Small-Screen Jabber 9-15 June



The body of a young woman turns up in a river in Snowdonia, and investigating officer DC Cadi John (the excellent Sian Reese-Williams) discovers she had been held captive for years. Cue an irate father who blames the police for not finding her when she went missing in 2011, and divisions swiftly arising in the community. Hidden (Sat, BBC4, 9pm) occupies the BBC’s traditional noir slot, only this one is Welsh rather than Scandi. It certainly deserves the moniker noir – Hidden is bleak and dark, with the requisite haunting landscapes (but let’s face it – north Wales IS beautiful). It’s also very well written and with a few familiar faces from Hinterland, the team’s earlier acclaimed Welsh drama. Book your sofa for the next eight weeks.


One could argue that Cornwall is more stunning, as it goes on display in the fourth series of Poldark (Sun, BBC1, 9pm). Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) has resumed his popular bare-chested look, as he decides to stand for parliament and try to repair his damaged marriage to Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) after each was unfaithful. Life in the county for the lower classes remains a struggle as food prices soar and they threaten to riot.


germaine bloody greer

It’s hard to decide who has the most annoying public gob right now – Morrissey, or… ok, it has to be Germaine Bloody Greer (Sat, BBC2, 9pm). The older she gets, the more she seems out of step with the times as she spouts very unpopular views on rape and transgenderism. There’s no shortage of such views in this profile of the once groundbreaking feminist. But the focus is rightly on The Female Eunuch, her 1970 pioneering book on women. Feminists Rosie Boycott and Beatrice Campbell are among those lining up to assess her contribution to the women’s movement. Greer herself is as brusque as you’d expect when the camera is on her.

The Staircase (new on Netflix) is said to be the programme that invented the serialised true crime genre. If you binged on Mindhunter and Making a Murderer, this is for you. French filmmaker Jean-Xavier Lestrade became borderline obsessed with the death of American businesswoman Kathleen Peterson and the question of whether her husband Michael was her killer. He added new episodes to the original eight some years later, and Netflix is now streaming all 13. Apart from the trial, and the very compelling characters, the story is extraordinary – dysfunctional family dynamics, wealth and unconventional lifestyles led to tragedy, followed by perjury and corruption.

Current affairs


The enquiry is underway and one year on, the tragedy of the inferno at Grenfell (Mon, BBC1, 8.30pm) Tower is still raw. This feature-length documentary by award-winning film maker Ben Anthony is an unflinching examination of the fire that draws on footage shot by residents after they fled, locals and news networks, plus interviews with those affected or involved, and social media. Together these paint a devastating record of what happened and the hapless aftermath. This is a difficult, even traumatic programme to watch, but it is also intensely moving.


Nile Rodgers and his band Chic are about to play a few select gigs in the UK, so it’s not unexpected to see them headline on Later Live… with Jools Holland (Tues, BBC2, 10pm). Chas and Dave are showcasing their first new songs for 30 years, and former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes airs material from his third solo album. London four-piece Goat Girl also put in an appearance.

grace jones bloodlight bami

Jamaican disco diva and cultural icon Grace Jones lets the cameras into her life in Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (new on Netflix). The film was made in 2017 but has only just been released for UK viewing and some of the footage dates back to 2008, when she was recording her album Hurricane, and her 2009 concert tour. There’s an intimacy as she offers a rare glimpse into her fiercely protected private life, with some revealing family issues, and that famous temper, but Sophie Fiennes’ film also lacks balance in that the obvious archive clips (such as Jones swatting TV presenting Russell Harty in fury at being ignored) are annoyingly absent. The concert clips make up for that – all her big hits are there, plus Jamaican rhythm section superstars Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Former manager and mentor Jean-Paul Goude also pops up.


Plenty of international Rugby Union action this Saturday, with our home teams on tour. South Africa v England (Sky Main Event, 3pm)  has a kickoff at 4.05pm. Argentina v Wales (C4, 8.10pm) has a kick-off at 8.40pm. Canada v Scotland (BBC1 Scotland, 1.45am) has a kickoff at 2am. It’s finals weekend at the French Open (Sat/Sun, ITV/Eurosport1, from 1.30pm). Simona Halep meets Sloane Stephens in the women’s final on Saturday, while on Sunday Dominic Thiem will go head to head with Rafael Nadal.

Obviously the big sporting event of the week is the World Cup (from Thurs, BBC/ITV, times vary). The opening ceremony comes live from the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow at 2.30pm on ITV and the first match is Russia v Saudi Arabia straight after – the kickoff is at 4pm. Group matches begin on Friday. Get an app to see who’s playing when. And expect massive disruption to your regular viewing if you dislike footy. Ahead of that Gary Lineker fronts the World Cup Preview (Wed, BBC1, 1-.45pm).

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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