Television choices: Scheduling clash for new dramas Mayday and Broadchurch


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The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Broadchurch

Monday 9pm ITV

Two similar dramas in a clash of scheduling – and scheduling techniques. BBC1's Mayday in which a close-knit community is pulled apart after the disappearance of a teenage girl, begins on Sunday and screens on five consecutive nights, while ITV's new drama, in which a close-knit Dorset community unravels after the murder of an 11-year-old boy, rations its storyline over eight weeks.

Written by Chris Chibnall (Torchwood) Broadchurch has the more appealing cast, with Olivia Colman and David Tennant as detectives, and Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker as the dead lad's parents. It's a sort of British The Killing, although Chibnall says his influence is Steven Bochco's 1996 series Murder One, in which one case took up 23 episodes.

Howard Goodall's Story of Music

Saturday 9.30pm BBC2

Goodall ends his series by ushering in the "popular age", starting with the first ever wireless broadcast of a classical record – Handel's Largo – on Christmas Eve 1906. This was to be "an age when music would belong to everyone everywhere", popularising local forms of folk music. But did it kill classical music in the process?


Sunday 9pm BBC1

Showing over five consecutive nights, this whodunit centres on the disappearance of a girl who had been cycling to a Sussex town's local May Day festivities. Peter Firth's hen-pecked property developer and Aidan Gillen's mysterious father are the chief suspects, with Sophie Okonedo and Lesley Manville as the wives coming to believe that they are living with a killer.

The Crash

Tuesday 9.30pm BBC3

A storyline in which a fatal car crash affects a group of people is hardly novel – see Joseph Losey's The Accident and the 2004 movie Crash for starters – but one written especially for teenagers is something new. And something important, too, given the fact that their boyfriends' dangerous driving is the biggest killer of girls under the age of 21. Lily Loveless (Skins) stars.

Parks and Recreation

Wednesday 10pm BBC4

If the mockumentary style of NBC's acclaimed satire of local government seems familiar, that's because it was commissioned as "a new The Office". Amy Poehler is terrific as an evangelical Indiana state bureaucrat given the assignment of converting a quarry into a community park, and musing that, "What I hear when people are shouting at me is people caring loudly."

How to Get to Heaven with the Hutterites

Thursday 9pm BBC2

The Amish have been done to death by documentary-makers, which may explain why the cameras are moving on to Canada's Hutterite community, who share the same beliefs as the Amish, including simplicity and communal values. Fifty thousand North Americans live this way, and contrary to what one might think, that number is growing.

The Ballad of Mott the Hoople

Friday 10pm & 2.55am BBC4

A succession of late-middle aged blokes in armchairs are revealed to be mid-Seventies rockers Mott the Hoople – only Ian Hunter retaining the look, but then he did answer Island Records' "singer wanted – must be image-minded" advert. The band nearly imploded in 1972, saved by David Bowie's gift of "All the Young Dudes" after they turned down "Suffragette City".