Twin Peaks, Broken, The Andrew Neil Interviews - TV preview

Twin Peaks (Sky Atlantic, Tuesday, 9pm), Broken (BBC1, Tuesday 9pm), The Andrew Neil Interviews (BBC1, Monday to Friday, 7pm), Secrets of our Favourite Snacks (Channel 4, Tuesday 8pm), Count Arthur Strong (BBC1, Friday 9pm), RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Monday to Friday, BBC1 3.45pm/7.30pm, BBC2 8pm)

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The Independent Culture

Speaking as a fan of David Lynch – The Elephant Man and Eraserhead being two of the most engaging films ever made – I think I cannot have been entirely alone in finding Twin Peaks a bit tricky to follow. With Eraserhead that didn’t matter so much, because you probably weren’t supposed to, and it was just the one standalone movie, but with the serialised Twin Peaks, shown a quarter of a century ago, it was rather more self-defeating. It was always difficult to justify the investment required to understand it, though it also meant that missing a few instalments had little material effect on viewer enjoyment.

Anyway the troupe are back – Kyle MacLachlan as special agent Dale Cooper, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) and  Twin Peaks, Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley) and the rest, all looking remarkably fine after such a passage of time. Maybe prophetically, Laura’s words at the end of the last run were “I’ll see you again in 25 years”. Maybe they’ll be back again in 2042, and that will make it Three Peaks. Maybe. Eight instalments in all, this time round, by the way, 

A sort of cross between The Thorn Birds, I, Daniel Blake, and The Jeremy Kyle Show, Broken stars Sean Bean as a down-to-earth and excessively cool Roman Catholic priest in a deprived neighbourhood, and Anna Friel is his hard-pressed “Broken Britain” parishioner, single-mum and symbol of all that is wrong with Theresa May's Britain. I suppose – the politics isn’t bashed out too clumsily, but you certainly feel as though the welfare state isn’t quite providing the safety net it is supposed to.

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Can you resist? Presenter Sophie Morgan and Crisps Blogger Josh Williams do some sampling on ‘Secrets of our Favourite Snacks’ (Channel 4)

So this is “gritty” stuff, a revival of the social realism that hits television in waves – the 1960s and 1990s also witnessed it. I have no idea if it will make anyone more likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, but the plot is cleverly constructed, with one desperate and irrational act concatenated upon another and propelling Friel’s character onto what looks to be a disastrous journey. So quite grabby, this first of six parts. 

On the election, this week we have Andrew Neil interviewing the main party leaders every night, with Theresa May up first on Monday evening. The “long-form” political interview seems to have gone out of fashion a bit recently, and that is a great shame, because such forensic duels could make for really gripping television. Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning show is the nearest we get to them, but such exercises are all too rare. Well done, then, the BBC for setting aside some peak-time BBC1 real estate for this exercise in democratic accountability. A must-see, even if you’re a bit bored with “strong and stable” slogans. 

For documentaries my highlight, having worked at the Walkers crisps factory in my student holidays (and proud of it), is Secrets of our Favourite Snacks. I never cease to be astonished at the variety and volume of snacks that can occupy yard upon yard of supermarket space and, I confess, I can never get enough of roast chicken flavour. But I am perfectly happy with Pringles, Skips, Frazzles, Monster Munch, Quavers (do they still do those?), those miniature pretzels, the crisps they do without any salt, Seabrooks (from Bradford, and worthy competitors to Walkers of Leicester), Hula Hoops, Wheat Crunchies (especially tomato) and Mini Cheddars. If you worked on the production line at Walkers they’d let you eat as many as you liked, all nice and warm and as fresh and as crunchy as they could be. Delicious, but the start of a very bad habit.  

I also ought to mention Count Arthur Strong, who this week takes on some rather crudely drawn gangsters. It’s not Count Arthur at his best (creator Steve Delaney is on tour at the minute, if you want to glimpse the peaks of comic genius Arthur can reach), but, as I’ve said before, any Count Arthur is better than none. Still room for improvement, though.

Last – you can waste plenty of time wandering round RHS Chelsea Flower Show, as hosted by Monty Don and Joe Swift, in the BBC’s week-long coverage. But shouldn’t you be making up your hanging baskets by now? 

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