Small-Screen Jabber 15-21 July


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Francesc Garrida stars as lawyer Juan in España noir production I Know Who You Are (Sat, BBC4, 9pm), a pacey thriller from Spain. Juan turns up at a motorway service station covered in blood, injured and with amnesia. Down the road, his crashed car is also bloodied – with that of his missing niece. Soon, both his wife Alicia, a high-flying judge, and business partner Ricardo suspect he’s lying about his memory loss. So begins this complicated but thoroughly gripping legal drama that also explores the complexities of family relationships.

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Enjoyed Breaking Bad? Then check out Ozark (from Friday, Netflix). Jason Bateman stars as Marty Byrde, a financial planner based in Chicago who suddenly uproots wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their kids from their cosy suburban home to the Missouri mountain town of Ozark. Wendy discovers Marty has secretly been laundering millions for a Mexican drug cartel, but there is worse – he’s also stolen money from the drug barons and is now in their debt. It’s dark, violent and thrilling, with terrific performances from Bateman and Linney.


The intrigue of the world of Big Tobacco is explored in The Great European Cigarette Mystery (Mon, BBC4, 10pm). When John Dalli recently resigned as EU commissioner of health, it was because he’d been accused of taking bribes from the cigarette lobby. Believing he’d been set up, two Danish journalists, Mads Brugger and Mikael Bertelsen, attempt to uncover proof of a vast conspiracy against Dalli. The trio head from Brussels to Malta, where a source claims to possess documents and recordings. Dalli attempts to strike a deal with the source, which leads to a bizarre and at times hilarious odyssey to a Caribbean island.

There’s a sadness to Addicted Parents: Last Chance to Keep My Children (Tues, BBC2, 9pm), which looks at what happens at the UK’s only specialist family rehab unit in this two-parter. Whole families move into the charity’s large premises, with the parents given a deadline of six months to get clean otherwise their kids will go into care. The cameras follow four mums as they go through painful detoxing and try to resolve the past issues that keep taking them back to the needle. Saddest of all is Tracie, who keeps having babies to replace the ones taken by social services and hopes to hang on to her eighth. But there is hope too.

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The Football Association has struggled for years with issues of racism and sexism, so they won’t like seeing more of their dirty laundry aired in When Football Banned Women (Tues, C4, 10pm). During World War One, with men on the frontline it was down to women to form teams and play matches that attracted crowds of thousands. But in 1921 the FA inexplicably banned women from playing and for the next 50 years that was it. Clare Balding investigates the devastating effect the ban had on the women’s game, even today when matches are rarely televised and the teams don’t get funding but the play is frequently better than the men’s.


john williams film prom 2017

With the Proms now underway, this week’s top pick is the John Williams Film Prom (Fri, BBC4, 8pm). Film scores have long been recognised as compositions in their own right and it’s great to see some of veteran composer Williams’ own scores finally being feted in the Proms. Now 85 and still the go-to composer for many film directors, Williams himself isn’t present alas. However, long-time collaborator Keith Lockhart conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra as they play work from Harry Potter, Jaws, War Horse, ET, Indiana Jones and more. Glorious.


Satirical news website The Daily Mash, which regularly goes viral on social media, goes live on air with The Mash Report (Thurs, BBC2, 10pm). Presenter and comedian Nish Kumar and his team of correspondents – all Mash writers – take a swipe at the news and not the news over the next 10 weeks. Expect lightning-quick analysis and lampooning of everything from hard news to showbiz, plus those legendary fake Mash headlines.


nadiya british food adventure

It’s a rule of TV that if you win a cookery contest you get to present your own foodie show, and so it is for 2015 Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain. Nadiya’s British Food Adventure (Mon, BBC2, 8.30pm) is served up in eight half-hour slices as she tours the UK looking at regional specialities and chatting to their producers. It’s a bit formulaic and not as intriguing as her trip to the family homeland of Bangladesh but she does cook some interesting dishes and there are plenty of useful ideas for adventurous home cooks, such as how to cold-smoke fish.


Roger Federer is tipped to win this year’s men’s singles at Wimbledon finals weekend (Sat/Sun, BBC1, 1pm). Can he beat Marin Cilic? Venus Williams will be going head to head with Garbine Muguruza in the women’s singles – expect a three-set pitched battle. Stay tuned on Sunday for a British mixed doubles final – Jamie Murray and Martina Hingis will be facing down Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen.

The World Para Athletics Championships (Sat-Fri, C4, 7pm) gets fully underway over the weekend at the London Stadium and then for the rest of the week. It’s the biggest games for disabled athletes since London 2012. If you’re up early enough there is also daily live coverage online on All4 from 10am.

The Women’s Euro 2017 (Wed, C4, 7pm) kicks off with the opening matches for Group D – first up it’s England v Scotland. Clare Balding presents, live from the Netherlands.

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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