Television choices: History proves fertile soil for Moffat's British Heimat
TV pick of the week: The Village
Sunday 9pm BBC1
It was always a tall order for BBC1 to make a British version of Heimat, Edgar Reitz's masterpiece following one German village from 1919 onwards, but Peter Moffat (Silk) may be a clever enough writer to crack it. The Village begins with standard-issue rural poverty in pre-First World War Derbyshire (drunken father, cowed wife and kiddies), but eventually veers off in unexpected directions. Stars include John Simm, Maxine Peake and Juliet Stevenson – as the chatelaine of the very un-Downton-esque big house (the servants face the wall when the master passes) – but it's the newcomers who impress, including 13-year-old Bill Jones as the farmer Simm's youngest son, and Charlie Murphy as a suffragette preacher's daughter. Very promising.
Saturday 6.15pm BBC1
"People's souls are being uploaded into the Wi-Fi," deduces Matt Smith's Doctor, or as the arch-baddie (Celia Imrie) in Steven Moffat's half-series opener puts it: "It's like immortality, only fatal". A breezy slice of internet-dystopia, with a good joke about Twitter, a stunt involving the Shard, and an appealing full debut for new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman).
Game of Thrones
monday 9pm sky atlantic
Any available British actor who hasn't been called to HBO's returning epic fantasy has every right be to be miffed, since the vast cast seems to include our entire thespian community, with Diana Rigg and Mackenzie Crook just two newcomers to the third season. But it's American Peter Dinklage, as Tyrion Lannister, trying to win back influence, who is again the most compelling.
The Great British Sewing Bee
Tuesday 8pm BBC2
The makers of The Great British Bake Off apply the formula to sewing, with eight amateur needleworkers (this week) making an A-line skirt, transforming a top by altering the neckline and producing a made-to-measure dress for a model. Claudia Winkleman hosts, and the judges are May Martin from the Women's Institute and the Savile Row designer Patrick Grant.
Scott & Bailey
Wednesday 9pm ITV
Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp return as Manchester's answer to Cagney and Lacey – except these coppers have a female boss (the excellent Amelia Bullmore). Enjoyable stuff, even if the men are all bastards, feckless or worse, including Bailey's new husband, with whom she's bored already. The first case involves a decapitated pensioner and suspected child abuse.
Thursday 10pm Channel 4
Nothing to do with Crufts, but the practice of heading to woodland to have (or just watch) sex with strangers. This eye-popping documentary has gained the trust of seasoned "doggers", all disguised beneath animal masks. "Undertakers, vicars, solicitors, weirdos… we get the lot," says Les from beneath his owl's mask, while a lorry driver estimates that 70 per cent of truckers are at it.
How to Win the Grand National
Friday 8pm Channel 4
Having captured the world's most famous steeplechase from the BBC, Channel 4 begin their Aintree build-up with Mark Evans exploring what it takes to claim victory, drawing on the testimony of jockeys, finding out what qualities separate the winner from the also-rans – and anatomising the race from start to finish.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 2 President Obama comments on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Jamie’s Sugar Rush, TV review: Defeated by school dinners, Oliver takes on a new enemy
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 200,000 back our campaign
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up