1. Celebrity Deal or No Deal 4oD
Not wishing to spoil it for you, but the first edition of this series managed to be mildly controversial. Viewers were outraged when Jimmy Carr ended up… well, have a look and find out. There’s novelty value in Olly Murs’s appearance too, as it’s his second appearance on the show. Can he do better than when he competed as a civilian and was rebuffed with just £10? Best of all, episode three’s contestant is Sarah Millican. She’s a trash-telly addict and very funny, but her episode is more notable for… well, I won’t spoil it for you.
2. Ten Things I Hate Demand 5
A nostalgic clips show owning up to the fact that, while we might remember the cultural highlights from any given year, at the time we were wading through yards of bilge to reach them. Centred on a different year each week, the well-chosen archive keeps turning up little moments of delicious awfulness, and benefits from Robert Webb’s stroppy reading of a nicely acidic script.
3. The Bridge iPlayer
It’s as gripping as everyone said it was and, with two hours of it slipping past every Saturday on BBC4, if you haven’t started yet you need to catch up quick. A serial killer announces the start of a spree by leaving a corpse on the Oresund bridge that links Denmark and Sweden: the body’s bisected by the border, so a partnership forms between Martin, a canny, shambling Dane and Saga, a Swede with no social skills even by TV detective standards. While the pair’s hunt for a brilliant madman gallops on, The Bridge makes time for lashings of black comedy and a daring habit of leaping off to look at mysterious minor characters before they impinge on the case, rather than us coming to them cold when the detectives do. It’s masterful.
4. Unreported World 4oD
Channel 4’s superb documentary strand – easily missed early on Friday evenings – is back. It makes the effort to visit troubled corners of the world that have faded from the news agenda, haven’t reached mainstream consciousness yet or, more often, are doomed never to be covered. The most important episodes highlight brutality and injustice, such as this year’s series opener about civil conflict in Sudan. But there are more personal stories too, from outlaw female film-makers in Afghanistan to the Baghdad bomb squad, doing unbelievably dangerous work for little reward.
5. Meet the Romans with Mary Beard iPlayer
Mary Beard uncovers the teeming, stinking reality of life as a Roman. Not emperors or poets but ordinary people, surviving in what was, Beard says, a chaotic shanty town with an ever-changing population drawn from across the Empire. Her expert enthusiasm brings us startlingly close to an ancient people who were people just like us. (Full review here.) Available until 8 May
Plus one from the archives…
All 14 episodes! Get in.
And one on radio…
Remembering Millie iPlayer
It’s hard to envisage losing a child at 22 months, having always known its genetic condition would be terminal, as anything other than black and devastating. That’s why this documentary is so valuable: the parents of Millie, who was helpless and needed constant care, join with their friends and relatives to celebrate her life and to explain the particular joy that loving her brought them.