Television choices: Jane Campion's TV debut 'Top of the Lake' plunges into deep waters
Friday 12 July 2013
TV pick of the week: Top of the Lake
Saturday 9.10pm BBC2
Jane Campion becomes the latest movie talent to embrace the novelistic possibilities of television. Returning to the majestic scenery of New Zealand's South Island for the first time since her 1993 Oscar-winner, The Piano – and claiming it back from Peter Jackson's Tolkien blockbusters – her six-part drama tells of the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl. Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss plays the investigating officer; Peter Mullan, in a long greasy wig, is the missing girl's bad-ass father, while the star of The Piano, Holly Hunter, here plays the wacky guru of a women's refuge. Interested more with character than outright storytelling, Campion's off-centre television debut is more Twin Peaks than The Killing or Broadchurch.
Hunt vs Lauda: F1's Greatest Racing Rivals
Sunday 9pm BBC2
It was 38 years ago at the infamous Nürburgring during the German Grand Prix that Niki Lauda suffered his near-fatal crash that was to help James Hunt to win the 1976 world championship. This documentary recalls the friendship and on-track rivalry between the ice-cool Austrian and the sometimes reckless playboy "Hunt the Shunt".
Monday 10pm Channel 4
This year's Bafta-hogger, Olivia Colman, puts on her best sarf London accent as fag-smoking single mother Carol, in the first of four inter-linked dramas (showing on consecutive nights) aiming for a gritty snapshot of contemporary urban life. Carol's boys have killed a stranger – but will she do the right thing and shop them? Neil Maskell (Utopia) plays her ex-husband.
Tuesday 10pm BBC2
Created by Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap) and starring Chris O'Dowd, this improvised BBC-HBO comedy begins disappointingly. O'Dowd plays no-hoper Tom, who inherits a trunk of mementos, going on a picaresque journey in search of his forebears. Nina Conti is a rare bright spot as Tom's sister, while Tom Bennett channels Ricky Gervais as his best mate.
The Apprentice: the Final
Wednesday 8pm BBC1
The first all-female final, and you don't envy Lord Sugar the prospect of working with either the poisonous Luisa (one-stop baking products) or pouty ice-queen Leah (cosmetic-surgery outlets). Anyway, they each have two days to create a brand, a website and a launch campaign, assisted by fired former co- contestants – none of whom look like they give a damn anymore.
Thursday 9pm ITV
"The perfect client," is how the criminal lawyer at the Manchester firm Tuckers describes the scarred 23-year-old offender Kyle: "He's repeat business." Kyle, career house-breaker Alex, and Gary (aggravated burglary with a claw-hammer) are among the opening case-load in this eye-opening but faintly depressing look at the business of defending habitual criminals.
The Mating Game – Natural World Special
Friday 9pm BBC2
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it – and while none of the above might actually "fall in love", they have their own mating rituals – and are as funny, complex and inventive as any human being – as this David Attenborough-narrated compendium demonstrates. A polar bear playing hard-to-get and a faithful lizard feature.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
The Walking Dead season 5 synopsis: Spoilers and existential questions revealed
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes