TV choices of the week (09/06/2012): An epic slice-of-life tale

 

Britain in a Day

Monday 9pm, BBC2

On November 12, 2011 the directors Ridley Scott and Morgan Matthews invited everyone in the UK to film part of their day and upload it to YouTube. The resulting 11,526 clips and 750 hours of footage have been edited into this feature-length documentary – a project for the BBC Cultural Olympiad that was inspired by Kevin Macdonald's global snapshot, Life in a Day. From a soup kitchen, postal sorting office and a night bus to a dying man's hospital bed, the Occupy London encampment at St Paul's and a woman bathing with a budgie on her head (and an awful lot more), the film does capture the singularity of our lives, the snippets ranging from the intriguing to the dull. You may question, however, the overall effectiveness of this kaleidoscopic approach.

Jools Holland: London Calling

Saturday 9pm, BBC2

"A knees-up of discovery of London music" is how Jools Holland describes his flavoursome history lesson, taking in folk songs at the site of Tyburn Tree, Damon Albarn and his collection of bells, Roy Hudd on Thirties music hall, calypso arriving with the Windrush and blues at the 100 Club. Infuriatingly insubstantial to start with, this is a grower.

Louis Theroux: Twilight of the Porn Stars

Sunday 10pm, BBC2

Discovering that the going rate for starring in a gang bang starts at $3,000, and that flagging male stars can visit the "porn doctor" for a "boner pill", Theroux returns to California's San Fernando Valley to catch up with the actors he met in 1997, and to discover that the US pornography industry is in crisis – the victim of internet piracy and new technology.

All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry

Tuesday 10pm, Channel 4

The ceramicist delves into middle-class taste this week, hanging out at an executive housing estate in Kent, where Prada shoes press the accelerators of Range Rovers and the locals gather over champagne and cupcakes. It's all about "the clarity of meaning of a known brand", reckons Perry, who admits to his discomfort. "There's no litter here... no mess".

The Secret History of Our Streets

Wednesday 9pm, BBC2

This excellent series charting the fortunes of London streets focuses on Camberwell Grove, which boasts some of the capital's finest Georgian architecture. Built as a middle-class retreat, many of its properties became derelict during the Victorian era. Re-gentrification began in the 1950s, and to judge by the inhabitants filmed here, is now complete.

The Men Who Made Us Fat

Thursday 9pm, BBC2

With obesity levels on the rise worldwide, Jacques Peretti goes in search of the people who revolutionised eating habits, starting with high-fructose corn syrup sweetener, championed in the 1970s by Richard Nixon's Agriculture Secretary – the aptly named Earl Butz. This body-builder can now be found in most processed food and soft drinks as a cheaper alternative to sugar.

Match of the Day Live: Euro 2012 – Sweden vs England

Friday 7pm, BBC1

Drab draws seem to be par for the course when these two countries meet, and with Roy Hodgson's side still lacking Wayne Rooney up front, the chances are that that record won't be sullied tonight, as Group D continues its second round of matches (Ukraine vs France is on ITV1 at 4.30pm). Gary Lineker hosts from the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

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Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
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U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

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Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
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