Small-Screen Jabber 30 June – 6 July

Slim pickings again this week if you don’t like sport… What with the World Cup and Wimbledon, there’s not a lot of room left in this week’s schedule for other things.


First shown at Christmas 2016, there’s an enjoyable rerun of Maigret’s Dead Man (Sat, ITV3, 7pm): Rowan Atkinson is excellent in this second adaptation of Georges Simenon’s whodunnits. It’s a dark tale of two linked killings – a desperate man phones Maigret in fear of his life as he’s chased through Paris by thugs, only to turn up stabbed to death soon after. Maigret goes against his boss to prioritise this investigation at the expense of solving a spate of massacres on farms in Picardy, which have hit the headlines. Suffice to say, the murders are really nasty, although on a scale of 1 to The Bridge, they rank about 7.  There’s a strong supporting cast in Shaun Dingwall, Lucy Cohu and Aiden McCardle, and while the plot doesn’t race along at breakneck speed, it delivers well on plot and performance.

night and day

Spanish thriller Night and Day (C4, 10.15pm) premières on terrestrial, as the latest Walter Presents foreign drama. Forensic pathologist Sara Grau (Clara Segura) sleeps around behind husband Lluis’s back, in revenge for his demand that she get pregnant. Her life gets complicated when she’s called to perform an autopsy on a car crash victim and she realises she had a one-night stand with him. Her investigation into the death embroils her in a web of violence, rape and scandal, and she is targeted by a serial killer, dubbed the “Granny Killer” after his preference for murdering pensioners, who is stalking the city. Set in Barcelona, all 13 episodes will be available on All4 after transmission. In Catalan, subtitled.

agent carter

Marvel fans can finally see Marvel’s Agent Carter (Wed, then Thurs, Paramount Network, 8pm), ABC’s superhero drama inspired by the 2011 film Captain America and first shown on Fox. Hayley Atwell stars as SSR agent Peggy Carter, who outside her day job is secretly assisting Howard Stark (previously a background-only character in the Marvel canon), who was set up for allegedly supplying weapons to enemies of the USA. Carter’s mission is to track down those enemies and save the nation. Set firmly in the Marvel universe, so expect references to plots and characters from the Marvel films. Paramount Network, incidentally is the new Freeview channel (57), launching on 4 July and showing American series.

sacred games

Netflix already has a good smattering of European dramas, now it’s venturing further afield – to Mumbai. Sacred Games (from Friday, Netflix) is an eight-episode police procedural based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 thriller of the same title. Cynical detective Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) is on the hunt for crime lord Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Tipped off to his whereabouts and expecting a routine arrest, Singh closes in on his prey but soon discovers he has become embroiled in a conspiracy far bigger than the two of them and his mission changes to uncover the truth. Mumbai looks fabulous – both its seedy underbelly and its picturesque public side – in what is otherwise a fairly predictable but highly entertaining cop show. In Hindi and English, with subtitles.


nandos peri peri big success

I’ve never been for a cheeky Nando’s, putting me at odds with the rest of the UK no doubt, but Nando’s: a Peri-Peri Big Success Story (Thurs, Channel 5, 9pm) might set me straight. The rise of Nando’s is astonishing – 400 restaurants and thriving, while other casual dining chains are collapsing all around us in a tough trading environment. From humble roots in South Africa, this documentary explores how the original owners brought a Portuguese chicken dish to the masses, why the ubiquitous Ed Sheeran wrote a song about Nando’s and talks to some of the celebrities who fronted its publicity campaigns.


Eric Clapton is one of the world’s most famous guitarists and has had a stellar artistic career. He’s also struggled with addictions, family traumas and tragedy, and political controversy. Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars (Sat, BBC2, 9pm) explores his music and personal life, through his love of the blues. At two hours, it’s an in-depth trawl through his five-decade career as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream, then as a solo artist, as well as a look at his personal problems (including the racist comments furore), all told through his songs. Director Lili Fini Zanuck has pieced it together well and dug some interesting archive material to add extra flesh to the bones. Clapton himself is present as a voiceover, while the likes of BB King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison are among the family members, friends and musicians adding to the story.

Ultravox’s Midge Ure and Kim Appleby of Mel and Kim fame explore the world of 80s pop in Smashing Hits! The 80s Pop Map of Britain and Ireland (Fri, BBC4, 10pm). The convoluted title reflects the tribal nature of 80s styles, from Dublin’s big rock from U2, to the Coventry Two-Tone scene, Sheffield electronica, London’s New Romantics and more. Midge and Kim do actually travel – in a car, with a printed map! – in this charmingly nostalgic three-part series (because, let’s face it, there was a lot of great pop music back then), popping up in Soho to chat with Spandau Ballet about the Blitz club, then heading to Sheffield to examine how the Steel City inspired the Human League and ABC.

chalkie davis rock photographer

More cerebral is Chalkie Davis: Rock Photographer (Fri, BBC4, midnight), in which the NME’s top snapper in the 1970s and early 80s took photos of absolutely every musician who mattered back then – David Bowie, Thin Lizzy, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Squeeze and many more – all in black and white. On the eve of a major retrospective at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, Chalkie looks back on his life and career, both extraordinary, and lets the cameras follow him as he prepares for the exhibition. He’s a likeable chap, no doubt at least one reason why the stars of the day sat for such revealing portraits. He quit when, shaken by the death of Thin Lizzy singer Phil Lynott, image became more important than the music in the industry. This documentary also features those who worked with him – Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Squeeze’s Chris Difford, Jerry Dammers of The Specials and punk poet John Cooper Clarke.


Keen gardener’s can enjoy the preview of this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (Tues-Fri, BBC2, 9.30pm), which runs nightly this week. The theme this year is “lifestyle gardens”, with the aim of inspiring anyone who has a small patch of their own. As usual, there are some truly stunning show gardens to admire. Jo Whiley and Joe Swift anchor the coverage.


Football: If you’re following the World Cup, it’s England v Columbia (Tues, ITV, 6.30pm), with a 7pm kickoff at Moscow’s Spartak stadium. Head to head, England have beaten El Tricolor three times out of five (the other two were a draw) so the odds are good. Words is that manager Gareth Southgate will revert to the line-up he played in the first two group matches (Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Alli, Henderson, Lingard, Young; Sterling, Kane). Columbia’s star player James Rodriguez is struggling with injury.

Tennis: Wimbledon (Mon, BBC1/2, from 11am) kicks off this week for the next fortnight. Andy Murray is in the draw, although still unconfirmed he’ll play as I write. The Brits have a strong line-up in the men’s singles – players to watch out for include Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie. In the women’s singles, Johanna Konta is our best hope.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please tick the box to prove you're a human and help us stop spam.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments