This week's top TV: 11 - 17 July

This week's top TV: 11 - 17 July

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By Ed Gove,
Monday, 11th July 2016
Exodus, BBC, Refugee
Afghan children sleeping in Athens, Greece (Credit: BBC/KEO Films/Gus Palmer)


Exodus: Our Journey to Europe



This three-part documentary series offers a unique insight into the intense and dangerous journeys made by migrants at the peak of the 2015 refugee crisis.

Migrants who were fleeing war, poverty or political upheaval were given camera phones to capture their journey to the relative safety of European shores.

They filmed where regular TV crews could not: on inflatable dinghies bobbing across the Mediterranean or in the backs of trucks as they were smuggled across the Sahara.

The series continues at the same time on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.



The Job Interview

Channel 4


Channel 4/Ryan Mcnamara

Channel 4’s latest fly-on-the-wall documentary takes us into a familiar setting: the job interview.  

Despite employment law making it illegal for producers to have selected ‘interesting’ candidates, the job seekers are an unusual bunch.

There are two jobs available manning the phones at a Welsh car-hire company, and one events role at a fancy English hotel.

This show is moving and amusing in equal measure. After a surprise redundancy from a job he adored, Ian is seeking the next chapter, while the eccentric Jody, an American who lives in the Valleys is putting in a sterling effort at being crowned the most colourful character of the series.




Man Down

Channel 4


Greg Davies goes head-to-head with Steven Berkoff in the latest series of Man Down
(Credit: Channel 4/Pete Dadds)

Comedian Greg Davies brings his hit sitcom about a miserable and disaster-prone drama teacher, back for a third series.

Davis’ character, Dan is a hopeless buffoon, 45 and living at home with his mum, and life just keeps handing him humiliation after humiliation.

The new series brings new disasters and new enemies, most notably in the form of school janitor Mr Klakov (played by the unrivalled Steven Berkoff) who seems set upon teaching the gibbering middle-aged drama teacher a lesson he won’t soon forget!



The Investigator: A British Crime Story



RTS Award-winner Mark Williams-Thomas tackles the cold case of missing mother from 1985 (Credit: ITV)

In the vein of hit shows like Netflix’s Making a Murderer, The Investigator examines the disappearance of Carole Packman who disappeared from her family home in 1985, leaving behind her wedding ring and a brief note. She was never seen again.

In 1996 her husband, Russell Causley, was jailed for her murder, despite no body ever being found, and no confession having been made.

The Investigator is Mark Williams-Thomas, the detective who helped unmask Jimmy Savile. He was approached by Carole’s daughter, Sam, who is seeking an answer to the mystery.

However as the show develops, the disappearance becomes more and more confusing: who was the woman who claimed to be Carole Packman at Bournemouth Police Station shortly after she went missing? Who is the woman in Canada who appears using Carole’s name?




The Out-Laws

More 4


Walter Presents introduces a new import from the continent. (Credit: Channel 4/Caviar)

Another fantastic show chosen by Channel 4’s international TV guru, Walter Iuzzolino (the man behind Walter Presents), this Belgian dark comedy revolves around the death of Jean-Claude Delcorps.

At the funeral, his grieving widow is joined by her four sisters – none of whom seem especially bothered at their brother-in-law’s passing.

We rapidly learn that all is not as it seems, and Jean-Claude is loathed by his sisters-in-law. But who bumped him off?

Elsewhere, two bumbling insurance agents get caught up in the investigation into his death as their company tries to avoid paying out on his insurance claim.



Who Were the Greeks?

BBC Four


Dr Michael Scott explains the little-known history of Ancient Greece (Credit: BBC)

Everyone knows that the Greeks did a lot for us. From democracy to philosophy, from art to sport to literature, the Greeks laid the foundations for modern society.

However Dr Michael Scott shows in this two-part documentary, first shown in 2013, that as similar as they were, they were also very weird and completely different from us in a number of unusual ways.

They practiced eugenics, with elders examining infants and then leaving the weak or feeble to die on a mountainside. They are well-known for their pederasty, sexual relationships between men and pre-adolescent boys.

It’s an explosive and fascinating mix of the known and the unknown, the inspiring and the appalling and Scott presents it all in a fast, fascinating and fact-heavy manner, uncovering a world of Gods, politicians and brutal, bloody wars.  



The Secret Agent



Toby Jones stars in the adaptation of Jospeh Conrad's 1907 novel
(Credit: BBC/World Productions/Mark Mainz/Matt Burlem)

Joseph Conrad’s novel, The Secret Agent, which inspired this series, was noted as one of the three most cited works in American media in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks because of the book’s tackling of the themes of anarchism, terrorism and espionage.

The Hunger Games’ Toby Jones stars as Mr Adolf Verloc, a secret agent with a shop in Victorian London. He has been tasked by the Russian government to monitor anarchist groups.

When he is commanded to orchestrate a bombing in London to be blamed on the Anarchists, he recruits his wife’s brother, who has severe mental disability which allows Verloc to manipulate him.

The show boasts an all-star cast including Vicky McClure, Ian Hart, Stephen Graham and Charlie Hamblett. 

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