Television Choices: Mothers unite to highlight the scourge of malaria

 

TV pick of the week: Mary and Martha

Friday 8.30pm BBC1

Richard Curtis, whose 2005 television drama, The Girl in the Café, was part of the Make Poverty History campaign, now addresses the scourge of malaria in the run up to Comic Relief's Red Nose Day. His new, Phillip Noyce-directed drama stars Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn as two very different women (Swank's Mary is a chic American designer, while Blethyn's Martha is a reprise of her tremulous Mike Leigh cockney) who are thrown together by the deaths of their mosquito-bitten sons. Mary has taken her boy on an "adventure" in Africa, while Martha's grown-up son has volunteered at an orphanage in Mozambique. The women's "epic journey to make a difference" (to quote the BBC) is leavened by trademark Curtis humour.

A Wolf Called Storm: Natural World Special

Saturday 8.30pm BBC2

It's a repeat, but also a bit of a wildlife classic that follows the pack of wolves which featured in David Attenborough's Frozen Planet. The cameraman Jeff Turner spent a year in northern Canada filming the pack and its leader as they hunt bison – stand-offs that can last days as the wolves patiently pick off their unlikely one-ton prey.

A Great British Air Disaster

Sunday 8pm Channel 4

The rise and fall of the De Havilland Comet, the world's first passenger jet airliner, once considered a triumph for the British aviation industry. Designed during the Second World War, it proved a hit with the public when it came into service in 1952, but then, in the space of four months in 1954, two aircraft blew up in mid-air, killing all passengers and crew.

Black Mirror

Monday 10pm Channel 4

In the last of his trilogy of dystopian fables Charlie Brooker turns his attention to the current disenchantment with party politics. Daniel Rigby plays a failed comedian who appears on a late-night topical show in the form of an anarchic blue bear and is asked by producers to stand at a by-election as his animated character.

Heading Out

Tuesday 10pm BBC2

If there are indeed 101 uses for a dead cat, Sue Perkins finds most of them with a running gag in the opening episode of her new Sapphic sitcom about the life and loves of closeted lesbian (to her parents at least) vet Sara (Perkins). Dawn French, Joanna Scanlan and Mark Heap (as the owner of a pet crematorium) co-star, while Shelley Con plays the love interest.

Child of Our Time

Wednesday 9pm BBC1

BBC1's answer to ITV's time-lapse series 7 Up, following the lives of 25 millennium babies and designed to shed light on the nature versus nurture conundrum, has appeared fitfully since 2008 (so fitfully that it led to the threat of resignation of presenter Lord Robert Winston). It now returns with a two-part special that meets the children as they enter adolescence.

Bank of Dave: Fighting the Fat Cats

Thursday 10pm Channel 4

Or Bank on Dave!, as the minibus dealer David Fishwick's business is called to circumvent the Financial Services Authority's unwillingness to grant him a banking licence. The FSA might not have liked his scheme to offer a better service than his competitors, but would savers and small-business borrowers? A follow-up documentary finds out.

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