From a crime drama reborn starring Sandra Bullock to Duran Duran in Radio 2 In Concert, the best on demand TV to watch this week
NETFLIX, DISNEY+, AMAZON, BRITBOX, STARZ & SKY
Remember the 2009 TV drama series Unforgiven?
Written by Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright, it was set in Yorkshire and starred Suranne Jones as a convicted criminal who returns to her home town after being released from prison, but finds the locals won’t allow her to forget what happened.
Oddly, it’s the inspiration for this gritty film from the German director Nora Fingscheidt. The story has been transplanted to Seattle, with Sandra Bullock taking over the lead role.
Sandra Bullock (above) plays Ruth Slater, whose hopes of rebuilding a relationship with her younger sister look set to be ruined by prying eyes
She plays Ruth Slater, whose hopes of rebuilding a relationship with her younger sister look set to be ruined by prying eyes. Vincent D’Onofrio and Oscar-winning The Help actress Viola Davis also star. Netflix, from Friday
The Many Saints Of Newark
Tony Soprano is the central character in the TV series The Sopranos and this is, partly, his origin story.
However, the focus is on his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), a New Jersey gangster who young Tony (Michael Gandolfini – son of the late James Gandolfini, who played Tony) looks up to. Multi-platform, from Monday
Wrath Of Man
Guy Ritchie reunites with Jason Statham for the first time since 2005’s Revolver in this heist thriller.
Scott Eastwood (above) co-stars in this remake of French actioner Cash Truck alongside Jason Statham, who is a mysterious driver for a security company
It’s a remake of the French actioner Cash Truck and stars Statham as a mysterious driver for a security company.
He’s a man on a mission – to take revenge on those who killed his son. Co-starring Josh Hartnett, Andy García and Scott Eastwood. Amazon, from Friday
A Boy Called Christmas
This Christmas origins story begins in London, where Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith) is telling her young charges a bedtime story.
But we’re soon transported to the Finnish woods, where a boy sets off in search of his father and a fabled village of elves with only a talking mouse (Stephen Merchant) and reindeer for company. Sky/NOW, available now
Jacques Cousteau was ahead of his time. Decades before Greta Thunberg was born, he was trying to warn the world that our seas were getting warmer, while also highlighting the planet’s vulnerability.
Jacques Cousteau (above) was ahead of his time, trying to warn the world that our seas were getting warmer, while also highlighting the planet’s vulnerability
He was also an inventor and film-maker who opened up the underwater world to millions.
Director Liz Garbus’s two-part film offers a glimpse into Cousteau’s life and incredible achievements. Disney+, available now
As Time Goes By
You must remember this… if you’re over 40, that is. As romcom concepts go, it was a cracker: Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer played former lovers who meet 38 years later and try to relight their fire.
With scripts by The Good Life’s Bob Larbey, the series ran for 13 years from 1992 to 2005. BritBox, series 1-4 available from Thursday
Spitting Image Christmas Special
Don’t expect any punches to be pulled when the satirical comedy returns for a festive edition.
Prince Andrew gets a shocking surprise and Rishi Sunak is visited by ghosts in the Spitting Image Christmas Special
It will form part of ITV’s Christmas schedule, but BritBox subscribers are receiving it as an early gift.
Prince Andrew getting a shocking surprise, Tom Cruise saving Santa and Rishi Sunak being visited by ghosts are some of the highlights. BritBox, available now
The sixth and final series of the ambitious, sci-fi drama. It’s 300 years in the future and humans have colonised the solar system and divided into three factions: Earth and the Moon, Mars, and the outer planets. Amazon, from Friday
A welcome return for the brilliantly bonkers comedy about Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler. Elle Fanning is the empress, Nicholas Hoult her doltish husband, Peter.
Elle Fanning (above, right, with Gillian Anderson) is the empress in this brilliantly bonkers comedy about Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler
The second series opens with Catherine heavily pregnant by Peter but also at war with him – literally. She’s finally carrying out her coup and is still determined to make Russia more liberal.
It’s funny, rude, wildly historically inaccurate and one of the best shows on TV. StarzPlay, from Sunday
Cambridge University, 1934. Four posh young men are recruited by Soviet agents. Tom Hollander plays Guy Burgess, Toby Stephens is Kim Philby, Samuel West is Anthony Blunt and Rupert Penry-Jones plays Donald Maclean.
This four-part dramatisation takes us up to Philby and Maclean’s 1951 defection. BritBox, from Thursday
Why is there such a buzz about..?
The Wheel Of Time (Amazon)
And lo, the dark one, Bezos of Amazon, saw the glory and riches showered upon Game Of Thrones and summoned his minions to Se-A-Ttle and bade them go forth and find him a fantasy epic.
So they did scour the lands and returned with… The Wheel Of Time.
Daniel Henney and Rosamund Pike (above) star in this fantasy epic
Amazon has gone all out to ensure that its founder’s desire to replicate Game Of Thrones’ success will be fulfilled with this ambitious show based on the novels by Robert Jordan.
The company has even built its own studio in Prague to accommodate the production. The cast has been filming series two, and the third is believed to have been green-lit.
Critics haven’t yet been entirely won over but fans across the world have. The first episode was Amazon’s most watched series premiere of the year.
With Daniel Henney and Rosamund Pike.
BBC iPlayer and My 5
Radio 2 In Concert: Duran Duran & Coldplay
Gigs are, of course, now being played across the country, but for those unable to get a ticket, or who still aren’t comfortable with the idea of being in a packed venue, the BBC’s In Concert series is a godsend.
Coldplay also feature in BBC’s In Concert series, playing songs from their back catalogue as well as tracks from their latest album. Chris Martin (above)
Each edition features a top-class act recorded at Broadcasting House. More than 40 years since they formed, Duran Duran are the latest act to appear.
They continue to wow their army of fans with their classic pop sound, and here perform some of their greatest hits.
Coldplay also feature, playing songs from their back catalogue as well as tracks from their latest album, Music Of The Spheres. BBC iPlayer, Duran Duran, available now; Coldplay, from Tuesday
It’s not easy viewing, but Roger Michell’s drama, based on Hanif Kureishi’s screenplay, is never less than tense and compelling.
A recently widowed OAP embarks on an ill-advised fling with Darren (Daniel Craig, above), her daughter’s troubled carpenter lover
Anne Reid puts in a Bafta-nominated performance as May, a recently widowed OAP who embarks on an ill-advised fling with Darren (Daniel Craig), her daughter’s troubled carpenter lover. BBC iPlayer, available now
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Luther actress Ruth Wilson has plucked an incredible story from her own family archives.
She plays her grandmother Alison, who discovered secrets about her husband after his death: Alex (Iain Glen) was an MI6 spy – and she was not the only Mrs Wilson… BBC iPlayer, until Friday
Gavin & Stacey
The British comedy series, written by and starring Ruth Jones and James Corden, revolves around Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page).
Gavin & Stacey follows follows the key moments in the title characters’s relationship, including meeting friends Nessa (Ruth Jones, above) and Smithy (James Corden, above)
The show follows the key moments in their relationship, from meeting each other’s families and friends – including Stacey’s friend Nessa (Jones) and Gavin’s best friend Smithy (Corden) – to getting engaged.
Since 2007 Gavin & Stacey has become a firm cult favourite over three series and a Christmas special in 2019. BBC iPlayer, available now
The third TV incarnation of P. D. James’s poetry-loving policeman finds Bertie Carvel in the role.
Over three episodes Carvel effortlessly convinces as the downbeat ’tec, nicely contrasting with his snarky, sneaky sergeant (Jeremy Irvine). My 5, available now
Stephen Merchant’s delightful comedy drama (with Merchant, Clare Perkins and Eleanor Tomlinson) about a group carrying out community service has, sadly, ended its Monday evening run.
Stephen Merchant’s delightful comedy drama (with Merchant, Clare Perkins and Eleanor Tomlinson, above), has sadly ended its Monday evening run
If you missed it, here’s a chance to discover the laughs – and the tension – courtesy of the box set. Just seeing Christopher Walken as an old lag makes the whole thing worth watching. BBC iPlayer, available now