Friday, 21 July 2017

Summer television

The season’s viewing is fast, wild, tense, moving, cute and sexy

Written by Ben Felsenburg
So many of us are off on our travels at this time of year, and that includes hundreds of millions of salmon in the far reaches of North America. In Wild Alaska Live (Sunday 23, BBC1, 7pm), ebullient Matt Baker and rugged Steve Backshall take an unnervingly close look at the brown bears feasting on the abundant fish, amid the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest temperate rainforest. Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176

The must-watch documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy (Monday 24, ITV, 9pm) marks the 20th anniversary of the death of the much-loved Princess of Wales. Prince William and Prince Harry (pictured) pay affectionate tribute to their mother, joined by her brother Earl Spencer and Sir Elton John in a celebration of a brilliant life that was tragically cut all too short.

If you’ve been longing to get hands-on with home furnishings and decor, the six-part new series Craft It Yourself (Tuesday 25, Channel 4, 8pm) is the show for you. Experts Clemency Green, Ant Anstead and Robin Johnson delve into the secrets of furniture, ceramics and textiles, starting with a striking Cuban makeover for a dining room that’s desperately in need of sprucing up.

Perhaps you remember the gentle delights of the series Six Puppies and Us. How could they improve on the enthralling sight of a half-dozen bundles of fun scurrying around as they find their four-legged way in life? The makers have simply done a little maths and added four, making 10 Puppies and Us (Thursday 27, BBC2, 8pm) an enthralling watch for owners or anyone who’s ever thought of getting a dog.

Yes, Top Of The Lake: China Girl (Thursday 27, BBC2, 9pm) is a mystery thriller set in Australia, but Midsomer Murders Down Under it ain’t. Rather, director Jane Campion (The Piano) gives us a deeply absorbing, sophisticated and smart, if unsettling, tale of a detective, Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale, pictured) in search of the daughter she gave up for adoption long ago. Nicole Kidman turns on the screen goddess power as the girl’s adoptive mother, while the title refers to a corpse found washed up on the beach: a young Asian woman whose death is connected to the sex trade.

Emma Willis (pictured) is the face of prime-time entertainment as the former presenter of The Voice UK and Big Brother; In Who Do You Think You Are? (Thursday 3 August, BBC1, 9pm), she finds dark drama and violence in her family past over in Ireland, yet there are also inspiring figures back through the generations.

Even if sport usually leaves you cold, the spectacle of the Athletics World Championships (4-13 August, BBC coverage) demands that you tune in, especially for the almost-last hurrahs of Britain’s own Mo Farah (pictured; men’s 10,000m final 4 August and 5,000m final 12 August) and Jamaican speed king Usain Bolt, poised for a final haul of gold (men’s 100m final 5 August and 200m final 10 August). Whoosh.

Finally, we must bid temporary farewell to a certain hirsute Cornishman as the current series of Poldark (Sunday 6 August, BBC1, 9pm) comes to a climax. Ross will be back, we hope, next year. Until then, be strong.

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