By Louise Bolotin
Popstar Boy George is the subject of Worried About the Boy (Wed, BBC4, 10.30pm), a feature-length play that charts his rise from an impoverished teenage suburbanite through his years as New Romantic clubber to his eventual superstardom as Culture Club’s flamboyant singer. First shown in 2010, George is portrayed with great sensitivity and Douglas Booth sits well in the role. Watch out for Mark Gatiss as Malcolm McClaren and Marc Warren as Steve Strange. Peaky Blinders (Thurs, BBC2, 9pm) returns for a second series. Cillian Murphy (left) stars as Thomas Shelby, the head of a Birmingham gang in the 1920s renowned for their use of razor blades, it was a plagued somewhat first time round with its wobbly Brummie accents but who cares? It’s a compelling, well-acted and stylish looking drama, with its gorgeous sepia tones. Worth watching for Murphy alone, and not just for his physical beauty.
Telling your sexual conquests you have chlamydia is never going to be easy. Scrotal Recall (Thurs, C4, 10pm) turns the task into a entertaining six-part sitcom starring Johnny Flynn as 20-something Dylan, who has just been diagnosed with the STD. Nowhe has to track down an assortment of ex-girlfriends and one-night stands to break the bad news. Going head to head is another sitcom, The Detectorists (Thurs, BBC4, 10pm) about a pair of metal detector nerds. The nerds in question are played by Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones, so it’s already off to a good start, and they are obsessed with unearthing a Saxon treasure hoard. The plot meanders gently, it has great cinematography and the supporting cast includes Sophie Thompson, Rachel Stirling and Gerard Horan.
Is Your Brain Male of Female? (Mon, BBC2, 9pm) is the big question Horizon is asking this week. Michael Mosley and Prof. Alice Roberts look at the gender differences in brain-led behaviour, the thrust being how much is nature and how much nurture. They conduct some interesting experiments that seem to point to one conclusion but then they are confounded by an opposing one. Bedfordshire police let the cameras into the cells in Luton for 24 Hours in Custody (Mon, C4, 9pm) in a five-part series that covers a range of police investigations and subsequent arrests and chargings. It lifts the lid on aspects of policing rarely shown on TV.
Often cited as the decade that had the most impact on post-war society, The Sixties (Tues, Yesterday, 9pm) is a major 12-part series looking at every aspect of the social and political upheavals that took place. It’s based on archive clips, produced by Tom Hanks and launches with the Cold War, the erection of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the present day, vigilante Stinson Hunter tracks down child molesters in The Paedophile Hunter. He poses as underage children online to lure sexual predators, trap them, film them and expose them on Facebook before alerting the police. A murky look at grooming that raises tough questions about the role of citizens in crimefighting.
In a week notable for 1980s music (Boy George and this week’s edition of Oh You Pretty Things), there’s also a repeat of the 2009 documentary Wild Boys: the Story of Duran Duran (Fri, BBC4, 9pm). One of the spearheads of the New Romantic youth cult, the Durannies conquered the charts with a string of lush pop hits such as Rio and Save A Prayer while dressed in frilly shirts and pirate trousers. They also helped pioneer the video promo and sold 60 million records. Wild Boys looks their career trajectory, the makeup and clothes, the sex and drugs and how fame affected five mostly working class Birmingham boys. The band offer their recollections and there are contributions from Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, Nile Rodgers and other celebrities.
Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel discusses her work in Hilary Mantel: Case Histories (Sat, BBC2, 7.30pm). In conversation with James Runcie, she reveals that her characters in her historical novels share an underlying theme of needing to confront their past and talks about her latest collection of short stories – including the controversial one about her fantasy of assassinating Margaret Thatcher. Actor Kim Cattrall discusses her love of the Bard in My Shakespeare (Mon, Sky Arts 1, 9pm) and her performance as Cleopatra in a Janet Suzman production.
Music quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks (Mon, BBC2, 10pm) returns for its umpteenth series. Although the format never changes it still has its side-splitting moments and the best bit is usually the ID parade where the panels have to identify a former rockstar – there’s something naughtily delicious about seeing how someone looks now. The show finally has a permanent host again in standup Rhod Gilbert. Also back for the next 10 weeks is Have I Got News For You (Fri, BBC1, 9pm), with Jennifer Saunders anchoring this week’s edition.
If you’re watching Strictly Come Dancing, then you won’t want to miss It Takes Two (week nights, BBC2, 6.30pm) – Zoe Ball hosts the backstage bits, with clips, interviews, previews and all the gossip. Michelin-starred pub chef Tom Kerridge’s first series went down well enough to earn him a second. Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes (Fri, BBC2, 9pm) demonstrates yet more of his heart signature dishes. He offers lots of useful tips and tricks, too, for getting the recipes just right. You’ll barely recognise him, though – the once very portly chef has shed half his body weight between series…