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TV you need in your life: what’s on this week

Finally have an evening in the house by yourself after 15 months of waiting? Crack open the vino and Pringles and enjoy lying flat out on the sofa.

Anne Boleyn (Channel 5) – Tues 1 June 

Jodie Turner-Smith (of Queen & Slim fame) is heading up this three-part drama that starts tonight. And although you know the tale and the rather gruesome and depressing denouement, this production hones in on an engaging psychological angle. It explores the dread that Henry VIII’s second wife must have felt as she felt her power – and importance to the king – fading on a hour-by-hour basis. 

Celebrity Gogglebox (C4) – Fri 4 June

Celebrity Gogglebox

If you are bereft Gogglebox has finished for another series, here is a tonic to ease your despair. On their sofas and in front of the camera this week are Denise Van Outen, comedian Mo Gilligan, BBC DJ Nick Grimshaw and presenter Rylan Clark-Neal. Let the telly watching voyeurism commence (aside from their erudite social commentary, we want to see their living rooms!)

Liverpool Narcos (Sky Documentaries) – Thurs 3 June

Liverpool narcos

If gritty, real-life documentaries are your thing then this deep-dive into Liverpool’s history of importing drugs might be right up your alley. Liverpool, as a port city full of immigrants who had connections abroad, was well suited to bring in hauls of Class As. The first episode of this compelling three-parter starts in 1990 with heroin flooding a city demolished by Thatcherite policy. Operation Rainman was the police plan to catch the kingpin Michael Showers (above) who was by day an immigration advisor, and who just happened to drive a white Rolls Royce.

Joey Essex: Grief and Me (BBC One) – Thurs 3 June

Joey Essex: Grief and Me

Joey Essex of The Only Way is Essex fame, as you might be aware, is known mostly for his ridiculous one liners, sparkling teeth and fake tan. And while that may well be just and fair, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he lost his mum to suicide when he was just 10. Psychologist Dr Stephen Blumenthal helps Joey explore his anxiety and examine how his mother’s passing has affected his mental health. Moving and important.

Gary Barlow: I’m with the Band (BBC One) – Fri 4 June

Gary Barlow: I'm with the band

Now, this is quite fun. Gary Barlow delighted us over lockdown thanks to his YouTube series – The Crooner Sessions – which featured Our Gary singing duets (remotely, of course) with his musical pals. Now they’ve all come together to give us an hour of entertainment and there’s some serious star power on board: Jamie Cullum, James Bay, Mica Paris, McFly’s Tom Fletcher, Craig David and singer-songwriter Anne Marie.

Turn of the Screw (BBC Four) – Sun 6 June

Turn of the screw

Ah, some high culture at last, I hear you say. Well, this is a corker. Benjamin Britten’s opera based on the Henry James classic was filmed on location at the atmospheric Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s East End. It’s just under two hours long and uses all the spaces of the music hall – not just the stage – to communicate the impending dread of a governess engaged in a battle against evil forces.

Raya & The Last Dragon (Disney +) – Fri 4 June

Yes, this is squarely designed as a family film but firstly, it’s Disney so it’s got class; secondly, it has great reviews; and thirdly, it’s free on Disney+ for the first time since it was released in the cinemas in March. The plot is suitably complex to keep everyone on their toes and the heroine – Raya – is a kickass warrior princess that will inspire your little people as there are life lessons aplenty. Plus: dragons.

Sweet Tooth (Netflix) – Fri 4 June

Based on the comic book by Jeff Lemire and exec produced by Robert Downey Jr and his wife Susan, this Netflix Original drama series is getting a lot of attention. The premise is this: 10 years previous a virus swept through humanity and half animal/half children babies – or hybrids -started to be born. And still no one is quite clear if the hybrids caused the virus, or vice versa. So, these children, to some, are to be feared and hunted. Our hero, Sweet Tooth, a boy/deer sets off on an epic adventure with a nomad over a post-apocalyptic America to get answers – finding plenty of enemies and allies on the way. A great family watch if you’re on the hunt for something in the ilk of His Dark Materials.

Lisey’s Story (Apple TV+) – Fri 4 June

Julianne Moore heads up this eight-part Stephen King adaptation as Lisey Landon, a recent widow grieving the death of her novelist husband (Clive Owen). Unfortunately for her, a fan is grieving too and hellbent on getting his hands on her husband’s unpublished work. As she tries to evade her stalker, repressed memories of her marriage come to the fore. And because it’s Stephen King, it gets dark and rather supernatural. Enjoy!

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