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Let’s talk TV: 7 best things to watch this week

Billie Piper's anti rom-com, how to watch the London Film Festival highlights from home, and more big name telly this week. Pop the kettle on and settle in to watch our curated list of TV goodies.

London Film Festival 2021, 6-17 Oct

The London Film Festival 2021 might be going big on the cinema emphasis this year but, happily for those of us wedded to our sofas, that doesn’t mean the end of at-home viewing. 27 of the festival’s movies will still be available to stream on the BFI Player, each for a 24 hour window after premiere, and there are some good’uns. Try the volatile romantic drama True Things, above, premiering 10 Oct, for a potentially career-defining performance by Ruth Wilson (Luther) opposite Tom Burke (Strike). 

Adult Material, Netflix, 5 Oct

If you missed this BAFTA-nominated adult drama when it aired on Channel 4 last year, here’s a whole new chance to binge. With When Harry Met Sally style orgasms from the get-go this isn’t one to put on with the kids… but it’s a whip-crackingly funny (and in parts quite dark) look at the porn industry that’s well worth a watch.

Murder Island, C4, 5 Oct

Oh, not another TV murder mystery… But wait, come back — this isn’t just another TV murder mystery. There’s been a murder on an atmospheric Scottish island with a trail of complicated clues to unpick, only it’s a motley crew of random members of the public (rather than a gritty detective) on the case. Yup: it’s murder mystery meets reality TV, with a twisty crime to solve, and written by leading crime writer Ian Rankin… with a £50k prize on the table. We’re certainly intrigued.

Rare Beasts, Sky Cinema Premiere, 5 Oct

Billie Piper shows off her impressive directional chops in this daring anti rom-com, which was first released in 2019 but is premiering on Sky this week. It has the visual cues of a Richard Curtis film but is decidedly in its own category: zingy and intelligent, utterly bleak. So: not a hangover pick-me-up kind of film but — boy, that Billie Piper’s brilliant. 

The Lighthouse, Netflix, 8 Oct

It’s a genuine struggle to remember that Robert Pattinson was ever a sparkly teen vampire when watching this ultra-indie, deeply creepy, script-heavy 2019 film. Another chilling offering from writer-director Robert Eggers, who you might know from his The VVitch in 2015 (which brought Anya Taylor-Joy to the limelight), this Herman-Melville-esque film charts a Victorian descent into madness in arty black and white. The sort of slow and disturbing film you could brag about having watched to someone smart at a dinner party…

Joker, Amazon Prime Video, 8 Oct

Joaquin Phoenix pours his heart and soul into this reimagining of Batman‘s most iconic villain. It received an eight-minute standing ovation at the 2019 Venice film festival and grossed over $1 billion at the box office… you know, not bad. It’s dark, of course: a psychological thriller that received some controversy from allegations of glorifying violence, but there’s no denying that it’s one hell of an impactful performance. And from this week, would ya look at that, available to stream. 

Prue’s Great Garden Plot, More 4, 6 Oct

Bake Off‘s Prue Leith is swapping the cake forks for pitchforks in this new garden design series, which follows her and her husband tackling their recently purchased two acres of wrecked land. Can she coax it into a blooming plot of colour and life? The premise reassures us that: probably! Along the way there will be horticultural tips, tours of some of Britain’s best private gardens, and plenty of gentle enjoyment.

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