Small-Screen Jabber 21-27 July


the frankenstein chronicles

Sean Bean, Anna Maxwell Martin and Samuel West head the cast of The Frankenstein Chronicles (Tues, ITV, 10.45pm), a six-part period drama loosely based on Mary Shelley’s classic horror story. London, 1827, and Inspector John Marlott (Bean) investigates the case of a corpse found washed up on the banks of the Thames. It has been sewn up and reveals a nasty secret – it contains body parts from eight missing children (suspend your disbelief on how they knew this in the pre-DNA testing era). Full of historical figures such as Mary Shelley herself and Sir Robert Peel, it’s an enjoyable take on the fantasy idea of animated corpses. (First shown on ITV Encore.)

bletchley circle san francisco

2012’s The Bletchley Circle drama about female codebreakers in World War Two, who moved on to using their talents to solve crimes, gets a spinoff in the shape of The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (Wed, ITV, 9pm). Two of that team, Millie and Jean, played by Rachael Stirling and Julie Graham, head to California in 1956 to help hunt a serial killer who first struck in the UK and has now resurfaced in the US. Now they are working with two women with whom they were wartime colleagues, Iris and Hailey (Crystal Balint and Chanelle Peloso), in a race against time. It’s a bit daft – strictly for fans of the original.


eat race win amazon

With the Tour de France well underway, Eat. Race. Win (from Friday, Amazon) is an interesting look at an important part of any top athlete’s support team – the nutritionist. Most elite sports persons include one of these alongside their coach and physio. Chef Hannah Grant specialises in sports nutrition and is at the service of Australia’s Orica-Scott pro-cycling team. The cameras follow her as she plans menus aimed at providing maximum strength, recovery and energy in a world where anything that can give an edge to a team can make the difference between winning and failure.


the who tommy live albert hall

It took 48 years for The Who to bring their rock opera live to the stage after it was released on vinyl. The Who: Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Sun, Sky Arts, 9pm) is the first time the band played the album about the deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard in its entirety in 2017. Upgraded from the planned “unplugged” show, The Who went for their full-on, trademark, high volume shenanigans instead, with specially commissioned animated sequences adding a neat extra touch.

prom pioneers of sound delia derbyshire

The legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop is celebrated in the Proms: Pioneers of Sound (Fri, BBC4, 11pm). The workshop was founded by Daphne Oram, whose Still Point is the climax of a Prom focused on sculpted sound. Here, Still Point premieres a fresh realisation based on recently discovered archive material and played on turntables. This prom also features work by Delia Derbyshire, most famous for composing the Doctor Who theme, and new works inspired by the Radiophonic legacy from Chaines, Suzanne Ciani and Laurie Spiegel, in a refreshingly all-female lineup.


Having a creative “in residence” is the done thing everywhere these days, it seems, with poets, musicians and painters popping up in the unlikeliest of places. Artist in Residence (Sun, C4, 10.10pm) follows three artists working in unusual locations, starting with performance artist Bryony Kimmings (top), who is based at a sexual health clinic in Birmingham and interviews the patients about their lives before creating new art based on their experiences. She has an unusual use for a vintage kitchen rotary whisk, produces a guide to dating and helps two sex workers put on a parade.


boy george who do you think you are

Family ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are? (Mon, BBC1, 9pm) is already underway – earlier episodes featured comedian Lee Mack and actor Olivia Coleman. This week singer Boy George explores his Irish roots – there’s much pain and sadness there, with a great-uncle hanged in Dublin’s Mountjoy prison for being an IRA volunteer, but his discoveries bring him happiness at being part of Ireland’s bigger history and there are hints of where his musical talent sprang from.


Football and grass-court tennis behind us, the London Anniversary Games (Sat/Sun, BBC1, from 11.15pm) at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sees the world’s elite Olympian and Paralympian track and field athletes compete over the weekend to pick up more medals and break more records. Watch out for Greg Rutherford’s last shot at the long jump before retirement and newcomer Christian Coleman from the US, who hopes to be the new Usain Bolt (and might just be).

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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