This week we’re racing blood-fuelled cars, finding out what the heck happened to those Eden peeps, and launching a new investigation into Jack the Ripper’s identity…
Monday 7thAugust at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because watching people struggle in harsh conditions makes your sofa and cuppa that much more enjoyable.
What’s it about?: A group of strangers becoming “self-sufficient”/going all Lord of the Flies in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands for a year.
Where in the Highlands?: A 600-acre estate on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. So they’re completely alone.
Wasn’t this on before?: Yep, however it all went wrong, and mysteriously, only four episodes were aired while the contestants continued living there obliviously.
So they’re trying again?: Nope, we get to see the remaining footage from the year, and apparently it gets rather dark as people resort to their ‘base instincts’…
Tuesday 8th August at 9pm on BBC1 (CH 101)
Why you should watch: Because it’s a big new drama with a seriously gripping premise.
What’s the gripping premise?: A nurse suspended for being an NHS whistleblower decides to fake a new identity… as a doctor.
Doctor who?: As a matter of fact, yes it is. Jodie Whittaker, the imminent Time Lord, is our nurse-turned-fake-doctor.
Look out for: Sharon Small, aka Havers from The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
Fun fact: It was written by real life medical consultant and doctor, Dan Sefton.
Utopia: In Search Of The Dream
Tuesday 8th August at 9pm on BBC4 (CH 107)
Why you should watch: To make your Tuesday evening feel a little more clever and cultured.
What’s it about?: This three-parter follows art historian Professor Richard Clay, as he explores the concept of “utopia”, and its portrayal by writers and artists over 500 years.
Sounds massive: It is. He’ll be travelling the globe to discover old and new utopian and dystopian visions, and their links to exploration, science fiction, and politics.
Is Uhura from Star Trek in it, by any chance?: Funny you should ask, because she totally is (!).
Watch if you like: Everything from Gulliver’s Travels to The Hunger Games.
American Ripper In London
Tuesday 8th August at 9pm on History (CH 270)
Why you should watch: Because there’s always room for yet another theory about who Jack the Ripper was.
Whodunnit?: Jeff Mudgett thinks it was H.H. Holmes – America’s first serial killer, and his great-great-grandfather.
H.H. Who?: This diabolical chap killed droves of people in the late 19th century – most famously in his “Murder Castle”, a Chicago hotel he customized with trap doors, a gas chamber, and other sinister supervillian-style features.
What’s the theory?: That Holmes nipped over to London for a spot of killing, despite having a perfectly good Murder Castle at home.
What happens in the documentary?: Alongside an ex-CIA analyst, Jeff investigates the icy cold case, using modern technology to try and link his ancestor to the Whitechapel murders.
Wednesday 9th August at 10pm on Lifetime (CH 208)
Why you should watch: You probably shouldn’t, but you won’t be able to help yourself.
What’s the gist?: This reality show follows a group of pushing-thirty New Yorkers as they head off to Montauk on their holidays.
Why Summer House?: Because they rent a great big beautiful one.
What happens?: Screaming, stripping, fighting, romance, cheating, bitching, and drama – OMG!
It’s a bit like: Jersey Shore, but they’re a teeny tiny bit classier.
Thursday 10th August at 10pm on Syfy (CH 135)
Why you should watch: Because it features a curious mix of racing, violence, and sex robots.
What’s the gist?: Arthur Bailey, the city’s last good cop, ends up joining dangerous girl Grace on a cross-country death race – where cars are fuelled by blood, and your head explodes if you’re last to each checkpoint.
It’s a bit like: Mad Max meets Wacky Races.
Where is it set?: Los Angeles, in a dystopian future where the planet is scorched by climate change, and crime runs rampant.
Watch if you like: Tarantino flicks, classic grindhouse B-movies, and crazed, gory excess in general.
Princess Diana’s ‘Wicked’ Stepmother
Thursday 10th August at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104
Why you should watch: Because it’s almost 20 years since Diana’s death.
What’s it about?: This documentary digs deep into the relationship between the Princess of Wales and her stepmother Raine Spencer – whom she eventually came to love.
Who was Raine?: She was the daughter of romance novelist Dame Barbara Cartland, and Diana’s dad was her second husband.
Best nickname ever alert: Diana apparently dubbed her step-mum “Acid Raine”.
Expect: Plenty of interviews from those who knew them best, including palace insiders and close friends.
Friday 11th August on Netflix
Why you should watch: Because it’s funny, thoughtful, and heart-warming all at the same time.
What’s it about?: Sam, a teenager on the autistic spectrum decides he’s ready to start dating, and his friends and family embark on helping him along the way.
Who’s in it?: Sam is played by Keir Gilchrist – one of those actors whose face you recognize, but when you look at their IMDB page have no idea where from.
Things Sam says whilst buying condoms: “Can I try them on before I buy?”
Things Sam says in the car with his mum: “At some point I really, really hope… I get to see boobs”.
Atypical is available to watch from Friday 11th August on Netflix
The Agony & The Ecstasy
Friday 11th August at 9pm on Sky Arts (CH 122)
Why you should watch: Because no one who really lived through the 90s remembers much of it.
Is is about the 90s then?: Not just the 90s, but the UK’s rave scene from the 80s onwards, along with the musicians, people, and a certain little drug that fuelled it.
Interviews with: Goldie, Paul Oakenfold, Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll, and Annie Mac.
Expect: Nostalgia. Plus anecdotes about seeing the sunrise.
Most ironic verb used to describe this 3-part documentary: Eye-opening.
Saturday 12th August at 9pm on History (CH 270)
Why you should watch: Because it’s cool for adults to like superheroes now.
Why you shouldn’t watch: You might never look at Batman the same way again.
What’s it about then?: This programme shines a light on the uncanny parallel between the rise of DC and Marvel’s comic book characters, and America’s rise to power in the 20th century.
First up: We’ll learn about the creation of all the best-loved icons, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man.
Later on: The documentary examines the moment superheroes became rule breakers, outsiders, and a bit rebellious - which reflected real-world divisions and battles for justice.