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Seven hot, hot, hot new things to watch this week

Bridgerton's back and sexier than ever, Disney's got a cool new French sci-fi series, and much more besides. Clear your schedule and grab those snacks: it's time for a telly binge.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Bridgerton, Netflix, 25 March

Ladies, loosen your corsets lest you faint dead away — the sex-athon period drama sensation is back for its second series. Unless you spent last year’s winter lockdown under a rock, you’ll be well familiar with the premise: society scandals, romance, and a sort of Regency-era Gossip Girl. This series sees big brother Anthony, who spent the last season entangled with an opera singer quite unfit for his social status, step into the protagonist shoes. Sex Education‘s Simone Ashley enters as his leading lady.

Sanditon, Britbox, 21 March

It’s a double Regency drama week! There were a few withering comments when Sanditon, an imagined and entirely gratuitous completion of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, first aired on ITV back in 2019 — but of course it was well ahead of the Bridgerton curve. Given a new lease of life by Britbox, series 2 sees our heroine Charlotte moving on from the loss of Sidney Parker (after Theo James tragically declined to return) and setting her sights on — oh, the scandal! — employment.

Masterchef, BBC1, 23 March

TV doesn’t get more comfortable than this. That mainstay of the British telly schedule is back for its 18th series, so you can expect Gregg Wallace getting excited by puddings and John Torode inspecting sauces galore. Tense plating montages, fancy infusions, prolonged tasting — it’s the Masterchef we know and love.

Para//els, Disney+, 23 March

Stranger Things gets a sort of modern French makeover in this new series from Disney+. Stylishly set on the mountainous French/Swiss border, a dark, time-travel fantasy plays out over six episodes after four teenagers stumble into a time-slip. From the creator of Call My Agent!, it’s an unusual veering of French television into the sci-fi genre — providing a fresh, engaging feel to it. Expect lots of suspense and an effective and appealing central cast.

Love In The Flesh, BBC3, 23 March

Nope, it’s not Love Island. Yep, we’re sure. They’re, er, on the coast, rather than an island. Oh, and they’re already in couples! They’ve all actually been talking online (for up to five years, in one case) without meeting, see where this is going, in the flesh. And, being the BBC, it’s a little sweeter than its ITV compatriot, and boasts LGBT couples. But, yeah: they’re in a villa, squinting in the sun, suggesting a chat. The question here is: can real life prove the carefully-curated attraction they’ve built through online personas? And also, will TV ever tire of this format?

The Apprentice, BBC1, 24 March

It’s crunch time for the remaining contestants as The Apprentice reaches its 16th finale. There’s a faint whiff of behind-the-scenes drama: Amy Anzel, who went out in week six, hasn’t been invited back for You’re Hired — but of course everyone’s keeping disappointingly mum on the subject. In a well-oiled format, the finale will see the last two candidates attempting to launch a business in three days and bag that sweet, sweet 250k from Lord Sugar’s gruff pockets.

Pachinko, Apple TV+, 25 March

Adapted from the acclaimed novel of the same name, this stunningly produced series follows a Korean family through four generations, from the early 20th century to the late 80s. A proper, emotionally resonant epic, we grow with Sunja, a little girl suffering through Japanese colonialism, into an old woman with modern grandchildren. Tiny details of the everyday and broad strokes of history combine into a powerful, downright lyrical show.

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