CLASS, BBC1, 10.45pm
THIS new series is a Doctor Who spin-off and that’s really all that needs to be said. That statement will either turn people off completely or will send fans rushing towards it.

Those who don’t really “get” Doctor Who, and I include myself, often dismiss it as a hyped-up children’s programme but the scheduling of this one, at the late hour of 10.45pm, tells us it’s not for babies. And while a spin-off normally means the original characters wouldn’t be seen dead in it, this one includes a guest appearance from Peter Capaldi. So there is promise.

Originally broadcast online via BBC3, meaning no-one saw it, the show now gets its chance on proper TV. The story is set in Coal Hill Academy and a rip in space and time is allowing aliens and monsters to pour into the school. A group of students and their physics teacher, Miss Quill, band together to defeat them while also trying to stay on top of their schoolwork.

Loading article content

BRITAIN’S ANCIENT CAPITAL: SECRETS OF ORKNEY, BBC2, 9pm
WELL, this was news to me. Orkney apparently has a claim to be ancient Britain’s cultural capital and the BBC are throwing a bunch of TV historians and nature experts into this series to explain why.

Chris Packham and Neil Oliver lead a group of archaeologists and volunteers as they seek to “turn the map of Stone Age Britain upside down.” Even Stonehenge’s status is being challenged as we’re encouraged to look to Scotland as the centre of Stone Age society. Perhaps the stone circles there were a model for the more famous Stonehenge?

Tonight they ask how society could have flourished in isolated Orkney. How was transport and communication possible in such a wilderness? To test this, volunteers build a boat made of cow hide and wicker and attempt to row it across the Pentland Firth.

Elsewhere, human bones are discovered and Oliver asks in his dramatic tones if this might have been a human sacrifice.