PICK OF THE WEEK
The Wonderful Word of Puppies (Channel 5, 5pm)
More extraordinary, moving and funny stories starring puppies great and small. Hungarian vizsla pup Gilbert is suffering from a condition which affects his back legs. Regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy have seen small improvements but now he must move out of his birth home. Luckily, Gilbert has been found a new human mum and dad who will devote a lot of time to him. Meanwhile, Barley is a giant Newfoundland pup. Newfies were originally bred to be water rescue dogs in the Canadian Arctic and Barley’s human parents want to train her to do just that.
The NHS: To Provide All People
The BBC’s celebration of the National Health Service’s 70th anniversary continues with perhaps its most ambitious programme yet. An all-star cast – including Michael Sheen, Tamsin Greig, Martin Freeman, Meera Syal, Celia Imrie, Eve Myles and Sian Phillips – takes part in an hour-long special from the same team behind the acclaimed Aberfan: Green Hollow. Here poet Owen Sheers charts the emotional and philosophical map of what defines the NHS, as well as the personal experiences of those working within the system and its patients.
Hidden (BBC4, 9pm)
The Snowdonia-set drama continues with Megan finding herself in a desperate situation when Dylan takes her prisoner and locks her in the cellar of a derelict house on his farm. While making house-to-house inquiries, detectives Mari James and Ryan Davies pay a routine visit to ask Dylan if he knows anything about the death of Mali Pryce. Mari’s suspicions are immediately aroused by this peculiar man who lives in the middle of nowhere. Iona then berates Dylan and tries to persuade him to let Megan go before any more damage is caused. But will the labourer listen to his mother’s pleas?
Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
Documentary profiling the blues guitarist, narrated by the man himself, as he charts his six decades in the music business and why his insatiable desire to grow his artistic voice led him to quit a stream of successful bands, from the Yardbirds and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers to short-lived supergroups Cream and Blind Faith. Clapton also talks about his battles with drugs and alcohol, his love for George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd and the tragic loss of his son in an accident. Including archive interviews with BB King, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix.
Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix Live (Channel 4, 1.40pm)
Following last week’s exciting French Grand Prix, the Formula 1 circus moves to Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for the ninth round of the season. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas dominated the race here last year to take his second victory of 2017 ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton, who recovered to fourth, after starting in eighth on the grid. With this season starting to look
like another two-horse race between Vettel and Hamilton, the points up for grabs in this race could be key.
Olympic Dreams of Russian Gold: Over the Limit (BBC4, 9pm)
Director Marta Prus follows outstanding Russian rhythmic gymnast Margarita “Rita” Mamun as she faces the most crucial year of her career. She’s preparing to represent her country at Rio 2016, in what is likely to be her last chance to win gold at an Olympic Games. The mentally fragile Rita is seen sacrificing everything in pursuit of her dream, while Prus’ film also shines a light on the high-pressure, unrelentingly brutal coaching regime of the Russian gymnastic programme and coach Irina Viner. The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan (BBC2, 9pm)
Anybody who’s seen Romesh Ranganathan on TV will know he likes a good moan. This three-part travelogue takes him to some of the world’s most beautiful but dangerous places, during which he finds out how the locals deal with the problems that surround them every day by immersing himself in their lives. The first programme takes him to Haiti. Everything he has heard about the place has been negative, from the dictator who terrorised the place to the earthquake and hurricane that devastated it.
Reporting Trump’s First Year: The Fourth Estate (BBC2, 12am)
Shortly after FBI director James Comey is fired, the
cameras from Channel 4 that had been granted “unprecedented access” for a year. Does any documentary ever start by saying they had been given the same old take-it-or-leave-it access?
The first programme introduced the new American ambassador to London, one Woody Johnson. Woody, a billionaire, raised more than $18 million to elect Donald Trump. No, I have no idea how he got the ambassador’s job. Good interview, maybe?
Woody’s USP as ambassador seemed to be that he saw everything in terms of making sales. Someone had the
not so bright idea of commissioning a poll of Britons to find out what they really thought about Trump, the better to “frame” messages about him. Overwhelmingly, respondents were not in the market to buy a state visit. In diplomatic circles this sort of thing is called “awkward”.
If you think Trump is a tough sell, try punting a new sitcom into the crowded schedules. Stath Lets Flats (Channel 4,
Wednesday, 10pm) had an advantage in that it was written by Robert “Friday Night Dinner” Popper and Jamie Demetriou, who also starred as the titular London lettings agent. Thick as two short planks but arrogant with it, the only reason Stath had a job alongside such sharp operators as Carole (the always wonderful Katy Wix) is that his father owns the firm (don’t worry, kid, Trump had the same kind of start). This was comedy of the silly clot kind, as when Stath tried to get a pigeon out of a loft, causing maximum damage, Frank Spencer-style. Some dads do ’ave ’em. Reader, I giggled. I’ll be back next week.
Unlike Saga Noren, heroine of The
Bridge (BBC2, Friday, 9pm), which bowed out for good. This season’s storyline has not been one of the drama’s strongest. As if to confirm that, everything appeared to be wrapped up early on, leaving The Bridge to concentrate on what has made it such a success – the characters.
Oh, me of little faith. It was a bluff, with Saga putting all the pieces together in the last five minutes, making for a thrilling end.
Best of all was the part reconciliation between Saga and Henrik, the detective with Asperger’s and the ex-addict. “We’ve managed quite well considering the psychosocial difficulties we’ve had,” said Saga. Henrik smiled. Bogart and Bergman, eat your hearts out.