An inn where they mumble into their beer

Pick of the Week: Jamaica Inn

DR1, Sun 21:50

Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel about passion and treachery has been adapted as a three-episode BBC miniseries that high-scores more on “mumbling complaints” than the critics’ acclaim. 

Written by Emma Frost, whose most noteworthy work is on the writing team of Shameless (the British version), the series is set in an early-19th century Cornish village. 

Mary (Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay) is a young orphan sent to live with her aunt, who runs an inn together with her abusive husband. The lack of guests sparks the young woman’s suspicions, which leads to a rollercoaster of events.

The series has been labelled as “hard to watch” by the Telegraph, which criticised the blunt performance of the lead cast, who it felt failed to elicit any empathy from the audience. 

If we add this to the sound issues and the 2,182 complaints the BBC received about the actors’ “mumbling”, it is safe to say you’ll probably want to watch this show with subtitles. 

If you’re curious about how a bad BBC production looks – or better yet, sounds – you’re on to a safe bet with Jamaica Inn.

Also New:

SVT1, Mon 22:15 Night will fall

Andre Singer’s Night Will Fall recalls how a film shot in the mid-1940s, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, never made it into the public domain. It demonstrated the close relationship between death camps and local communities, and was swiftly binned by politicians whose German outlook had switched from retribution to reconstruction. 

Filmmakers – including a certain Mr Hitchcock in a small role, although he was named director – collaborated to edit together footage caught by the Allied troops liberating the Nazi death camps. Singer makes good use of the excerpts and eyewitness testimonies from the skeletal survivors and mortified cameramen.

Equally grisly is The Bloody Truth (DR2, Sat 21:00), which examines how European colonial powers in Africa may have unwittingly helped to spread AIDS through their exploitation of people and nature.

Elsewhere, we’ve got Modern Spies (DR2, Sat 20:00), which sheds light on how we manage to foil so many terror plots; S4 of Nurse Jackie (SVT2, Tue 22:15) and S2 of Wentworth (SVT4, Mon 23:00); and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (DR3, Tue 20:30). 

Coming Soon: 12 Monkeys

Looks like an ‘80s version of Battlestar Galactica

This new series is described as a fast-paced, straightforward version of Terry Gilliam’s original: a time-traveller coming from a future dystopia with a mission to avoid the spread of a world epidemic. 

Although the reviews claim 12 Monkeys is simplistic, this might make it suitable for binge-watching, as it avoids the original’s mind-bending plot holes. 

It is, after all, tailored to the audience of a cable company that re-branded itself into SyFy in order to be more accessible to confused audiences. 

Sport of the Week: 

Eurosport, all week Australian Open

The decline of the FA Cup (K6, Sun 17:00  FA Cup: Brighton vs Arsenal) started close to 40 years ago – long before Man United skipped it to play abroad. But it’s still the best cup, and should either Cambridge vs United (K6, Fri 20:50) or Brighton vs Arsenal provide a shock, you’ll be glad you tuned in. Elsewhere, the thrills continue in the Aussie Open and the X Games (DR3, all week from Fri 19:00). 

Film of the Week:

DR2, Fri 20:00 The boy in the striped pyjamas

Bromances and frenemies, this week’s got ‘em all. Just ahead of Auschwitz Day, The boy in the striped pyjamas befriends a Nazi’s son through the fence of a death camp. In Electrick Children (SVT2, Thu 22:45), two Mormons have a friendship that results in a pregnancy. While Unknown (Zulu, Sun 21:00) and Bad Ass (3+, Sat 22:45) are so silly they could be siblings. 

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