A certain Victorian crime series returns to our screens this week, while we’ll also be faced with the most impressive set of curtains since the heyday of the Backstreet Boys…
Monday 22nd August at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s a brand new series of the single best period crime series EVER. Yes, we’re saying that.
Why is it so good?: It’s the acting, it’s the characters, and it’s the rich writing which makes them actually sound like proper Victorians, rather than just modern-day coppers in lots of tweed.
Where we’re at: Reid’s gone off to live by the sea, Drake’s in charge of his old stomping ground, and they’ve got this fancy new thing called a “telephone”.
Eerie villain alert: The so-called Whitechapel Golem.
Look out for: David Threlfall from Shameless, and the chap who played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter.
Make My Body Better With Davina McCall
Monday 22nd August at 8pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Davina McCall saves the world! Or, at least, some carefully chosen people for a TV show. Same difference.
Is it just another fat loss show?: Actually no, it’s about general medical issues and stuff.
Case in point: The first episode features a woman who has night terrors, and whose treatment includes sleeping while suspended above an ocean.
What to say: “Suddenly, sleeping above an ocean sounds like the best idea in the world.”
What not to say: “Hopefully she won’t yell ‘It’s Davina, I’m coming to get you!’ at the night terrors lady. Because that’s legit frightening.”
One Of Us
Tuesday 23rd August at 9pm on BBC One (CH 101)
Why you should watch: This dark and disturbing crime saga may just be the new Broadchurch.
What’s the gist?: A couple are brutally murdered shortly after returning from their honeymoon, and the killings rip open the secrets of a small Highlands community.
Veteran star spot: Juliet Stevenson. Who is always fantastic.
What to say: “OMG am addicted to this already” (plus a series of emojis, naturally).
What not to say: “Why does it have a title that makes it sound like a sitcom with a cheesy title sequence from 1993?”
Beauty And The Baker
Tuesday 23rd August at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s a big new series about an ordinary baker who sparks up an unlikely romance with an international supermodel.
What it is: An Israeli comedy-drama.
What it isn’t: A trashy reality show, despite having the exact title of one.
Is it basically Notting Hill?: Sort of the same basic concept, but all swanky and Middle Eastern and new.
Good date idea: At one point, the cute couple go abseiling down a billboard featuring the woman’s face.
Tuesday 23rd August at 9pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: We’re about to hit the streets with plucky young would-be coppers who are just so adorably panic-stricken about it all.
Sample budding bobbies: A young chap who used to be a dance instructor, and a teenager who can barely use a washing machine.
Best personality quirk of the week: One of the rookies can’t stop sneezing when she’s nervous. Which’ll be quite the surprise for the person she’s trying to arrest.
Watch this if you like: All those fly-on-the-wall police shows, except this will be way better because they’re all so green they’re practically Kermit.
Best line of the night: “I caught myself in a reflection in a shop window and I suddenly clocked that, oh, that’s me in a police uniform!”
The Chronicles Of Nadiya
Wednesday 24th August at 9pm on BBC One (CH 101)
Why you should watch: It’s part cookery show, part travelogue, part Who Do You Think You Are?, and it’s got the endlessly likeable Nadiya Hussain.
Nadiya who?: She won Bake Off, fool!
Where’s it set?: The old country, which for Nadiya is Bangladesh, where she’ll have rose petals thrown at her. That’s some homecoming.
Diet-destroying scene alert: She’ll be making a three-tiered pumpkin cake.
Also: A curry to convert even non-fish-lovers. Watch and salivate.
People Just Do Nothing
Wednesday 24th August at 10pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: Rapping in stairwells and disagreeing on slogans, Allan Mustafa and Hugo Chegwin are back as MC Grindah and DJ Beats.
Come again?: It’s the new series of the brilliant comedy about the passionate prats at a pirate radio culture.
Inevitable comparisons: Think of it as a kind of contemporary, radio-set Spinal Tap. Or The Office, only set on a London estate.
Why it’ll be great: The last series featured a man who sold bags of peanut dust because “that’s the best part of a packet of peanuts, yeah?” Genius.
Lines to live by: “My philosophy in life, yeah, is just like, sort of, just do whatever basically."
Wednesday 24th August at 9.30pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s an atmospheric, almost poetic tale of crime and punishment.
What’s the gist?: A CCTV operator, who spends his working hours gazing at banks of screens, decides to take the law into his own hands.
A new must-see series then?: Actually it’s a one-off drama, barely clocking in at 50 minutes. A short, sharp shock of a show.
Impressive CV alert: The writer/director won a Bafta for his documentary, The Murder Detectives.
Who is The Watchman?: The great Stephen Graham, who can do agonised intensity better than anyone this side of John Simm.
The Truth Commissioner
Saturday 27th August at 9.30pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s a proper, grown-up crime thriller about a diplomat caught up into the disappearance of a teenager.
Curious context alert: It has a refreshingly original backdrop: the diplomat is heading a commission for “truth and reconciliation” in Northern Ireland.
So it’s a bit dark then?: There’ll be lots of stuff about the Troubles, yes.
Best casting ever: If you’re going to cast for the role of a plush diplomat unravelling a dark politically-tinged mystery, who better than Roger Allam?
Best curtains ever: Seriously, Allam’s hair in this would put your average 90s boyband member to shame.
The Good Terrorist
Saturday 27th August at 8pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: This is the riveting, morally messy story story of the only white man to be executed for his actions in resisting Apartheid.
Who was he?: John Harris, who won praise for battling South Africa’s racist system until he detonated a bomb which took a woman’s life.
Age-old question: The old “terrorist or freedom fighter?” dilemma has never been so glaring.
How the story is told: As well as the usual talking heads, we’ll get to see Harris’s story through his own home videos.
Most heartbreaking moment: Harris’s son will be meeting someone who was maimed by the bomb as a child.
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