PICK OF THE WEEK: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Apple TV, 11 March
Very much NOT one to stick on if you need a pick-me-up, this is nonetheless a powerful, masterfully-done adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel about dementia. Samuel L. Jackson delivers an emotional-sucker-punch of a performance as Ptolemy Grey, a man losing himself to illness, who is both vulnerable and unwilling to roll over. As the story progresses it grows more complex, veering into something like a science fiction detective story. Ptolemy’s carer Reggie has been killed, and Ptolemy must revive his memories in order to uncover what happened.
Our House, ITV, 7 March
Downton Abbey‘s Tuppence Middleton and Line of Duty‘s Martin Compston play a separated married couple whose house is sold without their consent in this latest ITV drama. It’s enough of a nightmare scenario to be pretty instantly gripping: Fi (Middleton) returns home to find all her belongings gone, and strangers moving in. The opening episode is a lot of backstory, with just enough of an ending hook to encourage you to commit to all four thrilling doses (which will be shown on consecutive nights this week).
The Real Peaky Blinders, BBC2, 7 March
With everyone talking about Peaky Blinders‘ final ever series, the Beeb has put together a neatly engaging documentary on the real thing. Dating back to the 1860s as ‘slogging gangs’ and first dubbed ‘The Peaky Blinders’ in 1890, there’s ample evidence of Birmingham’s Victorian working-class gang phenomenon to rootle through. Satisfies a curiosity itch.
The Witchfinder, BBC2, 8 March
Created, written, and directed by the Gibbons brothers (of Alan Partridge fame), this new sitcom is a well-stitched send-up of the 1968 film Witchfinder General. Daisy May Cooper (This Country) plays a gobby 17th century drunk who is seized upon by inept witchfinder Tim Key (Alan Partridge’s Sidekick Simon). No surprise: things don’t exactly go as smoothly as the witchfinder would like. It’s a hilarious fun fest.
Mary Berry’s Fantastic Feasts, BBC1, 9 March
The walking, talking TV angel that is Mary Berry floats into a new prime-time telly spot that sees her helping kitchen novices so they can cook for a deserving loved one. Radio presenter Roman Kemp and Celebs Go Dating receptionist Tom Read Wilson join as cheeky sidekicks for Mary to scold. Good, clean, weeknight TV.
My Brilliant Friend, Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, 10 March
It’s series three of this Italian-language coming-of-age drama, adapted from novels of the same name. A graceful look at the complicated nature of female friendship, and one that boasts a visual delight of vintage clothes and sets, this show is somewhat of a hidden gem. No doubt English-speakers’ general reluctance to read subtitles comes into it… Buck the trend and give it a watch as the third season drops, with our characters now living in the late 1960s.
The Adam Project, Netflix, 11 March
Hollywood funny-guy and heartthrob Ryan Reynolds teams up with his 12-year-old self in this homage to 80s science fiction. Okay, the time travel logistics are a little flimsy, but this isn’t a film that hangs its hat on science. It is, though, an undeniable blast, and one that boasts a hefty hit of heart to boot. Zoe Saldanda (Guardians of the Galaxy), Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30), and Mark Ruffalo also star.