Digital, Cable and Satellite Television: Pick of the Day

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The Independent Culture
A PRIZE-WINNER at Cannes, Iranian director Jafar Panahi's impressive debut feature, The White Balloon (6.15pm FilmFour), follows a seven-year- old boy as he takes his first steps on the streets of Tehran in order to buy a goldfish for his mother. Mercifully a whole lot better than it sounds, it's an emotive study of childhood which takes place in the run-up to New Year.

This is succeeded by another account of the complications of contemporary family life in Secrets and Lies (8pm FilmFour). Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Brenda Blethyn (right) take centre stage in Mike Leigh's compassionate piece, which tells the tale of a life-worn woman whose miserable slide into old- age is halted by the discovery that she has a daughter. As usual, splendid support comes from Timothy Spall who plays a wedding photographer.