What To Watch – Week Beginning December 30th

Ripper Street, BBC1 – Sunday, 9pm

The BBC’s latest big drama is set inLondonin April 1889, around six months after the last Jack the Ripper killing.  It stars Matthew MacFadyen (Spooks, Frost/Nixon) and Jerome Flynn (Game Of Thrones, Soldier Soldier) as detectives in Whitechapel as they investigate more murders and ugly crimes on the streets ofLondon.

The series has a strong cast and looks like it will be a dirty and very adult drama.  I’m a bit worried by the description of MacFadyen’s character being ‘haunted by a tragic past mistake’ (I can do without another show featuring flashbacks), but it looks like a show with potential.

Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe, BBC2 – Tuesday, 10pm

Charlie Brooker kicks off 2013 with what will almost certainly be an extremely sarcastic look back at 2012 as he reminisces about the big events of the year by pointing out how stupid the people doing stuff looked while doing stuff.

I’ve enjoyed most of Charlie Brooker’s work over the years, but his last venture, A Touch Of Cloth, was bloody awful, so has he jumped the shark?  Tune in to find out, but be warned, there will be plenty of tutting and eye rolling.

Galapagos 3D, Sky1 – Tuesday, 7pm

Africa, BBC1 – Wednesday, 9pm

David Attenborough may be 86 years old, but he’s certainly not slowing down when it comes to work.  He’s got two new series starting this week, with Galapagos 3D starting on Sky 1 on Tuesday, and Africa starting on BBC 1 on Wednesday.

In Galapagos, Attenborough explores the unique species that inhabit the Galapagos Islands in the Eastern Pacific, including Lonesome George, the over 100 year-old Galapagos Tortoise, the last of the species.  In Africa, he explores the deserts of the Kalahari and Namib, where water is in short supply, but various creatures have somehow adapted to the environment. Africa apparently features the ‘greatest giraffe battle ever filmed’, and if that isn’t a reason to watch a television series, literally nothing is.

Borgen, BBC4 – Saturday, 9pm

Hot on the heels of the final series of The Killing, BBC4 brings more Scandinavian drama to British TV with the second series of Danish show Borgen.  This show takes place in the world of politics, with Sidse Babett Knudsen as the Danish prime minister, and as series two begins, she is visiting troops inAfghanistanwhen the camp comes under attack.

She’ll be forced to decide between withdrawing troops and staging a counter attack, while back inDenmark, journalists are speaking to relatives of the men that died in the attack.  Should be another hard-hitting Scandi-drama and another hit for the BBC.

Freeview Film Of The Week

Moon (2009), BBC2 – Sunday, 10pm

It’s always seemed to be very easy for the sons and daughters of rock stars to go off the rails or try to follow in their parents footsteps and fail, but Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) has done neither, instead turning his hand to writing and directing films, and Moon is his debut film.

It stars Sam Rockwell as a man stationed alone on the Moon, with only an AI assistant known as GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) for company.  After a hallucination causes an accident, he comes to in the station’s infirmary, and when he later goes back outside, he discovers what appears to be his doppelganger.  Rockwell gives a brilliant performance in what is an intelligent and thought provoking sci-fi tale.  Clint Mansell’s score is also terrific, and Moon is a must watch.