Television Choices: Challenging the ideal in a Tom Stoppard adaptation

 

TV pick of the week

Parade's End

Friday 9pm BBC2

Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End – actually a quartet of novels written between 1924 and 1928 – is one of the forgotten masterpieces of 20th-century literature – and it's adapted here in five episodes by Sir Tom Stoppard, his first work for the BBC in more than 30 years. Scheduled to run before the returning juggernaut of Downton Abbey, this is a more intelligent and demanding period drama, following the fortunes of morally upright Christopher Tietjens, a brilliant government statistician. Tietjens's "parade" is tested by the First World War, his promiscuous wife (Rebecca Hall) and a burgeoning love for a young suffragette (Australian newcomer Clemens).

The X Factor

Saturday 8pm ITV1

BBC1's copycat show, The Voice, having failed to capture the nation's imagination, the way is clear for the returning The X Factor. Nicole Scherzinger replaces Kelly Rowland (no great loss) and joins Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Louis Walsh on the judging panel, and this year's contest is open to anyone over the age of 16 – even if they have, or have had, a management deal.

The Last Weekend

Sunday 9pm ITV1

Mick Ford delivers a sensitive adaptation of Blake Morrison's novel about male competitiveness and an August bank holiday from hell. Ian (Shaun Evans) and Ollie (Rupert Penry-Jones, above, with Evans) met at university, but one is now a school teacher and the other a wealthy QC. A reunion in the countryside soon turns dark and twisted as old animosities re-emerge...

Toast of London

Monday 10pm Channel 4

My pick of C4's Funny Fortnight is Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry's sitcom pilot about an actor (Berry – Douglas Reynolm in The IT Crowd, but a revelation here) whose career sinks after appearing in a vilified West End play. It's as expansive and surreal as you'd expect from the creator of Father Ted, and I loved the audition (for a director in jail for Holocaust denial) in a prison visiting room.

Accused

Tuesday 9pm BBC1

After last week's eye-catching Sean-Bean-in-drag opener, a more low-key instalment of Jimmy McGovern's drama. Anne Marie Duff and Olivia Coleman star as Mo and Sue, beauty salon owners who ill-advisedly fail to close their salon out of respect for a murdered local gang member. Retribution follows, but it's Mo who ends up in the dock.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Wednesday 9pm BBC1

Looking like someone has just burnt his favourite pudding, the MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace heads to Plymouth in search of a great-grandfather who supposedly abandoned his wife and children – including Wallace's grandfather. His face softens when he realises this ancestor was a greengrocer, while a twist in the tale suggests he might also be the injured party.

Just Around the Corner

Thursday 10.35pm Channel 4

A climate-changed, bank- collapsed England of the near future, where the Dutch are the despised immigrants (Holland having disappeared under water), is the subject of this Funny Fortnight sitcom pilot from Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (Outnumbered and Drop the Dead Donkey). A promising scenario delivered by James Fleet and James Bolam.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Arts and Entertainment
Queen Christina left the judges baffled with her audition
X Factor
Arts and Entertainment
The Vienna State Opera
opera
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'
musicLilly Wood and Robin Schulz bag number one single
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.

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories