Television choices: Network is out to despoil the stunning cast's perfect world


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The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Utopia

Tuesday 10pm Channel 4

Alexandra Roach (Hunderby), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) and Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions) play young online forum members who decide to meet up to discuss their obsession about a legendary graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments – unaware that a shadowy and extremely violent organisation, the Network, also has an interest in the comic book. Filmed in an unsettling hyper-realist style by the director Marc Munden (The Devil's Whore), the nimble, keep-them-guessing script is by Dennis Kelly, Sharon Horgan's partner on BBC3's Pulling and more recently, the co-creator of the West End smash musical Matilda. Terrific stuff, with deluxe support from James Fox, Stephen Rea, Geraldine James and Simon McBurney.

World Without End

Saturday 9pm Channel 4

A sequel to Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth begins 200 years after the end of that cathedral-building saga, in an England beset by the Hundred Years War and the Black Death. Filmed in various central European locations (hence the unbroken blue skies and no rain) Charlotte Riley leads the serfs, while Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon trades Jimmy Choos for sackcloth.


Sunday 6.30pm BBC1

Dust down your PG Wodehouse compendia, for Plum fans will need cheering up after this travesty. It's virtually impossible to capture the author's masterful comic tone, but this turns the tales of Lord Emsworth (Timothy Spall; Jennifer Saunders plays his formidable sister Connie) and his pig into a cartoonish misfire that even the show's teatime slot can't justify.

My Mad Fat Diary

Monday 10pm & 2.20am E4

"Sixteen stone, 16 years old and from Lincolnshire..." Sharon Rooney is terrific as the self-harming, binge-eating chronicler newly freed from a mental health ward into the era of Cool Britannia, and finding it hard to cope. Rae Earl's real-life diaries are skilfully and sympathetically adapted by Tom Bidwell, with a fresh young cast boosted by Claire Rushbrook as Rae's mum.

Saving Face: True Stories

Wednesday 10pm Channel 4

The plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad made headlines after his constructive surgery on the model Katie Piper, who had been disfigured in an acid attack. This Oscar-winning film follows Jawad to Pakistan, where 100 such acid attacks on young women are reported every year, as he treats two victims, 39-year-old Zakia and 23-year-old Rukhsana.

Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald

Thursday 9pm ITV1

While Werner Herzog's extraordinary television series On Death Row is the gold standard for this sort of documentary, Trevor McDonald manages to capture one or two telling moments as he ventures inside Indiana State Prison, meeting 12 condemned men awaiting execution and some of the other inmates in the maximum security facility.

Glen Campbell: the Rhinestone Cowboy

Friday 9pm & 12.50am BBC4

In 2011 it was announced that the country star Glen Campbell was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This enjoyable tribute follows the Republican-leaning share-cropper's son from Arkansas to session musician work with the legendary "Wrecking Crew" and a stint in the Beach Boys. Jimmy Webb is among the contributors.