This Week’s TV: Not flawless but strangely enthralling

3+, Sun 07:00

It’s quickly apparent that Tyrant isn’t a patch on House of Saddam, a 2008 miniseries about the fall of the Iraqi dictator that it owes a huge debt.
But despite the variable casting, poorly defined character motivations, and melodrama more at home in Beverley Hills 90210, there are moments of real impact and the promise it could really deliver once it leaves the safe confines of the dictator’s palace.

The younger son of a Middle East dictator, who went to the US to study medicine and never came back, returns for his nephew’s wedding 20 years later. Familial hang-ups are unresolved by his father’s sudden death, and he hangs around to worry whether his big bro (clearly Uday Hussein) is the right man to lead his country.

He’s not, but he’s not ludicrously bad, and this is Tyrant’s strength: where should your sympathies lie, as it’s not always clear. In this way, it echoes real-life in a way few series manage to.


The biggest mystery about the mildly spooky The Secret of Crickley Hall (DR1, Sun 23:25) – a miniseries screened in three episodes, set in two alternating eras with one-dimensional characters – is who is it aimed at? Kids? Not likely with Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones in the cast.

The casting of Keanu Reeves as the narrator of Deep Web (DR2, Tue 20:45) was more deliberate, particularly as it is harder to decipher than the Matrix sequels.

But nothing will ever be more baffling than the enigma that is Jason Donovan. He provides the voiceover to Devil Island (DR3, Fri 18:55), a doc in the vein of Born Free in which 100 zoo-raised Tazmanian Devils are left to themselves to save the species, leaving us to ponder who will save Jason from himself?

Elsewhere, Private Violence (DR2, Tue 23:00) is a harrowing domestic violence doc while Surviving Sandy Hook (DR2, Sun 21:00) takes a look at the shooting that shocked America, but ultimately led to no change; there’s another chance to catch World War Two: 1942 and Hitler’s Soft Underbelly (DRK, Mon 22:35) and Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr Hunter S Thompson (SVT2, Tue 22:45); and you can currently catch episodes of irreverent British quiz show 8 out of 10 cats and Hoff the Record on BBC Brit. He shelved the ‘hassle’ – geddit?


The BBC created this beauty, but Netflix spotted its charm. And now you can stream all six episodes to find out yourself.

Everyone’s favourite Swedish actor, Stellan Skarsgård, plays the lead in this crime series about a detective caught between the living and the dead. He sees ‘manifests’ – visions of dead people – and obsesses about the victims of cases he can’t resolve, especially after the death of his partner (Nicola Walker).

With 8.1 on IMDB and a brilliant script by British screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady & Suffragette), this will haunt you well after you binge-watch it!

Ella Navarro


It’s the final week of the Champions League, and VfL Wolfsburg vs Man United (3+, Tue 20:00) is a massive game, as is Olympiakos vs Arsenal on Wednesday, though there’s no confirmation it will be shown. Elsewhere, Everton vs Crystal Palace (TV3 Sport 2, Mon 20:55) is the pick in the EPL, the Women’s World Handball Championship (DR1, DR3 & TV2, all week) starts, the NBA continues on TV2 Sport, as does the NFL on 3+.


Is Amanda Seyfried playing the Log Lady’s daughter in Twin Peaks , because the Mamma Mia star established wooden credentials in ménage-a-trois thriller Chloe (SVT1, Sat 22:50), where’s-the-werewolf yarn Red Riding Hood (K5, Thu 20:30) and all-over-the-place Les Miserables (DR2, Fri 21:00). Better bets with more bark include Tree of Life (SVT2, Fri 21:45), Star Trek into Darkness (3+, Fri 21:00) and Red 2 (K5, Sat 20:30).