Wednesday 16 October 2019

Meeting Trump's 'very fine people' and other top TV picks for tonight, Saturday and Sunday

Fascist group the Atomwafffen Division, who gained strength after the violence in Charlottesville in August 2017
Fascist group the Atomwafffen Division, who gained strength after the violence in Charlottesville in August 2017

Pat Stacey

Pat Stacey has trawled the weekend TV schedules for the best (and worst) of what's on offer so you don't have to...

TONIGHT

There were “some very fine people on both sides” insisted Donald Trump after the 2017 violence at the Charlottesville rally, during which a piece of meat-head white supremacist scum by the name of James Fields Jr deliberately drove a car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding 28 others.

We get to see some of those “very fine people” from the far-right side up close and ugly in Documenting Hate: New American Nazis (PBS America, 9.10pm), a joint investigation by PBS’s current affairs programme Frontline and non-profit newsroom ProPublica into America’s white supremacist groups.

It focuses, in particular, on the Atomwaffen Division, a Nazi terrorist group that’s been recruiting inside the US military and gained strength after Charlottesville.

Sacred Ireland: Holy Land (Channel 5, 7pm) sounds interesting. It looks at what made the ancient people of this country abandon worship of the earth for worship of the sky. The most likely cause was a half-megaton comet crashing into the ground. Well, that’d surely do it. Some nice aerial footage of Newgrange is promised, and hopefully there won’t be too many clichés, begorrah and bejapers.

Ahead of the return of Derry Girls to Channel 4 on Tuesday, five of its young stars grace The Late Late Show (RTE1, 9.35pm).

Last September, Marc Almond and Dave Ball reunited as Soft Cell, for the first time since 1984, for an emotional, sold-out farewell concert at London’s O2 arena, marking the 40th anniversary of the band.  That event is the “in” for the splendid documentary Soft Cell: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (BBC4, 9pm), which follows the build-up to the gig and provides an intimate retrospective portrait of the duo at work, as well as revisiting places of their youth. Clips from the concert itself are woven in with period archive and music videos. Lovely.

It might surprise some people (it certainly surprised me) to know that cricket is the second most-watched sport in the world. Less of a surprise, then, is Cricket Dreams: Mumbai Indians (Netflix, from today), an eight-part documentary series following the fortunes of the three-time champions of the Indian Premier League during the 2018 season.

SATURDAY

As if The Greatest Dancer (prize: some money and an appearance on another dance competition, Strictly Come Dancing) wasn’t enough proof that the TV talent show is eating itself, daft singing contest All Together Now (BBC1, 7.30pm) is back for a second run. It’s hosted by Rob Beckett and Geri Halliwell, two additional reasons to skip it.

There’s no escaping this kind of stuff tonight, what with Ireland’s Got Talent (Virgin Media 1, 7.30pm) and The Voice UK (Virgin Media 1, 9pm ). If you can’t wait that long and can access UTV/ITV, it’s available there an hour earlier.

Talent of a more cerebral kind is celebrated in the final of Child Genius (Channel 4, 7pm). The five finalists are quizzed on specialist subjects, including epidemiology, cryptanalysis and the physics of black holes. Maybe the winner can tell us why Saturday night television has become a black hole.

With Graham Norton on a break until April, The Jonathan Ross Show (UTV/ITV, 9.25pm) manages to snap up a couple of decent guests, Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson, due to be seen together soon in the latest comic-book blockbuster Captain Marvel.

Needless to say, there are makeweights too in the shape of The Voice UK coaches Jennifer Hudson, will.i.am and Seann Walsh.

The final episode of Edwardian Britain in Colour (Channel 5, 8pm) has some great footage of suffragettes, strikers and the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911, when two Latvian revolutionaries held out for six hours against a combined army and police force supervised by Churchill.

SUNDAY

The last in the current season of Endeavour (UTV/ITV, 8pm) promises to be a cracker. After the emotional wallop of last week — Bright discovering his wife is dying, Thursday seemingly taking a bung (although we hold out hope that he’s just playing along in order to expose nasty Ronnie Box) — Morse and the team are close to uncovering the truth about George Fancy’s death. This has evolved into a terrific series with believable lead characters and a trio of terrific performances from Shaun Evans, Roger Allam and Anton Lesser.

Sadly, you can’t say the same for Baptiste (BBC1, 9pm), which so far, has been all plot twists with little in the way of character depth. It’s hard to escape the feeling that writers the Williams brothers have developed a trademark style which, if they’re not careful, could become tiresome very quickly.

The line between cinema and TV is growing ever more blurred. Just four days after its Oscar triumph, Free Solo (National Geographic, 8pm) makes its television debut. You’ll be holding your breath as fearless climber Alex Honnold takes on Yosemite’s scarifying El Capitan rockface.

Fans of Call the Midwife (BBC1, 8pm) won’t need telling this is the series finale. Hankies at the ready, because it’s an emotional one. The ladies will be back at Christmas, which means you have just 299 days to wait.

Herald

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