Preview RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND

Rock Family Trees, 9.00pm Saturday BBC2 Fawlty Towers, 7.30pm Sunday BBC1 Homicide - Life on the Street, 9.00pm Sunday Channel 4 Myths and Memories of World War II, 9.10pm Sunday BBC2

Like a number of people, I found this year's VE Day anniversary celebrations somewhat ambiguous. Not that there wasn't Victory to be toasted and losses to be remembered - it's just that the country seemed happy to swallow national myths whole, without even the slightest attempt at polite chewing.

Thank goodness, then, for the laxative powers of Myths and Memories of World War II (Sun BBC2), a series of hypotheses followed by studio debates that has so far examined Alan Clark's argument that we should have cut a deal with Hitler in 1941, and Tom Bower's rather more convincing contestation that the Nuremberg War Trials obscured British government inactivity about the Nazi war criminals in its own midst. Dr Nick Tiratsoo - the very picture of an LSE social historian (dark jacket, dark shirt, dark tie) - chooses to attack probably the most cherished "myth" of all about Britain at war: that we all pulled together and suffered equally. While vital war workers cowered in their inadequate shelters down the East End, his film argues, diners at the Dorchester tucked into lobster, pheasant, crab, oysters and caviar before retiring to the hotel's gas-proof, reinforced concrete vaults. In fact "the oyster question" turns into the programme's biggest red herring, as Lord Deedes and others argue the availability of shellfish in 1941.

Myths and memories of the 1960s elevate London and Liverpool as the happening cities, but Birmingham also had its movers and groovers - or at least it had The Move. Rock Family Trees (Saturday BBC2) takes as the forefathers of the surely mistitled Birmingham Beat (after all, getting down the M1 to London was the first objective of any halfway ambitious group), Denny Laine, Bev Bevan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood. Laine ended up playing second fiddle to Paul McCartney in Wings, while Bevan and Lynne found themselves employing second, third and fourth fiddles in the Electric Light Orchestra. Wood saw his career climax with his hair dyed white, his backing group dressed in gorilla suits, wishing it could be Christmas every day.

For the Baltimore Beat see Homicide - Life on the Street (Sun Channel 4), which some reckon is a more sophisticated alternative to NYPD Blue. The moral boundaries are certainly as fuzzy as the ultra-realist camerawork - and if you prefer John Cassavetes to Howard Hawkes, then this is definitely your cop shop. Personally, I find that it stylishly but hesitantly dwells for half an hour on what NYPD Blue would wittily wrap in five minutes. As a warmer for Monday's new series, Sunday's Homicide is the final episode from the last series, in which Robin Williams guest stars as the self- loathing husband of a murder victim.

Sunday's Heart of the Matter has a film about gambling addiction. Having successfully gambled on getting a preview tape down from the BBC in Manchester in time, Lady Luck laughed in my face by putting the wrong tape - an old edition of Holiday - in the cassette case. So, like the rest of the nation, I turn with relief and gratitude to Fawlty Towers (Sunday BBC1). This is the one where Basil starts to unravel spectacularly when he discovers one of the guests is a psychiatrist. John Cleese was right to get out of Basil Fawlty when he did. Thirteen episodes looks like an exorcism; any more and he might have become possessed.

The big picture

Down by Law

Saturday 12.30am BBC2

Not many American films feature a central character who quotes Robert Frost and Walt Whitman in Italian. This is just one of the quirky delights of Down By Law. Jim Jarmusch's characteristically offbeat film makes stunning use of black-and-white photography to tell the story of an ill-matched threesome - Tom Waits (an actor/ singer who appears to warm up his voice by gargling broken glass), John Lurie (who also wrote the soundtrack with Waits) and Roberto Benigni. Cooped up together in a New Orleans jail, they are liberated by the poetry-spouting, pidgin- English-speaking Italian. Cue a road movie.

The big race

Tour De France

Saturday 8.30pm Channel 4

It may not have the tradition of, say, Wimbledon, but the Tour De France (C4) is gradually wheeling its way into British hearts - unusual for a such a quintessentially French phenomenon. It even came to this country for a stage last year, for goodness sake (its diversion this year is into Belgium - a far less glamorous prospect). Channel 4 proves its commitment to the gruelling event - are these the fittest of all sportsmen? - with a daily half-hour update. Phil Liggett might be infected with a touch of the Alan Partridges - remember "The Day to Day''s parody commentary on the tour? - but there is no doubting his enthusiasm for his sport.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones