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What to watch (and what to avoid) on TV this weekend

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Anthony Mackie in Altered Carbon

Anthony Mackie in Altered Carbon

Anthony Mackie in Altered Carbon

From the second series of Altered Carbon to the conclusion of Snowfall, Pat Stacey has the lowdown on the best of the weekend's TV.

TONIGHT

The first season of science fiction thriller Altered Carbon (Netflix, now streaming) came in for a fair bit of criticism for its sometimes slack plotting and pacing, and also the level of violence, particularly against women, and gratuitous nudity (yes, women again).

At least one of those issues has been addressed; this second run has eight episodes, two fewer than the previous one. The beauty of a series featuring a protagonist whose consciousness can be uploaded into different bodies, or “sleeves” as they’re called here, means every new season is effectively a complete reset.

This time out, Anthony Mackie takes over from Joel Kinnamen as the latest incarnation of Takeshi Kitano, the former soldier-turned-investigator whose consciousness, or “stack”, was taken out of storage 250 years after his death in order to investigate a murder. Now, 30 years and many other skins later, there’s another killer to be caught and many new characters to deal with.

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Eric Burden: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal, BBC 4

Eric Burden: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal, BBC 4

Eric Burden: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal, BBC 4

If you’ve seen Bruce Springsteen’s keynote address at South by Southwest in 2012, you’ll know one of the formative bands he loved as a teenager was The Animals. He’s one of the contributors to the documentary Eric Burden: Rock ‘n’ Roll – Animal (BBC4, 9.30pm).

The Newcastle-born Burden himself is in fine, feisty and often unforgiving form (especially when it comes to former bandmate Alan Price) as he talks about his troubled upbringing, his friendship with Jimi Hendrix, The Animals’ success in America, and the mixture of bad luck and self-destructiveness that undermined it.

Intelligence (Sky 1, 9pm, 9.30pm) drew a surprisingly hostile response from some of the UK critics. I can’t understand why; it’s great knockabout fun. In the first of tonight’s double-bill, idiotic NSA blow-in Jerry (David Schwimmer) leads the GCHQ for hackers, while the second episode sees clueless Joseph (Nick Mohammed, who writes it) feeling jealous of a new staff member.

It’s the end of Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotand (BBC2, 10.30pm), which was too short at four episodes and would easily merit a second run. He talks to comic book legend Grant Morrison about where Scots get their unique brand of nihilism. More thought-provokingly, he muses on what the future holds for a post-Brexit Scotland.

Discovering: Jason Robards (Sky Arts, 6pm) profiles the great American actor who pulled off a unique Watergate double. He played both legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in All the President’s Men in 1976, and President Richard Monckton, a fictionalised version of Richard Nixon, in TV’s Washington: Behind Closed Doors the following year.

SATURDAY

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Sharon Gless in Casualty

Sharon Gless in Casualty

Sharon Gless in Casualty

Seeing American stars turning up in British television series (David Schwimmer in Intelligence, Richard Gere in Motherfatherson, Rob Lowe in the bizarre Wild Bill) is no longer the novelty it used to be. Nonetheless, it’s still a thrill to see Sharon Gless, one half of iconic, groundbreaking detective duo Cagney & Lacey, popping up in Casualty (BBC1, 9.10pm).

Video of the Day

Having appeared, via video call, as super-surgeon Zsa Zsa Harper-Jenkinson in last week’s episode, tonight she’s present in the flesh, having flown in specially to operate on young Luka.

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Damson Idris as Franklin Saint in Snowfall.  PIC: Prashant Gupta/FX

Damson Idris as Franklin Saint in Snowfall. PIC: Prashant Gupta/FX

Damson Idris as Franklin Saint in Snowfall. PIC: Prashant Gupta/FX

If you’ve been following Snowfall (BBC2, 10.30pm, 11.30pm), you’ll be pleased to know a fourth season has been ordered and will be showing later this year. For now, we bid farewell to the drama created by the late John Singleton with a double-bill that finds Franklin (Damson Idris) really feeling the strain for the first time.

In the aftermath of the shooting, he wants everyone in the family to lie low. Nobody knows how much he’s hiding or the pressure he’s under, but Melanie is beginning to suspect the truth.

Hidden (BBC4, 9pm) just gets darker and darker. As the villagers gather for Geraint Ellis’s memorial, one of his killers is getting a kick out of being among the crowd. But another of them is on the verge of cracking under the strain of guilt and remorse. Inevitably they have to be silenced. For good.

SUNDAY

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Doctor Who season 12

Doctor Who season 12

Doctor Who season 12

Big changes are being teased in tonight’s Doctor Who (BBC1, 6.50pm), which concludes an action-packed two-part finale. The Cybermen march on, Sacha Dhawan’s Master is back and the truth about the Timeless Child will finally be revealed... possibly. But what does it all have to do with that bizarre late scene featuring the older version of seemingly indestructible rural garda Brendan?

Antiques Roadshow (BBC1, 8pm) makes a welcome return with intriguing treasures, including a rare Beatles guitar and a pawned diamond ring that saved a family from the poorhouse.

If you’re looking for something a bit grittier than the big-hearted, sweet-natured Last Tango in Halifax (BBC1, 9pm), you’re unlikely to find it in mismatched cops show McDonald & Dodds (ITV, 8pm). Spiky London DCI McDonald (Tala Gouvela) takes up a job in supposedly backward Bath, where her sidekick is the plodding DS Dodds (Jason Watkins). Sounds dire.



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