What should have been a fun-packed week on the Norfolk Broads for my 12-year-old self, my dad, my brother and my cousin turned into a seven-day quarantine exercise after my dad came down with some awful bug. Not one to give up, pack up and return to the sanctuary of home, he decided we should bravely soldier on with our vacation.
Until, that was, my Norfolk-inhabiting aunt came to meet up with us towards the end of the week, saw my dad looking like the walking dead and promptly ordered him to stop being so silly.
Back home, the GP sent him straight to hospital, where he was put in an isolation unit for tropical diseases. I think my dad’s keen commitment to extreme use of antibacterial sprays saved the rest of us from getting whatever it was he had, but the sight of a boat on an inland waterway still makes me feel funny to this day.
So I’ll probably be clutching a bottle of Mr Muscle and a bundle of kitchen towel when I tune into The Golden Age of Canals (BBC2, Friday July 22, 9pm), a documentary charting the changing face of Britain’s canals over the past 60 years, as road transport began to reign supreme and the waterways turned from industrial arteries to tourist destinations.
> More holiday, er, fun now, with families seeing what life is like for the people who actually live and work in some of the world’s most luxurious getaway destinations.
The first episode of Holiday Hijack (Channel 4, Sunday July 24, 8pm) looks at the impact of all inclusive resorts on the local environment in the West African country the Gambia.
> I’ve got no idea what this next pick is going to be like, but I’m hoping it’ll be an off-beat little oddity.
Sugartown (BBC1, Sunday July 24, 10:25pm) is a comedy-drama set in a town in northern England where the chief industry is making rock that used to be renowned country-wide.
Now they’re struggling, and the owner’s prodigal brother returns from the big city with big plans – which involve closing the factory.
> Wonderstuff (BBC1, Monday July 25, 7.30pm) sadly isn’t a documentary about the West Midlands band of the same name (which, to be fair, may have had limited appeal), but a new series with Jane Moore investigating the strange ingredients in the products we rely so heavily on in our every day lives.
Soap and toothpaste come under the spotlight, and she asks the question we’ve all been pondering: “Is it really worth using conditioner?”
> Part of the undoubtedly lengthy inquest into the News of the World scandal is Dispatches: How Murdoch Ran Britain (Channel 4, Monday July 25, 8pm). The team investigate the media baron’s business practices, and find out how much power and influence he exerted over the political establishment.
> Something a bit more light-hearted now, The Celebrity Apprentice USA (BBC1, Monday July 25, 11.05pm)
We’re three weeks in, and celebs including La Toya Jackson and Meat Loaf have to impress billionaire businessman Donald Trump by ‘thinking outside the box’.
They need to create a mobile printing station but their efforts are hampered by everything from spilled coffee to power struggles.