Television choices: Interlinked exposé on affairs of the heart

  • @GerardVGilbert

TV pick of the week

True Love

Sunday, 10.25PM, BBC1

BBC1's first ever improvised drama series features five separate but interlinked love stories showing each night this week – from the Bafta-winning writer Dominic Savage. The setting for each tale is the deprived (but looking rather appealing here) Kent seaside town of Margate, home of the new Turner Contemporary Gallery, which indeed features in the middle story on Wednesday. But the series begins on Sunday with happily married father Nick (David Tennant) making a suitably gushing speech at wife Ruth's (Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggart) birthday barbecue – a fairly obvious nod that temptation will soon be coming his way. Enter Serena (Vicky McClure from This Is England) – Nick's first love, long absent in Canada, and who soon has Nick questioning his life.

Spiral 2: Gangs of Paris

Saturday, 9pm, BBC4

"France's answer to The Wire" (actually it's more of a stylish Gallic procedural) continues its rerun, subtitled second series from 2008 with tough police captain Laure Berthaud (Caroline Proust) in hot water with internal affairs after bashing a suspect with her baton. Meanwhile, Judge Roban (Philippe Duclos) uses his usual cunning to investigate a strange gang rape allegation.

Ukraine's Forgotten Children

Monday, 9pm, BBC4

I'm not sure what public relations bonus, if any, the government of the Ukraine was hoping to gain from co-hosting the Euro 2012, but the accompanying spotlight has illuminated some ugly corners of this former Soviet republic. Filmed over six months by Kate Blewett, this asks why there are 10 times as many children in care (the word seems inapt here) in Ukraine as there are in England.

Shakespeare Uncovered: Joely Richardson on Shakespeare's Women

Tuesday, 9pm, BBC4

Joely Richardson investigates how the extraordinary female roles in Shakespeare's plays were created for young boys to act. With her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, she also revisits the iconic RSC 1961 production of As You Like It to argue that actresses owe a debt of gratitude to the great heroines of Shakespearean comedy.

The Secret History of Our Streets

Wednesday, 9pm, BBC2

The Caledonian Road, linking Kings Cross to north London, was described in the 1890s by the social anthropologist Charles Booth as a "depressing district" – a reputation that lingers today. "What a s**t-hole", is how the publican Eileen Christie describes the common reaction to The Cally, and it probably doesn't help having Pentonville Prison on its doorstep.

Playhouse Presents: Psychobitches

Thursday, 9pm, Sky Arts 1

Rebecca Front, Sharon Horgan, Catherine Tate and Katy Brand are among the ace female talent in a comedy putting history's most famous women into the psychiatrist's chair – from Beatrix Potter, who believes the animals really are talking to her, and Judy Garland, coping with her singing compulsion, to Eva Braun and her questionable taste in men.


Friday, 7.45pm, PBS

The celebrated American documentary-maker Ken Burns's authoritative 2001 history of jazz gets a welcome airing. "Jazz grew up in a thousand places," says the narrator Keith David, "but it was born in New Orleans." We are whisked back to the not-so Big Easy of 1817, where slaves (predominantly from the West Indies) were permitted to sing and dance every Sunday afternoon.