Television choices: Book in for a rich experience at celeb-rated London hotel
TV pick of the week
Monday 9pm BBC2
ITV's 2010 documentary series about the Savoy came across as a monumental puff-piece for the refurbishment of that landmark London hostelry, but the new series about Claridge's (home from home for Tom Cruise, Madonna and various royal families) is something else entirely – by dint of it being the work of Jane Treays, a film-maker unafraid to ask a blunt question and capture a telling moment. Her jaw-dropping insight into the lives of the super-rich begins with an unnamed Middle Eastern royal family booking an entire floor for a week-long shopping binge, the general manager Thomas Kochs drumming up business in New York, and the etiquette of addressing the U2 guitarist Edge. Is it "Dear Edge" or "Dear Mr Edge"?
Michael Jackson: Bad 25
Saturday 9.45pm BBC2
Spike Lee's documentary about the making of Michael Jackson's 1987 album Bad – the follow-up to Thriller – celebrates Jackson the artist instead of attending to the Wacko Jacko myths. Martin Scorsese recalls directing the "Bad" video – one that would "show the homeys he's down" – while others recall Jackson's meeting with the star then stealing his crown, Prince.
Why Poverty? Solar Mamas
Sunday 9pm BBC4
Rafea, an illiterate Bedouin woman from Jordan, travels to India against her husband's wishes to train as a solar-power engineer in this brilliant documentary in the Why Poverty? season. Rafea is followed as she joins women from Colombia and Burkina Faso to learn about circuitry and sisterhood in an inspired programme bringing free energy to the world's poorest.
Imagine: Jeanette Winterson – My Monster and Me
Tuesday 10.35pm BBC1
Winterson's "monster", as anyone who knows Oranges Are the Only Fruit will realise, is her mother, the Old Testament-like figure who adopted Winterson as a baby. Alan Yentob accompanies the author back to Lancashire, as she tells of her recent breakdown and suicide attempt, and her successful quest to find her birth mother.
Wednesday 9pm ITV1
The acclaimed playright Mike Bartlett (Cock, Chariots of Fire) makes his television drama debut – and, eye-catchingly, it's not on Sky Arts or BBC4 but on ITV1. Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock) plays a man back in his home-town from London in the aftermath of a family tragedy. The writing is intriguing, and a cast-against-type Martin Clunes co-stars .
Playhouse Presents: A Young Doctor's Notebook
Thursday 9pm & 12.20am Sky Arts 1
Jon Hamm fires up a cigarette – but this isn't Sixties Madison Avenue but Thirties Moscow, and Hamm's doctor is looking back at his younger self (Daniel Radcliffe) and his early career in a rural hospital during the Russian Revolution. This four-part black comedy is based on the short stories of Mikhail Bulgakov.
Friday 9pm BBC2
The second British institution to welcome in the cameras this week has an even longer history and more illustrious guest list than Claridge's. The first episode focuses on the Abbey's little-known boarding school, where its 30 choristers are educated, and the latest "surveyor of the fabric" to follow in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect Ptolemy Dean.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Doctor Who series 9: Jenna Coleman to stay on for whole season as Clara Oswald
Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
Doctor Who Christmas special, review: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'