Television choices: The children of Marcel Duchamp explore the art of the matter


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The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Great Artists in Their Own Words

Wednesday 9pm & 2.40am BBC4

"Art is not there to be understood," Marcel Duchamp tells Joan Bakewell in a 1968 edition of BBC2's Late Night Line-Up, filmed just before the death of the man who presented a urinal as "art" – prompting Grayson Perry to say here: "We are all the children of Duchamp now." The Frenchman's comment does prompt the question whether artists are best represented by their words or by their works, but that's not to deny that this new series is a splendid overview of the birth of modern art, featuring archival television interviews with Henri Matisse, Max Ernst, Magritte, Dalí and (painting topless for a painfully earnest Fifties French television show) that great self-publicist Pablo Picasso.

Doctor Who

Saturday 6.30pm BBC1

Mother and daughter Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling guest as sinister Victorian mill-owner Mrs Gillyflower and her blind offspring, while Neve McIntosh reprises her reptilian Madame Vastra from the 2012 Christmas special. The Mark Gatiss-scripted "The Crimson Horror" also features red slime and Matt Smith's Doctor speaking with a comedy Yorkshire accent.

The Village

Sunday 9pm BBC1

Even in the Peak District of the First World War there must have been moments of comedy and joy, and it's a pity Peter Moffat didn't weave a few into his otherwise fascinating and well-researched account of the era. In the final episode, the village war memorial proves controversial, Spanish flu strikes and returning veterans want their factory jobs back from the women.


Monday 10.15pm Sky Atlantic

The ingredients of this US action series may be familiar – part The Talented Mr Ripley, part Witness and part Justified – but they're mixed into an entertainingly rich stew, spiced with soft-core sex and hard-core violence. This week, our sheriff-impersonating ex-con (Antony Starr) busts an illegal rave in an Amish barn, and receives an "offer" by local crime boss Kai Proctor.

The Apprentice

Tuesday 9pm BBC1

"I'm half machine..." "I took inspiration from Napoleon..." Yes, it's business as usual at Sugar Towers as 16 new hopefuls/fall-guys and girls hustle and backstab their way to his lordship's £250,000 – all recorded before Sugar's recent tussle with 2010 winner Stella English might have dampened their vim. First up, a selling task that includes loo paper and bubble wrap.

Murder on the Home Front

Thursday 9pm ITV

CSI meets Foyle's War in this period crime drama loosely based on the memoirs of Molly Lefebure, secretary to the pioneering Home Office pathologist Keith Simpson. It's the London of the Blitz, and Patrick Kennedy plays the Simpson character, with Tamzin Merchant as his assistant, a would-be crime-writer with typing skills and stomach for blood.

Pride & Prejudice: Having a Ball

Friday 9pm BBC2

It is a truth universally acknowledged that give historians half a chance to dress up in period garb, then they will. Alistair Sooke and Amanda Vickery mark the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice by throwing a regency ball at the Austen family's Chawton House in Hampshire, and so to deepen our understanding of the novel.