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.
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.
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by police in Ohio park
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Manchester United named Premier League's loudest fans despite late push by Chelsea according to 'Smart Meter' app
Hitler painting sells for 130,000 euros at auction despite controversy over Nazi dictator's artworks
Strictly Come Dancing results: Steve Backshall sent home after dance off with Sunetra Sarker
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked clip of Lana Del Rey rape video
Band Aid 30: 'Do They Know It's Christmas' storms to number one
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Green Party Caroline Lucas interview: 'We could be on the edge of something very big'