HD Heads-Up: December 29 – January 4

➢➢ It won’t be a happy new year for WWE fans who have enjoyed pro-wrestling free-to-air in HD on Maori TV: from January 4, WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown will become a 9.30 Friday tag team on Prime. The same night Maori TV will end its WWE deal with the final of This Week at 11.00. While Raw and Smackdown will still screen FTA, you’ll need to be a Sky subscriber to view the shows in HD as Prime’s terrestrial service is SD only …

➢➢ The same week TVNZ 1 will give Sunday nights a summer facelift with new seasons of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond The Lobby (8.00) and The Job Interview (9.15). But those impatient to see Sir David Attenborough’s Dynasties will have to wait until January 20. Until then, the 7.00 Sunday slot will be filled with fodder like December 30’s Singapore Airlines promotionThe World’s Most Luxurious Airline, whereas last year TVNZ 1 aired Blue Planet II a month earlier …

➢➢ Unfortunately, Dynasties will clash with a season of premium wildlife documentaries on ThreeLife. It premieres on December 30 with A Life Among Monkeys, in which a primatologist follows the lives of  toque macaques monkeys in the temple ruins of the Sri Lankan jungle …

➢➢ Who Wants To Be A Millionaire UK will return to primetime from January 1 (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Tuesdays). The anniversary specials will be fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, who also will helm a 10-episode run next year on ITV. Reports Variety: “The producers tweaked the classic format for its return to British TV, with a new ‘ask the host’ lifeline. Clarkson got several questions wrong when ask the host was used, to widespread public amusement.” Next year also will see Clarkson’s post-Top Gear vehicle, The Grand Tour, splutter out on Amazon Prime …

➢➢ Other TVNZ 1 premieres that week will include Royal Variety Performance 2018 (7.00 Wednesday), 10k Holiday Home (8.00 Wednesdays) and Mrs Brown’s Boys: New Year Special – CSI Mammy (8.30 Wednesday) while TVNZ 2 will fast track Doctor Who New Year’s Special (7.30 Wednesday) …

➢➢ Doctor Who will stream OnDemand from the same day. Also new to the platform will be season five of Gotham (from January 4), box sets of Veronica Mars and The West Wing (from January 1), and UK dramas Robin Hood, SS-GB (which originally aired in SD on UKTV), One of Us and Parade’s End (from January 3) …

➢➢ In addition to the WWE franchise, Prime will launch the four-part Mediterranean With Simon Reeve (7.30 Sundays), which should look stunning in HD, and another season of Fishing Impossible (Prime, 7.30 Wednesdays) …

➢➢ The same week Duke will premiere Cop Car Workshop (8.30 Sundays), which reveals how inventive engineers and mechanics keep the police on the road, Russell Brown: Messiah Complex (8.30 Thursday) and the latest seasons of The Orville (9.25 Mondays) and The Island With Bear Grylls (9.25 Tuesdays) …

➢➢ Appearing on The Graham Norton Show: New Year’s Special (Three, 8.40 Tuesday) will be Keira Knightley, Guy Pearce, Catherine Tate, Olivia Colman, Nicholas Hoult and Rita Ora …

➢➢ Otherwise, movies will dominate the first week of the new year. The only network premieres will be One Thousand Ropes (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday) and Dirty Grandpa (Prime, 8.30 Tuesday). But of special note will be the primetime HD premiere of The Graduate (Duke, 8.30 Friday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Life of Pi (Three, 7.00 Saturday)
  • The Aviator (TVNZ 1, 9.00 Saturday)
  • Single White Female (Duke, 9.20 Saturday)
  • Click (TVNZ 2, 9.25 Saturday)
  • Valkyrie (Three, 9.25 Saturday)
  • The Guardian (TVNZ 2, 11.30 Saturday)
  • Wreck-It Ralph (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Sunday)
  • Taken 3 (Three, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Ghost (TVNZ 2, 8.55 Sunday)
  • Hidden (TVNZ 2, 12.15am Monday)
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Prime, 7.30 Monday)
  • What We Did on Our Holiday (TVNZ 1, 8.00 Monday)
  • Cast Away (Three, 8.35 Monday)
  • Dirty Dancing (TVNZ 2, 8.50 Monday)
  • I, Frankenstein (Prime, 9.30 Monday)
  • The Bodyguard (TVNZ 1, 10.00 Monday)
  • Poseidon (TVNZ 2, 12.05am Tuesday)
  • Jersey Boys (TVNZ 1, 12.15am Tuesday)
  • Miss Congeniality (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Tuesday)
  • Pearl Harbor (TVNZ 1, 8.00 Tuesday)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • The Lake House (TVNZ 2, 9.30 Tuesday)
  • Man on Wire (Duke, 10.55 Tuesday)
  • Brooklyn (TVNZ 1, 11.25 Tuesday)
  • The House Bunny (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Wednesday)
  • Trainwreck (Three, 8.35 Wednesday)
  • Casino Royale (Three, 7.30 Thursday)
  • Iron Man (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Thursday)
  • The Karate Kid (Three, 7.00 Friday)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Friday).
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One Response to “HD Heads-Up: December 29 – January 4”

  1. The Grand Tour looks to be an expensive flop for Amazon doesn’t it? The only reason to change the format is a lack of audience … BBC, despite the trials of Top Gear, must be glad it dodged a bullet while Clarkson and co continue to laugh all the way to the bank.

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