Weekly TV preview 4 - 7 April | Virgin Media
Weekly TV preview: Anna Friel, car crashes and science

Weekly TV preview: Anna Friel, car crashes and science

04/04/2016

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Want to know what delights are in store on that magical box of colours that sits in the corner of your living room? We have all the best picks of unmissable TV for you to enjoy throughout the week.

Marcella

Monday 4th April at 9pm on ITV (CH 103)

Marcella

It’s Anna Friel! In a new drama! Actual Anna Friel! And it’s a show that’s the brainchild from one of the most exciting TV crime bigwigs around at the moment. Should be a very fair cop, guv.

Even though her celebrity heyday is long past, there’s still something inexplicably glamorous about Anna Friel. Perhaps it’s because her 90s superstardom is still so fresh in our minds. And because she doesn’t actually turn up in a lot of stuff, so when she actually does it’s big news. A bit like whenever we hear Kate Moss actually talking. So yes, we’re pretty excited about this show, in which she plays the eponymous copper Marcella Backland.

Yes, it’s a cop show. And yes, it’s got a serial killer in it. So far, so generic. But did we mention it’s got Anna Friel in it? Plus, there’s a lot of Doctor Foster-like personal strife going on here, with the first episode focusing on the Marcella returning to the Met after being unceremoniously dumped by her husband out of the blue. He doesn’t love her anymore, apparently. Now, heartbroken, she is back on the job she quit a decade ago, and back on a cold case which has bothered her ever since…

What’s the verdict?

From the mind of the man who gave us the Nordic noir thriller The Bridge, this show has quite the pedigree. And could the Nordic influence be behind the cosy jumper we see Marcella wearing? We can only hope so…

Drive

Tuesday 5th April at 9pm on ITV (CH 103)

Drive

Want to see a bunch of random celebs drive really badly and smash into things for no reason whatsoever? Then congratulations, because you’ve come to the right place.

Good old trashy TV. You’ve got to respect how it valiantly puts up a fight to gain our attention, in a time when we’re mainly obsessed with other trashy things, such as needless social media updates, silly Donald Trump memes, and YouTube videos of Ben Affleck’s incredibly sad face. Well, set aside distractions. Stop multi-screening. Because ITV is giving us a programme so grippingly and hilariously trashy that you won’t want to miss a single silly second.

It’s hosted by Vernon Kay, whose very presence assures us that tacky nonsense awaits. The gist of it is also marvellous: a bunch of celebs are strapped into very powerful cars and made to do battle via Banger racing. And just check out the celebs in question. Louis Walsh! Colin Jackson! Angus Deayton! Not to mention the reliably chaotic Johnny Vegas, the earnest Professor Green, and – in an unlikely twist – A-list intellectual Mariella Frostrup. She of the smoky voice and radio shows, who has clearly been tricked into this by her wily agent. Hopefully she’ll put the lads to shame.

What’s the verdict?

Just the thing to get your motor revving on a dreary weeknight, Drive may not be big or clever, but it WILL show us Louis Walsh getting flustered behind a steering wheel while crashing into things. That’ll do.

Outrageous Acts of Science

Wednesday 6th April at 8pm on Discovery (CH 250)

Outrageous Acts of Science

Science is great, isn’t it? But there’s one thing better than normal science, and that’s bonkers, reckless, irresponsible science that might very well maim and/or kill the person foolish enough to do it. Yay.

“Backyard geniuses” are apparently a thing. At least over in the US, anyway. From what we can tentatively gather, a “backyard genius” is a foolhardy dolt with a nail gun, a plank of wood, and a mobile phone ready to record their completely ill-advised “experiments”. There’s loads of such people, competing to put up ever more absurd videos on YouTube for the rest of us to gawp at. But if you don’t have time to trawl through the endless clips to find the really good ones, fear not! For this is the show for you.

Each episode gathers some of the craziest clips around, peppering the near-calamitous shenanigans with talking head insights from smirking scientists who probably can’t quite believe what they’re seeing. In tonight’s edition, kicking off a whole new season, we’ll be seeing the motorcycle chariot racers of Florida doing their things. We’re not sure how they don’t get arrested, but there you go. Plus, prepare to meet the backyard Iron Man with his very own exosuit (but presumably without Tony Stark’s billions of dollars and oozing charm), and there’s also a giant robot insect too. Just because.

What’s the verdict?

A kind of cross between Brainiac and Rude Tube, this is the kind of show that’ll make you very glad you’re far too sensible/boring to commit yourself to such antics. Better to watch others do it instead. Much less painful that way.

Army Girls

Thursday 7th April at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)

Army Girls

It’s not a man’s world any longer, and that’s as true of the army as it is of anywhere else – as we’ll see in this documentary that shows us just how tough it is to get trained up.

Ready to feel lazy? This programme will be taking us into the army (in a way) to follow female recruits as they get their hands (and knees, and faces) dirty during the punishing training period. It lasts 14 weeks – the longest 14 weeks of these trainees’ lives, we shouldn’t wonder. But will it all be worth it? Will the rewards – the sense of belonging, the sense of triumph – be enough to ward off the exhaustion?

We’ll have to see, as the cameras of this fly-on-the-wall documentary (somehow it seems wrong to call this a “reality show”) follow a number of recruits, including the oldest one of the bunch, Lisa, who has to leave her teenage daughter behind to get on with her training. Then there’s 22-year-old Chantelle, who has actually done this before, having originally attempted to train up at the age of 17. The third of the trio we’ll be following is 20-year-old Kirstie, who suffers an injury and has to fight through the pain to make it through the opening weeks.

What’s the verdict?

It’s not like we ever thought joining the army would be easy, but this series will show us just how teeth-gnashingly arduous it is. Oh and it’s also a celebration of women making the decision to serve their country against often difficult odds. That’s certainly worth saluting.

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