TV This Week: Fireworks in the hay

Pick of the week:

Cider with Rosie
SVT1, SUn 21:00

Update this classic for modern viewers and it would be Strongbow with Shazza or Bulmer’s with Britney, substituting the coming-of-age tale’s haystack in idyllic England for the back of Asda.

Fortunately for fans of Cider with Rosie – for so long compulsory reading at British schools, where generations knew the roll in the hay scene off by heart – the BBC stayed with the early 20th century setting, and it was with heavy nostalgia that the adaptation of Laurie Lee’s 1959 classic was greeted when it aired last year.

The reception was mixed though. While the Daily Telegraph enjoyed a “languid, lyrical rendering” that was “intoxicating”, and the Guardian concurred, signalling out Samantha Morton for praise, some found the adaptation lacking in accuracy, a little rushed and suffering from Timothy Spall’s irritating narration.

Also New:
Given that Mossad’s seizure of Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires was one of the most daring missions of the 20th century, you’ll be disappointed to learn that this TV movie about his trial drowns in melodrama.

It needed a sharper script utilising the comic strengths of a miscast Martin Freeman as the executive in charge of televising the trial, but you’ll still be moved by the archival footage and content.

Likewise, serial killer black comedy Scream Queens (TV3, Thu 23:00) has its moments, but is ultimately, according to Rotten Tomatoes, “too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts”.

Several documentaries deliver the goods this week though. Red Army (DR2, Tue 20:45) explores Russian ice hockey in a riveting fashion, while Mandela: My Dad and Me (DR2, Wed 23:05) movingly follows actor Idris Elba as he deals with the death of his father whilst recording an album dedicated to his onscreen self, Nelson Mandela.

Elsewhere, British vintage fashion show This Old Thing (SVT1, Fri 18:45) has plenty of fans; Spark & Awe: The Story of Electricity (DRK, Mon-Wed 16.50) was full of sparks of knowledge; and How to Lose your Virginity (DR3, Mon 20:20) has no answers, just a host of amusing accounts. (BH)

Coming Soon:

Currently reaping plaudits in Britain is Marcella, a crime noir series on ITV starring Anna Friel (Brookside, Pushing Daisies) as a jealous detective, which was created by Hans Rosenfeldt, the Big Friendly Swede who gave us The Bridge.

At 206 cm tall, Rosenfeldt’s work as an actor was limited (outside playing The Tooth Fairy in Red Dragon), but there’s no doubting his flair for serial killer drama series.

Available on Danish Netflix from July 1, critics and viewers are enjoying a series that the Guardian describes as “ridiculous” and compulsive viewing. (BH)

Sport of the Week:

Novak Djokovic needs the French Open to complete the set, but can he see off the challenge of Andy Murray and co? Crystal Palace, in contrast, have never won a bean and face Manchester United, the club that have won the lot and denied them in the past, in the FA Cup Final. No outsiders in the German Cup Final where the top two face off. (BH)

Film of the Week:

Aged just nine, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis is the youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history, while the teen stars of compelling coming-of-age drama Mud are well worth the admission price. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Jimmy’s Hall director Ken Loach, 79, keeps on churning them out, and it’s another dependable effort. (BH)