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...
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Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
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Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Sherlock series 4: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have to be 'persuaded' to return, says Steven Moffat
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
A victory for gender equality on the high seas
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election