TV Highlights

Matrioshki

Sky Arts 1 - 10.15pm

Who's in it?

Peter Van den Begin stars as Raymond, a Belgian charmer with a dreadful plan, in this latest dark European saga to hit our screens.

In a nutshell

It's got a name that makes it sound like a documentary about some avant-garde ballet impresario, and the publicity images make it look like a gaudy talent show. But Matrioshki is neither of those things. It's a brutal drama about sexual slavery, and a group of Lithuanian women who are tricked into a life of abuse by men promising them careers as dancers.

Instead, they're carted off to Cyprus and then Belgium, to service amoral men. This is the world of Matrioshki – which is the actual word for those Russian dolls that fit inside each other. From the looks of things it won't be a Ken Loach-style grit-fest, though – more a glossy drama, like the sort of thing you get on primetime Beeb, only shunted onto Sky Arts by virtue of having subtitles. And the fact that it tackles an issue that really doesn't get enough exposure can only be a good thing.

What's the verdict?

With a huge ensemble cast and a sweeping scope that takes us across the length of the Continent, this is one of the major new dramas of the year. And, unlike Orange is the New Black, it won't be a cliché to bang on about it to your friends. Watch it.

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07-07-2011