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What's on the small screen this week

Great Australian Bake Off hosts Claire Hooper, left, and Mel Buttle, right with judges Maggie Beer and Matt Moran.
Great Australian Bake Off hosts Claire Hooper, left, and Mel Buttle, right with judges Maggie Beer and Matt Moran. Supplied

THE tennis and Big Bash League may be in full swing, but there's plenty of entertainment on TV as we enter the final few weeks of the summer non-ratings period.

After debuting to more than half a million viewers across the country last week, SBS's slow TV experiment The Ghan is back for an extended 17-hour airing on SBS Viceland. 

The funny men behind The League of Gentlemen reunite for a three-part special celebrating their 20th anniversary with the BBC, and a fresh batch of amateur Aussie bakers assemble for the third season of The Great Australian Bake Off on Foxtel. 

Then on Netflix, Lisa Kudrow joins the cast of Grace and Frankie for the new, fourth season.

Here are this week's highlights of the small screen and why you should tune in:

 

Sunday January 14: The Ghan, SBS Viceland, 2.40am to 8.30pm

A scene from the TV series The Ghan.
A scene from the TV series The Ghan. Lisa Hatzimihail

Australia's first foray into the slow TV movement last Sunday night on SBS got the nation talking. Now this 17-hour extended version captures the entire iconic 2979 kilometre rail journey from Adelaide to Darwin.

Why you should tune in: More than half a million viewers tuned in to this train journey last week, meditating on the beauty of the outback. Now fans can watch the full version (black, night-time segments omitted) either on SBS or any time on SBS On Demand.

 

Monday January 15: Australian Open Night 1, Seven, 7pm

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Ryan Harrison of the USA during the men's Final at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Ryan Harrison of the USA during the men's Final at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane. DARREN ENGLAND/AAP

ALL eyes will be on Melbourne for the start of the Australian Open. Tennis superstars from around the globe descend on the city for the first Grand Slam of 2018. Nick Kyrgios (pictured) has firmed as a favourite to win his first grand slam title after taking out the Brisbane International.  On the women's side, world No 4 Karolina Pliskova is the current favourite, despite losing to Brisbane champion Elina Svitolina.

Why you should tune in: With the likes of Andy Murray and Serena Williams already out of contention, both the men's and women's titles are up for grabs. This year's battle to make it to the grand final should be an exciting, and ta times surprising, one.

 

Tuesday January 16: The League of Gentlemen, ABC Comedy, 10pm

Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith reunite for three new episodes of The League of Gentlemen.
Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith reunite for three new episodes of The League of Gentlemen. James Stack

Royston Vasey is facing a threat more dire than anything it has faced before: dark rumours of boundary changes that could erase the town from the map forever.  The fight to save Royston Vasey from administrative annihilation will come from unexpected and surprising directions, all of them local.

Why you should tune in: The much-loved comedy trio of Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and Mark Gatiss returns with three new episodes to celebrate the group's twentieth anniversary at the BBC.

 

Wednesday January 17: The Voice Kids UK final, Nine, 7.30pm

The Voice Kids UK coaches will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones.
The Voice Kids UK coaches will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones. Supplied

ONLY one young singer can take out the first ever Voice Kids UK title. Will it be a win for Team Pixie, Team Will or Team Danny? The winner will take home a £30,000 ($48,000 AUD) cash prize for his/her musical future and a family holiday to Disneyland Paris.

Why you should tune in: Each coach has just two singers left. But don't let their age or size fool you. These young singers command some powerhouse voices. They'll perform as a group with their coaches before their final solo performances.

 

Thursday January 18: The Great Australian Bake Off, Lifestyle Channel, 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW

The Great Australian Bake Off's 2018 contestants.
The Great Australian Bake Off's 2018 contestants. Supplied

The mouth-watering third series will see a new diverse group of 12 amateur bakers put through baking challenges in the iconic Bake Off Shed to find Australia's best amateur baker.

Why you should tune in: From the divine culinary expertise of Maggie Beer to hosts Mel Buttle and Claire Hooper's witty baking puns, this is a light and fluffy show to indulge in.

 

Friday January 19: The Graham Norton Show, Ten, 8.30pm

Hugh Jackman, Zendaya and Zac Efron in a scene from The Graham Norton Show.
Hugh Jackman, Zendaya and Zac Efron in a scene from The Graham Norton Show. Channel 10

Graham Norton cranks up the wattage with this week's line-up of all-star guests. Australia's own Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya sit down on the couch to talk about their original musical The Greatest Showman. Also dropping by are Gary Oldman and Suranne Jones.

Why you should watch: Oldman talks about his Golden Globe-winning role as Winston Churchill and Efron tells a hilarious story about how Jackman nearly got him killed.

 

Saturday January 20: Grace and Frankie, Netflix

Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Lisa Kudrow in a scene from Grace and Frankie.
Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Lisa Kudrow in a scene from Grace and Frankie. Melissa Moseley/Netflix

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. They form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of family.

Why you should tune in:  Lisa Kudrow of Friends fame joins the cast for season four of Netflix's acclaimed comedy. She plays the manicurist to Fonda's perpetually martini-drinking Grace.

Topics:  grace and frankie television the ghan australia's greatest train journey the graham norton show the great australian bake off



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