The very best of the week ahead

The Sunday Telegraph - - Television & Radio -

To­day McMafia BBC ONE 9.00PM

Last week’s cliffhanger saw Alex (James Nor­ton) board­ing a plane for Moscow un­aware that his fa­ther’s ac­tions, in ar­rang­ing a badly mis­fir­ing hit on Rus­sian mafia boss Vadim (Merab Ninidze), had put his life even more at risk, and was just the set-up re­quired to guar­an­tee a rip-roar­ing fi­nale. And McMafia re­ally needs to go out with a bang; the BBC’s first big glossy drama se­ries of 2018 hasn’t lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions and has been shed­ding view­ers. That’s largely down to the se­ries’ over­long and un­nec­es­sar­ily com­plex plot, and too many sub­ti­tles. Not to men­tion that most of the char­ac­ters have been im­pos­si­ble to root for as they all seem self­ish, de­tached and moral­ity-free. On the plus side, Moscow makes an ap­pro­pri­ately moody set­ting for the cli­max, as Alex soon finds him­self bat­tling the im­pla­ca­ble power of the cor­rupt Rus­sian bu­reau­cracy, and the vengeance-seek­ing Vadim. Ger­ard O’Dono­van

Lost Cities of the Maya: Re­vealed CHAN­NEL 4, 8.00PM

This su­perb film looks anew at the glo­ries of Mayan civil­i­sa­tion since laser map­ping has en­abled the dis­cov­ery of thou­sands of pre­vi­ously un­known struc­tures be­neath the dense jun­gles of Gu­atemala. GO

Mon­day Col­lat­eral / Trauma BBC TWO, 9.00PM / ITV, 9.00PM

It’s John Simm ver­sus John Simm as the BBC and ITV go head to head in the “state state of the na­tion na­tion” drama stakes. In Col­lat­eral, David Hare’s s com­plex con­spir­acy story about a random mur­der that turns out to be any­thing but, he plays an am­bi­tious bi­tious Labour politi­cian with ith a com­pli­cated pri­vate life, while in the timely Trauma, writ­ten it­ten by Mike Bartlett ( Doc­tor ctor Fos­ter), he’s the griev­ing fa­ther her of a teenage boy who dies on the op­er­at­ing table af­ter be­ing eing stabbed. So which Simm should d you watch? In terms rms of per­for­mance, e, he’s at his best in n

Trauma, giv­ing ving the dev­as­tated Daniel a heart­break­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity amid the grow­ing men­ace as he in­serts him­self into the life of Adrian Lester’s su­per-smooth sur­geon. That said, Col­lat­eral is the more in­ter­est­ing se­ries: where Trauma looks set to break down along stan­dard psy­cho­log­i­cal re­venge thriller lines, with Daniel turn­ing the screw on his in­creas­ingly un­nerved vic­tim, Hare has grander am­bi­tions, fo­cus­ing on pol­i­tics, im­mi­gra­tion and “the way we live to­day”. It makes for a po­ten­tially ad­dic­tive mix even if the di­a­logue is oc­ca­sion­ally a lit­tle too on the nose. The all-star cast in­cludes Carey Mul­li­gan, Ben Miles, Ni­cola Walker and an out­stand­ing Bil­lie Piper. Sarah Hughes

Julius Cae­sar Re­vealed BBC ONE, 9.00PM 9

Mary Beard, the his­to­rian now con­sid­ered the go-to for en­gag­ing, in­for­ma­tive and pop­ulist takes on the clas­si­cal age, of­fers an en­ter­tain­ing look at the life and times of Julius Cae­sar. Sift­ing between leg­end and re­al­ity, Beard brings the an­cient world thrillingly to life. SH

Tues­day Shet­land BBC ONE, 9.00PM; WALES, 10.40PM

The fourth se­ries of two-part Ann Cleeves adap­ta­tions gets off to an ex­cel­lent start, with a plau­si­ble case, well-drawn lo­cal com­mu­nity and of course glo­ri­ously wild scenery. Thomas Malone (Steven Wal­ters) has had his con­vic­tion for mur­der­ing lo­cal teenager Lizzie Kil­muir over­turned and is re­leased af­ter 23 years in jail. This means trou­ble for Jimmy Perez (Dou­glas Hen­shall) and his team as they face both the wrath and po­ten­tial vig­i­lantes of the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the prospect of re­open­ing a case many would pre­fer re­mained closed – not least the re­tired de­tec­tive who se­cured Malone’s con­vic­tion. And then another body turns up in cir­cum­stances that re­call Lizzie’s mur­der – but is it Malone, or a copy­cat? Mark Bon­nar and Neve McIn­tosh round out a fine cast, and the story con­cludes next week. Gabriel Tate

Eliz­a­beth: Our Queen CHAN­NEL 5, 9.00PM

Fill­ing The Crown- shaped hole in your lives, this ex­am­i­na­tion of Her Majesty’s life and times reaches her first decade on the throne, as she learns the ropes dur­ing the Churchill/Eden years of an Em­pire in re­treat. GT

Wed­nes­day Damned CHAN­NEL 4, 10.00PM

Even if the first se­ries of Jo Brand ( Get­ting On), Mor­wenna Banks ( Miss

You Al­ready) and Will Smith’s ( The Thick of It) dour work­place com­edy set in the child pro­tec­tion unit of the fic­tional Elm Heath So­cial Ser­vices depart­ment passed you by, you’re un­likely to have a prob­lem pick­ing up the thread when it re­turns for a sec­ond run. The ter­rific en­sem­ble cast – among them Brand, Alan Davies, Kevin El­don, Ge­orgie Glen, Himesh Pa­tel and Isy Sut­tie – have got the por­trayal of a dys­func­tional of­fice en­vi­ron­ment down to a tee. In this first episode, the team comes un­der in­tense pres­sure when Al (Davies) puts a sin­gle-mother sex worker at risk of los­ing her chil­dren af­ter mis­tak­enly ac­cus­ing her of ply­ing her trade in front of her fam­ily. It’s a sce­nario that yields a sur­pris­ingly high hit-rate of laughs, de­spite one re­pul­sive run­ning gag in­volv­ing dog mess, a pair of train­ers and a freezer. Ger­ard O’Dono­van

Gen­er­a­tion Gifted BBC TWO, 9.00PM

Is it pos­si­ble to es­cape a dis­ad­van­taged start in life in a Bri­tain where so­cial mo­bil­ity ap­pears to be at a stand­still? Over three years, young peo­ple iden­ti­fied as ex­cep­tional are fol­lowed to see what im­pact ed­u­ca­tion has on their prospects, start­ing with three bright sparks from Birm­ing­ham, Port Tal­bot and Tam­worth. GO

Thurs­day The Job In­ter­view CHAN­NEL 4, 10.00PM

Chan­nel 4’s en­gag­ing fly-on-the-wall se­ries re­turns for a new run with can­di­dates vy­ing for jobs at Vir­gin Trains and beauty com­pany Ci­ate. As al­ways, the episode stands and falls with the in­ter­vie­wees – and the ones here are a gem of a bunch. At Vir­gin, they’re look­ing for a cus­tomer ser­vice man­ager – “I would hope that I could mould the job more into my life­style pat­tern,” ad­mits one can­di­date wor­ry­ing about the long shift hours – and lovely stu­dent Bianca, des­per­ate to clear her debt, com­petes with kind-hearted Ja­gat, who used to work for the Civil Ser­vice but has been the sole carer for his mother fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s death. Mean­while, at Ci­ate, they’re search­ing for a so­cial me­dia as­sis­tant. Or­gan­ised stu­dent Mieke and con­fi­dent In­sta­gram­mer Soleil im­press, while poor ea­ger So­phie comes hor­ri­bly un­stuck mid­way through her in­ter­view. It all adds up to an in­ter­est­ing and in­volv­ing hour – although any­one who has spent time on Vir­gin Trains may raise an eye­brow at the an­nounce­ment that they al­ways go the ex­tra mile. Sarah Hughes

Chil­dren Who Kill ITV, 9.00PM

Ig­nore the sen­sa­tion­al­ist ti­tle if you can be­cause this Su­sanna Reid-pre­sented doc­u­men­tary is worth watch­ing. The fo­cus here is on the United States’s ap­proach to ju­ve­nile jus­tice, as Reid trav­els to the coun­try to meet both young killers and, im­por­tantly, the fam­i­lies of their vic­tims. SH

Fri­day Re­quiem BBC ONE, 9.00PM

Over the first two episodes of this grip­ping hor­ror-flecked crime drama, the team of writer Kris Mrksa and di­rec­tor Ma­halia Belo have care­fully laid the ground­work for the se­ries. Spooky flash­backs, lurk­ing strangers and sud­den splashes of vi­o­lence, all un­der­scored by a spine-tin­gling sound­scape, have built up a pow­er­ful, if frag­mented, sense of fore­bod­ing. We’ve been as much in the dark as nervy cel­list Matilda (Ly­dia Wil­son), try­ing to make the link between her mother’s sui­cide and miss­ing Welsh girl Carys Mor­gan. Now, how­ever, the tone shifts slightly and things come to­gether in a more con­ven­tional, plot-driven way. Ever more cer­tain that she is in fact Carys, a tena­cious Matilda ramps up the pres­sure on the res­i­dents of Pen­l­lynith to come clean about “her” dis­ap­pear­ance, press­ing the miss­ing girl’s mother Rose (Claire Rush­brook) for more in­for­ma­tion. Toby Dantzic

Nigel Slater’s Mid­dle East BBC TWO, 9.00PM; NI/WALES, 9.30PM

“I haven’t come here for the pol­i­tics,” says food writer Nigel Slater as he touches down in Iran for the fi­nal leg of his tour. In­stead, he’s off to his taxi driver’s house to sam­ple a lo­cal stew, be­fore meet­ing caviar fish­er­men who are suf­fer­ing due to de­clin­ing stur­geon stocks. TD

Jemima Rooper and Adrian Lester in ‘Trauma’; Carey Mul­li­gan stars in ‘Col­lat­eral’ (be­low, left)

Shet­land: Dou­glas Hen­shall, Mark Bon­nar

Julius Cae­sar Re­vealed: Mary Beard

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.