This week's top TV: 15 - 21 June

This week's top TV: 15 - 21 June

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By Pippa Shawley,
Tuesday, 23rd June 2015
Black Work
Black Work

Sheridan Smith returns to ITV for police drama Black Work, while BBC Four asks What Do Artists Do All Day?


What Do Artists Do All Day?: Sue Webster

BBC Four, 10pm

Sue Webster (Credit: BBC)
Sue Webster (Credit: BBC)

What do artists do all day? It's a good question, to which there's no standard answer.

In this episode contemporary artist Sue Webster opens the door to her daily habits, as we observe her working on a series of nude portraits of her ex-husband and collaborator Tim Noble.


Dara O Briain Meets Stephen Hawking

BBC One, 10.35pm

Dara O Briain Meets Stephen Hawking
Dara O Briain and Stephen Hawking (Credit:BBC/Rain Media Entertainment/Joseph Berry)

​It's been a big year for Stephen Hawking, the eminent theoretical physicist, having starred alongside Catherine Tate and David Walliams in a sketch for Comic Relief, and saw Eddie Redmayne scoop an Oscar for his depiction of Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

Now Dara O Briain, comedian, mathematics and theoretical physics graduate and Hawking superfan, enters the world of the professor, who, aged 73, has long defied the two year life expectancy he was predicted when diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963.

O Briain heads to Cambridge to meet Hawking, and also hears from his children, colleagues and friends about what it's like to know the legendary scientist.



BBC Two, 9pm

Andrew Roberts (Credit: BBC/Back2back Productions)
Andrew Roberts (Credit: BBC/Back2back Productions)

Historian Andrew Roberts profiles the notorious French emperor Napoleon, and attempts to analyse the truth from the many legends that have been whipped up over the last two centuries.

In this second episode, Roberts visits the site of one of Napoleon's greatest victories: the Battle of Austerlitz and finds out what made him such a dynamic and successful leader.


The Tribe

Channel Four, 9pm

The Tribe
(Credit: Channel 4/Marc Shoul)

Channel 4's vault of fixed-rig documentaries continues to grow apace.

From the classrooms of the Essex to the maternity wards of Liverpool, the fixed-rig has allowed programme makers to capture some of life's most touching moments.

The Tribe gives us a window into village life in Ethiopia, where we meet rebellious Hacho, who is mouthing off at her mother while stealing her money, and village elders Ayke Muko and Kerri Bodo negotiate a dowry for their son's marriage.

And if that inspires you to make your own fixed-rig documentary, check out Channel 4 commissioner David Brindley's Tips in 60 Seconds.


RTS Student Awards

Sky Arts, 7pm

RTS Student Television Awards

We may be slightly biased, but Sky Arts' coverage of this year's RTS Student Television Awards demonstrates the wealth of new talent being cultivated at colleges and universities throughout the country.

Adam Buxton meets the winners of this year's awards, ranging from camerawork to animation, and find out what it means to have their work recognised at this crucial stage of their career.


La Traviata: Love, Death and Divas

BBC Two, 9pm

La Traviata: Love, Death and Divas
(Credit: BBC/Reef Television/Laurence Cendrowicz)

Today Verdi's La Traviata is the world's most popular opera, but when it opened in London in 1856, it was denounced for bringing 'the poetry of the brothel' to the stage.

Historian Amanda Vickery and BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service follow the opera from its conception on the streets of Paris to the London stage, where it gave birth to the concept of the opera diva.


Black Work

ITV, 9pm

Sheridan Smith in Black Work
Sheridan Smith in Black Work (Credit: ITV/Stuart Wood/Des Willie)

There is a rule in British drama these days that if Sheridan Smith is in it, it must be good.

From Cilla to Mrs Biggs, Smith has starred in some of the best drama series in recent years.

In Black Work, Smith plays a policewoman whose husband is murdered in suspicious circumstances. On her quest to find out what happened to her husband, she must confront some hard truths about her marriage.

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Sheridan Smith returns to ITV for police drama Black Work, while BBC Four asks What Do Artists Do All Day?