From hero to zero at the news of the screws

PICK OF THE WEEK: The Fake Sheikh Exposed – Panorama special
BBC World, Sat 15:30 (also Sun 20:30)

HOW THE mighty are falling. First the News of the World, and now its most infamous reporter, Mazher Mahmood, the fake sheikh. For so long a darling of investigative journalism, he was last month exposed by Panorma as a master of duplicity and entrapment.

Disguised as a sheikh, his favourite sting was to offer a down-on-their-luck celeb the deal of a lifetime on the condition they score him cocaine – which in Britain is a thousand times easier than finding an honest hack. Hey presto, the celeb becomes a drug dealer.

But recently, it all went tits up for Mahmood at the trial of one of his targets amidst claims he had committed perjury. And while he has been waiting to see if he might go to prison, he has been frantically trying to block the transmission of this documentary.

There’s a great moment nine minutes in when one of his former colleagues reveals he lost his job at the Screws for faking photos of the beast of Bodmin – after being grassed up by Mahmood.
It echoes a line on Mahmood’s Wiki page that he “first gained employment as a journalist at the age of 18, exposing family friends who sold pirate videos”.


DR2, Tue 20:45 An Honest Liar

THE GREAT thing about docs is they’re cheap and you don’t have to wait long until they’re on TV, particularly in Denmark where they take it all so very seriously.

DR2 have shelled out for An Honest Liar, an acclaimed 2014 Tribeca entry. And although its premise about a magician who exposes psychics like Uri Geller sounds a little confusing, it’s intriguing enough.

Also highly rated are Burn (DR2, Thu 23:15), a look at the rebuilding of Detroit; nature series The Secret Lives of Dolphins (SVT2, Sun 19:00) and The Great Barrier Reef (SVT2, Mon 18:00); and biodocs Being Mike Tyson (3+, Sat 11:40) and The Naked Rambler (DR2, Tue 23:15).

Elsewhere, can you watch UK thriller series The Secret of Crickley Hall (DR1, Mon-Wed 00:20) on your own or not cry as a modern day scribe pays homage to the fallen in The Great War: an Elegy (BBC World, Sat 16:20 & 22:10); we’ve got S2 of The Paradise (DR1, Mon-Thu 16:55), S5 of White Collar (Zulu, Sun 11:20) and the semi-finals of the UK X Factor (DR3, Thu 20:05); and there’s another chance to see that Ian Fleming miniseries (DR1, Wed-Thu 22:00 – see last week) and home movie collection Our Nixon (SVT1, Tue 22:25). (BH) 

COMING SOON: Fortitude

Ice cold killer or nice old man: Gambon can play 'em both

AN APTLY named, grizzly crime thriller, Fortitude  tells the story of a small mining community torn apart by a murder. 

With Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston) and Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) in town, you’d think the murderer would run scared, but nobody is free of suspicion as the plot thickens. 

Sky Atlantic’s new drama has so far wowed viewers with its all-star cast and its quite literally chilling Scandinavian Arctic backdrop. (CB)


3+, Sun 22:15 & Thu 02:25 NFL

LOOKS like Real Madrid should comfortably continue their winning streak in the FIFA Club World Cup (DR3  Tue & Wed 20:25), where they are expected to meet Argentina’s San Lorenzo in the final. Elsewhere, Miami Heat take on Chicago Bulls in the NBA (Zulu, Sun 00:00), Arsenal host Newcastle in the PL (K6, Sat 18:30) and there’s plenty of NFL action. (BH)


K5, Thu 20:30 A Christmas Carol

IT'S A shame A Christmas Carol is so poorly known here, but if your kids have never seen it, they could do better than the Jim Carrey version, which makes Men in Black (3TV3, Sun 21:00) look appealing. You’re better off showing them a classic like Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (DRK, Wed 23:20)  or Juno (DR3, Mon 22:35) – a reminder of the last thing you want for Xmas. (BH)