thu 23/03/2017

tv

Puerto Rico: Island of Enchantment – Natural World, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

The soothing voice of David Attenborough narrated this cautionary tale, which is improbably heading not for a happy ending but a happy new beginning. Puerto Rico, the so-called island of enchantment, overwhelmed early western visitors with its charms: its beaches, its rainforest, its animals, its beauty.

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SS–GB, Series Finale, BBC One

adam Sweeting

In the end, SS-GB promised more than it could deliver, but it still left us with some memorable images (not least in the cleverly-crafted opening titles) and several excellent performances. The ending even dangled the faintest hint of a sequel, though presumably not one written by the author of the original book, Len Deighton.

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The Last Kingdom, Series 2, BBC Two

adam Sweeting

It was the end of 2015 when we last rode out through the mud and blood of Saxon England with King Alfred and his doughty battlefield dynamo Uhtred, so it will be interesting to see what has changed in series two. Was it my imagination, or has Alfred (David Dawson, below), the victor of the battle of Ethandun, become several degrees colder and more calculating as he proceeds with his grand project to unify war-torn England?

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Midnight Sun, Sky Atlantic

Mark Sanderson

You can just hear Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the clever-sick Swedes behind Midnight Sun, cackling as they cooked up the pre-title sequence to the first episode of their new series. A grizzled man in a grey suit wakes up to find himself strapped to a helicopter rotor-blade. The engine starts.

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Big Little Lies, Sky Atlantic

adam Sweeting

It happened in Monterey, but we’re not entirely sure what yet.

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War Child, Channel 4

jasper Rees

In the mindset of Nigel Farage and his biddable followers, the route from Asia into Europe throngs with undesirables. Their threatening faces can be plastered on a vote-winning poster. In this calamitous failure of empathy, young men – hordes of them, to use our former Prime Minister’s lexical choice - are seen to be bent on kettling Western women and hoovering up benefits.

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Mutiny, Channel 4

jasper Rees

The masochistic reality show heralds a culture with an inferiority complex. There have been documentary re-running the race to the South Pole. Countless series place modern Britons in historical contexts where the dietary, sanitary and heating arrangements leave much to be desired. At the heart of them all is an anxiety that mod cons – radiators, white goods, frozen readymeals – have softened us.

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Prime Suspect 1973, ITV

jasper Rees

The prequel is here to stay. In the end every popular TV drama flogs itself to death. The star wants out, or the writer dies, or the original source material runs dry, or the public falls asleep. And there’s nowhere else to go. Nowhere, that is, apart from back in time. Hence the retro-fitted Endeavour and Gotham and Better Call Saul.

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Dispatches: Under Lock and Key, Channel 4

Saskia Baron

Five years ago BBC Panorama went undercover, sending in a reporter with a hidden camera to expose the horror going on at Winterbourne View, a hospital for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. There was outrage as the nation watched Winterbourne’s patients being tortured, degraded and abused by staff.

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The Replacement, BBC One

adam Sweeting

Can women have it all? (Stop me if you’ve already heard this one). This is the premise of Joe Ahearne’s new three-part drama, set in the offices of a successful firm of architects in Glasgow. But he’s a bloke, what would he know about it?

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