Cruise; North Sea Connection; Pamela Anderson’s Home Renovation

The Australian crime drama (all episodes now on iPlayer) is replaced this week by a drama from Ireland that could scarcely be more different in setting. The Saturday slot is nothing if not a round the world ticket.

North Sea Connection (BBC Four/iPlayer, Saturday, 9pm; 9.45pm) opens in the dream of a Galway winter. A chill sets in as we watch skipper Ciara Kenny (Lydia McGuinness), round up her crew for a day’s fishing.

One of her regulars calls off injured, so Ciara’s brother Aidan (Kerr Logan, seen recently in Strike), who likes to think of himself as the entrepreneurial brains of the family, sends along a replacement. A funny-looking fisherman he is too, with his snow white training shoes and designer jacket.

Ciara and her crew head out, making a regular stop to pick up contraband fags. Only this time it is not the usual cigarettes in the holdalls, which lands a shocked Ciara with a problem. A solution of sorts presents itself, but the relief is only temporary. People will soon be arriving with questions they want answered, and they won’t all ask politely.

The scenery is spectacular, the cast, which also includes Sinead Cusack as the matriarch of the Kenny clan, is pretty decent, and the set-up is efficiently written and convincing – generally good signs. The only weird thing is Ciara’s off-duty, sans bobble hat, hair. Think Madonna in her Like a Virgin era, or A Flock of Seagulls meets early Phil Oakley. Not a deal breaker, but be prepared.

You’ll be in need of some sunshine after that bracing the west coast weather, so head in the direction of the documentary series The Cruise (Channel 5, Sunday, 9pm). The second season opens on a new Virgin Voyages ship, Valiant Lady, as it prepares to sail from Barcelona on a seven-night voyage through the Med.

Virgin Voyages, as you might expect, does cruises a little differently. There are no children on board for a start.

Danielle and Jay, first-time “sailors” (as Virgin calls cruise guests), have left their daughter with relatives at home while they go on a cruise to mark their tenth wedding anniversary. Ready to kick back and relax, they weren’t fascinated by the taxi radio playing the theme song from Titanic, though the driver thought it was pretty funny.

Elsewhere, Karen and Leigh are on their 24th cruise together, but this is a special one because it’s Leigh’s 50th birthday.

Viewers meet the staff, including Oliver, the ship’s resident drag queen, appearing on stage nightly with an 80-minute show, and front-of-house manager Dane, the man in charge of doling out the complimentary fizz if anything goes wrong.

In the first of 12 episodes there is not much in the way of drama. A blocked sink and a lost suitcase are about to the extent of it, but a jovial voiceover by Sheridan Smith keeps things ticking along.

You are either a cruise fan or not. I have never found much middle ground between the two camps. So you’ll either look at this giant floating resort (1400 cabins over 17 decks) and think, “That looks like fun”, or you will head in the opposite direction as fast as a passing pedalo will take you. Bon voyage whatever you choose.

Pamela Anderson, the actor famous for Baywatch, being friends with Julian Assange, animal rights activism, and, um, other things, has a lot going on television-wise at the moment. Netflix is ​​showing the documentary Pamela, a Love Story, in which she looks back on her life and times, sometimes fondly, occasionally not. Before that there was the recent mini-series, Pam & Tommy (Disney+), with Lily James in the lead role.


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Pamela Anderson’s Family Home Renovation (More 4, Wednesday, 10pm) is perhaps the oddest offering of the bunch while also being closest to where she is in life these days.

The first episode finds Anderson leaving Hollywood and heading home to Vancouver Island, Canada. The stunning location is home to her grandmother’s old place, a once grand mansion set in six acres.

It would be a heck of a DIY job for one woman, but fortunately Anderson has a team of designers, architects and builders on hand to help. The ultimate aim is to turn the old boathouse on the shoreline into a west coast masterpiece. Donning her Hunter wellies, she gets to work.

Anderson starts by turning a basement into a laundry, pantry and mudroom. First job: packing up the 600 pairs of shoes, and almost as many dresses, and finding them a new home.

Better watch out Stacey Solomon of Sort Your Life Out: you could have some serious competition here.