Brave documentaries, the return of a sci-fi thriller, and more pop-tastic singers than you can waggle a Brit Award at. Welcome to the new week in TV.
The Trouble With Dad
Monday 20th February at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: This is a rare beast of a documentary: funny, poignant, and presented by a comedy legend.
Who?: It’s David Baddiel, one of the trailblazing alternative comedians of the 1990s.
Why?: It’s a film about his father, who has a rare form of dementia.
Colourful language alert: The condition makes David’s father come out with sudden swear words and sexually inappropriate language.
What to expect: David trying to care for their father, while presumably trying to make light of things in his own deadpan style.
Ross Kemp: Libya’s Migrant Hell
Tuesday 21st January at 9pm on Sky1 (CH 110)
Why you should watch: Because Ross Kemp is the best documentary presenter on the planet. Fact.
Why Ross Kemp is the best documentary presenter on the planet: It’s his appalled intensity. He looks like he wants to punch things until they’re better.
In other words: He’s what Louis Theroux would become after several Rocky-like training montages.
What this film is about: The epic, awful journeys taken by people desperate to get out of the tattered landscape of Libya.
What to expect: Heartbreaking stories, shattering revelations and Ross Kemp trying not to get sunburnt on the top of his bonce.
The Brit Awards 2017
Wednesday 22nd February at 7.30pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: The world’s foremost warblers are about to pick up their gongs, and no music fan can should miss it.
But it’s just about money and marketing, yadda yadda: Hey, selling ANY number of records in our piracy-happy times is an achievement, so let’s park the cynicism and egg the acts on.
Potential winners: Anne-Marie, Stormzy, Christine and the Queens, and some chap called David Bowie are all in the running for things.
Incongruous nominees alert: Where else would Little Mix and Radiohead be competing in the same category for a prize?
The past-it test: If you recognise literally none of the Best British Breakthrough Act nominees, you’re officially an old person.
The Royal House Of Windsor
Wednesday 22nd February at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: This is a deliciously gossipy look back at the history of the modern Royal Family.
How does it define “modern”?: Well, it begins with George V, who changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor.
Why did he do that?: His loyal subjects had come across a tad anti-German during World War One.
What to expect: Insights from family insiders, fascinating footage and photos from Windsor archives, and more tasty revelations than you can shake a sceptre at.
Watch if: Netflix’s The Crown has wetted your appetite for all things Windsor.
Person Of Interest
Wednesday 22nd February at 9pm on 5USA (CH 153)
Why you should watch: Jim Caviezel is back for the fifth – yes, fifth! – season of this techno-thriller.
Where we’re at: Heroes Finch and Reese are trying to save the Machine, aka the super-duper device that predict criminal behaviour before it happens.
Why it’s great: Its exploration of the possibilities of AI technology, and the ethics of employing such tech to catch bad guys, makes this different from your average crime show.
Also: Jim Caviezel played Jesus in that Mel Gibson Jesus film. Which is interesting.
Strong pedigree alert: Person of Interest was created by Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-creator of Westworld.
Thursday 23rd February at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s a tale of wife-swapping and murder. With subtitles.
What’s the gist?: This Dutch series follows an ordinary, attractive couple who move into a suburb and get drawn into all kinds of dark, sexy, strange shenanigans.
Watch if: You like a good Euro series, but are getting a bit tired of the usual “Nordic Noir” tropes.
What to say: “A compelling and unexpected new foreign import to get obsessed by.”
What not to say: “This isn’t the sort of swinging Eurotrash told us about.”
Has Political Correctness Gone Mad?
Thursday 23rd February at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: This piercing, unflinching film juggles some very hot potatoes. (Not literally.)
Why it’s interesting: The person criticising “PC culture” isn’t Jim Davidson or Roy Chubby Brown. It’s Sir Trevor Phillips, famed racial equality crusader.
What’s his main point?: That fear of offending people has stifled real debate and led to the rise of Farage and Trump.
Basically: Is freedom of speech being crushed beneath the weight of perceived virtue? Heavy stuff.
Best watched with: As many friends and family as possible, to have an awkward/lively/enraged debate after.
Football: A Brief History By Alfie Allen
Thursday 23rd February at 10pm on History (CH 270)
Why you should watch: Game of Thrones alumnus Alfie Allen delves into the story of the beautiful game, right from the start.
Strange point: This is the first documentary on the history of football we can ever remember seeing. Which is a bit odd, for a footie-mad nation.
Why Alfie Allen?: The lad knows his football, having played at Arsenal’s Youth Camp. He even sang vocals for dad Keith Allen’s football song, Vindaloo.
What to expect: VIP access to stadiums and other iconic hotspots from the history of the game.
Who to expect: Former FA chairman Greg Dyke, England legend Sol Campbell, and the women’s England team.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man
Friday 24th February at 9pm on Sky1 (CH 110)
Why you should watch: We should praise our good fortune, because one of Sky’s biggest ever dramas returns for a new run.
What’s the gist?: James Nesbitt plays a cop whose life was transformed by a bracelet which gives him good luck. It’s basically a superhero drama without the tights.
Where we’re at: Our formerly haggard and reckless hero has turned his life around and is trying to win back his family. Much, much easier said than done.
Season two twist: He meets someone else who has their own lucky bracelet!
Is she a beautiful, mysterious woman?: Of course she is…
The Brokenwood Mysteries
Friday 24th February at 8pm on Drama (CH 128)
Why you should watch: Because when was the last time you watched a big new crime drama from New Zealand?
Who’s our hero?: Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd, who likes country music. You know, a bit like Morse loving opera. But with country music.
What is Brokenwood?: A small coastal town in New Zealand which is seemingly idyllic, but has loads of dark secrets beneath the surface.
Murders to look forward to: A wine critic being found drowned in a vat of booze, and a stag party with a body count.
Amusingly dodgy CV alert: Star of the show, Neill Rea, was in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and PowerRangers: DinoThunder. But we won’t hold that against him.