1. Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime 4oD
Last year’s boggling, multi-million-dollar auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection punctuates this sumptuous bio, which details how each increasingly fantastic trinket came into her possession. As her fame grew and she repeatedly re-married, gifts were her biggest addiction: the programme lets you taste the sad, crazy life of a megastar while gazing at exquisitely beautiful things, Taylor’s own visage among them.
Available until 18 May
2. The Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoo iPlayer
Fantasy lifestyle telly at its sweetest, as the angelic Rachel Khoo lets us share her French idyll. Based in a kitchen so small Khoo has to do all the cooking segments side-on, she sets out to prove that delicious French cuisine can be made simply. Other cooks promise that but then wheel out recipes that require 49 exotic ingredients, two days’ prep and a complex system of pulleys. Khoo is as good as her word, unaffectedly picking the best stuff from the beautiful local markets and whizzing it up into manna, all the while coming over like a dreamy but grounded British version of Amélie. You’re never going to have Khoo’s life, so enjoy pretending for a while.
Series available until 30 April
3. FILM: Third Star iPlayer
iPlayer drops a Cumberbomb! Yes, he’s the star of this little-seen 2010 film, which was still little-seen when it was shown last Saturday night on BBC2, because it only went out in Wales. Sherlock himself plays a young man who’s terminally ill with cancer, and who takes his friends to the Pembrokeshire coast for a tense final holiday. It’s an emotional comedy drama with our man Benedict very much front and centre.
Available until 28 April
4. Divine Women iPlayer
In 2012, the major religions are still dispiritingly mired in gender politics – they’re even more doggedly male-dominated than politics or the corporate world. The irony of that is explored in Bettany Hughes’s latest well-informed history series, which uncovers how, before those religions calcified into institutions, women were more important than men. Hughes travels back a long way to deliver rich and brutal stories you won’t have heard before, but she brings out challenging contemporary resonances at every turn.
Last episode tonight 9pm BBC2; series available until 2 May
5. Louis Theroux: Extreme Love iPlayer
Could this be Theroux’s finest work to date? His visit to the Development Learning Centre in New Jersey, where there are almost as many teachers as students, tests him as never before. All the kids are somewhere on the autistic spectrum, their conditions exhaustingly difficult to deal with and poorly understood. But Theroux, as ever, shines a light, by changing the way he communicates to give a picture of autism that’s much broader and darker than any airbrushed Hollywood archetype about savants. The taboo about parents perhaps not unquestioningly, unwaveringly enjoying raising their kids is broken, too, by a tough and sad film. A second Extreme Love programme, about dementia, airs on BBC2 tomorrow.
Available until 3 May
Plus one from the archives…
The 18 February 1984 show in full! With Larry Grayson and Mel Brooks. From the BBC’s Talk Collection.
And one on radio…
Twelfth Night iPlayer
David Tennant, Rosie Cavaliero and Vanessa Kirby star in Shakespeare’s comedy.