I once spent a morning crouched silently in my friend's wardrobe after his mum had unexpectedly returned home, nearly foiling our plan to bunk off school. That we had spent nearly three hours hiding in sweaty, uncomfortable conditions, far worse than those at school, was not a problem. In fact, it was a small victory in our fight against the system. We had skipped school and avoided detection, and we used the rest of the day wisely: memorising the lyrics to all of the tracks on Black Sabbath albums Paranoid and Vol 4 ("Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blind?").

Other than sneaking a bottle of Malibu into art class and once locking the woodwork tutor, Mr Dorset, in his workshop while he showed the French mistress, Madame Rose, his "tools", playing truant that time was as rebellious as we ever got. We were pretty good kids and our mischief was never insufferable enough (I hope) to cause a teacher to have a nervous breakdown, the fate of Big School's poor geography teacher, Mr Barber (Steve Speirs; Stella).

I thought this pointless sitcom had milked the last laugh from its old-fashioned, predictable format, but tomorrow night (BBC Entertainment 10.45pm, although it has been on demand for a while, already), a second season begins, with the teachers once again acting like unruly pupils.

After his classroom meltdown last season, Mr Barber has been demoted to the position of school caretaker and must now suffer the indignity of being fed fishfingers through the canteen window. It's one of the premiere's few highlights.

David Walliams' (Little Britain) bumbling Mr Church is still romantically pursuing the annoying Miss Postern (Catherine Tate) while uncouth PE teacher Mr Gunn (hard to believe it's the same Philip Glenister who played Life on Mars' DCI Gene Hunt) tries to muscle in on the action.

That's really all there is to it. In the upcoming episodes there are a few sub-plots to accompany the shamefully obvious storylines (the music teacher tries and fails to become a pop star; a blind staff member is hired with "hilarious" consequences). If you enjoyed the first series then there's nothing to turn you off here, but much like my history report card always said, Big School "could do far better with a little more effort".

One person who can't be accused of lacking effort is brooding Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber; X-Men Origins), who returned to our screens last week. The third noirish season starts (tomorrow, FX, 10pm) introduces the Finney family, led by billionaire Malcolm (Ian McShane; Deadwood) and his ambitious daughter Paige (Katie Holmes, Dawson's Creek; above with McShane), who seek out Donovan's particular skill set following the kidnapping of a family member.

As always, Donovan's family is as problematic as his clients, with his ever-scheming father, Mickey (Jon Voight; 24), dabbling in prostitution and his brother Terry (Eddie Marsan; Sherlock Holmes) facing life in prison following a bungled robbery that he had nothing to do with.

With the show's creator, Emmy-award-winning writer Ann Biderman, no longer at the helm following budget disputes last year, it'll be interesting to see how Ray Donovan pans out. But with the premiere having slowed the pace, returning the focus back to the family drama, and with two great additions in McShane and Holmes to an already impressive cast, the future seems bright for dark and moody Donovan.

I'll be the first to admit it, I'm not a big fan of magic. I'm all for the wonder that illusions and trickery can bring to a gobsmacked audience, it's just the magicians that bother me. I've always found their hey-kids-look-how-amazing-I-am! attitude, hidden knowledge and secret societies egotistical. Magicians nowadays, however, understand that the most important element to their shows, other than not actually sawing the assistant in half, is getting the audience to like them.

However much I pray for David Blaine to fail at his next ridiculous feat of stupidity, I can't deny that he did introduce a certain coolness to the craft, with his impressive street skills and carefree persona.

Enigmatic 24-year-old Londoner Troy Von Scheibner is cut from the same cloth. In his debut show, Troy (today, 8.30pm, on TVB Pearl), Von Scheibner performs a similar brand of sleight of hand on an unsuspecting public, and his down-to-earth style dazzles as much as his tricks. Using hidden cameras to capture the crowd's reactions, Von Scheibner is able to walk away from those he confounds without ever getting a mouthful of abuse, thanks, no doubt, to his likeable personality.

The street stunts are interspersed with snippets of his personal life: a trip to his barber, a quick stop-off at his favourite tattoo parlour, a visit to his younger sister - all of which create a trendier image, indicating that Von Scheibner may have the chops to one day step out of Blaine's shadow.

Mark Peters