TV Listings | Witness the richness of Amish life

Pick of the Week Living with the Amish (SVT2, Sun 18:00)

Channel 4’s six-part series Living with the Amish follows a group of British teenagers as they live with the notoriously private Amish community for six weeks. The audience looks on in wonder as the teens bid farewell to all the trappings of their modern lives and head for rural Ohio and Pennsylvania to see what they can learn from hard work and simple, religious living. The series breaks new ground in giving viewers an insight into the intriguing Amish community, which has never opened up in this way before.

The British youths all seem to share a genuine enthusiasm for learning something from the Amish experience: Eton College student George, 17, insists that he is looking forward to learning about such an insular and archaic society, while Hannah, also 17, is curious to find out what effect living among such a devout people will have on her own faith. Charlotte, 18, professes to never leaving the house without her make-up on, while computer-game fanatic James says he never eats fruit or vegetables.

The first Amish hosts that they encounter are Jonathan and Marietta, who hope that the series will bring to light the advantages of the wholesome, peaceful way of Amish life. The first episode reveals a number of rather touching vignettes, namely warm-hearted Jonathan’s rapport with the teens, especially with troubled James, who has spent the last few years of his life in foster care.

Without a doubt, Living with the Amish is a cut above your average reality documentary TV. Producers KEO Films are at the forefront of the documentary scene, turning out two BAFTA-winning works last year (Hugh’s Fish Fight and Welcome to Lagos).

Living with the Amish is of the same calibre, with a number of subtle techniques, such as having Amish host Jonathan provide the voice-over, giving the viewer a real sense of closeness with the unusual group. This is a documentary that hits all the right notes: it’s entertaining, heartwarming, and guaranteed to teach us all a thing or two.

Also New:

If you can’t see the walls at home for all the yellowing newspaper cuttings, you’ll probably know everything disclosed during the Conspiracy Theory theme night. JFK, 9/11, the moon landings … but did you honestly know there’s a theory the 1958 World Cup didn’t take place in Sweden, and that even Denmark has a few conspiracy theories of its own. Tune in to find out, although some of the programmes are in Danish.

Other conspiracies that might be true include how The men who make us fat was inspired by a documentarist who noted how normal Augustus Gloop, the glutton in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), looked compared to today’s fatties;  how the answer to every violin trivia question ever written can be found in Stradivarius & Me (BBC World, Sun 19:30); and how the world’s most powerful black ruler is not alive today and was actually Britain’s African Emperor (DRK, Fri 22:25) in the third century. (BH)

Sport of the Week:

Beyond La Vuelta, which climaxes on Eurosport on Sunday, and Floyd Mayweather vs Saúl Álvarez on Saturday, it’s all about the return of the Champions League group stage and the four live games on Tuesday and Wednesday: Galatasaray vs Real Madrid and AC Milan vs Celtic respectively on TV3 Sport 1, and FC Copenhagen vs Juventus and Barcelona vs Ajax on TV3+. So if you want to watch English teams, you’ll have to tune in to K6 for its three Saturday English Premier League games. (BH)

Film of the Week:

Animal Kingdom might be slightly over-rated, but it’s still a film of masterful suspense and its 97 rating on Rotten Tomatoes testifies to how hard it is to dislike it. The 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited, on the hand, was never going to be able to please the fans of the 1981 series, who probably choked on their Chardonnay when the male leads started necking by the fountain. But it is heartily recommended. Elsewhere, Genova is a quiet intelligent film, while Killers (TV2 Zulu, Thu 21:00) is loud and silly. (BH)

Presenting this season’s adversary: Dr Valentin Narcisse – the clue was in the nameComing Soon: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire returned to HBO on Sunday for a fourth action-packed season. If you haven’t seen it before think pinstripe suits, tommy guns, sex, federal agents, corruption and lots of violence.

The action catches up with Nucky (Steve Buscemi), the godfather of Atlantic City, in the winter of 1924, four years into the Prohibition Era. After the endless warring of last season, Nucky finally makes peace with his rivals, allowing him to expand his empire off the boardwalk south to Florida.

This season spends more time with Capone (Stephen Graham) in Chicago and a new character in New York: the Harlem-based Dr Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright – Felix Leiter in the Bond films), “who is as ruthless as he is cultured and sophisticated”, reports
The series is available to subscribers of HBO Nordic and viewers of Canal Plus.