Television choices: Fresh double visions from the future clone zone in Orphan Black
TV pick of the week: Orphan Black
Friday 9pm BBC3
Some of the most original and self-confident television drama this year has been dystopian science fiction and fantasy – Channel 4's ironically titled Utopia, for example, and the French zombie saga The Returned. Add to that list this BBC America production built around the issue of IVF and human cloning, and starring Tatiana Maslany in a very different guise to her other biggest role to date – as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in BBC1's Nativity. She plays Sarah, a self-sufficient street hustler dealing cocaine in order to afford a new life with her daughter. When Sarah witnesses a distressed doppelganger jump in front of a train, she assumes the dead woman's identity, only to discover that she was a cop with a far from straightforward life. Intriguing.
The X Factor
Saturday 8pm ITV
The return of the closed-room auditions and Sharon Osbourne, who is in cackling good form, have refreshed a show that, even at its more dire (last year) is still head and shoulders above The Voice. Sunday night's arena shows are however a step back in the wrong direction, and what-oh-what – apart from annoying Sharon – is the point of Louis Walsh?
Sunday 9pm BBC1
I am preferring this to Broadchurch, which I think dragged out its mystery for too long, and in police detective Len Harper, David Threlfall has found an engaging role with which to exorcise Frank Gallagher. In tonight's finale, maths teacher Joe explains his feelings for the victim and Elaine's efforts to control Peggy rise to dangerous levels.
Robert Peston Goes Shopping
Monday 9pm BBC2
Gateshead in 1984 and a council initiative to help the elderly do their shopping is the unlikely birthplace of e-commerce in Britain – and the final part of Peston's series looks at the rise of online shopping and what it's doing to the high street (goodbye, Woolworths, in short, and hello, Amazon). Could engaging with the internet be the saviour of said high street?
Tuesday 10pm Channel 4
The title of this Cutting Edge documentary doesn't do justice to Sue Bourne's life-enhancing film about six splendidly stylish women who are defying the ageing process without resorting to Botox or plastic surgery. They include Bridget, 75, who buys her clothes from charity shops and campaigns against ageism, and 85-year-old Daphne – Britain's oldest working model.
Wednesday 9pm BBC2
"Science is one of Britain's greatest success stories… we punch way above our weight," says Brian Cox, introducing his series about 350 years of British invention and discovery. Why, then, is the British public so suspicious of its scientists? Cox discovers the roots of this wariness in the early 19th-century, when the harnessing of electricity was in its infancy, and Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.
The Wonder of Dogs
Thursday 8pm BBC2
BBC2's Horizon scored a ratings hit earlier this year with a documentary about cats, which perhaps inspired this rather less focused new series about the nation's other favourite pet. Kate Humble and Steve Leonard present from the Oxfordshire village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, whose dog-owners were persuaded to lend their pooches for this mass exercise.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
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