Best of this week's TV.
TUESDAY, BBC3, 9pm
Food for thought
This four-part series exposes the reality behind the production of food used for our takeaways and supermarket shelves.
The eye-opening show is made in the style of Blood Sweat and T-shirts, which earned a BAFTA nomination for revealing the grinding poverty that makes cheap High Street clothes possible for us.
This time, six youngsters travel to South-East Asia to experience the shocking conditions of workers who produce those staples of the takeaway, tuna, prawns, rice and chicken. They live and work in exactly the same conditions as their hosts, on a wage of pounds 3 a day.
First stop is Indonesia to investigate the tuna industry, living the hand-tomouth existence of the fishermen. The young Brits endure the cramped, unpleasant conditions aboard a tuna boat and sweat it out in the heat of the canneries, witnessing the poverty of those who supply us with cheap fish.
Who'd have thought the humble tuna sandwich could give us food for thought?
THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
SUNDAY, BBC1, 6pm
It'll grow on you...
The recent burst of stormy weather might have put paid to progress in the garden - so armchair fans can get green-fingered from the comfort of their living room.
Alan Titchmarsh and gardener Joe Swift will host an evening show, while Nicki Chapman and garden designer Andy Sturgeon host a morning edition live from the famous flower show at the Royal Hospital grounds in London.
There's a look at overseas designers putting their own spin on the quintessential English style and a preview of a garden that boasts some very strange planting schemes.
And look out for some special Chelsea reports peeking over the garden fences of celebrities.
Titchmarsh also reflects on our national obsession with gardening.
A feast for the senses.
TEARS, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE MONDAY,STV,9pm
Life follows fiction here with a new documentary that shows how police and psychologists apply techniques similar to those deployed by Five's fictional crime-fighter The Mentalist and by Tim Roth as the man who speaks fluent body language in Sky1's Lie To Me.
When a murder captures media attention, the cameras arrive and police know a raw, emotional appeal from the victim's family can get results. But sometimes the emotion is fake.
Karen Matthews, who kidnapped her own daughter, Shannon, looked distraught when she appealed on TV for Shannon to come home. Initially she fooled friends, neighbours and police alike, but even here there were clues, as US Professor Paul Ekman, the world's foremost criminal body language expert, points out.
When Karen's right shoulder moves up twice in succession, Ekman calls it a "gestural slip", like a bodily slip of the tongue. He says: "Every time we have seen it - and we have seen it in many situations - the person has always been lying."
I OWN BRITAIN'S BEST HOME
THURSDAY, FIVE, 8pm
The climax of the series arrives as finalists compete to be named owners of Britain's Best Home 2009.
Melissa Porter, Russell Harris and Michael Holmes have spent 24 hours in every home featured, and the winners of the heats now compete for the title plus pounds 20,000 to give to the charity of their choice. One of the most striking homes in the final is Pete and Di's Georgian-style new build in Norfolk, a contemporary take on classical design. But it was the incredible riverside setting and charming gazebo that really captured Russell's heart during his stay.
A renovated Regency house in the Cotswolds won the second heat. The house l i the is a sensation, but it was the lovely location and immaculate, landscaped grounds made Melissa's visit special, while one of Michael's favourites was a mock Tudor house in Surrey.
THE HOME SHOW
THURSDAY, CH4, 8pm
Architect George Clarke starts a series of the property show in which people who can't, or don't wish to move, let George radically re-work what they already have. Given the current credit crunch climate, this looks like the right property show at the right time.
THE OMID DJALILI SHOW
MOND AY, BBC1, 11.20pm
The hills are alive with the sound of Marty, a camp, blond bully of a tour guide ( who kno ws everything there is to know about The Sound of Music and punishe s passengers who don't) in this week's mix of sketch and stand-up. But Marty has an incognito passenger who is prepared to stand up to him - Sound of Music star Connie Fisher .
MON-FRI, BBC1, 2.15pm
Five new plays with big name casts tucked away in the daytime schedules, all sharing a theme of people at a crossroads in their lives.
All are written by up-and-coming writers under the guiding hand of Jimmy McGovern, creator of The Street and many other gritty, gripping dramas.
The first play, The Rain Has Stopped, by Karen Brown, stars Sheila Hancock and Bhaskar Patel, above, as widow Liz and Nepalese ex-Gurkha Damar, whose holiday romance immediately blossoms into talk of love and marriage.
But when Liz brings Damar home, her grown-up son and daughter are horrified by the prospect of a new man sharing their mother's affections and her bed.
As well as resenting Damar for displacing memories of their longdead dad, an ugly note of racism creeps, or rather marches, into their arguments.
Liz's neighbour turns out to be blatantly racist too, not to mention Damar's bullying employer.
Writer Karen Brown does rather stack the odds against them but it's a compelling, well-played story for all that.
BRITAIN'S BANKERS - STILL CASHING IN
MONDAY, CH4, 8pm
Ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin may be the most famous fat cat among the top bankers whose greed and misjudgment brought the economy to brink of ruin, but he's certainly not the only one.
There are many more gamblers who triggered thousands of job losses and exposed taxpayers to over a trillion pounds of possible risk.
Reporter Jane Moore investigates exactly how much these former bosses have been rewarded for their failings - and how much they are still raking in.
She sets out to ask them directly about their earnings.
Moore works with an expert to show the extraordinary ways in which bankers were rewarded, from assorted incentives and huge pension pots to funds for 'extras' such as dentist bills.
Many of the failed bankers have retired years early with golden goodbyes and enormous pension pots to draw from, some of them far higher pensions than their banks have announced. No wonder bank workers, not to mention the rest of us, are angry.
BEAR GRYLLS: BORN SURVIVOR
SATURDAY, CH4, 7pm
Still alive - Bearly
It's a miracle that the man who thinks he's a bear has actually made it to the start of his third series, especially when you witness his death-defying stunts here in Belize.
Bear is dangled down from a helicopter to a spot 2000 feet above sea level and faces a perilous 700-foot descent down a crashing series of waterfalls and over rocks as slippery as ice.
It's the rainy season, so one slip at crucial moments and he'd either fall to his death or be swept away in a torrent of tumbling white water. His crew must presumably do the same while holding cameras and mikes, which doesn't bear thinking about.
At one point barmy Bear links two boulders separated by rushing waters by making a single log bridge. Further down he swings on a vine, Tarzan-style, to cross a chasm with a 70-foot drop.
Even when Grylls has reached the relative safety of the forest floor, there are hazards to face including a nine-foot boa constrictor. David Attenborough would recoil at what comes next - Grylls bludgeons the snake until dead and spit-roasts it over an open fire at his overnight camp.
If you think that sounds unappetising, wait till you see him munching on a scorpion. There must be easier ways to earn a living...
Hellish lives of Harold's conscripts
Hellish lives of Harold's conscripts
Everyone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings but most of us know precious little about what life was like for those conscripted into King Harold's army, or the brutal foes they faced.
This epic two-part drama-documentary puts that right in compelling fashion, combining fictional dialogue with historic source material to give an authentic feel of how it was for ordinary folk caught up in the mayhem.
Battles scenes filled with bone-crunching action make for a tale of violence, bad luck, opportunism and truly terrible haircuts, as sported by the semi-shaven-headed Norman invaders.
And don't be put off by the subtitles as the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans are introduced. The lingo just adds a tang of authenticity before we revert to English, and even then there's more effort to maintain the period feel than you'll get in a whole series of Robin Hood and his merry band of modern street slang speakers. The story starts with the king's bodyguard Ordgar recruiting the able-bodied men of a Sussex village to fight an expected Norman attack.
But just as the region's farmers are about to return to their harvest, the summer invasion season being officially over, news comes of a Viking force enjoying pillage and slaughter across northern England, having massacred the forces resisting them at the Battle of Fulford.
Ordgar's men march 200 miles in four days to take on the battle-hardened but outnumbered Viking giants.
They defeat them, just, but before they can draw breath, news of the Norman invasion forces them to dash straight back to Sussex, where they find their homes destroyed and their 'wife-men' taken.
The farmers fought hard before, but this time it is personal... in
Actress Samantha Morton recalled her childhood experiences in care as she directed an all-star cast in this harrowing drama
THE UNLOVED SUNDAY, CH4, 9pm
Nobody does nasty better than Robert Carlyle, and the Scottish star is at his nastiest in the opening minutes of this intense film drama.
The Unloved is part of C4's season on Britain's Forgotten Children and directed by actress Samantha Morton,who was brought up in care herself.
Carlyle is the daddy, and he has sent out young daughter Lucy to buy fags, with the family's last fiver.
When she comes home two hours later saying she got distracted, she has no fags, no fiver and no excuse as to what happened to the money. We don't know whether she lost it, spent it or had it snatched from her. All we know is that her father's fury is enough to terrify any child.
He removes his belt to give Lucy (an utterly remarkable performance by newcomer Molly Windsor, 11) the thrashing of her life, which mercifully takes place offscreen, although you hear every lash.
What you don't hear is any hysterics from the poor abused girl, who hardly cries or smiles in the film, keeping her emotions locked inside.
Lucy's absent mother (Susan Lynch) is as neglectful as her father is brutal, which is a reflection of Samantha Morton's own background, and Lucy is soon taken into care where, once again, writer Tony Grisoni has drawn on Morton's experiences to flesh out what becomes of her and her roommate, 16-year-old Lauren (Lauren Socha).
The setting for all this is the Midlands city of Nottingham, Morton's own home town, and both girls were cast after open auditions were held in local schools, drama groups and at The Television Workshop, which Morton herself attended, so the real-life parallels for the fiction are everywhere.
Says mother-of-two Samantha, 31: "I'm thrilled to be making my first film with Channel 4, who have constantly pushed boundaries and enabled people like myself to have a voice."
Nottinghamshire Social Services were less thrilled, and refused to allow their staff to talk to the film-makers. One scene sees teenager Lauren sexually abused by a care worker in the children's home, and this incident again was based on Morton's own experiences while growing up in local authority care.
Head of Channel 4 drama Liza Marshall says:"Samantha's empathy and understanding of children in care should make for an exceptional film."
HORRIFIED... Volunteer Stacey EXPERT... Holmes FEARSOME FOE... Ordgar, King Harold's bodyguard recruited the men DOES THIS SHIRT GO..? Bear in action BEASTLY... Robert Carlyle plays a brutal father to his screen daughter Lucy
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||May 16, 2009|
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