TV listings | The Taleban messed with the wrong schoolgirl
While Malala Yousafzai may have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year and featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’, international recognition has come at a high price. The assassination attempt on the life of the Pakistani teenager by the Taleban one year ago offered the world a sharp reminder of the risks faced by young women who fly in the face of Taleban influence by campaigning for their right to be educated. Shot in the head on her way home from school, Malala narrowly escaped death, undergoing weeks of intensive care at a Birmingham hospital.
One year on and Malala, living in the UK, is a global icon, delivering speeches and meetings on the world stage while pursuing what is most precious to her, and for which she has fought so hard: her education. In this half-hour BBC Panorama special, Malala talks exclusively to BBC journalist Mishal Husain, describing for the first time in her own words her extraordinary journey from being an ordinary teenage girl in her native Pakistan to becoming a global symbol of the fight for girls’ education. Husain also travels to Malala’s native Swat Valley, visiting her old school and interviewing her family members and school friends – a reminder of the rich social and cultural life that Malala had to so abruptly leave behind. “In Pakistan, I was just Malala, simply Malala,” says the 16-year-old. “Here they consider me the girl who stood up for children’s rights and the girl who was shot by the Taleban. They never look at me as Malala (…) a normal girl.”
While the young girl from Swat has gone global, the voice that speaks to us in this documentary retains the no-nonsense approach to reform that brought Malala into the spotlight in the beginning. “Education is education,” she says. “If I am learning to be a doctor, would there be an eastern stethoscope or a western stethoscope, would there be an eastern thermometer or a western thermometer?”
When confronted with the many inaccuracies of Vikings, Michael Hirst, the genius who also created The Tudors, said nobody would be interested in the true story. “We want people to watch it,” he moaned to the New York Times. “A historical account of the Vikings would reach hundreds, occasionally thousands, of people. Here we’ve got to reach millions.”
British doc Peter Mandelson: The Real PM (DR2, Tue 20:30) also does its best to rewrite history, although there’s probably more truth involved. While Magic City, a ‘50s drama series about a Miami hotel, is entirely fictitious – right down to the gangsters.
Elsewhere, Men who Swim (DR2, Sat 21:30) is about a Swedish male synchronised swimming team; Saturday Night Live (TV2 Zulu, Sat 00:10) promises twerking action with Miley Cyrus; and American Winter (SVT1, Tue 22:00) is a hard-hitting 2013 doc on the economic plight of the US.
Sport of the Week:
Denmark are among 29 European countries (alongside Albania and Armenia) heading into the final round of 2014 WC qualifiers with a chance of making it to Brazil. They must beat Italy on Friday and Malta on Tuesday. Other games include Sweden vs Germany (TV3 Sport 1 or SVT4, Fri 20:45) and highlights of England on K6 against Montenegro and Poland (Tue 22:10). Elsewhere, stream the Mermaid Bowl from kanalsport.dk and watch Sebastian Vettel try to make it five in a row at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Film of the Week:
Did the normally tasteless TV3+ think they were buying a Miley Cyrus twerking video when they acquired Cyrus (Tue 21:00), a charming comedy about a son (Jonah Hill) who can’t let go of his mother (Marisa Tomei)? Elsewhere, it’s turkey season with gratuitous romances Love and other Drugs (SVT4, Sat 21:30), When in Rome (K5, Tue 21:00) and Julia Roberts snoozer Eat Pray Love competing with threadbare thrillers From Paris with Love (K6, Mon 22:00) and Tom Cruise vehicle Knight & Day to be the worst film of the week.
Coming Soon: Hello Ladies
While Merchant’s comedy pedigree (The Office, Extras) guarantees us laughs – the LA Times called it “a cringe-worthy comedy that works” – it is debatable whether his new series successfully navigates the fine line between awkwardly funny and downright painful.
Merchant plays Stuart, an affluent British web designer who has relocated to LA. Episode by episode, his fortunes go from bad to worse, yet he remains defiant – his overinflated self-confidence buoyed by an unlikely group of friends: a recently divorced depressive, a disabled chancer and an unsuccessful actress.
For some critics, his willingness to be self-effacing adds a degree of likeability to a character who would otherwise be unapproachable.
Although the series proves he is much more than just Ricky Gervais’ gangly sidekick, Hello Ladies remains a series you’ll have to see before knowing it’s for you.