Code of a Killer Saturday, 8.30pm, BBC First (117)
Based on real events, this British drama follows the work of two devoted investigators in Leicester in the 1980s. Alec Jeffreys (John Simm), a pioneering scientist at Leicester University, discovers DNA fingerprinting and DCS David Baker (David Threlfall) is determined to prove that two schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, were murdered by the same man three years apart. It’s not so much a whodunit as a “will this new scientific method prove the suspect guilty?” And, despite the doubters, will DNA profiling go on to become the single most important new police aid around the world?
Bob Marley: Spiritual Journey
Saturday, 9.30pm, Arts (132)
There have been several documentaries about Marley, the first artist to make reggae music popular outside his native Jamaica. This is one of the best. Although Marley himself does not make many appearances, interviews with his son Ziggy and former Jamaican premier Michael Manley plus BBC coverage of Marley’s funeral in 1981, his music and an examination of how he became one of the true philosophers of reggae and the Rastafarian faith more than make up for it. Marley died aged 36 from a melanoma.
Gore Vidal: My Life
Sunday, 5.30pm, Bio (133)
The acerbic, witty, intellectual Gore Vidal — probably best known for his novel Myra
Breckinridge — died in 2012 aged 86. He will be long remembered as one of America’s most polished writers and articulate activists who didn’t hold back when it came to saying what was on his mind. In this German documentary, shot at his Italian villa as he prepared to leave it for the last time, Vidal discusses what influenced his work, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Kennedys, the Waco siege and his correspondence with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
An Audience With …
Sunday, 7.30pm, Arena (105)
The remake of the last episode of season two of A
Place to Call Home, which aired on Seven before the network dropped it last year, was shown last Sunday on SoHo. The first episode of season three goes to air on September 27. Here, the cast — including Marta Dusseldorp (as Sarah Adams), Noni Hazlehurst (Elizabeth Bligh), Brett Climo (George Bligh) and Craig Hall (Dr Jack Duncan) — talks about the making of the romantic drama. Set in rural NSW in the 1960s, it attracted a huge following over two seasons so when Seven pulled the plug, Foxtel threw a lifeline.
Hustling the House
Sunday, 7.30pm, Discovery (608)
Winning, be it at the racetrack or casino, is most people’s get-rich-quick dream. We all fantasise about how we’d spend it but know deep down Lady Luck is rarely on our side. This documentary, made last year, goes behind the scenes to talk to gambling masterminds about how they beat the system. Then there’s Sal, a casino fraud investigator who knows every scam going — and all the casino’s secrets. Observe some simple rules and you could, apparently, turn the tables and start winning. Apparently.
Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul
Monday, 8.30pm, Life-Style Food (127)
Rick Stein is off on another foodie adventure, this time in the eastern Mediterranean where the simple, hearty food is what he likes best. In this new seven-part series, which he has just launched along with a book of the recipes, begins in Venice. Seafood risotto, tiramisu and gnocchi with spider crab are on the menu. Then it’s off to the beautiful island of Symi, near Rhodes.
The Michelangelo Code: Sistine Chapel
Tuesday, 6.30pm, Arts (132)
The Vatican gave award-winning art critic Waldemar Januszczak carte blanche to investigate the meaning of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpiece: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He has been studying the 500-year-old painting for the past 20 years and thinks he has unearthed the code. This documentary takes him on a journey from Texas to Jerusalem, in the footsteps of Columbus and all around Italy. Januszczak’s theory involves the Branch Davidians of Waco, two della Rovere popes and a Vatican spin doctor.
Winston Churchill: A Giant in the Century
Tuesday, 9.30pm, History (611)
The famous speeches and wartime newsreels may be familiar, but this remastered and colourised documentary includes a wealth of archival material that paints a more personal portrait of the man who changed the course of history. It explores Churchill’s extraordinary negotiating skills, his determination to win World War II at all costs and how he related to power and his contemporaries.
Perspectives: David Walliams
Thursday, 7.30pm, Bio (133)
Think David Walliams and you probably think
Little Britain. But he’s just as well known as the author of eight children’s books including The
Boy in the Dress, Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny which have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. So he’s the perfect person to talk about perhaps the greatest children’s storyteller of the 20th century, Roald Dahl. Here — with a little help from Joanna Lumley, Tim Minchin and Michael Rosen — he explores what influenced Dahl’s work and meets some of the people who knew him best.
Road to Ferrari
Thursday, 9.30pm, Discovery Turbo (634)
In September last year, Formula One journalist Will Buxton and his producer Jason Swales are delirious with joy when Ferrari lends them a new $US300,000 FF to drive from the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest to Ferrari’s head office in Maranello, Italy. There, Buxton interviews the company’s president and chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, only days before he resigns.
Friday, 8.30pm, UKTV (103)
One of the better police dramas on TV at the moment, this series is based on the international bestselling thrillers by Henning Mankell. There are two versions, the Danish one and this British one starring Kenneth Branagh as the dark but brilliant detective. In The Fifth Woman, Kurt Wallander investigates the death of three elderly men who were tortured before being murdered. Apart from being unpleasant characters, there doesn’t appear to be a link. Wallander suspects a woman seeking revenge.