Pick of the week
Capital Tuesday, 8.30pm, BBC First (117) Adapted from John Lanchester’s novel, this four-part series drops in on the folks who live on the fictional Pepys Road, south London. The value of their houses is in rapid ascension but most of them are far from wealthy. There’s Mrs Howe (Gemma Jones), an elderly widow with a brain tumour; Roger (Toby Jones) the banker with money problems; Quentina (Wunmi Mosaku), the Zimbabwean traffic warden; and Ahmed (Adeel Akhtar), the Pakistani corner shop owner. They have one thing in common. Each receives an anonymous postcard with the message “we want what you have”. A hooded character darts around at night taking photos and these turn up as postcards, always with the same message. A detective agrees the cards constitute harassment, trespass and anti-social behaviour. Nobody has a clue what they mean or who’s responsible. Funny and poignant, the series neatly zeroes in on a microcosm of society. Petunia Howe, who has lived in the street since she was a bride, has a daughter who neglects her; Roger, a newcomer, has a frightful wife who spends; Ahmed’s family has different attitudes to Islam; and poor Quentina, working illegally, is being blackmailed. Written by BAFTA award-winning writer Peter Bowker, the series is a gentle look at contemporary London where inequality and various other problems exist side by side.