The Weekend's Television: Single-Handed, ITV1, Sun
Happy Birthday OU – Forty Years of the Open University, BBC4, Sat
Classic Goldie, BBC2 Fri

I do hope the Connemara tourist board didn't get their hopes up too high with regard to Single-Handed, ITV1's new Sunday-night rural-copper drama. Judging on previous form in this genre, they could be forgiven for having got a little excited at the prospect of a prime-time showcase for the glories of their particular patch of Ireland. After all, what would you have predicted for a Sunday-evening drama about a Dublin policemen returning to his childhood home? A bit of bucolic mischief from some lovable old rascal with a potcheen still, perhaps. Storylines about sheep rustling, and an extended will-they-won't-they plotline in which the hero romances the local barmaid. Sentiment and craic by the bucketful, interspersed with postcard shots of the hills and bays. You can almost imagine them sitting down for a joint viewing, notepad on their knees as they prepare to work out how to lever the tourists into paying a personal visit to Single-Handed country.

It will have been a glum occasion if they did – the first collective wince arriving when the unusually sepulchral barman in the local pub makes a crack about the rarity with which they see the sun and the mood then darkening steadily as it became clear that Barry Simner's script had started downbeat and only had further descent in mind. The fact that the drama opened with the death of a young woman needn't have been terminal as far as tourists prospects went. Every crime drama needs a crime, after all, and who knows what opportunities this sad event might have offered to demonstrate healing community togetherness. The problem was that there didn't seem to be a man present who hadn't played a part in the tragedy, or a woman who wouldn't have been happier if it couldn't have all been hushed up without a fuss. Jack Driscoll isn't a local hero, it seems, but an enemy of the people, endlessly advised not to lift too many stones for fear of what might wriggle out from under them

That wasn't the worst of it either, because as he stubbornly investigated the death of an Eastern European barmaid who had been providing a little extra on the side to the men of the town, his own father's implication in ancient crimes began to emerge. "It's a cesspit," Jack said bitterly about his native turf. "My father's the only one who can see into it and sometimes I think he's stirring it up because he enjoys the stink." Then, just to twist the knife, Simner took the one hopeful strand in the plot – the burgeoning relationship between Jack and a nurse down from Dublin – and looped it in a noose around Jack's neck, revealing that he'd inadvertently committed incest with his half-sister. Suddenly, a man committed to candour and the facing of painful truths had a powerful motive for his own cover-up, and was forced to appear, for the best of reasons, to be just as cruelly exploitative as the men he'd pursued. That faint gleam of light in the twilight of the final shot? A burning caravan, quite possibly torched by the men from the tourist board. The only slogan they can go with now, I think, is "Connemara... It's Really Not as Bad as It Looks". But the drama, unexpectedly, given the slot it's in, is worth a visit.

I got a bit teary a couple of times in Happy Birthday OU – Forty Years of the Open University, a celebratory documentary about the Open University fronted up by a recent graduate, Lenny Henry, who was prompted to apply after receiving an honorary degree from Warwick and realising, quite rightly, that it didn't mean as much as the kind you have to work for. The teariness came because of just how impressive most of these graduates were, and how moved they were by an opportunity many of them had thought would always be beyond them. An armed robber – now advising the government on prison's policy – recalled getting his first high mark for a piece of written work: "It was such a buzz," he said. "It was better than robbing banks." Other than the National Health Service, it's hard to think of a more altruistic or enriching bit of public policy or, to be frank, an institution that produced more comically wooden presentational performances, an aspect of its operations that was fully explored. There were lecturers here who delivered their material as if their children were being held at gunpoint just off camera. But what they delivered got through to the most highly motivated student body in recent history.

Classic Goldie is another exercise in outreach, in which the bling-fanged drum'n'bass DJ has been commissioned to compose a short orchestral piece for performance at the Proms. He's great but the compositional process – Goldie hums a handful of notes and various mentors look panic stricken as they wonder how they can get it to fill seven minutes – is sometimes unintentionally comic.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
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
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

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.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border