Hive Alive, Utopia, Exposure – best TV on tonight

Dinner can wait. Here are our top telly picks tonight Tuesday 15 July


Hive Alive – 8pm, BBC2


A bee can fly up to 50,000 miles to make a single pound of honey – that’s twice around the planet, says broadcaster and beekeeper Martha Kearney.

In this charming two-part documentary Kearney (who recently had her own BBC4 documentary, The Wonder of Bees) and Chris Packham reveal the secrets of a bee hive in a sunny Somerset garden.

Bees are of course mini-marvels of industriousness, with a highly complex ability to navigate their way to the best, most productive flowers. Scientists can even track the flight path of labelled and wired-up bees using military radar. 

There’s some lovely photography of bees in slow motion (they keep aloft with 230 wing-beats a second) and some “Hammer Horror” clips of furious bees staring into the lens of a special camera probe that Packham lowers into a bee-rich tree cavity.

Utopia – 10pm, C4

After last night’s prequel pleasures, we pick up the present-day story. The good news is, Utopia is still the most stylish, funny, brain-mangling thriller around. And the yellowest.

Trying to precis the plot-so-far would be a mug’s game, but Jessica Hyde (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) – whose father hid a secret, humanity-sterilising protein in her DNA – is now a super-prisoner, a kind of Hannibal Lecter at the mercy of The Network.

The other rebels from the first series have all survived, and by the end of tonight writer Dennis Kelly has done a great job of re-booting the characters and jacking up the drama, via surges of new plot, comical surprises and his shameless use of lines like, “Come with me or they’ll kill you all.”

Exposure – 10:40pm, ITV

A mother shrieks “no, no, no” in grainy camcorder footage of a forced adoption, as police and social workers seize her baby. According to campaigners and some legal experts, these forced adoptions are becoming too fast and too frequent. 

Exposure examines the chilling effect of Baby P and other high profile cases of child abuse on social workers who, it’s claimed, are over-cautious and too ready to remove a child from its family to be raised by strangers. 

Of course it’s a fraught and emotional topic, and the programme talks to parents, including a prospective Conservative MP, who put up long fights in the courts to clear their names amid fears that their children could be taken.


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