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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor