Television choices: Marathon trip to trace a line of descent from African origin

 

TV pick of the week: Meet the Izzards

Wednesday 9pm BBC1

It's a sort of DNA version of Who Do You Think You Are? as the "comedian, actor, marathon runner and transvestite" (why stop there?) Eddie Izzard, explores his ancestry by way of spitting into a test tube. Or, as the introduction to this two-part documentary (the second episode is on Thursday) puts it: "We follow humanity's journey from our shared origins in Africa 10,000 generations ago all the way to Eddie Izzard." The journey actually begins in Bexhill-on-Sea, where Izzard's father, John (his mother died of cancer when Izzard was six), gives a sort of genealogical pep-talk before his son packs his nail varnish and jets off to Namibia to meet his eldest relatives, the Kalahari Bushmen, in order to retrace his ancestors' footsteps out of Africa.

Flight of the Rhino: Natural World

Saturday 8.30pm BBC2

It's a problem flagged up by David Attenborough in his recent BBC1 series, but in South Africa last year 668 rhinos were killed for their horns and at this rate there could be none left in the wild in 15 years. This film travels with the helicopters being used in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park to carry endangered black rhinos to a new site.

Complicit

Sunday 9pm Channel 4

It may not concern the hunt for Bin Laden – here the quarry is a home-grown British terrorist suspect – but in other ways there are similarities between Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and this absorbing new Guy Hibbert drama. The actor David Oyelowo returns to Spooks territory as a loner MI5 agent convinced that a local Muslim man is planning an atrocity in London.

Her Majesty's Prison – Aylesbury

Monday 9pm ITV1

An effective deterrent to crime – unless you are the type who glories in gang culture and violence – this two-part documentary spends five months at the eponymous (and, on this evidence, hellish) young offenders' institution in Buckinghamshire. We begin with Northern newcomers taking a hostage in a bid to get a transfer closer to home.

The Fried Chicken Shop: Life in a Day

Tuesday 9pm Channel 4

In Yonni Usiskin's strangely life-affirming (unless you are a battery broiler) Cutting Edge film, a busy fried chicken franchise fast-food joint on Clapham High Street in south London is armed with mini-cameras to spy on the diverse human life stopping to buy chicken wings and to look at why such eateries are worth £4bn annually in the UK.

Murder on the Victorian Railway

Thursday 9pm BBC2

The first murder on British railways was committed in 1864, when a banker was slain on a Hackney-bound train – sparking a debate that revealed Victorian anxieties about steam and the iron roads multiplying in their midst. This drama documentary uses dialogue taken from court transcripts, letters and memoirs. Robert Whitelock stars.

The Swing Thing

Friday 9pm & 1.05am BBC4

Stephen Poliakoff's Dancing on the Edge has sparked the scheduling of a number of jazz-related documentaries, including this repeated history of swing – from the jazz clubs of the Twenties that sparked a youthful cultural revolution, to Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, by way of some of the most iconic stars of the century: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen