Thalidomide: The Fifty Year Fight, The First Georgians, The Food Inspectors – the best TV tonight

Our experts' top choices on the telly for this evening, Thursday 15 May


Thalidomide: The Fifty Year Fight, 9pm BBC2


The thalidomide story still has the power to shock. Originally a sedative, the drug was prescribed for pregnant women from the late 1950s, apparently because doctors at the time thought morning sickness was the result of women getting over-excited about pregnancy. 

When children started being born with missing limbs, disability was so stigmatised that medical staff would sometimes try to hide the fact from mothers, or leave babies to die.


This lucid but passionate documentary hits us with details of how the scandal unfolded, but also of how one man fought for years to get a just settlement.

The First Georgians, 9pm BBC4

This series opens a gilded door into the early Georgian age and shows it to be thoroughly strange. 
Lucy Worsley describes how in August 1734 an unlikely encounter took place in Kensington Palace.

George II greeted a delegation from his eponymous colony across the Atlantic, Georgia, which included Creek Indians led by their chief Tomochichi. It was a moment when old world and new stood face to face, a hinge of history captured in a doomy painting. 

The Food Inspectors, 8pm BBC1

Matt Allwright, Chris Hollins and Gaby Roslin thoroughly wash their hands before joining Britain’s environmental health inspectors on their rounds as well as investigating what goes into mass-produced soft scoop ice-cream (lots of white powder and air) and how filthy our supermarkets can be (you’ll never touch a trolley handle again).

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