Pick of the week: Ghost Army (DRK, Mon 22:45 or Thu 17:20)
There’s a degree of irony that Clark Gable flew several missions during World War II, narrowly surviving one in which he got shot in the foot, while his Gone with the Wind co-star Leslie Howard in the same year was shot down by the Luftwaffe while travelling on a civilian aeroplane.
Both were probably ideal candidates to take part in the events depicted in 2013 PBS documentary The Ghost Army (7.7 on IMDB), covert operations by a US unit during the Allied advance into Europe, which have only recently come to light.
The 1,100-man unit, mainly recruited due to their creative backgrounds, were charged with staging battlefield deceptions near the frontlines – using inflatable tanks, vehicles and artillery (like ones used in Eye of the Needle), sound trucks that could be heard 24km away, and fake radio transmissions – to fool the Germans into believing the enemy was close at hand and numbering as many as 30,000 troops.
Among the soldiers who went on to become well-know in their fields were fashion designer Bill Blass, artist Ellsworth Kelly and photographer Art Kane.
Haven’t we all wondered about the accusations of corruption and criminality surrounding Vladimir Putin’s reign in Russia? Putin’s Way (DR2, Thu 23:00) is a chilling new documentary about wealth, power and autocratic rule in the spectre of a new Cold War.
Talking of crazed world leaders, it’s nearly 70 years since Hitler died. Check out Hitler: Germany’s Fatal Attraction (DRK, Fri 20:00 or Mon 18:25) or Spying on Hitler’s Army (DRK, Mon 20:50 or Tue 18:55) for a taste of some of his secret atrocities.
Or alternatively, if terrifying dictators aren’t really your thing, watch Eugenie Jarecki add up the true cost of America’s losing war on drugs in The House I Live in (DR2, Tue 20:45).
Elsewhere, join award-winning baker Tom Herbert in his lighthearted quest for baking success in In Search of the Perfect Loaf (DR2 Wed 00:45); there’s another chance to see the Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour (SVT1 Mon 22:00); watch as American scientists create a spider-goat in Playing God (DR3 Mon 20:40); and observe motivational speaker Lawrence Layton as he attempts to cure 40 people terrified of getting on a plane in Fear of Flying (DR3, Mon 20:40).
Coming soon: Wolf Hall
How the BBC must have laughed at The Tudors knowing they had this one up their sleeve!
With 86 on Metacritic, their adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s novel covering the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell during the reign of Henry VIII is setting new standards for historical drama.
Follow Cromwell (Mark Rylance) as he fills the void left by Cardinal Wolsey to become the king’s (Damian Lewis) right-hand.
If you like history mixed with British humour, you’ll love it!
Sport of the week:
How many London marathons you slept through is a good indicator of how much you enjoyed your 20s. And how much snooker an indicator of how little you like your 50s. Elsewhere, don’t miss the EPL bottom vs top clashes Hull City vs Liverpool (3+, Tue 20:00) and Leicester City vs Chelsea (3+, Wed 20:00).
Film of the week:
A wide range this week: from the compelling Oscar-winning Argo to the potentially good, horribly conceived Horrible Bosses. But mostly they’re good, so take your pick from Dripping in Chocolate, White Oleander (DR2, Fri 20:00) and oldies Sweet Sixteen (DR2, Fri 00:20) and The Piano (DRK, Thu 21:30). (BH)