PICK OF THE WEEK

The Herald Magazine - - Arts / Television -

SATUR­DAY

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

(BBC2, 8pm)

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

(BBC2, 12am)

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.

SUN­DAY

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.

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