Television Choices: Satire master Iannucci lays it on thick in his new comedy
TV pick of the week
Monday, 10pm & 2am Sky Atlantic
The writer/director Armando Iannucci shifts his satirical gaze beyond the Westminster goldfish bowl of The Thick of It and into the heart of the American Presidency – or rather a heartbeat away from the same. Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Vice President Selina Meyer, a classic Iannucci politician, stuck between power and powerlessness and grabbing whatever initiative she can from a jealous Oval Office (embodied here by Jonah Ryan – the White House liaison officer who is this series' sort of Malcolm Tucker figure). It's sharp and funny, as you might expect – Louis-Dreyfus is perfect as the perpetually paranoid Meyer – as she frets over whether to wear glasses for a speech or not. She finally decides that they make her look weak: "Like a wheelchair for the eyes."
Emeli Sande & Ed Sheeran @ Hackney 2012
Saturday, 7pm, BBC3
The music festival season kicks off in east London and BBC3's weekend-smothering coverage begins with the R&B star Emeli Sandé (above) and the singer-songwriter Ed "A Team" Sheeran. Jay-Z is the main attraction at 9pm, unless of course you prefer Kasabian (8pm) or the X Factor winner made-good Leona Lewis at 11pm (but recorded earlier).
Sunday, 9pm, Channel 4
"Life began at 41," laconically observes one of the convicted murderers featured in this remarkable (especially in its access) documentary filmed inside HMP Gartree in Leicestershire, which houses the highest concentration of killers in the UK prison system. Describing how he stabbed a friend, one shows remorse. Others don't know the meaning of the word.
Line of Duty
Tuesday, 9pm BBC2
It's been 20 years since Between the Lines, the best most recent BBC drama about cops who police the police, so a warm welcome to Jed Mercurio's timely new series about an anti-corruption squad. It follows one multi-stranded inquiry over five episodes – so best to watch from the start, which is no hardship. Lennie James, Vicky McClure (above), Gina McKee and Neil Morrissey star.
The Strange Case of the Law
Wednesday, 9pm & 2.45am, BBC4
The last case of legal torture in Britain took place in 1640, according to the barrister Harry Potter (above) in the second part of his series about the origins of our legal system. When Oliver Cromwell wanted to put opponents on the rack he sent them to Jersey – "the 17th-century equivalent of Guantanamo Bay". Potter also looks at the trial of Charles I, or Rex vs Rex as it turned out to be.
Thursday, 10.30pm & 1.30am, BBC3
Crime and punishment seems to be the theme of the television week, although this is from the (very) light-hearted end of the spectrum. On the whole I prefer Sharon Horgan's Pulling, but there is still a lot to be enjoyed in her new sitcom in which Horgan (above) plays the falsely imprisoned Helen. Frustrated by the lack of progress in her appeal, she decides to study law.
Quadrophenia – Can You See the Real Me?
Friday, 9pm & 1.55am, BBC4
The appeal of BBC4's music documentaries is largely dependent on what is being discussed – so I'm afraid I bailed 20 minutes into this film detailing the Who's double "concept" album about a bipolar mod-rocker (and the multiple personalities of the band). Others will be enthralled, as Pete Townshend (above) and Roger Daltrey contribute testimony.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy