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9 unmissable things to watch on TV this week

Banish any back-to-work blues with a tip-top week of brand new telly. We're talking the return of The Apprentice, sizzling new dramas, critically acclaimed films to stream, and more!

PICK OF THE WEEK: Screw, C4, 6 Jan

Ooh, we do love a gritty crime drama. This new offering from Channel 4 rings in the changes by centring on the female prison guards as opposed to the male inmates, and by promising to show that prison isn’t entirely violent misery. Derry Girls’ Jamie-Lee O’Donnell stars as a new prison guard recruit, overseen by ruler-of-the-roost Leigh, played by Nina Sosanya (Killing Eve, Last Tango in Halifax). 

Anne, ITV, 2-5 Jan

This heavy-hitting four-parter from ITV sees Maxine Peake portraying the activist Anne Williams, whose son died in the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. It’s tense, painful stuff, but sensationally acted.

Four Lives, BBC1, 3-5 Jan

Another hefty watch, this BBC three-parter stars Stephen Merchant and Sheridan Smith as serial killer Steven Port and the mother of his first victim, respectively. Some mind-boggling (though, by this point, not altogether surprising) revelations about systematic police incompetence ensue. 

Toast Of Tinseltown, BBC2, 4 Jan

Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, What We Do in the Shadows) is back as Steven Toast in this comedy last seen on Channel 4 in 2015. Our central tortured thespian has headed to Hollywood, seeking his big break. Expect plenty of hijinks, all in the show’s signature early-80s styling.

The Language Of Love, C4, 4 Jan

Need a mindless watch? This latest attempt at cashing in on the Love Island obsession sees six British singles meet six Spanish singles, tracking whether sexual chemistry can cross language barriers. Sounds exactly like how I imagined my Spanish exchange would be (it wasn’t). 

How To Give Up Sugar (& Lose Weight), C5, 5 Jan

Let’s not beat around the bush: the title grabs our attention. Sadly there’s no miracle weight-loss trick — the answer is to cut out (or cut down intake of) sugar. Reader, you’ll pry our KitKats from our cold, dead hands… but watching Amir Khan eat a super-sugared diet for a month to track the ill-effects makes for surprisingly engaging TV. 

The Apprentice, BBC1, 6 Jan

Cue the dramatic classical music: it’s back. Tim Campbell (winner of the first series) is standing in for an injured Claude Littner as Lord Sugar’s sidekick — otherwise, it’s the standard fight for a £250,000 business investment we all know and love. Settle in, pick a favourite, and judge as though you could do so much better.

Pieces of a Woman, Netflix, 7 Jan

Probably not one to watch if you’re in a fragile state, Pieces of a Woman is a stunning exploration of grief after the loss of a new-born baby. For her powerful central role, Vanessa Kirby received Academy Award, BAFTA, SAG, Critics’ Choice, and Golden Globe nominations — hefty credentials. 

The Tender Bar, Amazon Prime, 7 Jan

George Clooney’s directorial debut, it’s a heavily nostalgic coming-of-age drama that saw Ben Affleck nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe. Don’t expect high-energy action: The Tender Bar goes slow and steady in its tale of growing up in a working class Long Island family, and aspiring to be a writer.

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