TV Preview: Palin’s trip to Brazil will entertain us all

Runaway contender for best programme of the week has to be Brazil with Michael Palin, a new four-part BBC1 series in which the now veteran traveller – he’s been doing this stuff for more than 20 years now – visits South America’s biggest, most famous country, an emerging economic giant and, of course, host to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

Palin goes right back to the start examining how Portuguese traders landed thousands of slaves on north-eastern Brazil, triggering what has become a melting pot of cultures in one huge nation. Palin, avuncular as ever, manages to drop in at the right moment on certain places and is always ready to try his hand at whatever is thrown at him. By the end of it, we will all know there’s a lot more to Brazil than coffee, football and Copocobana beach (Wed, BBC1, 9pm).

Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals is Jamie Oliver’s new teatime programme (Channel 4, 5pm, Mon-Fri) in which Britain’s most famous TV chef rustles up easy family meals starting with chilli con carne meatballs, sticky chicken, watermelon radish salad and crunchy noodles.

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If you thought BBC2 was done with baking cakes, you were very much mistaken because BBC2 on Tuesday at 8pm serves up Great British Bake Off Revisited looking back at how previous winners have fared. Meanwhile, the normal Monday night is food night on BBC2 starts at 7pm with The Great British Bake Off Masterclass in which, yes, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, show us how to stay calm in the kitchen while knocking out treacle tarts and creme caramels. If anyone else has any suggestions about how to stretch this out to a five-day-a-week strand, the BBC may well want to hear your pitch.

Same night, same station at 9pm, the wonderfully engaging Professor Alice Roberts leads a team of experts helping to piece together a Neanderthal and, using DNA techniques, they attempt to find out how closely related they were to us. Prehistoric Autopsy is on each night until Wednesday.

Fans of James Bond might want to tune into BBC2 on Wednesday at 10pm when there’s a Culture Show special, Sam Mendes: Licence to Thrill, interviewing the director of the latest 007 jaunt, Skyfall, which hits our cinema screens soon (Wed, BBC2, 10pm).

For those of you with kids in the house, it’s always worth looking out for Channel 5 on Sunday teatime, which has become home to some seriously good children’s movies in recent times and this weekend is no exception with a rare re-run for the classic Disney tale of Dumbo. If you’ve never seen this 1941 stand-out film, get yourself sat down with the kids for a whole 65 minutes from 5.20pm.

Finally, Premiership football is back on Sky Sports including Spurs-Chelsea (Sat, 12.45pm) a Tyne-Wear derby at 1.30pm on Sunday followed at 4pm by QPR-Everton.