Small-Screen Jabber 14-20 May


Channel 4’s Walter Presents strand is delivering some fine foreign language series to our screens – the brilliant German production Deutschland 83, for example, which has had the highest ratings ever for a subtitled drama in the UK. The latest offering is Locked Up (Tues, C4, 10pm), a Spanish 16-part series set in a women’s prison, which picked up awards in its homeland. Maggie Civantos stars as young inmate Macarena Ferreiro, who is doing time in the notorious high-security Cruz del Sur jail for corporate fraud, after being set up by her boss and boyfriend. She ends up in the, surrounded by ruthless criminals. When her cellmate Yolanda is brutally murdered, Macarena’s life changes in an instant. A glossy thriller packed with melodrama and tired tropes such as prison lesbianism, it’s nonetheless high on tension and plot and rather addictive.

Nina Stibbe’s bestselling memoir about nannying, Love, Nina (Fri, BBC1, 9.30pm) has been adapted into a fictionalised version by Nick Hornby. Faye Marsay stars as Nina, the young woman who escapes her dull Leicester upbringing to care for two infuriatingly bratty small boys. Boho mum George (Helena Bonham Carter) is a single working parent who edits a literary magazine. The comic moments spin on the north-south divide and class differences (Jason Watkins is marvellous as the snooty neighbour who writes poetry), but it’s also a tender tale about growing into adulthood in the 1980s.


With only a few weeks to go until the EU referendum, Paxman in Brussels: Who Really Rules Us? (Thurs, BBC1, 8pm) aims to separate fact from myth about the powers of the European Commission. Jeremy Paxman heads to Brussels to learn how European laws are made and the difference between regulations and directives. He examines the sprawling bureaucracy that shapes so much of our of our domestic politics, and looks at how our relationship with Europe will change whether it’s Brexit or Brin on 23 June. It’s a good attempt at bringing some factual clarity given many will be voting on emotion and instinct.

Angela Rippon is the presenter of The Truth about...Dementia (Thurs, BBC1, 9pm), a three-part series on the rise in Alzheimer’s and the scientific breakthroughs that are changing how we treat it. Rippon’s mother died of dementia so she undergoes the latest diagnostic tests, investigates the genetic links and looks at preventive measures. This is a good attempt to present a complex and little understood illness in a digestible way, and it’s not all bad news for anyone affected by dementia.


The legend that is Iggy Pop makes his début on Later Live...with Jools Holland (Tues, BBC2, 10pm) and not before time. We’re promised tracks from his new album, Post Pop Depression and it’s likely to be the performance of the year on Jools’ show. Pop’s backing band consists of a couple of Queens of the Stone Age and an Arctic Monkey. The rest of the lineup pales in comparison, but features another legend in the form of Graham Nash.

EMI: the Inside Story (Fri, BBC4, 10pm) lifts the lid on the UK’s most famous record company. The label that signed the Beatles and, lest we forget, the Sex Pistols before dumping them nine days later, was legendary for its excess, from its corporate hospitality and extravagant signings of its wide artist roster, to its alcohol bill. But it could afford it, raking in millions from its household name singers and bands. Those artists became demanding themselves, from insisting on orchestras in the studio to having full creative control. The Pistols, Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd and Queen are among those talking about their time at EMI, which has had to move with the times to stay relevant to an industry that has changed beyond recognition. Former staff members spill the gossip and reveal what it was like working there.


victoria wood small screen jabber 14 may 2016 embedThe nation mourned when comedy genius Victoria Wood died last month, still at the peak of her talent. Let’s Do It: a Tribute to Victoria Wood (Sun, ITV, 7.30pm) is packed with clips from her hit sketch shows, sitcoms, live appearance and serious drama, although an hour barely does her output justice. Collaborators Anne Reid, Celia Imrie and Michael Ball are among those sharing their memories, as well as celebrity fans who include Lenny Henry, Alison Steadman and Peter Kay.


Dust off your glittering glad rags and polish that pan-European snack menu for your living room party, because it means one thing only – it’s the Eurovision Song Contest (Sat, BBC1, 8pm). Graham Norton is your waspish host for the night, with the show coming live from Stockholm’s Globe Arena, and a guaranteed roster of bizarre costumes, kitschy tunes and hilarious dance routines. Flying the UK flag are Joe and Jake, who will be singing "You're Not Alone". The duo paired up after meeting in series four of The Voice, but can they restore some credibility to our woeful streak of the last 20 years?


Women’s football is finally starting to get the coverage it deserves and as proof of that the Women’s FA Cup Final (Sat, BBC1, 1.30pm) gets primetime scheduling this weekend. Arsenal – 13 times winners – take on Chelsea, who’ve lifted the trophy only once. Live from Wembley, kick-off at 2pm, Jacqui Oakley anchors the commentary.

Louise Bolotin is Screenjabber’s TV critic. She has a penchant for quality drama and quirky documentaries, slums it with EastEnders and pities people who watch reality TV, which might be why she never writes about The X Factor.

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