This week’s best telly includes a lot of great comedy including the last in the series of Mum, the return of Episodes and the start of Idris Elba’s new comedy for Sky One, In The Long Run.
Here are 7 TV shows you have to watch this week as well as the one film you can’t miss...
1. This Country
Monday 26th March from 10am on BBC Three
In the penultimate episode of This Country, it’s the most important day of the year for Kerry, the annual steam fair.
This year, as a bonus, it falls on her birthday and Kurtan has organised her a surprise present. However, the present involves some walking and so the cousins embark on a cross-country trek.
This affords them the time to share some local village myths with the crew, such as the legend of the “Fox Twins.”
2. Come Home
Tuesday 27th March at 9pm on BBC One
Christopher Eccleston returns to our screens this week in Come Home, a new three-part drama for BBC One from the makers of Happy Valley.
Greg, played by Christopher, has been married to Marie for 19 years and seemingly out of the blue, she walks out on him and her three children. The first episode is told from his perspective and follows Greg and his kids as they struggle to comprehend their mother’s actions.
He tries to maintain normality as he juggles work at Farrell Motors, raising his children and coping with the trials and tribulations of dating again. But will he ever be able to move on when he’s trapped in the past?
Tuesday 27th March at 10pm on BBC Two
All good things must come to an end and the latest series of Mum is one of the finest shows on television so far this year.
In the final episode it’s November which of course means fireworks. To celebrate, Cathy is having a bonfire and as Michael moves on after the death of his mother, Cathy feels she needs to tell him something. Will this finally be the moment they get together?
If the prospect of no more Mum fills you with as much as dread as me, then don’t worry because a third series has already been given the go ahead! We probably won’t get to see it until 2019 though.
Thursday 29th March from 10am on BBC Three
Star of People Just Do Nothing, Lily Brazier returns to BBC Three this week with her own series, Wannabe, which she has written and stars in.
The four-part series arrives all in one go and Lily plays mother of two Maxine Hancock who is a highly successful music manager, or so she keeps telling herself. Having never made it to the big time as part of teenage pop band Variety she now finds herself in a new crisis when the girl group she manages, Sweet Gyal, threatens to drop her.
But Maxine has come up with a plan. A comeback. This time bigger, bolder and older. Who cares about a hip young girl group anyway? What the world is really missing is Mum Pop.
5. In The Long Run
Thursday 29th March at 10pm on Sky One
2018 is almost certainly going to be remembered for its great comedy and this week sees Sky One launch In The Long Run, a strong contender for the best new comedy of the year.
Created by Idris Elba, the six-part series set in London in 1985 brings together an incredible ensemble cast including Jimmy Akingbola, Madeline Appiah, Sammy Kamara, Bill Bailey, Kellie Shirley and Idris himself to tell a story loosely based on Idris’ own family.
Walter (Idris) and Agnes (Madeline) arrived from Sierra Leone 13 years ago and are happy earning enough to pay the bills with a bit left over to send back home. Sammy Kamara plays their son and their quiet life is soon turned upside down when Walter’s brother Valentine, played by Jimmy Akingbola, arrives with his exuberance and lust for life.
1-2/6 (All episodes available on NOW TV)
Good Friday at 10pm on BBC Two
After what feels like FOREVER (July 2015), Episodes is finally back on BBC Two as the final ever series begins.
Matt LeBlanc returns to play a version of himself and Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig are back as comedy writers Sean and Beverly Lincoln. In the series opener, everyone is at rock bottom. Then Matt makes things worse. Several months have passed since the end of the last episode and Matt's show The Box is now a runaway hit. Unfortunately for Matt, this means that he must have daily contact with his producer, Merc Lapidus.
If anything, the animosity between the two has got worse over time. As Matt is the star of the show, he would seem to have some leverage over Merc, but he makes a decision that puts him right in the palm of his producer's sweaty hand.
7. Ordeal By Innocence
Easter Sunday at 9pm on BBC One
Originally meant for Christmas 2017, the Agatha Christie adaptation, Ordeal By Innocence had to be reshot following the allegations of sexual assault made against its star Ed Westwick.
Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate Sunny Point and her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence and 18 months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a mysterious scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic.
Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past. Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives.
However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack is innocent, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point. Somebody still out there…
FILM OF THE WEEK
The Silent Child
Good Friday at 7:40pm on BBC One
After meeting on the set of Hollyoaks, Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton created The Silent Child, a short film which centres around a profoundly deaf 4-year-old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.
Shenton plays Joanne, a fresh faced social worker who transforms Libby from this once withdrawn four-year-old to a girl who feels connected to the world. Over a short period of time Joanne and Libby's relationship blossoms.
Set in rural England and inspired by real life events, The Silent Child was released in August 2017 and after numerous awards and critical acclaim the film found its way onto the shortlist for the 2018 Academy Awards in the 'Live Action Short Film' category. As if that in itself wasn’t an incredible achievement, almost 7 months to the day since its initial release, The Silent Child walked away with one of the greatest accolades, an OSCAR.
Following the well deserved win, The Silent Child received worldwide media attention with everyone commending Shenton for signing her acceptance speech, a promise she’d made to the film’s leading actress, 6-year-old Maisie Sly.
It’s no surprise that the intention is now to turn The Silent Child into either a full-length feature film or TV series. I was lucky enough to be invited to a BAFTA screening for the film in September but there are millions of people out there who are yet to watch the film, but that’s all about to change.
Thankfully BBC One have offered The Silent Child a primetime slot on Good Friday just before EastEnders allowing everyone to witness an incredible piece of work which is deserving of all the attention and accolades it’s received.