Small-Screen Jabber 5-11 August


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Last week’s unbearably sad tale of thwarted gay love in the 1940s, Man in an Orange Shirt (Mon, BBC2, 9pm) shifts to the present day. Flora (Vanessa Redgrave), Michael’s betrayed wife of 60 years ago, is confronted with the past when her grandson Adam (Julian Morris) comes out as well. His sex life revolves around swiping right on dating apps and having meaningless one-night stands, until he meets the handsome Steve (David Gyasi) and, after a shaky start, romance clicks properly in. During a weekend tryst in the family cottage, where Michael and Thomas had their own romantic sojourn, they discover the forgotten painting and Flora, who initially disapproves of Adam’s gayness, finally starts to heal. This sequel is a guaranteed weepy, so have tissues at the ready.

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Doctor Who’s newest incarnation, Jodie Whittaker stars in Trust Me (Tues, BBC1, 9pm), as Cath Hardacre, a nurse who finds herself struck off when she blows the whistle on declining standards at the hospital where she works. And when one of her best friends, who happens to be a doctor, emigrates to New Zealand for work, Cath brazenly steals her identity and takes a job as a doctor in a Scottish hospital. It’s all highly improbable and you expect Cath – now Ally – to be rumbled at any moment, but with four episodes to get through you know she won’t be until the end. Potboiling aside, Whittaker is immensely watchable as a fake doctor. All good training, ahem, for when she becomes the real one at Christmas.


The subject of heated media debate over the past fortnight, the controversial Diana: in Her Own Words (Sun, C4, 8pm) finally hits the small screen in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of her death. Controversial because it uses private videotapes Diana made with her speech coach in the early 1990s, in which she discussed the breakdown of her marriage to Charles and other very personal matters. Much of this material has never been shown before, while some of her close friends speak about her on camera for the first time. Later in the week check out Princess Diana’s “Wicked” Stepmother (Thurs, C4, 9pm), a witty portrait of Raine, Countess Spencer who later became one of the divorced princess’s closest confidantes.

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The first of the two episodes of Secrets of Silicon Valley (Sun, BBC2, 8pm) is called The Disruptors and looks at how the combination of breakout ideas and technology are rapidly changing the world. The focus here is on Uber’s taxi platform – presenter Jamie Bartlett visits their San Francisco HQ before encountering the misery in Hyderabad, India that the service has brought to the community. He also talks to an ex-Facebook executive who warns that disruption will lead to social breakdown and the end of capitalism as technology replaces jobs.

Seventy years after partition, the wounds caused by the breakup of India still hurt. Anita Rani presents the stories of three affected families in My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947. Rani, whose own family was caught up among those who fled, traces the descendants of the three families and takes them back to the sub-continent to relive what happened to their forebears, who included a Muslim, a Hindu and a British colonial. The stories are extraordinary and moving and reveal deep emotional truths about the effects of being forced to leave your home.


Don’t be fooled by the title – the Cambridge Folk Festival (Sat/Sun, Sky Arts, 9pm) is eclectic, diverse and as far from the “finger in the ear” worthiness of trad folk bands as you can get. Sky’s highlights show of last week’s bash showcases some of the top performances from the 53rd edition, including headliner Jake Bugg, Indigo Girls, Lisa Hannigan and Oysterband. Presented by Mark Radcliffe and Scottish folkie Julie Fowlis, who also interview some of the artists and host side sessions.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s glorious 1943 musical Oklahoma! is revisited by the BBC Proms (Fri, BBC4, 8pm) after it first featured in 2010. John Wilson conducts his orchestra and a clutch of singing stars – Nathanial Hackman, Belinda Lang and Scarlett Strallen among them – who belt out hits like O, What a Beautiful Mornin’ and People Will Say We’re in Love, in a transformed Royal Albert Hall decked out to look like the dusty plains of cowboy country. Whip crack away!


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Britain’s rave culture is explored in depth in The Agony and the Ecstasy (Fri, Sky Arts, 9pm), from its early underground days to its move to the mainstream over the course of 30 years. In three parts, DJs Norman Jay, Goldie, Paul Oakenfold and Dave Pearce reminisce about the social, cultural and political influences on the rave scene and the importance of ecstasy – the drug that fuelled the dance revolution. Goldie is a particularly articulate and witty interviewee with a sharp analysis of why dance music took off and why it’s dying in the UK even as it flourishes abroad. Annie Mac, Orbital and Sasha, plus Ministry of Sound founder Justin Berkmann also contribute.


The World Athletics Championships (Sat-Fri, BBC1/BBC2, from 9.30am) gets fully underway this week, with live coverage of all events daily from the London Stadium. Saturday evening is when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt will be aiming for his fourth 100m world title before he retires. Tune in and watch history (possibly) being made. Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be attempting victory in the heptathlon over the weekend and Mo Farah will be racing in the opening heats on Wednesday evening towards his third 5,000m world title.

After England’s Lionesses lost 3-0 to the Netherlands in the semi-finals, the Dutch team will now play Denmark in the Women’s Euros 2017: the Final (Sun, C4/Eurosport 1, from 3pm), live from Enschede in the Netherlands. Kick-off is at 4pm.

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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