TV pick of the week: Substitutes take spins while regulars go missing
TV pick of the week: The Thick of It
Saturday 9.45pm BBC2
Armando Iannucci finally tackles the Coalition – but how will his beloved sitcom fare without Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) and MP Nicola Murray (Rebecca Front), now in opposition? Worry not, Tucker and Murray feature – but not until next week – and tonight's opener doesn't exactly miss them. Vincent Franklin (Twenty Twelve) is a fine Tucker substitute as Number 10's director of communications, Roger Allam is splendidly crumpled as Peter Mannion MP, the senior Coalition partner at DoSac, there's dependable support from Joanna Scanlan and James Smith, and some juicy neologisms, such as "snuff politics" and "ear piss". The unnamed Coalition partners (the Lib Dems, we may assume) are "the inbetweeners".
Sunday 9pm ITV1
Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) does well in the dual role of nice but penniless teacher John and nastily feckless head of a family business Johnny – doppelgangers whose paths cross in the pub one night. The setting is 1952, in the run up to the Queen's Coronation, in Charles Sturridge's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel – last filmed with Alec Guinness in 1958.
Monday 9pm ITV1
ITV's run of new drama series continues with Helen McCrory as Julie, an unhappily married wedding caterer at a country house hotel. Given to mouthing the words of the matrimonial vows as she looks on from the wings – and envying anyone with a life still before them – it's only a matter of time before ripping the clothes off a handsome young colleague...
Tuesday 10pm BBC4
This unlikely, semi-subtitled fish-out-of-water comedy rests on the wonderfully fleshy, deadpan features of Steven Van Zandt. As befits an ex-Sopranos actor, Van Zandt plays New York mobster Frankie the Fixer, who, in need of FBI witness protection, chooses Lilyhammer in Norway because he liked the look of it from television coverage of the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Dead Good Job
Wednesday 9pm BBC2
A dead bad title for a series about undertakers, and featuring the usual varied cross-section, from a 120-year-old Manchester firm catering to traditionalists to a niche Leicester company that specialises in transporting dead bikers in motorcycle hearses. Meanwhile in Brick Lane, Muslim mourners are less worried by fancy trimmings than by a speedy interment.
Thursday 9pm Channel 4
Individuals allow a group of 50 strangers to observe their lives for a week, following them around and invading their homes, as the crowd displays wisdom (or not) in helping them make potentially life-changing decisions. Somehow the format works, as 48-year-old dairy farmer Ian gets the ball rolling, deciding whether or not to sell up and start a new life.
Friday 9.30pm & 10pm Sky1
The IT Crowd's Chris O'Dowd stars in his own self-penned semi-autobiographical comedy about growing up in the Ireland of the Eighties – and it's a cracker (actually it was developed from a short he made for Sky's Little Crackers). O'Dowd plays Martin, the grown-up invisible friend of his own 12-year-old self, and it's fresh, funny and very well acted.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Isis flag: What do the words mean and what are its origins?
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Poldark finale review: Not even the 'putrid throat' and tragedy to stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest
Chronixx interview: Reggae sensation on taking the opening spot at Glastonbury and calling Barack Obama a 'waste man'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director Jack Bender hints showrunners 'communicate closely' with George RR Martin
Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Amy: Mark Ronson praises 'respectful' Amy Winehouse film as it scores the highest ever UK opening for a British documentary
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts