode of the current series, TV’s nicest man Jay Blades and his genial squad of artisans get to grips with another parade of fascinating artefacts in need of some TLC. Highlights this week include an antique arcade machine and the remarkable saga of a rusty 100-year-old watch that was stolen ten years ago, before being recently found under a bush by a dog. Meanwhile, Dom – looking as ever like a hipster Andy Serkis – restores a bespoke wrought-iron gate for a grateful widow. As always, it’s less about the repairs themselves and more about the touching human stories behind the various items on display. An artfully upholstered piece of generous, cockle-warming television.

Heathrow: – Britain’s Busiest Airport – STV, Wednesday, 8pm

The latest series of this hardy perennial was filmed in November 2020, during the second national lockdown. Only one of Heathrow’s runways is operational and two of its four terminals are closed. With demand for flights having fallen by over 60% worldwide, Britain’s busiest airport is down to an average of 88 departures a day. In episode one, we visit this half-empty citadel and note that it is, of course, observing all official safety precautions: masks, social distancing, constant sanitising and, when necessary, medical testing for passengers. The main source of drama is a curious story involving a missing passenger, the details of which gradually reveal an unexpected political dimension.

DNA Journey – ITV, Wednesday, 9pm

I know there’s nothing more boring or annoying than people pleading ignorance when it comes to celebrities – it always comes across as performative, above-it-all smugness – but in all honesty I really don’t know who Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp are. They’re sport people, that much I do know. And, like most sport people, they’re nice enough but incredibly dull. Unfortunately, these great bantering mates dominate episode one of TV’s latest shameless Who Do You Think You Are? rip-off. It’s an interminable chore, like being forced to look at the profile of someone you’ve never met before, during which even the lads themselves struggle to feign interest in the details of their respective family histories.

The Dog House – Channel 4, Thursday, 8pm
Pooches everywhere in The Dog House.

Last summer, in a sunlit corner of the English countryside, a television production company installed some fixed-rig cameras and extra support staff in a home for dogs who have either been given away or abandoned. Their aim: to capture the magic of humans meeting their new dog pals for the first time. The results are like First Dates for poochaholics. But it’s not just an excuse to go “aww” for an hour. The series examines that mutually beneficial psychological bond between humans and their animals, plus the importance of carefully matching the right dog with the right family. This week, a little boy with anxiety issues makes friends with a similarly anxious Newfoundland. They do wonders for each other.

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