Television choices: Inbetweeners reunited in comedy and cowardice
Friday 16 August 2013
TV pick of the week: Chickens
Thursday 9.30pm Sky 1
"The world has no room for cowards," Robert Louis Stevenson maintained. Sky's new comedy does, though, as it follows three loathed (their house is emblazoned with "Just Die" and "Coward Cottage") draft-dodging chickens who have, quite wisely, ducked out of the carnage of the First World War. The trio of cowards, played by Inbetweeners stars Simon Bird and Joe Thomas, who also, jointly, wrote this, and Jonny Sweet, gel nicely together in this undemanding satire. "If you were really keen to help, you would have killed yourself to raise moral," yells a crone at Simon Bird's flat-footed Cecil, who is knitting for the war effort. Bird, Sweet and Thomas are all adept comic actors, and the wonderful Emma Fryer cameos, too.
Top of the Lake
Saturday 9.10pm BBC2
The final episode of Jane Campion's crime drama has Matt wanting to "confess" to Robin. Is it a trap? Johnno thinks so. The first "twist" is beautifully handled. However, the unveiling of the main culprit is a little less convincing. Elisabeth Moss and Peter Mullan have been terrific in this bleak examination of grief and abuse.
Sunday 9pm Channel 4
Channel 4 has taken a beating recently, but Tony Grisoni's fiercely intelligent Southcliffe is the best drama it has shown in a fair while. The last instalment moves forward a year and focuses on Rory Kinnear's damaged reporter, who has received a threatening letter, and Eddie Marsan and Shirley Henderson's grief-stricken couple. Haunting television.
Dreaming the Impossible: Unbuilt Britain
Monday 9pm & 2.30am BBC4
"Behind nearly every one of these triumphs is an untold drama," pronounces Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner, who charts structures and buildings that didn't quite cut it. "This is where the story begins," she booms five minutes in. Didn't the story before? Anyway, she explores plans for a channel tunnel in the 19th century.
King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxons
Tuesday 9pm & 2.30am BBC4
We've reached 924, and the historian Michael Wood is enthusing about King Aethelstan, "the most powerful ruler Britain has seen since the Romans". Information is scarce – it's the Dark Ages, after all – but Wood makes the most of the faded scrolls and manuscripts at his disposal. An interesting look at a little-known period.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Wednesday 9pm BBC1
This week it's England's second greatest goalscorer, Gary Lineker, and he proves an uncomplicated soul from an average family, which isn't ideal for a genealogy show. Lineker, the son of a market trader, knows little about his roots, but he soon discovers there's a "law writer" on his mother's side and a chicken thief. Prepare yourself for a "fowl play" pun.
King of Hollywood: Inventing David Geffen
Friday 9pm PBS America
"One way or another he would outsmart-you, or out-yell you…" claims Cher about Geffen in this documentary, charting the music mogul's progress from his modest childhood to conquering the music industry. Tom Hanks and Elton John pay homage to this huge ego who freely admits to faking his university career. Chutzpah...
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians