Around the World in 80 Trades, Channel 4
Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant, Channel 4
Five Minutes of Heaven, BBC2

A market analyst loses money hand over fist, way out of his depth in foreign markets. Does this sound familiar?

Telly asked us to sympathise with the devil last week, come he in the form of a sectarian killer, a tyrannical king, or a "market analyst". A colleague on the business desk of this newspaper assures me that market analysts are different from bankers, but I remain unconvinced. Conor Woodman, a former City boy who used to broker deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds, told us he grew bored by his job (yes, as a "market analyst") and quit, hence his decision to withdraw £25,000 of his own money and head off Around the World in 80 Trades, haggling with the world's oldest business brains, and using the profit from each transaction to fund the next leg of his journey.

"Forget the economic doom and gloom," Woodman pleaded in his introductory voice-over. Easy for you to say, I thought, watching him swan off to Sudan with a TV crew in tow. Crouching in a truck bed on the way to his first trade, with the camel merchants of Khartoum, Woodman disputed the notion that money is the root of all evil. "Without trade and the pursuit of wealth," he argued, "no one would know about anything beyond their own front door .... [It's] the reason people interact."

Happily, this total banker – sorry, "market analyst" – was in for a rude awakening. Thanks to his ignorance of camel sales etiquette, most of the traders declined to interact with him at all. Thousands of pounds in the hole, he thought he'd better try something a little easier, and changed quickly from an explorer into a tourist, flying 2,000 miles south to Victoria Falls for a bungee jump. Oh, and to close a deal with Craig, a white, English-speaking Zambian coffee grower, whose beans he proposed to export to South Africa.

Despite finding himself in the more comfortable surroundings of a Starbucks-style Cape Town coffee shop, Woodman failed yet again to make a trade. For a "market analyst", he seemed to do very little analysing of his markets, and it turned out Craig's coffee was actually a bit rubbish. Finally, he managed to shift a few bags for a knock-down price. This week he's off to Asia, where he plans to flog red wine and chilli sauce to the middle classes, and haggle some livestock and stones out of Kyrgyzstani horse traders and Chinese jade miners. I know where I expect him to meet with success, and it ain't with the horse traders. Or the miners.

If Woodman promised something exotic but produced something familiar, then in Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant, David Starkey gave us something familiar and made it seem new again. Starkey may be the foremost Henrician of our age, but even Jonathan Rhys Meyers couldn't make the Tudors tedious, what with all that sex and blood and blood and sex and more sex.

No, Starkey's skill in this series is to illuminate not only the gripping history but also the work of the historian. Far more engrossing than dodgy re-enactments were the scenes in which he pored over original source documents, describing them as "magical objects". From them, in his quest to explain the tyrant's inner life, Starkey deduced the impact of Henry's mother on his handwriting and thus his education. He uncovered, too, the future king's correspondence with childhood heroes from the Dutch humanist scholar Erasmus to Philip, a swashbuckling archduke of Burgundy.

Throughout, Starkey reminded us that history is formed from a mixture of fact and guesswork. Five Minutes of Heaven did something similar for television itself. This genre-bending one-off drama concerned an abortive meeting – organised by a TV production company – between Joe Griffin (James Nesbitt) and Alastair Little (Liam Neeson), who, as a young UVF gunman in Belfast in 1975, shot Griffin's brother dead in front of him.

Griffin, Little and his crime are all very real, but their present-day meeting was imagined by screenwriter Guy Hibbert, helped by speculative interviews with both men. The film's first half worked hard to expose the shortcomings of the medium. To elucidate the minds of such real-life protagonists is beyond the powers of television, it seemed to suggest – let alone for it to become a tool of reconciliation, the stated aim of the fictional documentary.

Griffin was asked to do a second take of a heart-rending moment, because the director was unhappy with the camerawork. Eventually, he decided he couldn't meet his brother's killer on camera after all. And Little's self-justifying narration was later revealed to be a false TV construction, too, a prepared speech to camera that also required a reshoot.

Yet, in Neeson's hands, that speech was magnificently persuasive, and when the pair did finally, fictionally meet, Hibbert's script and two superb central performances conspired to move me deeply anyway. That's the power of television, I guess.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
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.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower