On UK TV this coming week the achievements of cancer campaigner Deborah James are marked in a powerful new documentary, while Saturday nights get an injection of razzmatazz thanks to the return of Britain’s Got Talent.
Plus ITV1 brings a certain amount of controversy to the schedules with its three-part dramatisation of the crimes of Raoul Moat.
Saturday, 15 April/Sunday, 16 April – 8.00pm/7.45pm: Britain’s Got Talent | ITV1
Usually, all the pre-broadcast BGT talk would be of the more eccentric hopefuls. But this year, all eyes are on the judging panel, thanks to the departure of David Walliams (who recently apologised for “disrespectful comments” made about participants in 2020) and the arrival of Bruno Tonioli.
Read more: What happened to the winners of BGT?
Already, we’ve had press reports of a prank by Simon Cowell having backfired when the Syco boss pretended to be hurt by a crossbow arrow fired by the former Strictly judge. But we can now assess for ourselves the impact made by Bruno thanks to a double bill of episodes on Saturday and Sunday. That’s the weekend sorted, then…
Saturday, 15 April, 9.25pm: Lyra | C4
When investigative journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead by Irish Dissident Republicans at the age of 29, tributes were paid across the world, with US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi even seen holding a press conference and a minute’s silence in her memory.
Now, the journalist’s close friend, documentary-maker Alison Millar has used salvaged voice recordings and dictaphone recordings to help tell McKee’s story in her own words, while family members talk of their grief and the quest for justice that followed her death.
Hilary Rodham Clinton, who serves as executive producer on the project said: “With the Good Friday Agreement under threat, the film could not be more timely and is an important watch for anyone concerned about peace in Northern Ireland.”
Sunday, 16 April – Tuesday, 18 April, 9.00pm: The Hunt for Raoul Moat | ITV1
In lesser hands, this could have been a schlocky, exploitative affair, but screenwriter Kevin Sampson has done an excellent job in shedding light on the human tragedies that lay behind Britain’s biggest real-life manhunt.
Lee Ingleby is at the centre of events over the three parts (which are airing over three nights) in his role as Neil Adamson, the senior Northumbria police officer leading the race against time to apprehend Raoul Moat (Matt Stokoe), the man recently released from prison who has now embarked on an horrendous killing spree armed with a shotgun…
Sunday, 16 April, 9.00pm: Scared of the Dark | Channel 4
We've heard of celebrities giving up the limelight but not light altogether. Yet this is the challenge facing the stars entering a pitch-black bunker in Scared of the Dark to see how they fare over eight days in complete darkness.
Even before an episode had aired, this experimental game show was attracting attention, thanks to the actions of one its participants: Chris Eubank. How long the ex-boxer lasts remains to be seen, but he'll be sharing his living space with the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Nicola Adams and Scarlett Moffatt, and competing to win items that'll make their lives easier. Danny Dyer hosts.
Monday, 17 April, 9.00pm: Deborah James: Bowelbabe In Her Own Words | BBC2
Filmed during the final months of her life, Dame Deborah James talks candidly about the realities of living with bowel cancer, her tireless campaigning and the effect her illness has had on those closest to her.
As such, it’s an affecting watch, especially in light of the fact that we already know its ending, with James having died at her parents’ house in Woking in June 2022.
Read more: The stars we lost in 2022
But what haven’t yet been viewed by the public are the never-before-seen mobile phone clips, footage from which are offered up here, alongside James’s collection of TikToks and Instagram videos.
Wednesday, 19 April, 9.00pm: Painting Birds with Jim and Nancy Moir | Sky Arts
Ornithology and comedy – an unlikely combination? It may feel like an odd mix, but then comic Jim Moir has never been one to conform to expectations.
And his latest series proves to be both charming and entertaining, with Jim seen in the company of his wife Nancy venturing out into the countryside with the aim of creating an original piece of bird art while in the company of twitchers, conservation experts and artists. A feature-length documentary, A Brush with Art, which also features Jim, follows on and delves into the connection between comedy and art.
Friday, 21 April: Dead Ringers episodes 1-6 | Amazon Prime Video
David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller is reworked and gender-flipped for a new generation with Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead role of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twin gynaecologists who’ll be seen performing ethically questionable procedures on infertile women.
All six episodes of the psychosexual thriller will drop at the same time, a move that will no doubt result in viewers getting caught up in the siblings’ mission to push the boundaries of medical ethics – no matter what it takes. Expect dark humour and subversive body horror.
Watch: Rachel Weisz on playing twins in Dead Ringers