TV Preview: London 2012 still the only show in TV town

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Being the host nation has made us frankly spoiled in terms of the coverage on 
offer during the London 2012 Olympics.

There’s 24 live Olympics channels to choose from (not to mention some brilliant coverage on radio) and all at times that suit us perfectly.Unlike when it moves to Rio in 2016, for example.

The action really hots up in the next few days, with rowing and cycling expected to trigger a gold rush for Team GB, and with the athletics swinging into action, most notably with Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis making early charges for the men’s 10,000m (Sat, 9.15pm) and women’s heptathlon final (Sat evening).

Perhaps the biggest single crowd-puller of the entire games takes place on Sunday night at 9.5opm when Usain Bolt defends his 100m title in what many expect will be the fastest final of all time.

So far the coverage (men’s road race commentary aside) has been outstanding and the opening ceremony as a TV spectacle fully deserved the 27m viewers it acquired. It was simply stunning.

New series are still being launched in the face of the Olympic competition and Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure looks like a pretty mouth-watering option.

Ken Hom and Ching He-Huang begin a four-part journey through Chinese cuisine, beginning in Beijing . It’s fair to say some of the stuff that comes their way will not be to everyone’s taste – duck’s tongue or seahorse-on-a-stick – but that’s likely to be part of the fascination (Sunday, BBC2, 8pm).

The BBC Proms may be the antidote for those people not enamoured by all the sport on the Beeb. Handel’s Water Music, performed by the French ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel and conducted by Herve Niquet, is the main concert on Saturday night (8pm, BBC2) It features an 80-strong orchestra using original baroque instruments such as oboes and bassoons to recreate the world famous piece of classical music.

With the lack of new TV around during London 2012, the main networks have lined up some decent thrillers to keep non-sports fans reasonably happy. In no particular order, they include Anthony Hopkins in the crime drama Fracture (Sat, 9pm, Channel 4), Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness (Sun, 10pm, BBC2), and the brilliant psychological thriller, starring a very young Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm (Wed, 10.35pm, ITV1)

Back to the Olympics for the last word, however. After seeing the glorious documentary on cyclist Victoria Pendleton the other week, a nation should unite in cheering for her in the women’s spring finals (Wed, 5.25pm, BBC1).