Television choices: Morbid delight on a journey to places ghastly and ghoulish


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss

Tuesday 9pm & 2.10am BBC4

In his 2010 series A History of Horror, Mark Gatiss was lambasted for not including such silent German classics as FW Murnau's Nosferatu – an omission that Gatiss now thoroughly rectifies as this knowledgeable and pleasingly subjective horror buff journeys to the Slovakian castle where Nosferatu was filmed in 1922. He also visits the hotel in Ostend that served as the location for the 1971 lesbian vampire movie Daughters of Darkness – meeting the film's admirably hard-headed director Harry Kumel. There is also a rare interview with the godfather of Spanish horror, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, as Gatiss intelligently explores how European horror "chillingly reflects the history of Europe itself".

Family Guys? What Sitcoms Say about America Now?

Saturday 10pm BBC2

Tim Stanley examines how US television comedy – from South Park, The Cosby Show and Family Guy to Will & Grace, The Simpsons and Ellen – can give an understanding of what Americans think about race, religion, gay rights and abortion, uncovering a fast-changing country that can leave the politicians scrabbling to catch up.

Rich Hall's Inventing the Indians

Sunday 9pm BBC4

The codename for the operation to kill Osama bin Laden was "Geronimo", just the latest slander of the Native American Indian, according to the comedian Rich Hall as he attempts to go beyond the stereotype created by John Ford Westerns. Accompanying Hall on his journeys is the deadpan Lakota/Dine comedian Dallas Goldtooth.

Lang Lang: Live at the Roundhouse

Friday 7.30pm BBC4

BBC4's Friday-night musical line-up divides this week between (later) Paul Weller and (first up) virtuoso Chinese pianist Lang Lang, a record of whose performance at the Roundhouse in July 2011 is followed at 9pm by Lang Lang: the Art of Being a Virtuoso, a documentary profile as he tinkles ivories across Europe and America.

How the Devil Got His Horns: a Diabolical Tale

Monday 9pm & 2.10am BBC4

The first-known depiction of Satan in Western art, a 6th-century mosaic in Ravenna, shows a beautiful blue angel – the tail, horns and cloven hooves came later. Alastair Sooke traces the evolution of Lucifer's depiction from the end of the Roman empire, arguing that "there is no clarity about his image because there is no clarity about his role".

How Safe Are Britain's Roads?

Wednesday 9pm BBC2

Justin Rowlatt and Anita Rani (both above), who have braved the highways of China and India in recent series, now investigate our own road system. Why is the number of people injured in traffic incidents in the UK rising, they ask, meeting a Paralympian who says she wouldn't be in a wheelchair if she had worn a seatbelt, and a couple who saved lives in last year's M5 crash.

Young Apprentice

Thursday 8pm BBC1

Alan Sugar dons his kid gloves again – and while the non-abrasive approach doesn't sit entirely naturally on his lordship, it proves that the gentle touch doesn't dilute any entertainment value. The new crop of 16- to 17-year-old wannabe plutocrats include "young publisher of the year" and a farmer's daughter, and the first task involves sifting through castoffs.