Five TV shows to watch this week
Here’s our best screenshots
Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their wedding day on July 29th, 1981. Photograph: RC/HO REUTERS
Diana: In Her Own Words
Channel 4, Sunday, 9pm
As publicity goes, it was a bumper week for Channel 4, which couldn’t have asked for more opinion pieces and headline-trumpeting outrage in respect of Diana: In Her Own Words. The contentious documentary has been the subject of severe scrutiny, with Diana’s brother Earl Spencer advising the station to withdraw the show completely, and questioning its morals.
The provocative profile is made up of videotape recordings from her sessions with Peter Settelen, an American voice coach. These interviews from 1992-1993 feature previously unseen footage of the princess speaking about her relationship with Prince Charles and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall, interspersed with memories from confidants from that time.
This is the mythical side of an icon that the media constructed and will continually resuscitate, the lurid side of the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales. The tabloid fixture, the tragic solitary figure who almost dismantled the monarchy. This is not the image that her sons, William and Harry, have attempted to portray in their recent heartfelt documentary Diana: Our Mother. They have tried to manage and protect her legacy as the 20th anniversary of her death looms, but the notion of the Princess of Hearts will always be twinned with the more ribald and controversial side of her life – Squidgygate, Andrew Morton’s book, the giant kohl-ringed eyes staring down the lens of her explosive, unforgettable Panorama interview. She was a thoroughly modern celebrity, a complex, contradictory, unknowable spirit who understood the workings of Fleet Street and the true, visceral power of a well-placed story. With that in mind, it is difficult to believe that such a master manipulator would not have thought about the eventual re-emergence of these recordings, given the incendiary information she divulged.
The Last Shot
Viceland, Monday, 10pm
Most people may not realise they have access to the Viceland channel, due to it being hidden in the outer regions of their Sky box, but it’s often worth a look when it comes to fresh, challenging programming. If it’s not busy commissioning achingly cool travelogues and bizarre meta-comedies like What Would Diplo Do? where James Van Der Beek (he of Dawson’s Creek fame) plays an exaggerated version of the DJ Diplo (yes, really), it’s creating engaging documentaries like The Last Shot.
Produced by Oscar winner Alex Gibney it follows the lives of Mexican and American basketball players whose careers are on the skids and are now attempting to make a living in an underground Mexican basketball league funded by drug cartels. Catch it before the inevitable HBO drama series adaptation happens.
Tuesday, BBC One, 9pm
Before she takes a trip in the Tardis as the first female time-lord/lady/person (delete where applicable to your sensitive sensibilities) Jodie Whittaker is doing some doctoring of a different sort in the domestic thriller Trust Me . The Beeb have been creating a fascinating range of female-fronted psycho-dramas at the moment, from Suranne Jones blistering performance in Doctor Foster to the Vicky McClure and Morvern Christie paranoia-soaked melodrama The Replacement and now this gripping, high-octane mini-series: tales of women on the edge have made for compelling viewing.
Centering around the misfortunes of hard-done by, hardworking NHS nurse Cath Hardacre (possible pun intended?) who after losing her job for whistle-blowing ends up making a drastic decision in an attempt to create a new life for her and her daughter. As with her powerfully emotional but subtle performance in Broadchurch, Whittaker manages to infuse her character with a warm familiarity, like a forgotten schoolfriend that you cannot but empathise with, which helps smooth over the more preposterous parts of the plot.
The Nuncio and the Writer
RTÉ One, Tuesday, 10.35pm
In the 1980s, Anthony Farrell, the founder of Lilliput Press (who was then working in Wolfhound Press), happened upon the writings of Hubert Butler idling in the slush pile. He published three volumes of the Kilkenny man’s work and Butler becoming an overnight sensation at the age of 85, described in exalted terms in the literary world as “Ireland’s George Orwell”. The Nuncio and the Writer sheds light on Butler’s extraordinary story.
An uncompromising, formidable figure, he was a passionate human rights activist and drew the attention of the papal nuncio, Gerald O’Hara and president Sean T O’Kelly, who effectively blacklisted Butler due to his vocal criticism of Ireland’s lack of opposition and alignment with the Church. Their denial of certain clerics involvement in the genocide of Orthodox Serbs, Jews and Roma in the Nazi-occupied state of Croatia incensed Butler and through his writings he attempted to express another side of the country’s consciousness.
Netflix, streaming from Friday
Atypical is Netflix’s latest sitcom, a coming-of-age dramedy where protagonist Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is a teen on the autism spectrum. At 18 years old, Sam decides to assert his independence and the show follows his quest to find a girlfriend as his family (including Jennifer Jason Leigh as his mother) attempt to get to grips with Sam’s desire for freedom and the complications this brings.