We are so lucky with all the TV programmes available to us. Sometimes we are spoilt for choice. In my Best TV for May selection there are programmes for every taste, I hope. Personally I like to mix my TV watching up. A couple of episodes of Gangs of London or Fauda followed by an episode of Normal People or The Mallorca Files keeps OH and I going each evening.
My advice is indulge yourself with some of these fabulous dramas and informative documentaries. I have not watched them all but I put a what’s app out to my group of girlfriends and asked them to recommend a series and they each came back with a different one which shows how much there is out there to watch.
NORMAL PEOPLE | BBC THREE & all episodes available on iPlayer
Normal People is an on-again off-again love story between Marianne and Connell, two teenagers from Co. Sligo, as they make their way through school and university. A great deal of credit must go to the leads, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal (in his first TV role), who inhabit the characters so fully that we understand their thoughts and motivations with little more than a glance.
This adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book mirrors the rhythms of teenage life. Each event we see – a school dance, a single football match, a party – seems the culmination of Connell and Marianne’s lives so far. It is one of the most convincing representations I have seen of the combined importance and transience of your late teens, in which people, events, even items of clothing, become all-important, before receding into the distance again.
VICTIM | BBC iPlayer
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire) and John Hannah star in this tense drama about a sensitive subject which many thought, when it was first played on BBC One last year, that it had some similarities with the Jamie Bulger case.
‘Just remember who the victim is’. Wise words from John Hannah’s sombre DI Stephen Grover as he proffers a statement that reverberates throughout this sensitive four-part drama. Any story about a revenge attack on a man who may or may not have killed a nine-year-old when he himself was just 13 has the capacity for being less than subtle. But the writing and performances keep The Victim just on the right side of that line and the audience captivated.
BECOMING MATISSE | BBC TWO Available on Catchup
The BBC’s film Becoming Matisse is, of course, about the artist Henri Matisse. It focuses on his early years in the humdrum northern French town Bohain-en-Vermandois and the struggle to achieve recognition in late-19th- and early-20th-century Paris. But it is also a portrait of the wider Matisse family—particularly the artist’s wife Amélie. And crucial to telling that story is Sophie Matisse, Henri and Amélie’s great-granddaughter, who literally follows her ancestors’ footsteps. It was a tumultuous period, when Matisse met with familial disapproval, critical mockery and establishment scorn and in which the family faced life-threatening illness and society scandal, among much else.
THE MALLORCA FILES | BBC iPlayer
The Mallorca Files centres around two mismatched detectives – an introverted Brit who is used to living by the rules, and her German counterpart, whose approach to policing involves little interest in process – who have to learn to work together, despite their differences on the eponymous Balaeric holiday island. The programme is set against the stunning back drop of Majorca, with sizzling chemistry between the leads; the witty scripts from Dan Sefton and his team of writers. and the catchy theme tune have all won the series a legion of fans.
And hey guys there is some eye-candy for both OH and I as the series stars Elen Rhys as DC Miranda Blake and Julian Looman as DC Max Winter. This is light viewing, in a beautiful setting. Thank you Lesley Ann Green for recommending this one. She wrote on Instagram, “….beautiful scenery, quite relaxing to watch, pure escapism really! Ooh and the male lead is rather handsome.” Lesley is a Psychologist who regularly writes for us and her latest post is Looking after your Mental Health.
THE REAL MARIGOLD HOTEL | BBC ONE begins Thursday 30th April
I love this series as it transports me to another way of life. Don’t you often think about packing up and moving somewhere else. It is a sort of holiday romance thing for me. Now is not the time to move anywhere so this series will have to fulfill my dreams for the moment.
Those taking part in series 4 include former movie star and Bond girl Britt Ekland; Dragons’ Den star and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne; fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes and Chuckle Brother Paul Chuckle.
Joining them are cricket commentator Henry Blofeld; EastEnders actor John Altman; actress Susie Blake; and singer Barbara Dickson, as they road test retirement in India.
A teaser for the new series shares: “Six thousand miles away from home and in the colourful coastal city of Puducherry and in Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas, the group have time to reflect on the ups and downs of life, open up to each other and find out if they could spend their golden years there.”
AGE OF THE IMAGE | BBC FOUR available on iPlayer
With technology rapidly advancing and photo manipulation tools becoming easier to use, how do we trust what we see? Join James Fox on his visual journey as he considers the power of the image as it becomes more powerful and less trustworthy than ever before.
This 4 part series was recommended to us by Annabel Vere, who takes most of our photos when we aren’t in lockdown. Follow her on Instagram as her daily shots taken most around Henley-on-Thames are stunning.
TWIN | BBC FOUR
Fans of Swedish detective drama Beck will recall Kristofer Hivju, the bearded giant of a Norwegian actor who played Steiner in the latter series. In this new thriller from his homeland, Hivju plays identical twins Adam and Erik, who live completely different lives. Adam and his wife Ingrid run a successful tourist business in picturesque Lofoten, while his estranged twin is an irresponsible surf bum drowning in debt. When the brothers see each other for the first time in 15 years, the reunion has fatal consequences.
This series has been recommended by our book reviewer, The Page Turner. She also recommended the documentary travel Railway Journeys of the World – Michael Portillo.
STATE OF HAPPINESS | BBC FOUR starts 2nd May
The eight-part drama, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes Series Festival, follows the story of a small Norwegian town and how it changed after the International oil company, Phillips Petroleum, struck oil.
It’s the summer of 1969 in the small coastal town of Stavanger, Northern Europe. Stavanger lives off fish, and the North Sea is emptying out. No more cod, no more herring. Something has to happen. The town is in crisis.
International oil companies have been test drilling for years, but nothing has been found and they are in the process of leaving. Phillips Petroleum, however, are contracted to drill a final hole.
The night before Christmas 1969, the gas flare at the Ocean Viking is lit. Phillips has found the largest sub-sea oil basin in history. And everything is about to change…..
GANGS OF LONDON | SKY ATLANTIC – all episodes available now
BackPacking Granny is loving this series, “The best thing I’ve watched in 6 months. It is superb with brilliant fight choreography. But NOT for the faint hearted.” No better review in my opinion.
Gangs of London centres on the Wallaces, a family of gangsters who are the premier predators in the city’s underworld. They marshal their rival gangs in a loose coalition, ensuring everyone can go about their lucrative businesses relatively unmolested. So, when the Wallace patriarch, Finn, is assassinated, all hell breaks loose…..
INNOCENT SERIES 2
Series 1 was first broadcast in May 2018 over 4 consecutive nights. Series 2 is running this week in a similar format.
After seven years in a high security prison, David Collins’ (Lee Ingleby) conviction for the murder of his wife, Tara, is overturned due to a technicality, or as his lawyer puts it, an appalling miscarriage of justice. Able to start his life again and begin to repair relationships with his family and friends, David hopes to finally be allowed to mourn his wife’s death. As a new investigation is launched, headed by DI Cathy Hudson, dark secrets of abuse, affairs and money troubles rise to the surface. From jealous sisters to disgruntled lovers, these secrets rip fragile relationships apart at the seams. But one question remains: is David Collins truly innocent?
BLOOD Series 2
Two years on from its first series, Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty) and his brood are back, and their troubles are far from over as Sophie Petzal’s saga cranks up the intrigue once again.
The series first arrived back in November 2018 and centred upon a woman who heads back to her hometown in the wake of her mother’s death. She spent many years attempting to escape her past, but her return threatens to bring her progress tumbling down.
Although it’s believed her mother suffered an accident, she isn’t exactly convinced, expecting foul-play…
It’s a terrific series, packed with great performances, twists and turns. Now, it’s back!
THE QUEEN MOTHER’S BLITZ – begins Saturday, 2nd May
This documentary examines Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s efforts to improve British people’s morale during the Second World War. With air raids a constant threat, her insistence that the royal family remain in London was a reassuring move for the public. The programme also looks at how her personality and determination made a remarkable difference to the war effort.
For those of you who haven’t seen Fauda yet, you absolutely need to check it out. Fauda, named after the Arabic word for “chaos,” is a political thriller centered around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The show has recently gotten a lot of attention due to the April release of the third season and the hype is well-deserved.
This show is super captivating and its characters come off as very authentic, all while attempting to tackle a difficult topic. While it can be considered controversial, many people still rave about Fauda and are big fans, including me.
Three seasons available so this should help while away the long evenings in lockdown.
HOLLYWOOD – available 1st May
Hollywood follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers as they try to make it big in Tinseltown’s Golden Age of the 1940s. Set in post-World War 2 Los Angeles, the new limited drama series will delve into the Hollywood’s hidden world, and promises to reveal insights into the aspirations and glamour of the age.
As the story unfolds, the series will expose biases of race, gender and sexuality while examining what the entertainment industry would have looked like if things were different.
Consisting of just seven episodes, Hollywood is the second offering from screenwriter and producer Murphy following the success of The Politician.
DEAD TO ME – Season 2 8th May
The first season of Dead to Me followed estate agent and mum to two Jen Harding, played by Christina Applegate, who is dealing with the sudden death of her husband in a hit-and-run accident.
During a group counselling session Jen meets Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) and the two become close friends as they bond over their grief, with Jen even inviting Judy to live at her house.
However, before long it is revealed that Judy has much more going on in her life than she is letting on and the first series ended in a massive cliffhanger – which threatens to either ruin or strengthen the relationship between the two women.
I absolutely loved Series 1 as it is often very, very funny – but it’s also rooted in profound emotion that makes everything matter. Dead to Me deals with some serious issues but its twisty plot, comedic elements and the great performances at its centre gives the show an undeniable energy and spirit. I have a diary date for 8th May to watch series 2!
If you missed last month’s recommendations of our Best TV click HERE to catch up.