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WHAT TO WATCH 15-21 August

With broadcasters holding on to shows to bolster their autumn/winter schedule, there's nothing of note this week when it comes to new shows... but unsurprisingly, there are a number of repeats.

Whilst repeats don't usually appear in my weekly telly recommendations, it was either that or nothing this week. So I've gone through this week's listings and picked 5 shows which are worth watching, whether for the first or second time.

1. The Bridge

Saturday 15th August at 9pm on BBC Four

If you have never watched a Nordic noir before, then there really is no better place to start than The Bridge, the Swedish/Danish crime drama from 2013 which stars Sofia Helin as straight-talking Swedish detective Saga Norén from Malmo CID and Kim Bodnia as Danish detective Martin Rohde from the Copenhagen police department.

Both detectives are brought together when a woman is found murdered in the middle of Oresund Bridge, exactly on the border between Sweden and Denmark. What at first looks like one murder turns out to be two.

The bodies have been brutally cut off at the waist and joined together, the torso of a high-profile Swedish politician and the lower body of a Danish prostitute. The Swedish and Danish police need to cooperate in a race against the clock, desperately searching for a murderer determined to go beyond all moral limits to get his message across.

As the series progresses it turns out that the murder on the bridge was only the beginning, and the purpose of that heinous act was to draw attention to the unpleasant truths and problems in society that most turn a blind eye to, the first one being that 'we are not all equal before the law'.


2. Ghosts

Monday 17th August at 8.30pm on BBC One

With a second series due any minute now, there has never been a better time to catch up or discover for the first time, Ghosts - the BBC One comedy about a young couple who unexpectedly inherit a grand country estate, only to find it is both falling apart and teeming with the ghosts of former inhabitants.

The crumbling country pile of Button House is home to a troupe of restless spirits who have died there over the centuries, each ghost very much a product of their time, resigned to squabbling with each other for eternity over the most inane of daily gripes.

Their lives, or rather afterlives, are thrown into turmoil when a young couple, Alison and Mike (played by Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe) inherit the peaceful derelict house and make plans to turn it into a bustling family hotel.

Other cast members include Katy Wix, Lolly Adefope, Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond.

The repeat of series one began a few weeks ago, so unless you've seen it before, I wouldn't recommend diving straight in at number four before watching episodes 1-3 which are of course available on BBC iPlayer. And not only is series two on the way soon, but series three has already been given the go ahead!


3. Line of Duty

Monday 17th August at 9pm on BBC One

These days, if you were to ask anyone what they think the best drama on British television in the last 10 years has been, the chances they'd say Line of Duty will be pretty high. But of course it wasn't always the huge hit is now.

With series six filming on hold due to the pandemic, the BBC decided to reshow the first series of the drama which started it all - giving its first ever outing on BBC One after starting out as a small BBC Two hit in the summer of 2012.

It was the series which saw Martin Compston's Steve Arnott transferred to AC-12, an anti-corruption unit within the police and it's not long before he finds his first target - DCI Tony Gates who happens to be the city's top detective. But can he really be as good as he appears? And will Arnott manage to uncover Gates' secret?

I watched it at the time and I've watched every series since, but there's just something about the characters and the world Jed Mercurio has created here that has meant I had no choice but to rewatch the first series of Line of Duty. Thankfully, the series hasn't lost any of its charm, grit and suspense - even if I know what happens - and to be able to revisit Lennie James as DCI Gates is a real treat.

With two episodes a week, the first series comes to an end this week on BBC One but of course all episodes (and indeed all other series) are available to watch on BBC iPlayer. If you haven't watched any of series one, then stop reading now. If you have, then here's what's in store for the series one finale.

With Gates on the run, the anti-corruption team come under pressure to close the case once and for all. Arnott is forced to make some tough decisions about where his loyalties lie. Fleming and Hastings go all out to catch Gates, leading to a shattering conclusion.


4. The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies

Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th August at 9pm on ITV

He's about to star as biographer Brian Masters in ITV's three-part drama Des about serial killer Dennis Nilsen, but before then ITV are offering viewers another chance to watch what I believe to be Jason Watkins' greatest television role to date in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.

Based on a true story, Watkins plays retired schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies whose quiet life in Bristol is turned upside down when police question him about the disappearance of his young tenant Jo Yeates.

When her tragic murder becomes a major news story, the press seize upon him as a suspect, despite the lack of evidence, with destructive results.

After Christopher Jefferies has been vilified by the national press, the last thing he wants is to step back into the limelight, but as it becomes apparent that things won’t return to normal, he embarks on a fight to clear his name.


5. Shameless

Tuesday 18th August at 10pm on Channel 4

When I was scrolling through the channels last week looking for something to watch, I was surprised to see that Channel 4 were repeating the first series of Shameless. That said, fast-forward an hour and I'd rewatched the first episode and had fallen in love with the Gallaghers all over again.

The ceremonial burning of a stolen car marks the end of the summer on Manchester's Chatsworth estate. It's all part of the charm that made Shameless the hit it was.

So who exactly are the Gallaghers? Well, Mum went AWOL years ago and dad Frank, played by David Threlfall, hit the bottle with six kids at home. Sixteen-year-old Lip is mouthy as hell, still a virgin and one step closer to losing his cherry when he offers to help the gorgeous Karen Jackson with her homework.

Fifteen-year-old Ian discovers that even the most well-concealed secrets have a habit of coming out when his big brother starts sniffing around his gay porn stash. There's Carl with his obsession with breasts, Debbie, the spooky one, little Liam, and Fiona, the eldest, who holds the family together.

Into this rollercoaster world steps, or rather dives, is Steve (played by a young James McAvoy), who's cool, well-mannered, well-dressed and romantic. He unsurprisingly makes a beeline for big sister Fiona. One quick interrupted shag and a washing machine later, and Steve is soon getting his feet under the table.

Before diving in to this week's episode, I would recommend catching up with the very first episode on All4 and if you really can't wait for your fix of the Chatsworth estate, then every episode from every series is available to stream right now.



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