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TV talk! The 7 best things to watch this week

Charming British teen romances, Steve Coogan's new Hollywood satire, Brooklyn Nine-Nine's final series... Skip the drivel with our pick of the best TV this week.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Chivalry, C4, 21 April

It’s a hefty cast for this comedy about a post #MeToo Hollywood. Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge), Sarah Solemani (Bridget Jones’s Baby) Sienna Miller (The Girl), Aisling Bea (This Way Up), and Lolly Adefope (Ghosts) all star with aplomb. The premise sees a sexist film producer (Coogan) forced to have a feminist director (Solemani) reshoot some of his scenes. The sharp, smart execution is far more nuanced than you might think going in, and very funny.

The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, ITV, 17-20 April

How’s this for a bonkers true story? In 2002, the debt-riddled John Darwin set out into the North Atlantic in a canoe. His plan: fake his own death, hide out behind the wardrobe, then live large with his wife on the life insurance pay-out. No surprises it didn’t quite work out, and watching such a series of unthinkably stupid decisions doesn’t half make good telly. Eddie Marsan (Ridley Road, The World’s End) is the deluded, whining John, while Monica Dolan (Vanity Fair, Pride) is his long-suffering, rapidly out-of-her-depth wife.

Life After Life, BBC2, 19 April

Adapted from the Kate Atkinson novel of the same name, this four-part series follows a girl named Ursula Todd who is born, dies, and is born again — leading to a shifting set of parallel lives tracing from 1910 and through both world wars. Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Last Night in Soho) is charming as Ursula, slowly learning to avoid her deaths through a sense of deja vu as they come round again.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, E4, 20 April

Time to kiss this charming, endlessly meme-able sit-com about kooky police officers goodbye. Our pals across the pond may have been enjoying season eight since last August, but the (final!) series is only just coming to our screens. Kicking off with a double bill, it sets off on a whistle-stop tour of wrap-ups: Jake and Amy as parents, Terry and Rosa’s career progressions, fan-favourite call-backs. All reframed, in a way that became suddenly essential (indeed, much of the show was rewritten), in the light of the death of George Floyd. It’s perhaps an ambitious final series, fitting a lot into five hours, yet retains the heart that made it so successful.

Inside No 9, BBC2, 20 April

This black comedy anthology returns for a new set of scary, grotesquely funny stories. Up first is a plotline starring comedian Diane Morgan and Mark Gatiss, where three old university friends meet up for a boat trip that takes a dark turn. The glory of this show is you never quite know what you’re going to get — side-splitting wit? Unflinching heartbreak? Mortal terror? — but you know that it’s always going to be good.

Russian Doll, Netflix, 20 April

Series one of Russian Doll saw Natasha stuck in a Groundhog-Day-esque time loop of the day of her death. It was, in a word, excellent. Series two takes on another intriguing, time-warped premise: this time, Natasha is stuck on a train journey in 1982. Want to know more? Sorry, to tell you would be to ruin the delicious unfolding of it. Suppose you’ll just have to give it a watch…

Heartstopper, Netflix, 22 April

In the mood for something disarmingly sweet? Though run-of-the-mill in its premise of blushing teen love, Heartstopper stands out for being quietly, unceremoniously LGBT (‘boy meets boy’), as well as for the fact that the teens actually look like, you know, teens. Watch it with your own awkward secondary-school-ers — it’s nice to remind them they aren’t actually expected to look like a Riverdale cast member — or just indulge in something that’ll make your heart swell three times over.

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