Tuesday 24 October 2017

The best of the week ahead... Your TV highlights with Paul Whitington

W1A, Thursday, BBC2, 9pm Fun and games at the BBC

The cast of W1A
The cast of W1A
Hotbench TV show
Marvel's daredevil TV series
Hugh Bonneville
Gafa sa Tur TG4

I was a big fan of Twenty Twelve, John Morton's affectionate farce about the chaos behind the slick veneer of a team tasked with organising the London Olympics. That show spawned this spin-off, W1A, which I think has turned out even better. Hugh Bonneville reprised his role as Ian Fletcher, the well-meaning corporate waffler whose work on the Olympics has now earned him a lucrative posting at the BBC. Ian is now Head of Values, a grand-sounding but essentially meaningless job that mainly involves long lunches and pointless navel-gazing about what the corporation is, and means.

In season one, Fletcher got mixed up in a row over Songs of Praise, and was targeted by the tabloids over his huge salary and an Italian holiday on which he invited his glamorous personal assistant. As this second series begins, things look up for Ian when he finally gets his own office. But when it's announced that the Prince of Wales will shortly visit BBC headquarters, there's blood in the water over who will actually get to shake the royal hand.

Meanwhile the crass but unshakably self-confident Head of Brand Jessica Hynes is given the tasking of revamping the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon following rumours of a takeover bid by a rival organisation. But Jessica's solution is a 'brand mash-up' that's bound to horrify traditionalists. And the clueless intern Will Humphries becomes concerned when his security pass won't let him into the building. Is the technology on the brink, or has someone decided he's no longer fit for purpose? WIA is very funny, and Hugh Bonneville is priceless as the amiable spoofer Ian.


Gafa sa Tur

Sunday TG4, 9.30pm

The Irish in the Tower

In TG4’s intriguing new documentary series, historian Seamas MacAnnaidh uses the Tower of London to explore the tortured relationship between Britain and Ireland. He does so by looking at the prominent Irishmen held in the Tower between 1205 and 1916, from Archbishop Creagh and Brian O Ruairc to Hugh Og McMahon and Roger Casement. And Gafa sa Tur kicks off with the true story of the much-maligned Earl of Kildare ‘Silken’ Thomas FitzGerald.


Marvel’s Daredevil

Netflix, anytime

Lawyer by day, crusader by night

Netflix ups the ante yet again in its commitment to original programming with this ambitious action series based on the Marvel comic character, Daredevil. English actor Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer and devout Catholic who grows so tired of his city’s shambolic legal system that he dons a scarlet disguise and begins hunting villains by night. Rosario Dawson and Vincent D’Onofrio co-star in a series with production values to match those of any movie blockbuster.


Hot Bench

CBS, 2015

Justice, Judy-style

Apparently Judge Judy Sheindlin was inspired to create this spin-off legal reality show when she witnessed a three-judge bench in action while on holiday in Ireland. Hot Bench has become a huge hit in the US and is bound to show up here soon. Each week three legal heavyweights including a former Supreme Court Justice argue the rights and wrongs of such petty misdemeanours as dog bites and minor car accidents before handing down a verdict. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.

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