Television preview: RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND

The Shane Richie Experience Sat 6.15pm ITV Bookmark Sat 8.05pm BBC2 Trip Trap Sat 9pm BBC1 Subway Cops and the Mole Kings Sat 10.35pm C4 The Natural World Sun 6pm BBC2 Witness Against Hitler Sun 10.05pm BBC1

It's called casting against type, and it's as good a way as any of kicking lazy casting directors up the pants. Last week we had Birds of a Feather Pauline Quirke as a murderer serving life in the excellent The Sculptress. This week it's that nice Kevin Whately from Inspector Morse and Peak Practice, as a wife-beater. The occasion is Lucy Gannon's thoughtful shocker of a drama, Trip Trap (Sat BBC1), and coming to think of it, it was a Lucy Gannon drama, Tender Loving Care, that cast Dawn French as a nurse who was bumping off her patients. And, while we're still making connections, Gannon was also responsible for Whately's Peak Practice, not to mention Soldier, Soldier and Bramwell. Commissioning editors must camp out on her front lawn.

Whately is frighteningly believable as the harrassed primary school headteacher given to breaking his wife's ribs as she reads in bed. And Stella Gonet hands in a virtuoso performance as a woman trapped between self-loathing and a closed fist. It's the sort of drama that makes you wonder how many potentially abusive husbands-to-be are amongst the contestants on The Shane Richie Experience (Sat ITV). This, in case you missed the hoo-ha surrounding last year's pilot, is a game show for intending couples, the winning pair being married there and then on TV. Perhaps the idea could be extended to a game show for dissolving marrieds - with the winning partner getting a quickie divorce and custody of the kids. Cynical? I'm only looking at the role models for those whose marriages have been televised in the past: Anne and Mark, Charles and Diana...

Remember The Red Light Zone, Channel 4's late night attempt (let's be charitable) to broaden the discussion of matters sexual on our TV screens. Their follow-up is called The Blue Light Zone, a season of programmes about the police, as if the TV schedules didn't already resemble the car park at New Scotland Yard. Actually, the only non-repeat amongst the four opening films is rather good. Subway Cops and the Mole Kings (Sat C4) goes on the beat with the NYPD officers responsible for policing the 5,000 souls who have made their homes in Manhatten's sewers and subways.

Witness against Hitler (Sun BBC1), meanwhile, stars James Wilby in the story of German aristocrat James von Moltke's brave opposition to the Nazis. It's all very worthy, but I have to admit to switching to remote here. I still remember the same territory covered by Dennis Potter's more interesting Christabel, the drama that gave the world at large its first glimpse of one Elizabeth Hurley.

The Natural World (Sun BBC2) looks at the wildlife that hangs out at one drought-stricken South African water-hole. Not another dwindling water- hole film, I hear you groan. Stick with it, is all I can say. Apart from the fascinating Darwinian dynamics of the situation, there are moments of high anthropomorphic comedy. Witness the crocodiles biting their tongues rather than snack on the baby hippo who is joshing them around. Mama is watching, you see.

And still on the subject of carnivores and parasitism, Bookmark (Sat BBC2) has a satisfying film about the (usually strained) relationship between biographer and subject, which neatly leaves the last word to Oscar Wilde, quoted here. "Every great man has his disciples, and it's always Judas who writes the biography."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice