The ten best TV shows of the week

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What to watch over the next seven days

Time Out's critics steer you through the TV listings guide with reviews of the best shows over the next seven days, from big dramas and reality shows to cult comedies and documentaries. National talking point or hidden gem – we've got it covered. For full listings and five daily picks, cycle through the days by using the tabs on the grid at www.timeout.com/tv.

  • Storyville: From the Sea to the Land Beyond

    Rating: 4/5
    Sun Nov 18, 9-10.15pm, BBC4

    Award-winning director Penny Woolcock has pieced together a poetic, often hypnotic montage of over 100 years of black-and-white and colour BFI archive footage, chronicling our symbiotic and enduring connection with the British coast. From promenading Edwardians in big hats and holidaymakers larking about on chilly beaches, to the effect of industry and war on the landscape, it’s a poignant, meditative film. There’s no narration, so you may find yourself hankering for subtitles to place scenes, but persist: the sweeping soundtrack by Brighton band British Sea Power – punctuated by occasional silences, seaside sounds, news reports and old songs – is rousing, affecting and in tune with the visuals. Simultaneously nostalgic for – and disconnected from – a more gentle time, it’s a film of understated beauty with a hint of Dunkirk spirit. Debra Waters

  • Him and Her

    Rating: 4/5
    Sun Nov 18, 10-11pm, BBC3

    A very welcome new series for this still-life of a domestic sitcom which – if it didn’t feel like damning with faint praise – could easily be described as the jewel in BBC3’s crown. So little happens in an average episode of ‘Him and Her’ that the format becomes almost audacious. Tonight, Becky has a hangover which, along with a visit from the ever-tiresome Laura and Paul and the usual looming presence of Dan, conspires to prevent Steve from presenting the wedding ring which he has hidden in the plastic bag cupboard. But despite this potentially rather significant development, the plotting feels happily beside the point – this is carried by the spot-on, naturalistic dialogue and likeable, intuitive performances from leads Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani. Phil Harrison

  • Four Born Every Second

    Rating: 4/5
    Mon Nov 18, 10.35-11.35pm, BBC1

    The pain and joy of childbirth is universal. But that’s where the similarities end and the crushing hand of economic pre-destination intervenes. This affecting, occasionally gruelling film uses maternity and infant mortality as a mechanism for analysing global inequality. And while surprises are few – inevitably a council house in England is going to compare favourably with a hut in Sierra Leone – the facts alone are enough to make this an incredibly pertinent polemic. The most eloquent spokesman is a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor in Sierra Leone who – shortly after we’ve watched a mother and child die on his operating table – points out how obvious and unarguable the need for global wealth redistribution is and how reluctant the developed world seems to make even the tiniest of sacrifices. Often difficult viewing but well worth the effort. Phil Harrison

  • Last Tango in Halifax

    Rating: 4/5
    Tue Nov 20, 9-10pm, BBC1

    The titular allusion to Brando, butter and anonymous ’70s sex is the worst thing about this new eight-part romantic comedy starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid. Widowed and in their seventies, a pair of Yorkshire wrinklies reconnect on Facebook having once fancied each other in their teens. Thankfully few obvious gags are made at the expense of these ‘silver surfers’, with the scenes featuring them messaging each other proving particularly well handled. There’s also a canny nod to Jacobi’s RSC pedigree when his character Alan Buttershaw quotes Shakespeare in a casual, almost unknowing way. Trying to avoid it becoming ‘As Time Goes By 2.0’ though, writer Sally Wainwright puts their respective kids and grandkids through some particularly wild and eyebrow-raising dramas – including lesbian flings among teachers, drunk one-night stands and even the odd unexplained death. It works though, and this first episode nicely sets up a series that could end up becoming an unlikely source of rather cheeky and subversive fun on BBC1. Oliver Keens

  • Supersized Earth

    Rating: 4/5
    Wed Nov 21, 8-9pm, BBC1

    Much more than just a ‘world’s biggest buildings’ effort, this three-part documentary investigates the remarkable engineering feats that shape our cities and accommodate the world’s growing population. And it’s a beautiful thing. The use of computer graphics and stop-motion photography is effective: the walls fall away from skyscrapers to reveal the millions crammed inside, a city builds itself in a matter of seconds (it actually took 30 years; the city, Shanghai is revealed as a sort of Ikea flat-pack of a settlement). Presenter Dallas Campbell braves the heights and depths of the manmade world, cleaning windows on the world’s tallest building and diving into the sewers of Mexico City. Rather him than us. It’s a fascinating look at the accomplishments of our modern world that is visually inventive and well put together. Claire Winter

  • Bring Me Morecambe & Wise

    Rating: 4/5
    Wed Nov 21 9-10pm, GOLD

    Morecambe and Wise could bring a smile to the face of a coma patient. Their much-imitated, never-bettered brand of music-hall surrealism has aged remarkably well – it’s no real surprise that we’re still celebrating this inventive, inclusive and incredibly good-natured double act. This five-part series is an unabashed wallow in their finest moments and also digs a few unfamiliar morsels out of the vaults. For example, the deathless ‘Andrew Preview’ routine was first performed almost a decade earlier, before being refined into the tour-de-force of Christmas TV-defining tomfoolery that we know and love. One minor caveat; the celebrity reaction shots are truly superfluous – we know Eric and Ern are funny and we don’t need to watch David Baddiel or Tamsin Greig laughing at them to have that confirmed. Still, overall, sunshine can consider itself well and truly brought. Phil Harrison

  • The Aristocrats

    Rating: 3/5
    Thu Nov 22 9-10pm, C4

    What with the cabinet and now the post of Archbishop of Canterbury being the preserve of old Etonians, it would be easy to assume that the British aristocracy was in the rudest of health. But apparently, that’s not the case. This series begins at Blenheim Palace where, amid the heritage trappings and scuttling servants, trouble seems to be brewing. It mainly centres around shambling former drug addict and jailbird Jamie Blandford, who may or may not be charged with maintaining the palace upon the passing of his disapproving father. This premise promises all manner of dysfunctional posho hi-jinks but, disappointingly, the reality is more prosaic. Blandford was last seen on TV refusing to sleep outdoors in 2009’s ‘Famous, Rich and Homeless’. This incident indicated that, for all of his issues, certain aspects of Blandford’s privileged upbringing held fast. And this film confirms it – the errant son actually seems quite keen to take over the running of the family seat and, eventually, his father seems inclined to let him. This leaves us with a mildly intriguing insight into the rigours of maintaining an English country house, but not much else. Phil Harrison

  • The Joy of the Single

    Rating: 4/5
    Fri Nov 23, 9-10pm, BBC4

    It’s nearly gone now. But it was a realm in which Joy Division could face off against the Wurzels and the victor wasn’t certain. It was often your first proper possession, your first genuine attempt at self-definition. In this documentary, various talking heads – including Jack White and Brian Wilson – listen to the first singles they ever bought. They all sing along and some even enact them. It’s oddly beautiful and prompts the thought that this is the closest most of us will ever get to time travel. Inevitably, the film has a melancholy tang – we move on from the sacred iconography of the vinyl seven inch, through CD singles to the downloaded present. It’s unashamedly nostalgic and might be baffling for anyone under 25. But hey, their loss. If you’re in the mood for more rose-tinted backwards-facing, hang on for ‘Ultimate Number Ones’ which follows. Phil Harrison

  • 4 Funnies: Dr Brown

    Rating: 4/5
    Fri Nov 23, 11.05-11.35pm, C4

    Anyone who’s seen Dr Brown’s live work, including his triumphant Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning show this year, will be slightly taken aback by his TV pilot. He speaks! Brown – the clowning creation of American Phil Burgers – is largely silent on stage, performing slow-burning mime pieces with an unnerving edge. His small-screen debut is a bundle of short, snappy, subtle sketches, many taken from his ‘Comedy Blaps’ series on the C4 website. Some skits are wordy, others not, but they’re all brilliantly bizarre. We meet an upbeat hippy skateboarder, an emotionally unstable jogger, a jibberish-speaking Kimono-warring nuisance and many unsettling relationships. Much like his live work, the punchlines are often odd and unexpected, with his understated delivery and superb physical comedy skills raising the biggest laughs. Let’s hope C4 gives Burgers a series; having been silent for so long, he must have plenty more to say. Ben Williams

  • The Killing III

    Rating: 4/5
    Sat Nov 24, 9-10pm, BBC4

    In plotting terms, this feels like the most complex of the three series. Against the backdrop of grim austerity, Lund, Brix and Borch are looking in numerous directions at once: prosecutors, pathologists, corrupt businessmen, parents, economic migrants and even Prime Ministers could all be at the root of the disappearance of Emilie Zeuthen. In addition to the kidnapping, there’s a nicely drawn thread running through this series involving parental responsibility. Lund has let her struggles with her son distract her at crucial moments. Equally, might the Zeuthen family be partially the architects of their own misfortune too? Four episodes in (part four follows at 10pm), it remains impossible to say where this might be going. But ‘The Killing’ sustains its dramatic dynamics to a remarkable degree. Probably a show calling it a day at the right time. But boy are we going to miss it when it’s gone. Phil Harrison


Users say

43 comments
Thomas Leader
Thomas Leader

#ilovespecialolympics I am the film maker of I Love Special Olympics, please follow the film here @ILoveSOGB youtu.be/ONPo6VLFYNc

Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (from BUFF Presents)
Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (from BUFF Presents)

There will be 4 films showing on Saturday (repeated on Sunday at the same time). The 4th film is 'The Holiday' (by award-winning director Ida Akesson) which is showing at 11.20pm

nowshow
nowshow

Thank you, Adrian, for your information about Downton Abbey, as below. It is very fortunate that I subscribe to VM "XL" package, therefore, I intend tuning in for this.

Paul H
Paul H

Channel 4 at its offensive best..the Undateables,good to see that freak shows are still acceptable TV-as if these people haven't got enough to deal with! Along with other so called documentaries such as Big Body Squad et al from the channel that thinks it is pushing the boundaries of journalism when those boundaries are of taste, decency and respect except in relation to immigration, race and sexuality (where it tows the liberal media line like a scared little child!).

Kikin
Kikin

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Longgong
Longgong

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Adrian zak
Adrian zak

In response to the post from "noshow", series 1 of Downton Abbey is available on Virgin Media's Classic British Drama collection via its On Demand service, along with gems such as Edge of Darkness, Pride & Prejudice, Wallander, Holding On and Boys from the Blackstuff. I do work for VM but just in case this helps

noshow
noshow

I am disappointed now that Downton Abbey has become hugely popular in the states, (where they take things to extremes, by even holding special house parties every Sunday for the weekly episode on PBS channel), It is no longer available on British TV, not even included in ITV Player on demand service. I wanted to watch it, just to see what all the fuss is about. Presumably, us Brits have to spend lots of money on expensive box set DVDs instead?

Bernard
Bernard

ToTim Arthur Tim ,excellent that tv is back in magazine ...is it possible we have a modicom of radio listings

Mark
Mark

Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy - well, what can I say? It was probably the worst thing I've watched for many years. Just terrible. I think it's the first time I've felt genuinely embarrassed on Noel Fielding's behalf. I almost feel sorry for the guy, because he's obviously lost on his own, and being weird and random simply isn't enough to make people laugh. Total disaster!

Paul
Paul

Thanks for bringing the TV guide back, and listening to your readers, hope you may bring a fuller one back at some point, we will be renewing our subscription soon.

Tim Arthur, Editor-in-Chief
Tim Arthur, Editor-in-Chief

Hello everyone. Thanks you very much for all your feedback over the last few weeks. Sorry I haven't been in touch sooner. We have been working very hard on coming up with a solution and this appears in this week's magazine.The grids have returned and we've kept our editorial. We have had to re-jig it all a bit to make it fit the pages but hopefully this will go some way towards addressing your concerns. I'm genuinely sorry that you have felt let down by us on this matter. Yours, Tim Arthur Editor-in-Chief

Threestars
Threestars

Well done, TO for bringing back our printed TV listings!

nostar
nostar

whilst the online TV listings is well designed, like many other subscribers i still find it far more convenient being able to pick up the magazine to check what is on TV quickly and easily than have to start up my computer. please reconsider, or i will reconsider my subscription.

Beatrix  Roudet
Beatrix Roudet

I will add my voice to the rest of the disgruntled readers missing TV printed listings. Although the online listings are quite user friendly, they do not fulfill the same function as when they were included in the magazine. This is quite obvious and I do not understand why the TO team could not understand this. Please do re-instate them sooner than later!

Monica Bird
Monica Bird

I stopped buying your magazine because you don't include the TV listings any longer.

Statto
Statto

Once again no listings in this weeks magazine. I know they're online, but if you're working on a computer all day last thing you want is to have to use a computer to see what's on TV that evening. I'll give them end of the month and if they've not returned then I'll cancel my subscription.

gizmoclunky
gizmoclunky

I saw Gypsy Blood last night at a screening. It's AMAZING......like nothing else I've seen really. Horrible and beautiful. Funny and tragic. Def worth watching.

Alec Tasker
Alec Tasker

Congratulations. You've saved me £3.25 a week. Time Out without the TV listings and with all the "Details of show times, films, gigs etc were not available at time of going to press" in it, is not worth anyone's time. This feels like constructive dismissal - sales of the magazine will die off, so you have an excuse to stop publishing it. Then you can charge people to come on here. And if you think that this will work, you're mad.

Laura Pantz
Laura Pantz

I don't have broadband and need the TV listings! Please bring the printed listings back or I will have no choice but to cancel my subscription....

LondonGirl1001
LondonGirl1001

Time Out why have you stopped yout TV listings. They were great. If it is not comimg back, I will stop my subscription. Why was this descision made!! And no I'm not interested in reading it online, if that is the excuse . I want to sit on the tube with Time Out in my hand and look at all the listings with the full TV guide, not the pathetic new "highlights" section. Why have you changed this ??!!!

TVcookie
TVcookie

The new online TV listings are great! Being able to hold my curser over any programme, & get full info is very handy, etc. Although I am dissapointed that Sky Arts 1 is not included in the listings. As you are primarily an arts & entertainment guide, it is surprising! This channel used to appear in your printed version. I think I may have identified a technical issue, as I have found that by clicking on "Show My Channels" and then by entering my Favourite channels, this renders my browser completely & permanently useless! By permanently showing an error message, of "Please delete your cookies", this can only be overcome by changing to a browser that has not previously been used. I have now changed to a further browser, where I have resisted the urge to set my Favourites, which means now having full access to the TO TV listings, but having to scroll through "All Channels".

Robin
Robin

BRING BACK THE FULL TV LISTINGS !!!!!!

Nico
Nico

Hey T.O , pls bring back our lovely paper tv guide. Not cool too force ur subscriber to go online every day to check out listings. Plus you make money out of online advertising on this section. Very cheeky indeed .

John
John

Quite simply BRING BACK THE TV listings please. It is not convenient to check them on my iphone and why I subscribe. It's bad enough the mag has lost a third of its pages without the tv listings going too!

Crislet
Crislet

No reply to my email, so I go public: What happened to your Time In Tv guide? I want to take the time to go through your listings on paper and not on the internet, where I already spend enough of my time. Please let me know if you intend to keep the TV section as it appears on your last two issues. In that case I will cancel my subscription immediately.

Ann
Ann

As an annual direct debit subscriber, for many years and my new annual subscription was recently paid, I am feeling upset, that not only have the TV listings disappeared from the weekly mag. but are not even available on this site! I was fobbed of by TO's web team, a week ago they stated that they were having technical difficulties with several browsers, such as Internet Explorer, and now they no longer answer my questions. Is anyone else getting error message of "Please delete your cookies"? What is the solution?

Claude
Claude

What's this about -- saving trees?! First TO stops listing all the Art in town, now the TV listings go - and with no explanation. (Don't remember one for the Art listings chop either.) So where, I wonder, does TO recommend we go to find (almost) everything that's on? This is new-age, new-media customer service for you! Still catering to Hollyweird though, no surprise.

cookiebutterfly
cookiebutterfly

where are the full listings? Help! They are not even here!

Paul
Paul

Please bring back the tv listings!!! , Ive been buying time out since it started, great magazine

Dave
Dave

Oh no! Please bring back the full listing in the magazine, really miss it.

Darren Gale
Darren Gale

This is the first time I have felt compelled to contact you since starting buying Time Out in the late seventies. As much as I still enjoy Time Out, without the TV listings I won't carry on as a subscriber, the online listing isn't convenient, having the mag laying around is still the easiest way to see whats on the box. I don't see how chopping this from the mag makes much sense, I would imagine you are more likely to lose customers than gain any. I recall the effort you went to to get the full listings initally, whats changed? As a subscriber and buyer of the mag for over 30 years it will be sad to say goodbye, but if the listings for TV don't return in the next couple of weeks I will stop my subscription. Please reconsider if you really believe it is the readers magazine.

Tim H
Tim H

Really annoyed that the proper TV listings have disappeared without obvious warning. Please bring them back TO!

Rubbishbro2
Rubbishbro2

Wholeheartedly agree with the comments re. removal of the full TV listings. They provide a quick and easy reference for those of us who are not hooked up to eleectronic devices 24/7. So our subscription could also go by the wayside if this is a permanent change.

Ian
Ian

Ditto. If the TV listings are missing again from the next issue, I'll be cancelling my sub. What a pity. Anyone have suggestions for the next best TV listings mag?

Rob
Rob

It's really terrible that the weekly listings no longer appear in the magazine. I would like to urge TO editors to reinstate these instead of very abbreviated highlights.There are many times I note shows of interest in the actual listings themselves and not the highlights. Having to go online to access these is very inconvenient.

Sharon
Sharon

So what gives with no TV listings??? No announcements or explanations from Timeout! Will be ending my subscription too if things aren't back to normal next week...

Ann
Ann

I am very comforted by the outrage that many readers of your weekly printed magazine are feeling right now, by the sudden loss of your printed daily TV listings, even though not fully comprehensive, like your new online listings. Because, like me, they are admitting that they bought this magazine, mainly for the printed TV listings! You will lose many devoted readers now, unless you reinstate the printed version, then people will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. So, please, Time Out, do the right thing!

Chloe
Chloe

I also am very upset about the loss of the TV listings. Like Martin - it is one of the things that justified my subscription. Yes I had everything to hand when I went out but what about the nights you stay in! If it isn't back soon... that is my subscription gone as well.

Naomi
Naomi

This is unbelevably annoying! Time Out does the best reviews & I'm happy to consider their recommendations but not to have all choice taken away. We are grown-ups, you know! If the full listings aren't restored I will certainly cancel.

Martin
Martin

I do hope this is just a blip for the first January issue and that Time Out is not going to continue only having their full TV listings online. One of the reasons I justify subscribing to the magazine is that it saves me buying a seperate tv guide. I can look at online listings anywhere and really don't need another one from Time Out. Please don't do this to your readers Time Out. If you do, I suspect you'll have fewer of them!

paul
paul

Where's the full TV listings gone? I know TimeOut is all about getting you out the house but the full listings were one of the reasons i subscribed, seriously reconsidering now!

Steamdreamer
Steamdreamer

Love the new online listing format (though the magazine continues to be great too!). Keep those informed and witty interviews, reviews and recommendations coming, please.