As the impact of lockdown continues to prove itself in the TV schedules, I've managed to find some shows to recommend this week, albeit 5 - instead of the usual 7 or ten. These shows include a wonderful documentary by Alex Brooker, a genuinely laugh-out-loud spoof documentary about Gary and Martin Kemp and of course more brilliance from Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You.
Here are 5 shows you can’t miss this week...
1. Alex Brooker: Disability And Me
Sunday 5th July at 9pm on BBC Two
One third of The Last Leg's presenting team, Alex Brooker, can this week be found on BBC Two confronting what disability really means in Britain today in an intimate and extremely personal documentary. Revisiting his own past, Alex uncovers some painful memories as he comes to terms with his identity as a disabled person.
Exploring the impact his disability had on himself and his family when he was growing up, Alex considers why he is comfortable with some aspects of his disability, whilst being in denial of others. After catching up with his childhood friend Andy who has spina bifida, they both discuss how their disabilities have affected them and Alex is challenged to consider whether it's right to make a joke out of disability.
Admitting that he knows he’s out of touch with what disability means for many people, Alex visits a bespoke disability helpline and talks to other disabled Brits to find out more about the reality of day-to-day life, from the challenges and prejudice to disability support and access.
Alex also looks forward, to the future, addressing his personal fears around his own health and mobility, and exploring what options for support might be available to him. By the end of the documentary, Alex has a new perspective on being a disabled person and what impact it will have on the rest of his life.
2. The Kemps: All True
Sunday 5th July at 10pm on BBC Two
It's almost impossible to hear the word "gold" and not sing Spandau Ballet's 1983 hit Gold. Two of the band's members were brothers Martin and Gary Kemp and now the brothers have agreed to take part in a BBC documentary. Sort of.
If you cast your minds back to the end of 2018, a relatively small documentary on BBC Four about the band Bros became the TV show everyone was talking about that Christmas and now Rhys Thomas has written a spoof called The Kemps: All True in which he interviews Gary and Martin Kemp about their lives and careers following Spandau Ballet’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
In the hour-long doc, Gary and Martin look back at their musical history and reveal some of their other passions as Martin attempts to launch new film franchise, The Hardest British Bastards of the Galaxy, and Gary has his own vegan meat-substitute, Wonge.
Written, produced and directed by Rhys Thomas the spoof doc also stars Perry Benson as Ross Kemp (not that one), Tony Way as Rag N Bone Man, Anna Maxwell Martin as Gary's wife Lorna and Shirlie Kemp, Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Mays and Michael Kitchen as themselves.
If on paper this show doesn't sound like you're think, I'd say give it a go. With neither Gary nor Martin afraid of sending themselves up for entertainment, I implore anyone to watch this and not find large parts of it laugh out loud funny.
3. I May Destroy You
Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th July at 10.45pm on BBC One
If you're yet to watch any of Michaela Coel's stunningly good series about assault and consent, I May Destroy You, then you have been missing out on one of the standout shows of the year, if not the last few years.
Michaela Coel, who not only plays the lead, has also written, produced and co-directed the drama, and it appears that she has been given complete creative freedom to tell the story she wants to tell, in the way she wants to tell it. Each episode is so layered and tackles something new and does something different. But crucially never loses sight of its identity, realness and truth.
In the first of this week's two new episodes, episode nine, Arabella glued to her phone more than ever thanks to a growing social media presence and when Halloween arrives, Kwame opens up to Arabella and Terry about his recent sexual experiment forcing Arabella to react in a way which sees her book an emergency session with her therapist Carrie, played by Andi Osho.
In episode ten, Arabella heads to her mum's birthday dinner where long-forgotten memories bubble to the surface and Kwame's no-strings-attached hook-up bender leads him to Tyrone, a stranger in search of a different kind of connection.
9-10/12 Both episodes on iPlayer from Monday
4. Mrs America
Wednesday 8th July at 9pm and 9.45pm on BBC Two
This week sees Cate Blanchett take on the lead role in new US drama Mrs America, playing Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-feminist Republican housewife who campaigned against equal rights in the 1970s and won. This nine-part series follows the women, fights, and fallout on both sides of America's sex equality war.
In the first episode, Phyllis is made aware of the potential drafting of young women to fight in Vietnam if the highly popular Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the Senate. This makes her determined to organise the opposition to the ERA for 40 million American housewives who appreciate the status quo.
In the second episode we're introduced to Gloria Steinem, played by Rose Byrne, who is launching feminist magazine MS in New York and trying to fend off Bella Abzug's well-meaning attempts to promote her as a spokeswoman for the advocates of the ERA.
The series also stars Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks and Tracey Ullman.
5. There She Goes
Thursday 9th July at 9.30pm on BBC Two
In 2019 Jessica Hynes was awarded a BAFTA for her performance in There She Goes, a then BBC Four comedy about the day-to-day life of a family looking after their severely learning disabled nine-year-old girl, which moves to BBC Two this week for its second series.
The series is based on the real life experiences of writer Shaun Pye, whose daughter was born with an extremely rare and, to date, undiagnosed chromosomal disorder and follows a dual timeline. Series one followed Rosie, played by Miley Locke, as a newborn and a nine-year-old whereas series two follows her at the ages of three and 11.
As the new series starts, Rosie starts to say the word mama, raising hopes that her communication will finally take off. Feeling totally outshone by Rosie’s amazing school teacher Abigail, Emily concentrates on trying to develop Rosie’s sign language. Meanwhile, Simon starts to worry that the other parents of children with special needs at the school look down on him. Both situations come to a head at Rosie’s school sports day.