Birthday time on TV this week

Funnyman Peter Kay, who scored a success with Car Share, returns to sitcom in Cradle to Grave, an eight-part adaptation of DJ/ presenter Danny Baker's autobiography, starting tomorrow night on BBC2. Also pictured, right, is Laurie Kynaston as the young Danny.
Funnyman Peter Kay, who scored a success with Car Share, returns to sitcom in Cradle to Grave, an eight-part adaptation of DJ/ presenter Danny Baker's autobiography, starting tomorrow night on BBC2. Also pictured, right, is Laurie Kynaston as the young Danny.
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Birthdays are always time to celebrate - for better or for worse.

TV viewers will, no doubt, give their own verdict on the passing of time with TV’s double celebration - the 60th birthday of ITV and three decades of entertainment on BBC’s Children’s Channel.

ITV1 gets in nostalgic mode tonight in You Saw Them Here First, a brand-new Hall of Fame collection featuring the first steps of some of today’s biggest stars.

There are early entrances by Ant & Dec, David Tennant, Judy Finnigan and Paul O’Grady, as well as such timely gems with Bruce Forsyth’s debut on Saturday Night at the London Palladium in 1959 while 25 years later it was still uncomfortable viewing as Lorraine Kelly delivered her first report for TV-AM.

Next Wednesday, the celebrations start a little earlier at 6pm as Hacker T. Dog gets ready to throw a party on CBBC to mark the 30 years since Phillip Schofield opened the doors of the Broom Cupboard.

Before then there’s a host of goodies, “old and new,” ready to view. More of the same is already here with C5 hosting another gruelling Celebrity Big Brother marathon which seems overshadowed by wannabe stars out to impress in a revamped The X Factor (ITV1) while this Saturday it’s a return of glitz and glamour as contestants take to the floor for the 13th series of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1).

If something new is more to your liking there’s plenty of choice, whether it’s joining the police patrolling trendy Brighton in the three-part docu-drama The Nick (ITV1, Wednesday) or working a shift with a very different outfit in Top Coppers (BBC3, Wednesday).

More mainstream comedy is to be found on BBC2 tomorrow evening with the start of Cradle to Grave, an eight-part adaptation of presenter Danny Baker’s autobiography Going to Sea in a Sieve.

This 70s slice of nostalgia sees comedian Peter Kay ditching his Bolton burr for Cockney cadences playing Danny’s Dad, Fred (Spud), whose money-making schemes leave Del Boy standing.

The anniversary of the Nazis’ bombing raids is remembered next week in Blitz Cities (BBC1, Monday to Friday) which enlists the help of Shane Richie (London), David Harewood (Birmingham), Ricky Tomlinson (Liverpool), John Humphrys (South Wales) and Myleene Klass (Norwich) who each visit their hometowns, and with the use of rarely seen target documents, take to the sky to recreate the German Luftwaffe’s same bombing routes.