Small-Screen Jabber 10-16 June


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Crashing waves, dramatic cliffs, galloping hooves, triangular hats... Yes, it’s the return of Poldark (Sun, BBC1, 9pm). At the end of the last series, Ross and Demelza’s marriage was pretty much done for. Can he win her back? Meanwhile, her two brothers Sam and Drake arrive to help her and Elizabeth Warleggan is unsure who the daddy is of her unborn child (clue, probably Ross). Aside from the Carne brothers, Debbie Horsfield has introduced a few more new characters to keep series three as thrilling as the first two.

New detective thriller The Loch (Sun, ITV, 9pm) will have its work cut out competing with Poldark and The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a workaday police procedural set in a small Scottish loch-side town and stars Laura Fraser, of Breaking Bad fame, as the local detective. Naturally, despite everyone knowing everyone else’s business the townsfolk have plenty of personal secrets – these start to unravel after a gay piano teacher is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. An experienced DCI, in the shape of Siobhan Finneran, arrives to assist when another body is found on the loch bed.

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Helen McCrory stars as a human rights lawyer in the week’s other new crime drama, Fearless (Mon, ITV, 9pm). Emma Banville takes on the case of a man wrongly convicted of murdering a schoolgirl 14 years previously. Soon she finds that the security services are snooping on her, making her question just how big a miscarriage of justice her client has suffered. Patrick Harbinson’s script looks at some major political issues, including the situation in Syria and McCrory does a fine turn as the dogged barrister who won’t back down.


Ransomware is the new computer nightmare and this week’s edition of Horizon, Cyber Attack – the Day the NHS Stopped (Mon, BBC2, 9pm), examines how the Wannacry virus halted computers across the health system, putting patients’ lives at risk and demanding money to unlock the attack. It’s a sobering reminder of government laxity in not keeping computer systems up to date, but it also reveals the heroism of the young man who worked out how to stop the infection spreading further around the world.

At time of writing, in the wake of the election results it’s unclear if Jo Cox: Death of an MP (Tues, BBC2, 9pm) will still be shown. A year ago, Cox was shot and stabbed by a right-wing extremist, Thomas Mair, while campaigning on the streets of her constituency for the EU referendum. This documentary examines the horrific killing using testimony from Cox's family, eyewitnesses, those who knew Mair, archive footage and police evidence, to produce a forensic exploration of a horrific murder by a man with no history of violence of an MP whose views he disagreed with.

Current affairs

The rise of Donald Trump was aided by Steve Bannon, a man who in the early days of the Trump administration was dubbed “the real president”. Bannon’s War (Mon, PBS America, 9pm) examines Bannon’s rise to the top of the political heap, from his early days as a founder of the far right Breitbart News service to his appointment as Trump’s chief strategist and his seat on the National Security Council. Bannon’s former career includes the navy, Hollywood film producer and investment banking – experiences he used to propel Trump to power. A fascinating insight into one of America’s still most powerful men.


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The 1997 hit film The Full Monty has spawned more than a few spoofs, but The Real Full Monty (Thurs, ITV, 8.30pm) goes a step further. Half a dozen celebrities are aiming to recreate the iconic striptease routine live in front of 2,000 people at the London Palladium. The likes of swimmer Mark Foster, McFly’s Harry Judd and ballet dancer Wayne Sleep struggle to master the steps but are motivated by raising money and awareness of men’s health. And a key point of interest is them talking about how they feel about their bodies.

I’m kind of hoping that Wife Swap: Brexit Special (Thurs, C4, 9pm) will get pulled post-election, but it probably won’t. If you can bear to watch it, even if through your fingers, the usual premise applies – two spouses swap their partners and live with the other for a weekend. In this case Leaver Pauline, a bar worker from Essex, moves in with the Nottinghamshire family of Remainer Kat, a therapist and Green Party councillor. Will either be changed by their experience? Probably not, but with a hung parliament will Brexit even happen now?


A big sporty weekend is on us. First up, Scotland v England in the World Cup Qualifiers (Sat, ITV/Sky Sports, from 4pm). The kickoff is at 5.30pm. It’s also the Rugby Union First Test (Sat, BBC2, 8pm), with Argentina v England – kickoff is at 8.15pm. It’s the finals weekend of the French Open too (Sat/Sun, ITV, ITV 4, Eurosport, from 1.30pm). Latvian Jelena Ostapenko will take on Simona Halep of Romania in the women’s singles final, to be followed by the men’s doubles final. The men’s singles fnal is on Saturday –Rafael Nadal will be seeking his record 10th title at Roland Garros, his opponent the Swiss Stan Wawrinka who took the title in 2015. Later in the week, France v England (Tues, ITV, 7.30pm) is a friendly on the pitch at Paris’ Stade de France. Kickoff is at 8pm.

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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