Coming Soon: TV goes to the moon and back

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The Independent Culture

Be warned: reality TV behemoth Big Brother returns for a barrel-scraping 10th run on 27 May (Channel 4).

Before then, though, you can savour the return of The Flight of the Conchords (pictured) – "formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo". Their new series on BBC4 begins on 12 May. On Channel 4, meanwhile, there's Britain's Forgotten Children – a week-long season of programmes exploring the failures of the British care system. It will climax with The Unloved, a one-off drama set in a kids' home directed by actress Samantha Morton. Weighty issues – no pun intended – will also be raised in Generation XXL (June, Channel 4), about the encroaching childhood obesity epidemic.

July sees the schedulers put out their lunar bunting for the 40th anniversary of the moon landings. The Beeb has lots on the launch pad, including Defying Gravity, an intriguing sounding adventure drama about a group of international astronauts undertaking a mysterious exploration of the solar system. Less mysterious is BBC's desire to work the presenters of Top Gear to death: as part of the same lunar season, James May undertakes astronaut training for James May on the Moon. Perhaps we can send Clarkson to Mars next...

Back to Earth with a bump: next month sees BBC drama try to get its head round the human cost of the global financial meltdown in Freefall, starring Aidan Gillen, Dominic Cooper and Sarah Harding (of Girls Aloud!). The double-Bafta-winning Dominic Savage directs. Continuing the recession theme, Sarah Beeny's property makeover show Property Ladder gets its own makeover in Property Snakes and Ladders (June, Channel 4), which follows budding developers through the housing market meltdown, and bankrupt businesses seek financial succour from entrepreneur Sir Gerry Robinson in Gerry's Big Decision (July, Channel 4). But if it sounds like it's shaping up to be a long, grim summer on the box, fear not: rays of scheduling sunshine come from the determinedly silly Alan Carr, and his new chat show Chatty Man, and the determinedly scabrous Charlie Brooker, gleefully picking apart the absurdities of the small screen once more as host of panel show You Have Been Watching (July, Channel 4).