"I wanted to see how much of everything you could cram into one head. This one." So says comedian Ken Campbell in the opening credits for his three-part investigation into life, the universe and everything, Reality on the Rocks (Sun 8pm C4). Episode one, "Did it Begin?", combines wry camera-work (Stephen Hawking, right, with Campbell, mysteriously glimpsed through cycle spokes as he trundles through Cambridge) with a scaldingly simple exposition of the big bang. The secret is Campbell himself, a gnome- like inquisitor who won't take perhaps for an answer and spends the entire series confronting eminent molecular and astro-physicists with a barrage of stubbornly literal questions. These interviews are intercut with lucid expository studio/graphic sequences and extracts from his one-man stage show, "Mystery Bruises". The balance between weight of subject and blokiness of presentation produces moments of sublime deadpan humour ("So you really want to find out about the universe?" "Yes." "Have a seat...") and the whole is blended with a bagful of irony. Next, we want to see Ken Campbell presenting Newsnight.
Ever felt a touch inadequate as you flick through the glossies or watch movie stars strut their stuff? Well, take heart. These fraudsters may look perfect, but without their hair extensions, fake tans, eyebrows and anything else they can get their hands on, they'd be like you or me. Capital Woman (Wed 1.55pm ITV) learns the filthy facts from Harpers and Queen beauty editor, Newby Hands, who reveals the painstaking tricks used to create superhuman beauty. Also, "Dance Doctor", Michael Gabriel, tackles the little-known subject of dancophobia - the terror of dancing - which strikes fear into the hearts of many and sees the most informal of parties become ordeals for those desperate to stay rooted to their chairs and avoid possible public humiliation. The Dance Doc is here and he has the answers.
Clink clink fizz The BBC's ever-interesting arts department has come up with another corker. The Dancing Room (Sat 8pm BBC2) is a 50-minute film starring dancers and musicians in an exploration of "universal truths, rituals and myths". The setting is the Clink Vaults, a weird labyrinth of stone walls and arches near London Bridge, and the musicians are the Hungarian group Muzsikas (right), a traditional string ensemble playing Transylvanian village music. OK, so this is starting to sound a bit precious, but the piece is surprisingly accessible and joyous, using dancers between the ages of eight and 74, and drawing on styles and customs from all over the world. There's a particularly good sequence in which the guests at a dinner party transform themselves into a free-wheeling rhythm collective, tapping glasses and banging cutlery in a complex choreography of percussion - the kind of thing that never quite gets off the ground in the real world because some idiot always starts singing.
Scratch 'n' sniff
Coliseum Video have made it possible for those other than hopeless insomniacs to share in the World Wrestling Federation 1994 Year in Review (£14.99), a high-camp three-hour feast of beards, bellies and lycra, peopled with characters you normally only meet in your nightmares. These include Rowdy Roddy Piper, a kilted monstrosity who takes on the might of King Jerry Lawlor, a sissy in patterned tights and romper suit, and Razor Ramon, whose black spangly keks are no match for Shawn Michaels' red heart-covered white leggings. When it comes to style, these geezers put Eubank right in the shade. What they don't put in the shade, though, is our own Gladiators. They, too, have their Challenge 1994/5 (£12.99) on the market: only 150 mins long, but packed with thrilling accidents, people twirling round on ropes and other shows of machismo from the last series. This is also, of course, your last chance to see the disgraced Shadow (above) in action: you'll recognise him because he's the one with the white toothbrush moustache.
Compiled by Tom Morris, Steven Poole, Kate Mikhail and Serena MackesyReuse content