Television choices: Intricate web of secrets and stealth drives active agent


TV pick of the week: Spies of Warsaw

Wednesday 9pm BBC4

It is 1937, and Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier (played with considerable dash by David Tennant), a highly decorated soldier from the First World War, is the French military attaché stationed in Poland – and he's taking a covert interest in suspicious German tank movements across the border. You may need that information because although Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais have made a good job of adapting the American author Alan Furst's spy novel, the background isn't made entirely clear. Janet Montgomery plays the love interest who makes Mercier's espionage activities more complicated – she's a lawyer attached to the League of Nations – while a refreshingly unfamiliar Anglo-Polish cast deepen the authenticity.


Saturday 9pm & 10pm BBC4

Dane-dram fans in mourning for the The Killing can find deep solace in the return of prime minister Birgitte Nyborg (the excellent Sidse Babett Knudsen), who, one year on from the first season, is visiting troops in Afghanistan. Back home, she is holding off signing her divorce papers, while reporter Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) works for right-wing tabloid Ekspres.

Mr Selfridge

Sunday 9pm ITV1

ITV's department-store drama had to be pulled in the autumn when BBC1 pipped them to the post with The Paradise, but now returns in the prestigious Downton Abbey slot, with Jeremy Piven (scene-stealing lawyer Ari Gold in Entourage) as the flamboyant Harry Gordon Selfridge, the visionary who brought American-style shopping to Oxford Street.

The Polar Bear Family and Me

Monday 9.30pm BBC2

"I'm not sure if I like that", says the cameraman Gordon Buchanan as a polar bear bashes his perspex hide – Buchanan's mission being to get closer to these carnivores than anyone before, spending a year with them in the Arctic. But he has hardly set foot on terra firma when a young adult male bear (the most dangerous) decides he smells like lunch.

Don't Blame Facebook

Tuesday 10pm Channel 4

Friends arrested on terror charges at a US airport after a joke tweet, and a McDonald's employee sent to jail after hacking a superstar's Facebook page, are two of the stories featured in this documentary about people who have made extraordinary blunders on Facebook and other social media websites, revealing the dangers of sharing too much information online.

The New Normal

Thursday 9pm E4

"I would like to have a skinny blond child who doesn't cry...", says Bryan (Andrew Rannals), one half of a gay couple from LA, as he shops with his partner for a surrogate mother. Enter Goldie (Georgia King) a working class single mom, whose own mother (Ellen Barkin) is homophobic. This frisky US sitcom is from the Glee creator Ryan Murphy.

First Time Farmers

Friday 8pm Channel 4

A new observational documentary series, looking at all aspects of farming life through the eyes of the younger generation, begins in Herefordshire, where Robbie is trying to make a successful business from his mum's struggling pig farm, Ed returns to the family farm after quitting his city job, and third-generation farmer Nick is trying to escape the family business.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture