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Escape the heat: this week’s best TV

Sometimes, when the mercury is pushing 30 degrees, the only thing to do is open all the windows, shut the curtains, draw yourself a long, cool drink and shelter in-living room. Here’s what to watch while you do it.

Helen Glover: The Mother Of All Comebacks (BBC One) – Mon 19 July

Helen-Glover-Rowing-Comeback

No mother has ever rowed at the Olympics, who better to to be the first than Berkshire’s very own superwoman Helen Glover. The double Olympic champion decided in lockdown to try and make the team to the postponed Tokyo 2020 games. Helen has three children under four including twin babies with husband Steve Backshall. This documentary follows her journey back into racing every step of the way, from regaining her fitness to her selection for Team GB. An inspiring watch. Available on BBC iPlayer.

Uprising (BBC Two) – Tues 20 July

Uprising

Following his lauded Small Axe series, Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen is following up with a trio of films that explore three separate incidents in 1981; namely the New Cross Fire that killed 13 black teenagers, the Black People’s Day of Action, and lastly, the Brixton riots. BBC Two is showing all three on subsequent days.

Olympics 2020: Opening Ceremony (BBC One)  – Fri 23 July

Olympics BBC

Yes, you did read that right. It’s the 2020 Olympics, it’s just taking place 12 months later and it’s doubtful you’ll need to be reminded why just as the athletes village submits to a wave of respiratory illness. Anyhow… the show must go on as billions has been plunged into the event and sponsors want to see their returns. For the athletes that are not self-isolating, this is their chance to be welcomed onto the global stage as they will parade around Tokyo’s National Stadium following the lighting of the Olympic Flame. Alex Scott and Clare Balding are leading the coverage.

Reclaiming Amy (BBC Two) – Fri 23 July

Reclaiming Amy

Another Amy Winehouse documentary to mark the 10 years since the singer’s death but this one will include interviews from her mother, Janis who has never spoken about her on screen in depth before. During the programme, Janis opens up the storage facility where Amy’s belongings have been kept since her death in a bid to draw a more rounded, complex picture of her daughter than the tabloids would have us believe.

Sexy Beasts (Netflix) – Wed 21 July

Oh lord. This is the latest horse to join the ever-more-surreal reality dating stable but it’s heart is in the right place. Sort of. So, a bunch of very attractive single people agree to go on a blind date. The catch? Well, it is for TV so – naturally – they have to spend hours before the date being fitted with extreme prosthetics. The purpose being that there is no way of knowing what they look like: the ‘success’ of the date rides solely on pure chemistry. Catastrophe star and comedian Rob Delaney is narrating the series so expect to be amused if nothing else.

Jolt (Amazon Prime) – Fri 23 July

This Amazon Original film looks fun if not outrageously improbable. But, hey, weirder things have happened in the past year alone, right? Kate Beckinsale is leading this one as a bouncer (?) with homicidal tendencies (??) who wears a vest that administers an electric shock when her need to kill gets overwhelming (???). Got that? Yeah, well she’s on the run after her boyfriend gets killed. She’s after revenge but the police are after her. Laverne Cox, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci also star.

Every Breath You Take (Sky Cinema) – Fri 23 July

Another star-studded film that is getting its premier on TV, Every Breath You Take is a psychological thriller that might just require you to leave the lights on. A female patient of a psychiatrist (Casey Affleck) kills herself and her grieving brother (Sam Claflin) appears on the scene. What happens next is a big old mess involving the good doctor’s wife (Michelle Monaghan) and everything else he holds dear in his life. 

Ted Lasso (Apple TV +) – Fri 23 July 

Multiple Emmy nominations have been sent the way of this much-loved, feel-good series following an American football coach trying to rescue a down-at-heel English football team. Friday sees the start of the second series where Jason Sudekis is the (still!) endlessly upbeat Lasso and he’s backed up ably by the multi-talented Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham. Catch up on series one first if you need to feel good about the world again.

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