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What’s on the box? 9 shows to watch this week

Feeling exhausted from too much actual face-to-face interaction? Yeah, us too. So grab yourself a cuppa, a packet of chocolate digestives, and have a bit of one-to-one time with the television.

The Bike Thief (PVOD on Sky/Amazon/Apple TV/Netflix) – Mon 3 May

An unnamed Romanian immigrant (played by Alec Secareanu), living in London and working as a delivery driver, has his moped stolen. So far, so mundane. But in actual fact, the moped represents his livelihood and only means of supporting his young family, so the urgency of his need to find his bike ends up leading him down a sinister path. A modern-day update of Vittorio De Sica’s classic Bicycle Thieves, it’s a study of the hardships of immigrant life. 

The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness (Netflix) – Wed 5 May

Between 1976 and 1977, a serial killer, called David Berkowitz or ‘Son of Sam’, stalked the New York Streets and this true crime series looks less at the murders themselves, but more at the evidence that Berkowitz was part of a satanic cult and unlikely to be working alone. Journalist Maury Terry spent his life trying to prove this theory (he died in 2015) and this series follows his painstaking work.

And Tomorrow the Entire World (Netflix) – Thurs 6 May

This was Germany’s entry into the 2021 Oscars, so we can safely assume it’s rather good. It follows a privileged 20-year-old law student (played by Mala Emde) whose political ideology (and fight against the country’s Far Right resurgence) is taken to the limits when she joins anti-fascist group Antifa. You might find yourself asking just how far – and for how long – will we fight for our beliefs?

Monster (Netflix) – Friday 7 May

Now, this couldn’t be released at a more opportune time. This Netflix Original is based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Walther Dean Myers and it follows Steve Harmon (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr), a 17-year-old African American teenager who has been accused of murder, and starts to write his prison and court experiences into a screenplay, exploring themes of race, indentity and the subjective nature of truth. Jennifer Hudson and John David Washington also star.

The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship (BBC Two) – Wed 5 May

Battle for Britney

You will remember when Britney Spears had a mental health breakdown in 2007. She shaved her head and the resulting paparazzi pictures were splashed across the world’s front pages within hours. Since then, she’s been under a conservatorship controlled by her father (despite being a 39-year-old mother of two) and this one-hour documentary, by BAFTA award-winning journalist Mobeen Azhar, explores the #freebritney movement, which aims to release her finances and career choices from the hands of her father.

The Pursuit of Love (BBC One) – Sun 9 May

Nancy Mitford’s novel is up for the BBC treatment this Sunday and Lily James is heiress Linda Radlett who is, as the title would suggest, looking for ‘the one’. This pursuit takes her from post-World War I Oxfordshire to the Pyrenees during the Spanish Civil War and then to Paris as the Jazz Age just begins. Expect glorious costumes, steamy love scenes and a new found lust for Dominic West (who plays Linda’s father).

Bloods (Sky One and Now) – Wed 5 May

Anyone up for a brand new medical comedy with Jane Horrocks? Thought so. Well, this is it. Alongside Horrocks as Wendy, a middle-aged divorcee paramedic who has just moved to London, it stars Samson Kayo as Maleek, her new partner behind the ambulance wheel. Filmed between the lockdowns last summer, it is the cheery, slapstick pick-me-up we all need.

Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie (Sky Crime) – Sun 9 May

If, by chance, you have been entranced by the Audible podcast that is West Cork, you will have a good grasp of this true-crime tale. If not, I’ll quickly summarise: A French woman – Sophie Toscan du Plantier – was brutally murdered at her holiday home in Ireland’s West Cork in 1996 and the culprit has never been found. Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father, My Left Foot) is picking up the leads here in the five-part series that features interviews with both Sophie’s family and the prime suspect, West Cork resident – and the first person to find her body – Ian Bailey.

Men in Kilts (Starzplay via Amazon or Apple TV app) – Sun 9 May

Whether or not you can be bothered to locate the Starzplay channel on your Amazon Prime or Apple TV app depends on how much you lust after Outlander’s Sam Heughan as he’s heading up this travel series with his friend and Outlander colleague Graham McTavish. This eight-parter follows the pair around Scotland as they unearth the country’s complex history and wonder at the breathtaking scenery. Genuinely, it’s meant to be very good. And yes, they do wear kilts.

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