What’s on: TV that might just rival the football
So, yes, this week the nation's screens will be mostly tuned into the football and tennis, but if you need more than sports in your life, read on for seven other brilliant shows.
It’s going to be one of those sporting summers and this three-part documentary is aiming to get us all pumped up for the Tokyo Olympics, which is shaping up to be one of the bizarrest – and sparsely populated – tournaments yet. Anyway, that’s by the by: the programme in question here charts Team GB’s poor showing at the 1996 Atlanta games all the way to the mega-gold-medal cache that was London 2012. Tune in and relive the glory.
Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (BBC Two) – Wed 7 July
Need some respite from that pitch-based sport that’s taking over the other channels? Well, come on over. Hampton Court is currently hosting its glorious garden festival (after it was cruelly cancelled last year) and Rachel de Thame, Joe Swift, Adam Frost and Arit Anderson are leading the coverage. Immerse yourself in the world’s largest flower show and be rest assured that it is a football free zone.
Luxe Listings Sydney (Amazon Prime) – Wed 7 July
Netflix’s reality TV series Selling Sunset has become so massive, it’s secured its estate agent stars regular slots in the gossip columns. Prime is hoping to tap into the same mega-successful vein with this, Luxe Listings Sydney, which will follow hungry (and glossy) real estate brokers negotiate multi-million deals in one of the world’s most competitive property markets. Go for the incredible homes. Stay for the semi-scripted drama.
Gordon Ramsay: Unchartered (C4) – Thu 8 July
Need some foodie inspo delivered to you by a grizzled, foul-mouthed chef? Of course you do. And here it is: originally shown on the National Geographic Channel, it’s now moved to Channel 4 and sees Gordon Ramsay travel to some of the most remote corners of the earth to unearth culinary secrets and alternative ways of life, all the while throwing together some delicious dishes that you might – courtesy of Waitrose’s world food section – be able to rehash at home.
Virgin River (Netflix) – Fri 9 July
Season three for this unashamedly ridiculous romantic drama that sucked in millions of fans thanks to lockdown’s stay-at-home-and-watch-anything-that’s-on directive. Nurse Melinda Monroe and incredibly handsome bar owner (and former marine, natch) Jack will no doubt circle each other for another eight episodes in the classic will-they-won’t-they format while medical emergencies and small-town dramas play out in the background. Clear the diary: you’ll binge it in a weekend.
Pavarotti in Hyde Park (BBC Two) – Sat 10 July
If our recent footie success has allowed Nessun Dorma to wheedle its way into your subconscious then you could do a lot worse than settle down for this two hour delight on Saturday night. In 1991, the great Italian tenor delighted a crowd of 125,000 (despite the torrential rain) as he, along with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, belted out classic after classic. Never mind that over 100 people were treated for the effects of cold after the performance – it was history in the making.
The Night Caller (Sky Crime & Now) – Sun 11 July
This one’s for the true crime fans: a gripping four-part documentary that chronicles the four-year reign of terror Eric Edgar Cooke held over Perth, Western Australia in the early 1960s. Cook finally confessed to eight murders and 14 attempted murders but not before two men were wrongfully convicted of some of his crimes. Director (and one-time Perth resident) Thomas Meadmore speaks to both of these men and Cooke’s wife to explore the trauma that still reverberates in the city today.