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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Has Rowling drama got Potter appeal?

THE CASUAL VACANCY

Michael Gambon, Keely Hawes and Rory Kinnear head the cast in this three-part adaptation of JK Rowling's first post-Harry Potter novel. The setting is a seemingly idyllic village in which dark secrets are revealed when a resident dies suddenly.

Days of Empire, cricket and gin

indian summer

(Sunday. ch4, 9pm)

Channel 4 makes a serious bid for the Downton Abbey audience with an expensive 10-part epic set during the summer of 1932 and dealing with the English aristo- cracy and civil servants who ran the Raj for the British Empire. Julie Walters tops an impressive cast.

Mission More of the same Old, more like

BEAR GRYLLS: MISSION SURVIVE

(FRIday. TV3, 9pm)

Yet another 'survival' reality show rolls off an ever-busy production line, with Bear Grylls taking a group of celebrities, landing them in a Central American rain forest and letting them rough it. Irish interest is provided by Fade Street 'star' Vogue Williams, so expect plenty of talk of 'journeys'.

There goes the neighbourhood

wELCOME TO MAYFAIR

(SUNday. BBC2, 10.55pm)

James Rogan's docu- mentary examines how the traditional fabric of London's most exclusive borough has been changed utterly, with Russian, Chinese and Arab billionaires buying up the majority of the properties and driving many local small businesses to the wall.

In-form Chelsea face Saint-Germain

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL

(TUESday. TV3/UTV, 7.30pm)

Ah yes, the knockout phase of the competition begins with Paris Saint-Germain playing host to an in-form Chelsea side who welcome back key striker Diego Costa following his three-match ban.

You thought our winters were bad?

ALASKA: EARTH'S FROZEN KINGDOM

(WEDNESday. BBC2, 8pm)

During winter in the Alaskan tundra, temperatures can drop as low as minus 62C, yet life still goes on as we see eagles, foxes, bears and cranes struggling to survive in some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

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