This Week’s TV: Christmas cheer with Cilla for anyone who had a heart
Pick of the Week: Cilla (entire miniseries)
DR2, Dec 26, 15:40
The Brits know how to honour their redheads – they kill them off with biopics. Case in point: The Iron Lady. Released in 2011, two years later, Margaret Thatcher was dead.
And then came , a 2014 miniseries about Cilla Black, who promptly snuffed it within a year. Who’s next: Ginger Spice? Oh, pease say it is so.
Cilla isn’t incendiary, it’s feel-good nostalgia. But it’s questionable whether there were any warts in the life of a singer who wore her heart on her sleeve and was promptly taken to the nation’s. But there were lorra, lorra laughs. And Jimmy Tarbuck.
Sheridan Smith, fast becoming Britain’s best loved TV actress, immerses herself into Cilla. “It’s hard not to forget you’re not actually watching a young Cilla Black,” observed the Guardian.
This is especially recommended for Brits, as it might depend on “what’s your name and where d’ya come from”.
British drama series In the Flesh, in which zombies are rehabilitated back into society with the help of medication, has won praise for its originality. And as a probable allegory about homosexuality, it has generated debate too.
The same can’t be said about lesbian-themed Life in Squares (SVT2, Wed 20:00), a miniseries about Virginia Woolf, which in trying to give her life wide appeal sacrifices the intellect that made her famous in the first place.
No danger of that happening with Downton Abbey (DR1, Dec 26-27, 21:15) and contrary to our mistake last week, these Xmas specials really are the last ever. The Manners of Downton Abbey (DR1, Dec 28, 15:35) explores the world it is set in.
Elsewhere, My Brother’s Bomber (DR2, Tue 20:00) follows an American man’s quest to find out why his brother was murdered flying over Lockerbie; US lookalike doc Just About Famous (DR2, Sat 21:00) is full of insight; we’ve got the final of the British version of The X Factor (DR3, Dec 29, 20:00); there’s another chance to see miniseries The Great Fire (DRK, Sat 16:45), Mapp and Lucia (SVT2, Jan 4, 22.45) and new British drama series Wolf Hall (DR2, Dec 28-31, 21:00); don’t miss Adele in Concert (DR3, Wed 20:30); and there’s the customary showing of Dinner for One (DR1, Dec 31, 23:40).
Coming Soon: Spotless
New British crime series Spotless has notched up a creditable 79 on Metacritic and been compared to Breaking Bad – high praise indeed.
We follow two French brothers dealing with existential crises and a family falling apart, both in real-time and flashbacks.
All we need to tell you about the plot is that the main character runs a company that cleans up crime scenes – for the police. You do the maths.
With Brendan Coyle (Mr Bates in Downton Abbey) finally making good use of his bad guy attributes, there’s plenty to get excited about.
One thing’s guaranteed: it will get messy.
Sport of the Week:
For the footy nerds out there, this EPL season could very well serve up its third top-of-the-table clash this festive period. Should Man City beat Arsenal, its game against Leicester City (TV3 Sport 2, Dec 29, 20:00) could be that game. Elsewhere, the NFL (3+ every Sun, also TV2 Sport 2) never stops, and we’ve got the World Darts Championships.
Film of the Week:
The Xmas premieres also include Blue Jasmine (DR2, Dec 18, 20:00), The Hobbit: Part 1 (TV2, Dec 26, 21:10), Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (3+, Dec 26, 21:10) and The Great Gatsby (TV2, Dec 25, 20:55). Among the old favourites are The Sound of Music (DR1, Jan 19, 14:15), The Great Escape (DR2, Dec 21, 17:01) and It’s a Wonderful Life (DR1, Dec 24, 01:35).