Television choices: Will Team GB's Jess end up as Saturday's supergirl?

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The Independent Culture

Olympics 2012

Saturday from 8.45am, BBC1

If aliens decided to visit, chances are they'd make a bee-line to the otherworldly Usain Bolt, and the rapid Jamaican phenomenon, with size-13 feet, features in the morning heats of the 100m on what's being billed as "Super Saturday". However, all British eyes will be on Jessica Ennis (left), Team GB's poster girl for the Games, as she competes in the concluding day of the heptathlon, which includes the long jump, javelin and 800m. Elsewhere, British medal hope Mo Farah competes in the 10,000m and hopefully Brits Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford will have reached the long jump final. Away from the track, the swimming comes to an end with four finals, including the women's 50m freestyle, where Briton Fran Halsall is tipped for glory.

Exploring China: a Culinary Adventure

Sunday 8pm, BBC2

The habitually perky Ken Hom takes a 3,000-mile trip around the land of his forebears with fellow TV chef Ching-He Huang in this new series. The personable pair cook their way across the vast sub-continent, taking in both the ancient and the modern, exploring China's history and culture and hearing the stories of its people.

The Swimmer

Monday 11.40pm, Channel 4

The Scottish auteur Lynne Ramsay directs this black-and-white short film, commissioned with the aim of showcasing UK film-making talent. This dreamy experience takes a journey through the waterways and coastline of the British Isles, following a lone swimmer (Tom Litten) through rivers and coves, with snatches of dialogue on top. An unsettling work of art.

Networks of Power with Sir Christopher Meyer

Tuesday 9pm & 1.15am, Sky Atlantic

"In these six cities I'll grapple with the dark, Machiavellian heart of politics," claims Christopher Meyer in this bombastic series. This week the fearless (and quite loud) former Brit diplomat to the US visits LA to examine how America's entertainment industry is faring and talks to Ron Meyer, the president of Universal Studios.

A Gifted Man

Wednesday 8pm, Watch

Patrick Wilson, an habitual rogue in films, excels here as conceited neurosurgeon Dr Holt, who goes from tending to ailing rich people to the less well-heeled in this slick new slice of medical tosh. It's also notable for an engaging performance from Jennifer Ehle as Holt's former wife, Anna. The obligatory twist? Anna's dead, but Holt can see and talk to her.

The Churchills

Thursday 8pm, Channel 4

David Starkey casts his beady eyes, framed by his bumble-bee-coloured glasses, over two of the greatest war leaders in British history: Winston Churchill and the lesser known John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, who led Britain against an earlier potential dictator of Europe, the Sun King Louis XIV of France. This last gripping episode centres on the Second World War.

The Great British Story: a People's History

Friday 9pm BBC2

In the final episode of Michael Wood's authoritative series, the smooth historian takes an overview of the last century between the Jubilees of 1897 and 2012: taking in the two World Wars, the rise of the NHS and Britain's first Caribbean carnival. And as old identities break down, Wood asks whether the Union itself will survive.