Sunday, February 03, 2013

Week Seven: Onomatopoeia

It is probably not insignificant that the final shot of Borgen's stunning second series featured Denmark's first female Statsminister, Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) in a quiet moment of triumph before parliament, passing the final part of her welfare reform bill, surprising her colleagues and, even more, her opponents by calling a snap election and then breaking out into a beaming smile. Over two series we've watched Birgitte morph - with little apparent effort - from a warm, honest, decent, likeable political novice into a hard, calculating , pragmatic workaholic career politician, estranging her children and husband in the process and prepared to abandon the occasional principle - and the occasional friend - in the pursuit of holding on to power. But, by the end of the second series finale, she had found her way back from the brink. And, as her smile faded from the screen, with the opposition for once on the run and domestic harmony somewhat restored, was any viewer not - seriously - in love with the Birgitte we all remember from those early episodes of Borgen, only now stronger, more assertive, more in control  Statsminister and supermother.
The Borgen double bill had begun rather bleakly, with The Sanctity of Private Life. It started with Birgitte and Phillip checking their teenage daughter, Laura (Freja Riemann), into an expensive psychiatric clinic after yet another severe anxiety attack. This seemed politically ill-advised: the Prime Minister, after all, was fresh from decrying the evils of American-style private healthcare on the morning news, and thus was clearly open to accusations of rank hypocrisy. Such charges duly arrived in the form of dastardly tabloid scum Michael Laugesen (Peter Mygind) who was - as usual - quick to pounce of Birgitte's perceived failings, dispatching a paparazzi to snap Laura in her new, luxurious surroundings and then plastering the photos all over his front page. Given that, could there possibly have been a more satisfying ending to this season, with Birgitte seeing her daughter apparently well on the mend, standing before parliament: triumphant in her reform plan, resounding in her dismissal of those who suggested that her gender was holding Denmark back, and, thanks to the sagacity and political nouse of her old friend and mentor Bent (the always terrific Lars Knutzon), smartly sidestepping former Statsminister Hesselboe's planned tax-cut ambush by calling an early election. No wonder she was grinning like a cat who'd got all the (Danish) cream. Because, for the greater part of this series, and indeed, the greater part of these two episodes, such a final sequence seemed like an impossibly improbable dream. This was Borgen doing what Borgen does best. There were - serious and properly balanced - debates over the subjects of press freedom and a woman's role in the workplace and at home. In a series which has seen members of Birgitte's coalition cheerfully stabbing each other in the back with somewhat gay abandon, there was an almost-coup from deputy Statsminister Thorsen. We saw Birgitte's attempts to balance her personal choices with her political convictions. But, mostly these episodes were about relationships. Relationships between partners, relationships between parents and children and relationships between friends and lovers. The difficult balance between work and home was also touched upon and was the spectre of guilt, in all its forms, and its - often vice-like - hold over the guilt-ridden individual. And, all of it was explored with some beautiful writing and fantastic acting performances. It was often funny too, one of Borgen's most underrated strengths. Take, in the opening episode, the issue of Kasper's improbably knackered ligaments. ('Hobble over here, would you?!' Birgitte instructs him before telling him that he's crap at five-a-side so he should retire!) But, juxtapose that with Kasper's curiously thoughtful and touching understandable empathy for Laura. He advises Birgitte to play the 'mother of a sick daughter' card on national television. 'Kasper, that sounds tacky,' she says aghast. 'Not if you say it,' he replies. 'They're hurting a child. How the hell do they justify that?'
'We often say that women lend an air of humanity to the corporate world,' the vile Laugesen declares in a hideously sexist online op-ed piece, explaining that 'women are more in touch with their feelings' before - disgracefully - going on to question Birgitte's maternal concerns. Before Birgitte can say 'retrograde,' the gender debate has kicked off big-style in Danish society, with arch-rival Hesselboe (Søren Spanning) poised to swoop in as 'the voice of reason' in advance of next year's expected election. 'Danes aren't called to vote for the best human being,' the ex-premier says, pompously - and perhaps telling, seeming to acknowledge that Birgitte is a better human being than himself. 'Elect the person who'll make the best Prime Minister.' Or, the biggest bastard, whichever you prefer. But, as Birgitte (and Borgen as a whole for that matter) are extremely keen to point out to the viewers, Birgitte herself has already largely realised her reformist agenda, and Laura's incapacitation is an extraordinary circumstance which any parent should be allowed to deal with. Though admittedly, it takes Laura's psychiatrist to tell Birgitte the most simple truth of all - 'your daughter didn't get sick because you became Prime Minister.' Birgitte can - and should, it seems - 'have it all,' and, finally, she realises this, leading to her triumphant coup at the climax of the second episode - An Extraordinary Remark. With ex-husband Phillip (Mikael Birkkjær) helping out at home more and more, she takes the opportunity to call him out on his abandonment of the marriage at the end of last season in a showdown which has been at least ten episodes in the offing. 'You were weak,' she shouts. 'And you left. You let me down.'

As Borgen delivers its final verdict on the ideal work and life balance, Katrine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) encourages Kasper (Pilou Asbæk) to embrace the idea that life isn't the 'pile of shit' he clearly believes it is. I mean, let's be fair, the lad had a perfect reason for feeling that way, given the horror he was dragged up in. The couple - and now their coupling is thankfully out in the open - are looking for a new flat in the capital, bidding a long-overdue farewell to Katrine's cramped little bedsit. It's more than just an insight into the Copenhagen property market (a two thousand seven hundred-square foot flat with original stucco goes for over six hundred grand, it would appear). And, inevitably, Kasper flies into a total effing radge as only Kasper can when the estate agent starts pressuring him to have some kids of his own. To which Katrine spits, pithily: 'I know you don't want children but keep the estate agent out of it!' 'I'd rather do the responsible thing than feel I'm entitled to everything,' Kasper tells Katrine. The media director, of course, is ultimately fearful of passing on the sick and diseased genes of the paedophile father who so terribly abused him and the mother who stood by and did nothing about it. Borgen won' t let the pessimist off the hook anywhere near so easily. The message here is that it is better to try and make things work than to never attempt them, even if TV1 editor Torben Friis (Søren Malling) is cutting informal (and potentially illegal) deals to prevent Katrine suddenly setting off on maternity leave. Given the current plans for the NHS in Britain, an exploration of the Danish healthcare system proved to be rather more interesting than one might have suspected, as with some many of Borgen's allegedly 'boring-on-paper' explorations of the nuances of Danish political and social affairs. Birgitte attempting to dismantle a system which relied on having health insurance and private providers and re-establish a public healthcare system as the default option for Danes, rather than a second-rate, underfunded offering for use only by those unable to afford anything better. Laura's treatment, of course, proved to be the faultline which sees Birgitte and Phillip forced to choose private care for their daughter, sparking a predictable media storm. Most viewers will have assumed that it would lead to a row between Birgitte and Phillip as the Statsminister's politics demand Laura should be treated in the public sector. But, actually, Birgitte never hesitated for a second when it came to doing the right thing for her daughter even if it wasn't the easy thing. Nothing in Birgitte's character has suggested that she would put political expediency before her children's health.
There was - as usual - some excellent acting from Freja Riemann in an awkward, spiky, difficult role, and some smart script choices: having the psychiatrist explain how she thought Laura 'might' be feeling was a neat way of avoiding a scene of potentially overwrought emoting but still getting the message of loneliness across. The 'you fell like you're trapped behind a wall of glass' was one of the best of the entire season. This blogger also enjoyed the fact that it was she who explained to Birgitte - in a very straightforward manner - that Birgitte had to return to work: that she shouldn't - and didn't need to - blame her career choices for Laura's illness. It was, of course, impossible not to be genuinely outraged by the arrival of the scum paparazzi at Laura's hospital, which was (somewhat conveniently) placed in the middle of a public park, outside the jurisdiction of trespass laws.

'Hi, Cecilie. I'm just shouting at your boyfriend!' For once, Phillip seems to have actually listened to Birgitte. There was a beautifully directed moment at the beginning of the first episode when we saw Phillip collapse in the arms of his perky girlfriend, as he wept for Laura, while Birgitte remained tense, holding everything together, in the hospital corridor. Then, there was another moment towards the end of the second episode, when we saw Phillip's heart leap as he looked at his ex-wife, and she pulled her hand away. Are the Nyborg-Christensens due for a reunion? One gets the feeling that Birgitte has had too long to grieve for her broken relationship, and that Phillip has had just a few too many opportunities to return for this to work now. That very barbed line about 'turning into the Birgitte of your dreams' suggests the Prime Minister has finally stopped blaming herself for the marriage break-up and started blaming Phillip's lustful loins instead.
At the start of An Extraordinary Remark, four weeks have passed since the events of the previous episode and, already  Thorson's feet are comfortably under the table of the Statsminister's office. 'The country can't be without a leader without it being felt,' notes Niels Erik. Whilst Birgitte battles to balance her personal and professional life, so do Kasper and Katrine, who clearly haven't thought through the idea of keeping their relationship secret, given their respective jobs in two of the most gossipy industries imaginable. It was never going to work as a state secret – though this blogger did very much enjoy Katrine's put-down to the reporter from Channel 2 after his smutty remark about Torben finding out. Torben himself was on fine form throughout. His hiring of Katrine concluding with the assessment: 'You're a pain in the arse!' But, his comments about the reporter not getting pregnant the moment that she moves in with Kasper seemed a bit unlikely in this particular context. And, then there's Laugesen. As usual, he's almost twirling his moustache in finest panto tradition throughout these episodes. He seems to spend most of his time making online videos which, if you will, express the most extreme viewpoint possible. Torben's pregnancy point was, however, primarily there one suspects to push the conversation between Katrine and Kasper, who began the double-bill running home with delight, and almost ended it barely able to grunt 'tak' to each other before a charming reconciliation - politically motivated - in the final scene. Much of it was very well done: particularly the initial, rather jokey. conversation which subtextually revealed some proper home truths, and the flat-viewing which ended in near ballistic warfare. It was touching, also, to see Kasper making peace, of a sort, with his dying mother. Perhaps it's better that she can't answer the questions which he's been incubating in the dark for so long. But most effective was the Kasper-Laura storyline here. Him prompting her into attending the group therapy sessions; her persuading him that ones future does not have to be determined by ones past. On top of all that we have a further example of the delightful rehabilitation of Birgitte and Bent's relationship - the keystone of the first series, shattered by political necessity and then, in the last few weeks, rekindled with a warmth which should melt even the hardest and most cynical of hearts to slush. 'I think you have to make your mind up where you put Prime Minister on your list of priorities.' The second episode was also notable for two of Birgitte's finest ever lines of dialogue: 'I'll be damned if I debate my gender,' and, later, to the assembled parliament: 'Did any of you really believe I intended to resign to become a housewife? You must not know me at all, then!'
Borgen's first season ended on an apocalyptic note, with Birgitte in anguish over her shattered marriage, Phillip out the door, Bent cast aside, Katrine out of a job and Kasper left anguished and heartbroken. It looked at the beginning of the second season that further Danish tragedies would befall the programme's main players but, midway through, after one minister took an overdose and another was hounded out of office by his own side, the writers seemed to grant their remaining creations something of a reprieve. Divides have been healing, cerebral embolisms have been satisfyingly overcome and old traumas have been accepted and even embraced. It may not be the dour Danish drama we've come to expect, but only a professional misanthrope would knock the warm, fuzzy glow of optimism on which the season, deservedly, ends. Borgen - still possibly the best TV drama in the world. If you haven't seen it yet, find some, and watch it.

There aren't many writers who wouldn't welcome a comparison between their drama and The West Wing. But Adam Price, the creator of Borgen, politely shakes off any suggestion that his show is 'a Danish version' of Aaron Sorkin's classic White House saga. 'The West Wing is about a football team all playing for the president; Borgen is about characters standing on each column of modern democracy and actually working against each other,' he says. 'I'm a big fan of The West Wing, but I truly believe this series is quite different.' That Price is in a position to do so, however, is a pleasant surprise: the intricacies of Danish coalition politics were not expected to travel. 'We were told to lower our expectations when it came to an international audience for the series,' Price says in an interview with the Gruniad Morning Star. 'Probably Sweden and Norway would take it out of politeness, but that would be it.' Instead, the trials and tribulations of Statsminister Birgitte Nyborg have become a BBC4 cult sensation with a dedicated British audience. Borgen won a BAFTA and viewing figures have occasionally topped the one million mark – genuinely significant numbers for any subtitled drama, but particularly for one from outside of the crime genre. 'These are universal conflicts,' says Price. 'Politicians everywhere know that when a story breaks, that's a crucial point for government. They know that heads have to fly.' But Borgen's British success comes also from its focus on Birgitte's home and private life, as she tries to balance political ambition and parental responsibilities; her desire for power with the demands of a relationship, a family and - sometimes - her own conscience. The first series, with its charming glimpses of a normal, albeit particularly blessed, middle-class family life was irresistible for precisely that reason. If there is a criticism of the second, which has seen the Prime Minister struggling with the realities of her divorce, it's that we have, perhaps, spent too little time around the kitchen table. Some feel the series has suffered from Phillip and Birgitte's split, just as the characters themselves have. So, was Price tempted to keep the pair together? 'That's the big dilemma of writing and watching a drama – that if you put them back together at the end of the series it would have pleased us on one level, and bored us on another,' says Price. 'It's not very dramatic watching two people have a great time together and being very happy.' The writer describes the first season of the show as 'a tragedy': Nyborg the decent, honest woman we first encounter, gradually losing everything as her political collateral rises. It is all important that the show is about a woman, says Price, who refers several times to the idea of living in 'an age of availability' and the demands that places on our lives outside of work. Borgen is also, notably, about women beyond the political realm: Katrine the reporter wondering about whether she can combine a career and a family; Hanne the experienced hack, estranged from her daughter and self-medicating with alcohol. But while making women's lives central to the show is gripping, does it also run the risk of reducing their achievements and failures to simple questions of career versus domestic life? 'I wouldn't call myself a feminist, but the series is definitely some kind of feminist project,' says Price. For the first two series, the show was written exclusively by a team of male writers. 'We don't intend to say that women can't have it all. We had those fears behind us – there's definitely a risk that we could end up with a very conservative message, of the woman returning to domestic life and her love life, doing "the right thing" and choosing her private life over her career. We didn't want to send that message, of course, but we had to show that struggle.' In 2011, not long after the initial series of Borgen was broadcast in Denmark, the country elected its first real-life female Statsminister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. How much was that down to Price? 'We preceded her by a few months,' he laughs. 'I don't really think we influenced the election; it would be too much to think the Danes got used to the idea that we could have a woman in office and then elected her.' In any case, Thorning-Schmidt is likely to outlast Birgitte in the job: the third and final series of Borgen is currently being shown in Denmark (it will arrive in the UK early next year). Price has no worries about what to do when Nyborg's political career comes to an end. You might think that creating an internationally feted, much-discussed political drama would constitute a full-time job, but Price is also an extremely successful Danish TV chef and restaurateur. 'People in Denmark are also a bit confused,' he admits - as, indeed, the people of Britain would be if, for instance, John Torode had created Waking The Dead! 'I don't know that everyone knows that the guy writing Borgen is also the one standing in front of the camera whipping up a béarnaise sauce.' He will also be making a trip to Britain soon for the Danish equivalent of Who Do You Think You Are? – Price's ancestors left London for Denmark in the late Eighteenth Century. And then, fittingly, he has some 'nice offers' to consider writing for British television. But there will perhaps be one adjustment Price will need to make when it comes to the setting of his dramas: British viewers have long been puzzled by the set-up of the Nyborg household, in which the bedroom apparently leads off the kitchen. Price is amused by this: 'It's quite typical,' he says. 'The Prime Minister and her husband would have been a modern, quite young couple, with very young kids and they would have bought this old house with traditional rooms and perhaps torn down the walls to make a big, open living space.' But why is the kitchen next to the bedroom? 'That's because the house is not that big. We found a house in a part of Copenhagen that's not particularly rich. We didn't want to place her socially. We wanted her to be in contact with the real people.'

And, speaking of classy Scandinavian drama (well, sort of) Merlin's Angel Coulby and [spooks] and Ashes To Ashes actress Keeley Hawes have joined Sky Atlantic's remake of The Bridge. Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy will play the leads in the UK version of the Scandinavian classic thriller, retitled The Tunnel. Coulby and Hawes will also appear alongside Joseph Mawle, Adam Roebuck and the wonderful Liz Smith, according to the Radio Times. [spooks] writer and Outcasts creator Ben Richards has adapted The Bridge for UK television - while the original series focused on a joint murder investigation led by Danish and Swedish police, The Tunnel will focus on relations between the UK and France. The Tunnel will enter production later this month and will air on Sky Atlantic in late 2013. US cable network FX is also developing its own remake of The Bridge starring Diane Kruger, Demián Bichir and Matthew Lillard. This blogger bets that - as good as they may be - neither of these remakes will be anywhere near as good as the original, however.

And, so, here's your next Top Telly Tips, dear blog reader:-

Saturday 9 February
Bonjour, tout le monde. Cava? Captain Laure Berthaud and her brittle band of frères are back for another hard-edged, morally ambivalent Paris-set crime drama in the fourth series of the superb Spiral - 9:00 BBC4. The opening few minutes set the tone for what is to follow, as a dying man is driven into a wood and his body is dumped. He's suffered terrible injuries to his face and his arms are bloodied stumps. It looks like he's a bomber who has been blown asunder by his own device. Berthaud (the divine Caroline Proust) takes charge of the subsequent investigation, which leads her team into the murky realms of violent anarchy and the threat from home-grown French urban terrorists. In a parallel story, a young illegal Malian immigrant is arrested and placed in a detention centre. Soon both worlds begin to collide as unrest grows, pulling gorgeous lawyers Joséphine Karlsson (Audrey Fleurot) and Pierre Clément (Gregory Fitoussi, who can also be seen dressing windows in Mr Selfridge this week) into the swirling mess. Laure and her boys are distracted from the investigation by internal conflict and the appointment of a new commissioner who wants quick results. In the second episode immediately afterwards, CID are on the trail of Sophie Mazerat, a student whose car has been traced to the dumping of the bomb-damaged body, while their new boss, Herville, continues to make his presence felt in the squad room. Karisson's attempts to have Moussa Kone freed from detention are hindered by a reprisal attack. It's great to have it back in the Borgen slot. Saturday nights continue to be BBC4 nights.
In tonight's Howard Goodall's Story of Music - 9:00 BBC2 - the composer examines the age of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin. This period from 1750 to 1850 saw composers going from being paid, liveried servants of princes, archbishops and other patrons of the arts to working as freelancers required to appeal to a new, middle-class audience. The era also saw tremendous social upheaval, including the American, French and Industrial revolutions, but until around the turn of the Nineteenth Century, the music that was being written bore little relevance to the tumultuous changes in society. An immensely stimulating episode which could have stretched across two weeks: we move across one hundred years, the 'age of elegance and sensibility.' Where Bach and Handel had wanted to improve and educate their audiences, Haydn and Mozart wished to entertain theirs. Their dainty, beautiful music used simpler chords, an approach Howie illustrates by commissioning a Haydn-style cover of 'Rockin' All Over The World'! There's also a lovely analysis of Mozart's genius for melody, and how he couldn't help pouring his emotions into his music. This brings us to Beethoven, Schubert (and his modern equivalent, Adele) and, as a next era opens, Chopin. It's an impeccably clear, insightful hour of factual telly. One to watch whilst you record Spiral, I'd suggest.

Or, if you have nothing but diarrhoea for brains - and, let's face it, some people clearly do - then you could watch ITV's by-word for risible, odious horrorshow TV for the lobotomised, Take Me Out - 8:05 - instead. But, I wouldn't if I were you.

Sunday 10 February
Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May embark on a race from London's Wembley Stadium to Milan's San Siro, the home of Italian giants AC and Internatzionale in the latest Top Gear - 8:00 BBC2. So, it's another one of those terrific 'Great Race' episodes but this time, a price restriction leads yer man Jeremy to grab the keys to a Shelby Mustang GT500, which costs the equivalent of thirty five grand in America and packs a supercharged punch of more than 650bhp. James and Hamster pin their hopes on the pan-European rail network in a bid to secure the prize of tickets to a top-flight football match, with nothing but a long journey home awaiting the loser or losers. Well, that plan worked so badly that time they raced to Verbier, didn't it? Back on the test track, Jeremy puts Toyota's GT86 coupé through its paces, and its promise of entertaining rear-wheel-drive handling should put a smile on his face and a scowl on the boat of any passing Gruniad Morning Star scum-louse of no importance. Which, let's face it, is always good for a laugh. Plus, singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald gets to grips with the Reasonably Priced Car.
In Wonders of Life - 9:00 BBC2 - yer actual Professor Brian Foxy Coxy travels to Southern Africa and Madagascar to examine why Earth is such a fertile place and how it sustains such a large diversity of life forms. He searches for clues by considering the chemistry of a lion and reveals that the answer lies partly in carbon, a universal building block forged by the stars that is captured and used by the living world. By following the stellar origins of the element and the universality of the laws of nature, Brian contemplates whether there could be similar life elsewhere in the cosmos. Cox looks at 'how our beautiful, complex tree of life has grown from a once desolate universe' and also how 'carbon leaps from branch to branch' across that tree. So there's an explanation of evolution (via lemurs) and the carbon cycle (via termites), and how carbon came to be created inside ageing stars. It's beautifully done, and you have to love the way the programme uses floating captions and diagrams to pick things out and help with the explanations – a bit like they do in Sherlock. Also, this week Coxy plays with an actual lion cub. Ah. Bless.

Danno's search for the members of a terrorist cell leads to a terrifying life-or-death situation when he activates a suicide bomb rigged to explode at the slightest movement or touch in the latest Hawaii Five-0 - 9:00 Sky1. As technicians set to work to free the nervous cop, McGarrett tries to distract his friend and colleague by getting him to talk about the toughest case of his career, flashing back to Danno's days as a detective in New Jersey, when he and his partner, Grace, were held hostage by mobsters.
It's actually a terrific episode, one of this very entertaining series' very best - and was one of several US dramas first shown during the week of the anniversary of the events of 11 September 2001 - to have a direct link to them (see also, this week's Bones episode). Tragically, it also includes Danno's really annoying daughter a couple of scenes. So, you might want to record this and fast-forward through those so your evening isn't completely ruined. The excellent Scott Caan, Alex O'Loughlin, Grace Park and Daniel De Kim star, with guest Terrence Howard.

Stephen Fry his very self hosts the annual celebration of cinema, live from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London in The British Academy Film Awards - 9:00 BBC1. This has been a year that has seen movie-goers weep buckets to Les Miserables, go wandering Middle-earth again in The Hobbit and enjoy the spectacular fiftieth anniversary return of James Bond in Skyfall - among many other big-screen treats of the past twelve months. Now the academy pays tribute to the very best, with Lincoln, Argo, Anna Karenina and the afore-mentioned 007 outing leading the nominees. One person certain of going home with a trophy, however, is Midnight Express and The Commitments director Alan Parker, the recipient of this year's BAFTA Fellowship.

Yer man Stephen's former Blackadder co-star Tony Robinson heads to the small county of Rutland to visit Oakham Castle, the most well-preserved Twelfth Century building in Britain in the latest Time Team - 4:25 Channel Four. It was once home to the Norman knight Walkelin de Ferrers, who fought alongside Richard The Lionheart in The Crusades. Before that it was the residence of several Saxon kings and queens. Tony and the crew investigate de Ferrers' long-lost private quarters, but it takes three days of twists and turns to determine what the site looked like 900 years ago. To mark the visit, they also cast a giant Time Team horseshoe to add to the collection that has decorated the castle hall for half a millennium.

Monday 11 February
Former national heartthrob yer actual David Tennant narrates an insight into that most intriguing and comical of birds the penguin, beginning with three different species' journeys to reach their breeding grounds in Penguins: Spy in the Huddle - 9:00 BBC1.
Emperor penguins cross a treacherous frozen sea, and rockhoppers brave stormy seas before they come ashore and face a daunting assault up a three hundred foot cliff, where they are vulnerable to predators. Meanwhile, the tropical humboldts have to negotiate sea lions, dodge vampire bats and battle sea birds before they can lay their eggs in the desert. All the while, their every move is being secretly filmed by hidden spy technology, including robotic penguins with cameras for eyes.

Not many people would dare voice even the slightest criticism about food cooked by the great Michel Roux Junior, but the grande dame of baking, Mary Berry, does tonight in the second episode of the new series of Food & Drink - 8:00 BBC1. She — very politely and with a twinkle in her eye, of course — suggests the crème pâtissière in his fruit barquettes would be improved with the addition of just a little vanilla. Then, with a smile and a slightly saucy wink, she disagrees with him that butter is better than baking spread in a Victoria sponge. Fans of The Great British Bake Off will love this edition of the show, not just because it's focusing on cakes, pastries and breads but because, when Berry's baking on telly, much seems right with the world. It's all in aid of Michel and drinks expert Kate Goodman attempting to create the perfect afternoon tea. Food writer William Sitwell sings the praises of sliced white bread and nasty, twee Rachel Khoo and her fluffy duffy world of nauseating horribleness is in Paris to celebrate the patisserie. Don't do it on our behalf, Rachel.

The body of missing Korean student Soo-Min Chong has been found in the attic of a college chapel and the evidence starts to point to a link with the murder of Seager in Lewis - 9:00 ITV. As the killer becomes more desperate to cover their tracks, Lewis and Hathaway battle to solve the case - and both make life-changing decisions along the way. This is, of course, (as far as we know) the last-ever episode of the popular crime drama, starring Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox. Unless ITV change their mind again, as they did with Foyle's War. With Alison Steadman, Stephen Churchett and Edward Fox.

Charlie Brooker's darkly satirical drama Black Mirror returns - 10:00 Channel Four - with this first of three one-off films. Martha and Ash relocate to a remote cottage, but the following day he is killed while returning the hire van. At the funeral, Martha's friend, Sara,h tells her about a service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased. By using all of his past social media profiles, a new 'Ash' can be created. Hayley Atwell, Domhnall Gleeson and Sinead Matthews star.

Tuesday 12 February
An English tourist is strangled in her villa by a killer using the victim's scarf, definitely a case for Richard Poole and his laid back team in Death In Paradise - 9:00 BBC1. The crime scene indicates a robbery gone wrong, but Richard recalls an almost identical case back in London. He grows even more suspicious when the victim's husband turns out to be crooked former colleague Doug Anderson, a name he had hoped was consigned to the past. But, even though he has a watertight alibi and the team move on to further leads, Poole can't shake the notion that his old adversary is somehow involved. Ben Miller stars, with guest appearances from the great Neil Pearson (haven't seen him anywhere near enough on TV of late), The Royle Family's Ralf Little and Miller's former Primeval co-stars Hannah Spearritt and James Murray.

The Railway: Keeping Britain on Track - 9:00 BBC2 - is a documentary going behind the scenes of the UK's rail network, revealing the inner workings of one of Britain's biggest institutions. At London's King's Cross station, platform staff search for late drivers to keep trains running on time, while management are on a recruitment drive for the new multimillion-pound western concourse. Train dispatcher Laxman has an emotional week as he prepares to leave and head off into retirement after 35 years working at the terminal.

If you think this year's been wet and miserable so far, you might want to give The Year Britain Flooded - 9:00 Channel Four - a miss. This is, as you might expect, a documentary recalling the appalling weather across the nation in 2012, when unprecedented levels of rainfall brought flooding to towns and cities and led to the wettest summer in a century. Taking to the air with meteorologists and diving into Britain's sewage system and saturated underground aquifers, the programme explains why the floods occurred and shows how devastating they can be.
The Sound + The Fury: A Century of Modern Music - 9:00 BBC4 - explores the changes in classical music during the Twentieth Century, when the melodies and harmonies of the past were replaced by radically different sounds as artists responded to global upheaval and scientific developments. Featuring performances of key pieces and contributions by composers of modern classical music.

Wednesday 13 February
In The Patriot In Purgatory, the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living - Brennan tries to encourage a sense of team spirit amongst her interns by setting them the daunting task of classifying remains previously considered to be unidentifiable. Using a hi-tech missing persons database, they discover a man killed in the 11 September terrorist attacks, launching Brennan and Booth into an investigation to determine whether he was a victim or a perpetrator. Or, indeed, neither.
Once again, it's a fine episode of this most underrated little show. Highly recommended.

Yer men Si King and Dave Myers demonstrate some of their favourite indulgent dishes for entertaining guests, receiving money-saving tips from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin and delving into British culinary history for gourmet inspiration in The Hairy Bikers' Everyday Gourmets - 8:00 BBC2. Finally, they put everything they have learned to the test when they help a lifeboat helmsman say a surprise thank you to his crew.

Alastair Sooke explores the work of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein as Tate Modern prepares for a major retrospective of his work in the latest episode of The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2. Also, yer actual Cerys Matthews visits Cardiff's National Theatre Wales ahead of its premiere of De Gabay, a performance based on the lives of the Somali community in the Welsh capital. North-East based writer Val McDermid inspects the British Library's crime-fiction exhibition to learn about the history of the whodunit, and there is music by - get this - German electronic music legends Kraftwerk, who are in London to perform for the first time since 2004. Gott in himmel! Well tasty. Arty Andrew Graham-Dixon presents.
Thursday 14 February
Yer actual Peter Bowell presents an edition of yer actual Top of the Pops from 9 February 1978, featuring performances by Tonight (presumably doing their one hit, 'The Drummer Man'), Baccara, The Electric Light Orchestra, Lulu, Yellow Dog (doing their one hit, 'One More Night'), Dusty Springfield, The Stranglers, The Brotherhood of Man and David Castle.

Tonight's final episode of The Genius of Invention - 9:00 BBC2 - looks at inventors who tackled the complexities of chemistry and electronics and discovered how to capture and reproduce still and moving images. Michael Mosley, Mark Miodownik and Cassie Newland tell the stories behind the creation of photography, film and television, revealing how these inventions came about by way of sparks of inventive genius and steady incremental improvements carried out in workshops and studios.
Streak! The Man Who Can't Keep His Clothes On - 10:00 Channel Four - is a documentary exploring what has motivated Liverpool resident Mark Roberts to become the world's most prolific streaker. Known as 'The Baredevil', he has shed his clothes in public more than five hundred times, including at a local building site and even The Super Bowl. This programme follows the forty eight-year-old as he attempts to make one final memorable streak before his retirement.

Comedienne Sarah Millican and American stand-up Doug Stanhope are among the contributors joining Charlie for a satirical look at the latest news, casting a critical eye over trends in television, cinema, computer games and social media in this week's episode of Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe - 10:00 BBC2.

Friday 15 February
The Stereophonics, Joss Stone, Graham Coxon, Gabrielle Aplin, Chris Difford and Mick Hucknall are among the chancers, has-beens, wanna-bes and never-weres chosen (by ... some glake, seemingly) to re-create The Beatles' twelve-hour recording session at Abbey Road Studios for Please Please Me - their first LP in The Beatles' Please Please Me - Destroying a Classic - 9:00 BBC4. With contributions from Burt Bacharach and Guy Chambers, as well as people who witnessed the original event fifty years ago, including engineer Richard Langham and The Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow. Presented by Stuart Maconie.
The news, now. The Vampire Diaries executive producer Julie Plec has revealed that she has 'always' wanted to remake the camp British SF drama The Tomorrow People. The CW recently ordered a pilot for the revamp of the 1970s series from Plec and Arrow's Greg Berlanti. 'He and I both watched it on Nickelodeon when we were kids,' Plec told Entertainment Weekly. 'I could never find another person who had ever even heard of it, except for Greg in college once, so we were kindred spirits from the get-go.' Plec revealed that Berlanti called her immediately upon acquiring the rights to The Tomorrow People and asked her to produce the American version. 'It's so great,' she said. 'He's been so busy for the last seven, eight years, and I've been so busy for the last seven, eight years that we haven't had a chance to do what we used to do, which is sit around over a bowl of Chinese food and talk about stories.' Like the original Tomorrow People series, which was broadcast on ITV between 1973 and 1979, the new show will focus on a team of young people who have evolved into 'homo superior' - developing special new abilities.

Former Radio 5Live boss Adrian Van Klaveren will oversee the corporation's coverage of the one hundredth anniversary of World War I, the BBC has confirmed. Van Klaveren, who studied Modern History at Oxford University, will co-ordinate all related output and events taking place next year. He was recently moved from his role as 5Live controller after a BBC review into the Newsnight report that led to a former senior Conservative politician being wrongly implicated in child abuse. Van Klaveren supervised the broadcast on 2 November last year, after he was assigned to oversee BBC News coverage of the scandal surrounding dirty old scallywag Jimmy Savile. Describing his new post as an 'honour,' Van Klaveren added: 'The First World War had an enormous impact on individual people's lives, society as a whole and world politics - and it's vital that our coverage reflects that.' In its productions on The Great War Centenary next year, the BBC is hoping to emulate a 'joined-up approach' as applied in the London 2012 output under Roger Mosey's management. Van Klaveren joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1983 and rose through the ranks to become Head of Local Programmes at BBC West Midlands. He has also been the head of BBC Newsgathering and deputy director of BBC News, having previously worked in senior editorial roles at the Nine O'Clock News, Panorama and Newsnight. He starts his London-based role with immediate effect, reporting to Emma Swain, controller of Knowledge Commissioning at BBC Vision. Jonathan Wall is currently acting up as 5Live controller, with a new station chief to be appointed soon.

The biggest news in TV this week is probably to do with a show which isn't even going to shown on television, the US production of House of Cards – a remake of the classic Michael Dobbs BBC drama, starring Kevin Spacey. But the production's stand-out point isn't the impressive cast or production team, or even in its whopping one hundred million dollar price tag, but its brand new method of distribution – exclusively online, through Internet film and TV distribution giant, Netflix. It was a huge gamble on the part of the company, but considering the impressive first episode, it might just pay off. This week, all sixteen episodes of the drama were made readily available through Netflix (provided, of course, you have the $6.99 to pay for them and the better part of a day to dedicate to watching them). The first episode certainly captivates the audience with some cool, if morally questionable characters, great dialogue and beautifully moody cinematography to wrap all of that into a neat package. It may be too early to call it a smash success yet, but Netflix executives seemed to know what they were doing when they picked this particular show to be their trailblazer. It may or may not be a revolution in television, but House of Cards is certainly a good drama.

Moussa Sissoko scored twice on his home debut as yer actual Newcastle came from behind to beat the vile scum of Moscow Chelski FC in a rousing game at St James' Park. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) United won for the second time in a week, following Tuesday night's victory at Aston Villains, to haul themselves a few points clear of the relegation zone. Which was jolly nice. Former Magpies striker Demba Ba had the first decent chance of the game, but headed wide and then went off as he was caught in the face by Fabricio Coloccini's boot and sustained a reported broken snitch. After the game, Mosocw Chelski FC manager, the much-criticised big-gob Rafa Benitez, ridiculously, claimed that this incident should have led to a penalty for Moscow Chelski FC and the sending off of Coloccini, an utterly ludicrous, risible statement from this odious fraction of man over what was a - clear - accident. Still, that's Moscow Chelski FC for you all over, whinge, whinge, whinge when things aren't going their way. Benítez was clearly relieved to have been given a chance to divert attention away from the defeat, but his was not an entirely convincing argument. 'It was a penalty and a red card,' he said. 'If that happened in the middle of the park, play would have been brought back, a free-kick given and a red card shown.' By the same logic, it could be argued that Ramires should have been sent off for a despicable two-footed lunge on Gutiérrez a few minutes earlier. Allegedly contentious refereeing decisions, however, cannot disguise the fact that Newcastle, over the ninety minutes, deserved to win and to move further away from relegation trouble. Minutes later, Jonas Gutierrez headed the opener but Moscow Chelski FC in the second half responded through Frank Lampard's thunderbolt and Juan Mata's curling finish. Sissoko equalised on sixty eight minutes and struck a superb winner from twenty yards in stoppage time. It was a thrilling introduction to the home supporters for the French midfielder, who signed for Newcastle on 25 January and was a constant threat all afternoon. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew had described his new capture as the difference in their crucial win over Aston Villains in midweek, and here the twenty three-year-old proved indefatigable as the Magpies struggled to subdue their visitors, teaming up superbly with fellow home débutant Yoan Gouffran and the creative Yohan Cabaye. Consecutive victories for the first time since April moved Newcastle eight points clear of the relegation zone and suggested that, despite losing Ba to the European champions earlier in January, United have realistic hopes of climbing the table again and continuing their run in the Europa League. Moscow Chelski FC, for all their second-half revival, fell to their first away defeat since 1 December. Indeed, Benitez's side are now winless in four games in all competitions - which is funny - and although there were some enterprising moments, not least Lampard's and Mata's superb goals, this result will hardly win Benitez any new fans at Torpedo Stamford Bridge. Moscow Chelski FC's afternoon was summed up by Ba, who had a game to forget on his return to St James' Park. The Senegalese was booed from the start and ended up leaving the field before half-time with what was later confirmed to be a broken nose after taking an accidental kick in the face from Coloccini as the Argentine defender tried to clear a loose ball. The injury occurred as Ba almost gave Moscow Chelski FC the lead. He collected Lampard's throughball and, when his first effort was saved by Tim Krul, the ball bounced back to him and he headed inches wide, taking a whack in the mush in the process. Ba received lengthy treatment on the sidelines as blood streamed from his nose, although referee Howard Webb did not penalise the home defender - not that there was any reason why he should. No sooner had Ba returned to the field than Newcastle were ahead. The hosts had already tested Petr Cech on several occasions, with Papiss Cissé coming closest, but they made the breakthrough when Cabaye swept the ball out to Davide Santon and Gutierrez stole between the Moscow Chelski FC defenders to head home the left-back's pinpoint cross. The goal marked a period of sustained Newcastle dominance but that changed ten minutes after the break when Lampard picked the ball up thirty yards from goal and arrowed it into the top corner to reach double figures in the Premier League for the tenth consecutive season. Mata's finish four minutes later was equally exquisite, as he received substitute Fernando Torres's lay-off to curl past the stretching Krul and give the Blues the lead. It occurred just as Cissé tangled with odious little cheat Ashley Cole in an off the ball incident. Sadly, Papiss didn't give the whinging little shit something proper to cry about - like that time Cole's wife walked out on him - and harmony was restored. Moscow Chelski FC looked to be coping well without Ba, but Newcastle remained a threat on the break and from Gouffran's surging run they equalised, his shot parried by Cech as far as Sissoko, who turned it in. But the Frenchman saved his best for last, receiving Santon's cutback to beat Cech at his near post from twenty yards. Even then Lampard could have levelled once more, but his shot was blocked by Steven Taylor as Newcastle's French revolution continued. Elsewhere in the Premier League, The Arse greatly aided their pursuit of Champions League qualification with a hard-fought victory over Stoke. At the bottom of the table, Queens Park Strangers and Aston Villains both picked up draws - against Norwich and Everton respectively - but still saw the gap to safety grow after Reading grabbed a valuable win over Blunderland, while Southampton were forced to settle for a draw at Wigan and The Hamsters eased any pressure they were feeling with a win over Swansea.

Which brings us to yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. And, a slice of eighties nonsense from yer actual Kid Creole and all of his Coconuts. Oh yes.