What are the best things on TV this week?
We know, we know! From Charlie Brooker's interactive golden-era cartoon to Stanley Tucci sexily eating pasta and the final series of Peaky Blinders, here's what's good.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Peaky Blinders, BBC1, 27 Feb
The TV show that changed the face of male fashion returns for its sixth and final series. Having ended its last season on one hell of a cliffhanger, we initially begin straight back into the action, but in classic Peaky Blinders style the narrative is soon leaping four years into the future to 5 Dec, 1933, on the final day of prohibition. Helen McCrory is notably a missing figure, after having died from cancer last April, and the first episode is rightly dedicated to her.
Cat Burglar, Netflix, 22 Feb
It’s a little hard to pitch, this show — kudos to Charlie Brooker for getting it greenlit, but then he is the man behind Black Mirror — but it really is a cracking bit of entertainment. Styled as a golden-era cartoon, Cat Burglar is an interactive trivia game you play with your remote. Need a little more? Rowdy, our literal cat burglar, is attempting to steal the most expensive painting in the world, and we must keep him from death by quickly and correctly answering random trivia questions. It’s a pleasingly-animated, nostalgic whirl.
Mission: Joy, BBC4, 23 Feb
First premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival last summer, this documentary film charts the real life friendship between the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, and their shared belief in the importance of joy that transcended separate faiths. Cynics might find it a little worthy, but there’s definitely room for more opposing religious leaders coming together for uplifting explorations of positivity in this world. And the film’s frequent, mischievous laughter — the giggles of two very old, very spiritual men — is a charming, watchable thing.
Wolf Like Me, Amazon Prime, 25 Feb
Smashing together a multitude of genres, this bizarre series is rom-com meets Twilight-era YA novel meets… so many other things. Josh Gad is a world away from Olaf the snowman here as a depressed and widowed dad of an 11-year-old daughter, living abroad in Australia. In classic rom-com style he begins to fall for the enticing Mary (played by Arrested Development‘s Isla Fisher), only the classic rom-com structure goes awry as it becomes clear that Mary has, shall we say, a furry little problem — hinted strongly by the series’ title. It’s an odd concept that’s seriously watchable, with good chemistry between Gad and Fisher.
Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, BBC2, 27 Feb
We know what you’re thinking: does the world really need another celebrity travel program? And theoretically the answer to that is no, absolutely it does not. But in practice? This show is a delight. Stanley Tucci is a delight. Watching him charm the pants off elderly Italian nonnas is (surely you can sense the pattern here) a delight. The series sees Tucci trying the food of a different Italian region every episode, and is in itself excited simply by the act of travel, filmed in a post-Covid world. Escapism at its finest, and sort of indecently flirty… the Tucci effect.
Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History, BBC1, 27 Feb
Following the Natural History Museum’s recent exhibition, Stephen Fry investigates the real creatures behind the world’s great mythological animals, and particularly those that feature in Harry Potter’s wizarding world. This involves a jazzy bit of world travel (from Utah to Loch Ness), an interview with JK Rowling, and a lot of affable reacting from Fry. It’s 7pm Sunday night viewing at its best.