Television choices: Suburban spy drama snoops on Soviet sleepers in DC

 

TV pick of the week: The Americans

Saturday 10pm ITV

Inspired by the FBI's 2010 exposure of the Russian "sleeper" cell that included Anna Chapman, this new US drama relocates the action to the Cold War of Ronald Reagan's presidency. Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell play a married "American" couple living with their children in suburban Washington, who are in fact KGB officers who juggle family life with – you know – kidnapping Soviet double-agents and storing them in the garage. Things get sticky when an FBI spy-catcher (Noah Emmerich) happens to move next door, and what sounds like an unholy mix of Desperate Housewives and Homeland works well thanks to strong performances, tight writing and an evocative Eighties soft-rock soundtrack.

Spying on Hitler's Army: the Secret Recordings

Sunday 8pm Channel 4

After defeat in 1945, German soldiers claimed ignorance of the Holocaust – blaming atrocities on the SS. A recent discovery of recordings made in bugged PoW camps tells a different story – of Germans of all ranks either participating or aware of what was going on. This fascinating documentary has actors speaking their chilling words.

The People's Coronation with David Dimbleby

Monday 9pm BBC1

Dimbleby's father, Richard Dimbleby, presented the television coverage of the Queen's Coronation in 1953. On its 60th anniversary, Dimbleby Jr taps into people's memories of the day, including his own (as a teenager) and an ex-Fleet Street snapper who captured the definitive image of the new monarch.

The Unspeakable Crime: Rape

Tuesday 10.35pm BBC1

The way the police deal with victims of rape was changed by a damning 1982 Panorama report – and just how much is laid out in this documentary following two rape cases being processed by St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester. The centre dealt with over 1,200 cases last year, including that of Juliet, raped in alley while drunk.

Bobby Womack: Across 110th Street

Friday 9pm & 1.55am BBC4

The soul star – now experiencing an Indian summer thanks to Damon Albarn and Gorillaz – recalls being a gospel prodigy discovered by Sam Cooke, and working with Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and the Stones, before drugs and the death of his son seemed to send him into decline. Ronnie Wood is among the contributors.

David Walliams: Snapshot in Time

Thursday 9pm ITV

"The more adulation you got the camper you became," says David Walliams of his first taste of audience appreciation – at school in Reigate, aged 11, playing a lady. Walliams now reunites his middle-aged fellow cast members, two of whom live in Australia – "as far as possible away from me", quips Walliams, somewhat solipsistically.

D-Day: As It Happens

Wednesday 9pm Channel 4

The Normandy landings are brought to life in real-time across television, mobile devices and the web, following the seven participants – including a paratrooper, a submariner and a nurse – over the 5th and 6th June 1944 ("Not all them have a good time," says Channel 4). Peter Snow anchors the two programmes, with help from ex-Army and Navy servicemen.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all