Monday 11th July

Today’s previews by Ceri Thomas

New Tricks

9pm, BBC1 ★ ★ ★

More jovial geriatric crime cracking with the old lags of the UCOS division. Tonight’s cold case? The strangling of a homeless man on a London Underground train 15 years earlier…

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For most telly coppers, solving a mystery where there’s no crime scene, no CCTV footage, no forensic evidence and where they don’t even know the name of the victim would be quite daunting, but the UCOS lads go at it in their usual amiably dogged fashion. Trolling around interviewing middleclass social climbers and homeless dustbin divers, they begin to get a whiff of a seventies scandal. And slowly start unpicking the crime…

None of that really matters, though. As usual, the mystery mechanics finish a distant second to the character chemistry. Alun Armstrong and James Bolam are on fine form this evening as, respectively, OCD Brian and wearily sad Jack. The latter struggles with claustrophobia, while the former has a jolting encounter with a bunch of tramps that leaves him wondering just how close to a life on the streets he’d come. Especially after a half-brick bashing and a jolt from a taser…

The support cast isn’t bad this evening either with Peter Davidson and Keith Allen crop up. Actually, both are doing pretty well out of telly detective dramas at the moment (Allen had a supporting role in Case Histories a few weeks back, while Davidson started a stint on Law & Order UK last night). They slot in here nicely, with Allen in particular having great fun reprising his role rom a few years back as dodgy private detective Roger.

Gentle, silly, enjoyable stuff.

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ROUND-UP…

It’s documentaries a-go-go tonight on BBC3. The doublebill of Underage And Pregnant (8.30pm) and Small Teen: Bigger World (9pm) is well worth investigating. The former is a refreshingly unjudgmental look at the life of 16-year-old Abigail as she struggles with the twin demands of doing her GCSEs and trying to bring up her tiny baby. It’d be the best docu of the night… if it wasn’t for Small Teen. The 16 year old in this documentary is Jasmine Burkitt who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism. Easily ducking mawkish pity, it’s a revealing a and refreshing look at a young woman who refuses to let the fact that she’s barely the height of a small girl either depress or define her.

Drama-wise, try and take a look at Coming Up: Rough Skin (11.10pm, Channel 4). Now in its sixth year, the Coming Up strand is Channel 4’s slot for one-offs from promising new filmmakers. The 30-minute offerings can be patchy, but they’ve developed a reputation as an impressive showcase for talent both behind and in front of the camera. You can see that in the quality of cast they’ve started to demand. Tonight’s first of seven original dramas sees This Is England’s Vicky McClure playing Kelly, a hard-nosed girl emerging from prison and moving back in with her mum…

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ALSO ON TONIGHT…

The Truth About Wildlife – 7pm, BBC2

University Challenge – 8pm, BBC2

Dispatches: Murder On Honeymoon– 8pm, Channel 4

Countrywise Kitchen– 8pm, ITV1

Panorama: Gerry And The GPs – 8.30pm, BBC1

The Life Of Muhammad – 9pm, BBC2 New Series

Strictly Kosher – 9pm, ITV1

Embarrassing Bodies: Teen Special – 9pm, Channel 4

The Restaurant Inspector – 9pm, Channel 5

British Masters – 9pm, BBC4 New Series

Sirens – 10pm, Channel 4

Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model – 10pm, Sky Living

Spartacus: Blood And Sand – 10pm, Sky1

Weeds – 10.50pm, Sky Atlantic


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SOAP BUBBLES

Emmerdale – 7pm, ITV1

It’s hard to know who to feel most sorry for. Should it be Gennie who wakes up next to Jimmy this morning (it must be like waking up next to a badly shaved grizzly bear…)? Or perhaps it’s Jimmy himself who has to try and explain to soon-to-be-ex-wife Nicola (badly shaved weasel) what Gennie is doing at his house? For once, it really isn’t what Nicola thinks… (Ceri Thomas)

EastEnders – 8pm, BBC1

Billy and Julie finally set off to visit their son, but they are in for a nasty surprise (and no, it’s not that he looks like them – although that would be unpleasant enough…). Meanwhile, Fatboy, in search of a job, manages to irritate Phil – which is not really surprising because Phil is the most easily irritated person on the Square. And Fatboy is the most irritating one… (Terry Ramsey)

Coronation Street – 7.30 and 8.30pm, ITV1

So what are the big stories tonight then? Well, Audrey goes out for a drink with Mark’s cross-dressing alter ego Marcia, Leanne reveals that she might be pregnant (what? Just days after her own birth mum reappears? What a coincidence…) and there’s a new member of Dev’s family on the Street. But the story of the night has to be the ongoing tale of how unconvincing lesbian #1 aka Sophie has given away a big chunk of her dad’s winnings to the fake homeless charity that Ken’s grandson James fronted. She’s clearly an idiot (we all knew that though, right?), but just how much did James know about it all? Hmm, well… (Ceri Thomas)

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THE REEL THING

The Long Kiss Goodnight – 9pm, 5*


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Slick and sarky thrills from Rennie Harlin’s high-concept action adventure. Geena Davis is the soccer mom slowly realising that there may be a vast chunk of her past that she’s forgotten. Hiring Samuel L Jackson’s shabby private detective to investigate, she discovers that just maybe she once lived a double life as a top-flight secret agent and assassin… It’s a belter of a flick given real class by Shane ‘Lethal Weapon’ Black’s acidly funny script. (Ceri Thomas)

Worth A Look…

Hot Shots! Part Deux – 7.20pm, Film4

Grown Ups – 8pm, Sky Premiere

Sherlock Holmes – 8pm, Sky Showcase

It’s Complicated – 8pm, Sky Drama/Romance

Catch Me If You Can – 8pm, Sky Modern Greats

Terminator 2: Judgement Day – 9pm, ITV2

Philadelphia – 10pm, Channel 5

The Client – 9pm, Film4

The Long Kiss Goodnight – 9pm, 5*

Marnie – 9pm, Sky Classics

Raging Bull – 10.25pm, Sky Modern Greats

Scarface – 11.15pm, Sky Classics



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