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Paul Whitington’s TV pick of the week: DNA Family Secrets

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Charlie, Rob, Cian and Stacey Stacey Dooley in DNA Family Secrets. (C) Minnow films

Charlie, Rob, Cian and Stacey Stacey Dooley in DNA Family Secrets. (C) Minnow films

Charlie, Rob, Cian and Stacey Stacey Dooley in DNA Family Secrets. (C) Minnow films

DNA technology has leapt forward with such frightening speed in recent years that it’s now possible to test your own with a little kit at home. The joy of all this is that it instantly explodes people’s ethnic certainties — most of us find some sort of connection to Africa and discover that otherwise we are, genetically speaking, the flotsam of Europe. But there’s another side to genetic testing, and it’s been particularly helpful to those trying to track down their blood heritage and its implications for their health. In this new series, presenter Stacey Dooley will travel across the United Kingdom meeting people who are looking to discover a mystery lodged deep in their genetic code. With the help of leading geneticist Professor Turi King, as well as expert genealogists, social workers and doctors, Stacey will help people track down missing relatives, correct myths of ancestry, reveal lost heritage, and even detect potentially debilitating hereditary diseases before it’s too late. This week she meets Bill, a 75-year-old whose mother fell in love with an African-American GI during the war, but lost contact with him after. All Bill knows about his dad is the name written on his birth cert, but now he wants to find out if he might have living relatives in the US. A test will help him. Richard, who’s now 53, was very close to his dad, and was shocked to discover after his father’s death that they were not in fact blood-related. He reveals to Stacey the shocking news that another man now claims he might be his father, which would mean that he has a half-brother. There’s only one way to find out. Elsewhere, couple Charlie and Rob are delighted with their new baby, but recently got the shocking news that Charlie’s dad had been diagnosed with Huntington’s, a debilitating and incurable disease. It’s highly hereditary, and only a DNA test will reveal whether Charlie — and her baby — will also develop it.

Films of the week

Apocalypse Now
Tonight, BBC2, 11pm
Francis Ford Coppola’s definitive cut of his sprawling epic set during the Vietnam War, starring Martin Sheen as a lone assassin who travels up the Nung River to find a decorated US officer who’s gone rogue. With Marlon Brando.
Passengers
Sunday, RTÉ2, 9pm
As a giant space ferry takes humans to a new, distant home, one of its hibernation pods malfunctions and a man emerges who soon decides he needs a mate. With Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence (below).
Public Enemies
Monday, TG4, 9.30pm
Michael Mann’s gripping crime thriller stars Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, a self-styled Depression-era Robin Hood whose daring bank robberies made him a hero among the dispossessed. With Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard.
Black ’47
Monday, Virgin Media 3, 11pm
When a soldier serving in the British Army returns home to the West of Ireland, he finds his family devastated by famine and decides to take revenge. With James Frecheville, Hugo Weaving, Sarah Greene, Stephen Rea.
Unsane
Tuesday, Film4, 9pm
In Steven Soderbergh’s ingenious and flashy thriller, Claire Foy plays a troubled young woman who winds up being confined to a mental hospital after accidentally signing a consent form. With Amy Irving, Juno Temple.
A United Kingdom
Thursday, BBC4, 9pm
Drama based on a true story and starring David Oyelowo as Seretse Khama, a Botswanan prince who causes scandal on a trip to London when he falls in love with a white woman and proposes to her. Rosamund Pike co-stars.

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Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers

Best sport

Rugby
Live Six Nations
Today, Virgin Media One, 1pm
When in Rome
A hectic afternoon of Six Nations action begins with Italy v Ireland in Rome, and continues in Cardiff, where Wales will take on England.

Rugby
Live Six Nations
Sunday, Virgin Media One, 2pm
Free-flowing
In what may be the game of the weekend, the free-flowing French take on a handy Scottish side at the Stade de France. Joe Molloy presents.

Football
Renault Super Sunday
Sunday, Sky Sports Main Event, 4pm
Blues v reds
Somehow, Chelsea are still in the hunt for a top-four finish but will face a stiff challenge as they welcome Man United to Stamford Bridge.

TV picks

Drama
The Great
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
Off his head
When the victim of an apparent murder is discovered, Peter acts with predictable lunacy and starts torturing everyone in the palace.

Documentary
RTÉ Investigates
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Ireland’s illegal adoptions
A look at the experiences of some of the thousands of people illegally adopted in this state while the various authorities looked the other way.

Music
Other Voices
Thursday, RTÉ2, 11.05pm
Hozier and friends
The music show returns for a new run, which kicks off with a stripped-back performance by Hozier with arrangements by Crash Ensemble.

Streaming pick of the week

Framing Britney Spears
Now TV, streaming now

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Britney

Britney

Britney

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Cast your mind back to 2007, when seemingly everyone was too busy mocking Chris “Leave Britney alone” Crocker to even consider the validity of his message. The vast majority of showbiz pundits (yours truly included) were far more consumed with frenziedly feeding off the carcass of then-26-year-old Britney’s career.
Spears commenced said career aged 15 and excelled beyond all expectations. Being a grounded sort, with good Southern manners, she smiled, supported those around her, and — as a result — essentially got thrown under the proverbial bus. Instead of receiving deserved support, Britney was increasingly viewed as a “hybrid business model” by her seemingly perma-conservators, Jamie “My daughter’s gonna be so rich, she’s gonna buy me a boat” Spears and lawyer Andrew Wallet...
Perhaps you’ve been avoiding arguably the most talked-about documentary of 2021 thus far because you’re “not a Britney fan”. If that’s the case, consider this an anatomy of the female condition, whereby all facets of projected guilt, blame, lofty standards and commodification are magnified — especially when you’re a young mother-of-two under a relentless spotlight.
The majority of individuals featured in this telling New York Times documentary don’t come out the other side smelling of roses, and Britney certainly isn’t one of them.

Also streaming

Biggie
Netflix, Monday
It’s wall-to-wall music documentaries across all streaming platforms of late. In addition to Framing Britney, Apple TV+ have just released R.J. Cutler’s Billie Eilish documentary, entitled The World’s a Little Blurry, while Now TV has its mitts on Malik Bendjelloul’s 2012 Oscar winner, Searching for Sugar Man. We’re keeping things old-skool, however, with the Notorious B.I.G. In the wake of his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, and ahead of what would have been his 50th birthday, Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell offers a fresh look at one of the world’s most influential rappers by those who knew him best.
Helstrom
Disney+, streaming now
Given this Hulu Original is part of Disney+’s newly released Star package, this certainly isn’t viewing for the kiddies. With a serial-killer father and a possessed mother, siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom have what could be deemed a complicated relationship, bringing a whole new dimension to the phrase “every family has its demons”. Consider it Hellraiser by way of Buffy, with a smattering of The Exorcist. Fans of Bryan Cranston may be more enthused by the prospect of his latest vehicle, Your Honor, being available on Now TV.
Canine Intervention
Netflix, streaming now
If the prospect of Aidan Turner’s omnipresent six-pack isn’t your thing (Poldark Season 5 dropped recently), perhaps a new reincarnation of Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan by way of My Cat from Hell’s Jackson Galaxy, might be more your thing. Meet Oakland dog trainer Jas Leverette. He runs Cali K9, one of the top dog-training facilities in California. Showcasing his unique training methods and techniques, each episode will feature Jas as he works with a variety of dog breeds and their owners to fix an array of often extreme obedience and behavioural issues.
Moxie
Netflix, Wednesday
Inspired by her mother’s (Amy Poehler) rebellious past, a seemingly shy 16-year-old, Vivian, anonymously publishes an underground zine called Moxie to expose bias and wrongdoing in her school, unexpectedly sparking a movement. Alternatively, Jordan Peele’s Us has also just landed. You can’t say we don’t give you options!


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