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Weekend TV: The Graham Norton Show, Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and Downton Abbey

Gemma Horton reviews the best of last weekend's TV

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There are multiple TV shows enticing you to stay inside on those cold winter weekends as a respite from work. From dramas to chat shows, the TV really does have the answer to winter.

June Brown and Lady Gaga
June Brown and Lady Gaga

The Graham Norton Show

Where can you find Lady Gaga and EastEnders actress June Brown (Dot Cotton) enjoying a glass of wine together? The answer would have to be the red sofa of The Graham Norton Show. It was one of those surreal moments in television and it is most certainly worth a watch on BBC iPlayer for those who missed it. The show is in its fourteenth series and is not lacking in big names, as seen on Friday's episode (Jude Law, Lady Gaga, June Brown and Greg Davies). Graham's unique questioning gives the audience laughter, funny stories and the truth from the guests who star. This week was no different with Lady Gaga and Dot Cotton striking up a friendship and Greg Davies providing some of the laughs along with Jude Law. And who can forget the ending with the Red Chair?

Strictly Come Dancing vs The X Factor

Saturday Night TV means one thing: Strictly Come Dancing taking on The X Factor. In the BBC Television Studios there was last minute drama as Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede was deemed unfit to dance after collapsing in dress rehearsal. Also absent was Sir Bruce Forsyth, but the show did not suffer without him as Tess Daly took over with Claudia Winkleman as her sidekick. With Gumede ill there was room for someone else to come top of the leader board. Surprisingly it was Casualty actor Patrick Robinson who came top with 37 points, which included a perfect 10. Susanna Reid and Abbey Clancy followed closely with 36. But it was Hairy Baker Dave Myers who found himself saying goodbye to the show. After constantly scoring low marks he was put in the dance off along with actor Mark Benton who survived to make it to the halfway point. With next weekend promising the Tower Hall of Blackpool, and hopefully the return of the favourite Gumede, Strictly looks as though it could gain its biggest audience yet.

Meanwhile, The X Factor gave us Big Band Night where all of the acts sang with a full orchestra for an hour and a half. The show is already half way through its series and the race for the Christmas single is on. With Gary Barlow announcing earlier in the week that it is best not to win The X Factor, you have to wonder why on earth the contestants are still trying and even why the show is still going. This week brought us ballads, new words from Nicole Scherzinger, and some more of Abi Alton informing us how she doesn't want to work in Morrisons for much longer. However, it seems that is where she will be heading after she was booted off the show after losing in the sing-off to Hannah Barrett.

The X Factor was more or less the same this week, but we can look forward to a special performance from Miley Cyrus next week: yes, it is safe to assume that there will be twerking, and yes, Twitter will probably have a meltdown too.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Series four of the popular drama series has just come to an end and Sunday's series finale showed us why Downton Abbey should be given another series as it put to bed all of the worries which were aired at its beginning. There was heartbreak for Lady Rose as she failed to elope with black jazz singer Jack Ross; meanwhile Alfred's proposal went down like a lead balloon as kitchen maid Ivy rejected him whilst fellow maid Daisy confessed she had once loved him. The biggest shock of all had to be Lady Mary giving a smile at the end of the show, possibly more surprising than the sudden death of rapist Green, supposedly at the hands of Bates as revenge for hurting his wife. With a complex plotline and a lot of unresolved issues, including Edith's pregnancy, Bates's future, and possible romance for Branson and Isobel, it is easy to see why Downton has been rescheduled for another series. The only downside is the countdown until next year.

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