TV listings | Kids: dead ones and others you’d want to kill

They say Xmas is for the kids, and this week we’ve got them dying prematurely, getting murdered, acting precocious and Richard Hammond.

A kid I knew lost half his cranium in a crash. But here’s the thing: he came back a nicer bloke, as he used to be a complete dick. Sadly, the reverse was true of the presenter of Richard Hammond’s Journey to the Centre of the Planet (DRHD, Mon 20:00). Now he’s a rabid maniac who can’t stop guzzling and dribbling over simplified drivel in the hope that someone will give him back his marbles. Watch him give plate tectonics the Top Gear treatment, and jump on any excuse to show us explosions, molten lava and sparkly bits that aren’t too dissimilar to the contents of his brain.

Not sure Hammond would have made it to adulthood in the 1430s if the 2011 BBC doc Too Much Too Young – Children of the Middle Ages is anything to go by. Looking principally at the areas of religion, war and work, it’s a fascinating new perspective of the era, even if the narrator’s gesticulations are a wee bit distracting at times.

A bit like the presence of the filmmaker in Andrew Jenks, Room 335, the 2005 debut of the top-of-the-dox pin-up who has introducedMTV’s viewers to the concept of … well, you can’t really call this documentary, it’s reality TV whichever way you look at it. In this doc, Jenks hangs out in an old people’s home and discovers that, hell no, while their faces have disappeared, some of them still have personalities.

Secrets of the Arabian Nights (DRK, Tue 21:00)

Like the British comedians in John Bishop’s Sport Relief Hell (BBC Ent, Sat 21:00 or Sun 16:30) and David Walliams’s Big Swim (BBC Ent, Sat 22:00 or Sun 17:30) whose efforts really go to show that if you’re brave enough to try stand-up comedy, you can do anything.

Elsewhere, Secrets of the Arabian Nights, presented by Richard E Grant, looks at how the tales were brought to Europe; Sculpture Diaries (DRK, Wed 21:00) revisits the creation of Mount Rushmore; crass 2012 drama series Beauty and the Beast (TV2 Zulu, Sat 20:00) scored a poor 33 on Metacritic; and Andrew Marr’s series History of the World, according to the Guardian, is a “good edit” despite the “ridiculous dramatic reconstructions”.