UK summer premieres in Oz

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BBC Worldwide continues to be the channel of choice for those wanting to dabble in a spot of anglophilia from time to time.

And this summer will be no different, as the BBC premieres some of its newest and most popular dramas and documentaries on Australian TV.

So what do we have on offer?

Stephen Tompkinson's Australian Balloon Adventure

Stephen Tompkinson (Ballykissangel, Drop the Dead Donkey) continues the trend of celebrity adventuring.

After discovering a passion for hot air ballooning, the star takes himself on a trans-Australia adventure, exploring the sights and sounds of this vast country. Tompkinson teams up with balloon pilot Robin Bachelor, as he did in a similar adventure across the African continent.

Airs: 7.30pm Wednesdays from December 1 on BBC Worldwide


History Cold Case

History Cold Case explores the lives and deaths of individuals who have lived centuries, if not millennia before.

Modern forensic techniques are put to task on ancient corpses, in order to shed a light on the ways in which people lived and died. It also gives viewers an insight into the often needless and painful deaths that were inflicted upon our ancestors.

Airs: 9.30pm Mondays from December 20 on BBC Worldwide


When Joseph Met Maria

Next up is the fall-out from one of the most recent talent show fads in the UK -- How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria and Any Dream Will Do. These talent shows sought to find the new Joseph for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Maria for The Sound of Music.

This special program, broadcast in the UK last Christmas, reunited all of the contestants from the original two series, along with the two winners, Lee Mead and Connie Fisher, to perform in a series of variety acts, singing and dancing, and generally appealing to a middle-of-the-road family audience.

It is cringe-worthy entertainment at its best, but with your tongue lodged firmly in cheek and your love of camp turned to max (helped by presenters Graham Norton and John Barrowman), there is certainly something entertaining to be taken from this.

See the trailer below. Watch out for the fantastically awkward cheek kiss at the 10-second mark.

Airs: 7.30pm Friday December 24 on UKTV


Sir Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal"

Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels have long been hugely popular among fans of fantasy fiction, but have often missed out on film and television adaptations due to their hugely complex and multifaceted subject matter, which would require significant trimming to be suitable for the screen.

Occasionally, a producer will take the plunge, as is the case here with Going Postal. The story is about a conman's struggle to locate his conscience and ultimately triumph over the evils in Discworld.

One of these evils takes the form of David Suchet (Poirot), who uncharacteristically breaks away from his typically goody-goody roles to portray the baddy for once.

Richard Coyle (Coupling) takes the lead role of Moist Von Lipwig, while Tamsin Greig (Green Wing, Black Books) pops up as a nosy reporter who displays a surprising amount of sexual allure; plus a momentary appearance from the legendary Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers).

Airs: 8.30pm Friday December 24 and Saturday December 25 on UKTV


There is something for the kids as well. Over on BBC Worldwide's CBeebies channel are Let's Celebrate and Tikkabilla Christmas.

Let's Celebrate

Let's Celebrate is all that's good about cultural education for kids, guiding them through a significant proportion of the major religious and cultural festivals from around the world, including Eid, Holi and Chinese New Year.

The documentary travels around the UK, visiting different ethnic and racial groups to find out how children throughout the country celebrate these non Anglo-Saxon events with their friends and families.

Airs: 1pm daily from Monday December 20 on CBeebies


Tikkabilla Christmas

Christmas special. In a similar "spirit of cultural enlightenment", Tikkabilla follows a Play School-type theme, with children being guided around a large colourful house on a voyage of discovery. Bright colours, loud noises, sing-a-long sessions, and so on, you get the picture.

And if you don't, the above clip should enlighten you!

Airs: 7.15am Thursday December 23 on CBeebies

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