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Television choices of the week (08/12/12): Examining the bad effects of giving help in conflict zones


TV pick of the week

The Trouble with Aid

Sunday 9pm BBC4

A challenging documentary in the excellent Why Poverty? season looks at the "unintended and terrible consequences" of charitable generosity on famished but conflict-ridden parts of the world. The concept of humanitarian aid was born in Biafra in 1967, and gathered pace during subsequent disasters (Cambodia in 1979, Ethiopia in 1985 and Somalia in 1992) – but were the aid organisations naive or realistic in the way they dealt with murderous governments and militias? Former representatives from Oxfam, Médicins sans Frontiers and the Red Cross think so, one expressing his disgust at the self-congratulation of Live Aid as the Ethiopian government forcibly relocated the starving masses. A live debate follows Ricardo Pollack's film.

The Killing III

Saturday 9pm & 10pm BBC4

The penultimate brace of episodes finds Robert and Maja harbouring hopes that Emilie may still be alive and throwing their resources into finding her. Matthias Borch and Sarah Lund, meanwhile, have a hard time shaking off their Jutland experience – although enough said about that because a lot of The Killing fans watch this on catch-up television.

The Poison Tree

Monday 9pm ITV1

ITV1 drama has become almost synomymous with short, sharp psychological thrillers, and this two-part adaptation of Erin Kelly’s novel is a suspenseful spin on Brideshead Revisited, with MyAnna Buring as the outsider beguiled by privileged siblings Ophelia Lovibond and Matthew Goode. The yarn is split between 1997 and the present.

Cuba with Simon Reeve

Tuesday 9pm BBC2

With Fidel Castro’s communist uptopia having to open up to market forces, Simon Reeve (Tropic of Capricorn, Equator and any other latitude you can think of) makes a visit to the Caribbean’s largest island – refurbished Fifties American cars, crumbling colonial architecture, ballet, the Bay of Pigs et al. Who will be the winners and losers of the new Cuba?

British Comedy Awards 2012

Wednesday 9pm Channel 4

If Jessica Hynes doesn’t win Best Television Comedy Actress I shall eat my remote, and there will be no injustice if Hugh Bonneville wins the male category. Sarah Millican is the only female on the King or Queen of Comedy shortlist, and I wish Hunderby and Moone Boy the very best, as Jonathan Ross works what must be the hardest room to amuse in awards-land.

Timeshift: Wrestling’s Golden Age: Grapples, Grunts and Grannies

Thursday 9pm & 2.30am BBC4

Back in the Sixties, wrestling used to pull in 14 million viewers – one bout, between Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus, attracted 22 million. The artist Peter Blake, owner of Kendo Nagasaki’s mask, is among the fans helping tell its history from the Edwardian music hall to its Eighties eclipse.

James Bond’s 50th Anniversary Gala Concert

Friday 9pm & 1.25am BBC4

Perhaps you have Skyfall and its attendant hype coming out of your ears by now, but for anyone wanting to just kick back and wallow in 007 tunes, Carl Davis conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall. The concert is preceded at 9pm by a 2000 Omnibus profile of the Bond composer John Barry.