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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

What to watch this week, from Heartstopper to DI Ray

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ant to hunker down in front of a screen but stuck for something to watch?

Here are the films, TV shows and special streaming events on our cultural radar right now, plus some of our favourites from recent weeks that you can catch up on…

We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content.


Everyone’s talking about this heartwarming Netflix adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel series – and it’s notched up a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a sweet coming-of-age romance (more Grange Hill than Euphoria in tone) about teenager Charlie (Joe Locke) falling for Nick, the star of the school’s rugby team. Plus there’s an Olivia Colman cameo.


DI Ray

Parminder Nagra leads this four-part police thriller written by Maya Sondhi and exec produced by Jed ‘Line of Duty’ Mercurio (LoD fans will remember Sondhi as an AC-12 ally in earlier seasons). DI Rachita Ray’s colleagues are convinced that a murder case is a ‘culturally specific homicide’ – but she thinks they are jumping to conclusions, and the truth is more complicated.

ITV, Monday at 9pm

Shining Girls

The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss gets her teeth into yet another gritty role in this genre-bending, time-twisting mystery, streaming on Apple TV+ from today. She plays a former journalist who is trying to piece her life back together after experiencing a horrific assault. When reports emerge of a murder case that might be linked to her attacker, she is determined to discover the truth.

Apple TV+

Ten Percent

The British version of Call My Agent!, the chic hit French comedy about a Parisian talent agency, has been one of the most eagerly anticipated shows of the year. It finally arrives on Prime Video this week, with Jack Davenport, Lydia Leonard and Prasanna Puwanarajah among the cast, and a whole host of celeb cameos. Perfect gentle viewing for the three day weekend.

Prime Video


A comedy about #MeToo? Noooo, I hear you cry. Fortunately, however, this is a smart, subtle show on Channel 4 from Steve Coogan and Sarah Solemani, which makes hypocrisy the butt of the joke. Terrified of being cancelled, producer Cameron brings feminist filmmaker Bobby in to do reshoots of a movie that’s turned out a bit sexist. Sienna Miller and Lolly Adefope also star.


This utterly bonkers anthology series comes from the makers of GLOW and is based on short stories by Irish author Cecelia Ahern. It’s no P.S. I Love You, though. Nicole Kidman plays a woman who eats photographs and Merritt Wever goes on a date with a duck. All episodes are on Apple TV+.

Life After Life

Kate Atkinson’s bestselling 2013 novel has had the prestige BBC drama treatment, and it’s making everyone sob. Thomasin McKenzie plays Ursula Todd who, from 1910 onwards, dies and comes back to life repeatedly throughout both of the world wars. Directed by John Crowley, the brilliant cast also includes Sian Clifford and Jessica Hynes, plus silky narration from Lesley Manville. All episodes are on iPlayer.

Russian Doll

Netflix’s comedy about a woman who gets stuck in a time loop is back, and the second series is even better than the first. Co-created by Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland and its star Natasha Lyonne, inset, the show is one of two good reasons to keep your Netflix subscription going this week. The other? Series five of Selling Sunset (out today), obvs.

Operation Mincemeat

The most audacious, ridiculous and possibly most important deception of the Second World War is the subject of this highly enjoyable back-room boys story starring Colin Firth, Matthew McFadyen, Kelly Macdonald and Penelope Wilton as the team who tricked the Germans using a floating dead body and a briefcase of ingenious fake documents in 1943. It’s a hoot.

In cinemas

La Voix Humaine

A single, suspenseful, much-interrupted phone call to a former lover is the basis of this short, one-woman film, based on the play by Jean Cocteau and set to music by Francois Poulenc. James Kent’s innovative, genre-crossing new version premieres on BBC Two at 10pm on Good Friday and stars superstar soprano Danielle de Niese as Elle, a woman at the end of her tether.

BBC iPlayer

The Thief, his Wife and the Canoe


The saga of ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin, who faked his own death in 2002 to claim an insurance payout, captivated the public with its staggering mix of the banal and the bizarre. Now it has inspired a four-part drama, written by Unforgotten’s Chris Lang. Eddie Marsan plays John, with Monica Dolan co-starring as his wife Anne.

Easter Sunday, 9pm on ITV


Paul Verhoeven’s latest attracted church protests in the US, perhaps unsurprisingly since it’s the story of a visionary nun who becomes embroiled in a lesbian affair with another young woman at her convent. Powered by some fantastic performances (Charlotte Rampling as a frosty Abbess? Yes please) it has something of the Ken Russell about it, inevitably, and is none the worse for that.

In cinemas

6 Music Festival 2022 Highlights

The annual 6 Music festival landed in Cardiff earlier this month, but if you didn’t make the trip to Wales for the weekend, you can catch up on all the best bits on BBC Four from 10.40pm tonight. The highlights show features backstage interviews and a special intimate performance from Manic Street Preachers, with snippets from performances by Wet Leg, IDLES, Little Simz and more.

BBC iPlayer

Gentleman Jack

Suranne Jones returns as Anne Lister, the trailblazing Victorian lesbian who wrote about her relationships in coded diaries, for the second series of Sally Wainwright’s lively, fourth wall-breaking period drama. After their marriage ceremony, Anne and Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) are preparing to move in together at Shibden Hall – but their families are increasingly suspicious.

BBC One, April 10 at 9pm

Derry Girls

Lisa McGee’s joyous series about navigating adolescence against the backdrop of the Troubles is back for its third and final outing – and we’re fully confident it’ll be a cracker send-off for one of the best-loved sitcoms of the last few years. The gang are nervously awaiting their GCSE results as the new season kicks off – and naturally Sister Michael (Siobhán McSweeney) is doing the absolute bare minimum to reassure them.

Channel 4, Tuesdays

All the Old Knives

Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton shine in this tense, slick, flashback-spattered thriller based around a conversation in a California restaurant between two former lovers (and, ah yes, CIA agents), instigated by the revelation that their department may have had a mole who aided a hostage massacre. Was it her? And what will he do if it was?

Amazon Prime Video

Slow Horses

This impressive adaptation of the first novel in Mick Herron’s spy series presents espionage work as distinctly unglam. Jack Lowden is great as River Cartwright, a disgraced MI5 agent who is shoved over to Slough House, a purgatory for demoted spies, after an operation goes wrong. The ensemble cast also features Gary Oldman as his foul-mouthed boss Jackson Lamb and Kristin Scott Thomas as an icy MI5 chief.

Apple TV+



This comedy earned rave reviews (and a handful of Emmy nominations) when it debuted in the US last year, but has only just become available to watch on this side of the Atlantic. It stars Jean Smart (so wonderful as Kate Winslet’s on-screen mum in Mare of Easttown) as a veteran stand-up who joins forces with a Gen Z comedy writer (Hannah Einbinder) to bring new life to her stagnant material.

Amazon Prime Video

Moon Knight

Yes, Oscar Isaac’s Cockney accent sounds a bit like an unconvincing impression of Stath from Stath Lets Flats, and his character, gift shop employee Steven Grant, has a similarly loose grasp on idioms (why does he keep saying “laters, gators?”). If you’re willing to overlook that, the series is completely bonkers, but enjoyably so – and provides further proof that these Marvel series are best when they deviate from the usual superhero rulebook (see also: WandaVision).



Can Bridgerton recapture the magic for its second series, now that S1 breakout star Regé-Jean Page has left the Ton? It’s a yes from us – Netflix’s all-conquering period drama is still plenty of fun, albeit a little more chaste than the previous season. Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran join the cast as Kate and Edwina Sharma, the sisters who end up embroiled in a love triangle with eldest Bridgerton brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey).


Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

Lizzo has ventured into the world of reality TV: in the singer’s first ever TV project, she’s on the hunt for back-up dancers to accompany her on a world tour, looking for “confident, bad-ass women to join the ranks of the Big Grrrls”. In keeping with time-honoured reality telly tradition, the contestants will all move into the same house before undertaking a series of challenges to prove they have what it takes.

Amazon Prime Video


An eight-part adaptation of the best-selling Min Jin Lee novel of the same name, this Apple TV+ series tells the story of a Korean family across more than 70 years of the 20th century. Weaving together tales of sacrifice and success, it’s a real epic, masterfully acted out by a superb cast — Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung among them. The kind of show that stays with you long after you’re done watching.

Apple TV+

Love Infinity

New, extremely arty art film now on MUBI from Oscar and Bafta winner Tim Yip looking at East London through the eyes of Stella, a 17 year old girl looking from ‘Grey London’ towards ‘Colourful London,’ a world created by artists. Part-documentary, part-fiction, all extremely strange and a unique look at themes of identity, diversity, creativity and freedom.


Top Boy

The new series of Top Boy, out on Netflix this week, focuses on Dushane (Ashley Walters)’s efforts to secure his empire while bringing multiple plot lines together in a gathering storm of fear and fury, pain and paranoia. It’s essential stuff, with a top cast that includes Bafta winner Micheal Ward, Little Simz and the acting debut from Adwoa Aboah.



This adaptation of Graham Norton’s novel looks like it’s going to play out as a cosy rural murder mystery, but constantly plays with and challenges our expectations with clever shifts of tone and well-observed characters. When human remains are discovered in a sleepy Cork village, decades of secrets are dredged up – and the town’s (only) police officer, played by Conleth Hill, finally has a proper case to solve.



Possibly don’t watch this new offering on Disney+, out now, if you’re down on dating. Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is over the apps, so takes a chance when she meets the charming Steve (Sebastian Stan) in a grocery store. But when he whisks her away on a romantic weekend it seems he might have been shopping for more than she bargained for.


The Nan Movie

It’s slightly concerning that critics aren’t getting screenings of this feature film based around Catherine Tate’s reprehensible Nan character, but fans will no doubt enjoy the foul-mouthed old bat’s road trip to Ireland with her long-suffering grandson (Mat Horne) to make amends (seems unlikely) with her estranged sister Nell (Katherine Parkinson).

In cinemas

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Further proof that the big stars are being wooed something silly by the streamers: Samuel L. Jackson plays the lead in this Apple TV+ adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel about a man with dementia who briefly regains access to his memories. Mosley himself exec-produced the series, so fans of the book can feel assured it’s in safe hands.


The Andy Warhol Diaries

‘Six-part Netflix documentary series’ is the new ‘15-minutes of fame’, and Andy Warhol now has one. This major new study, executive produced by Ryan Murphy, takes a look at the godfather of pop art and world’s most famous wig wearer. Don’t be alarmed that it features an AI version of Warhol reading his own diaries – it’s an illuminating study of this enduringly iconic figure.


The Adam Project

Ryan Reynolds stars opposite standout newcomer Walker Scobell as his younger self in this time-twisting sci-fi action comedy, out on Netflix today. With a heavy nostalgic feel but a contemporary setting, a smart, quip-tastic script, and support from Mark Ruffalo (brilliant as Reynolds’ science genius dad), Zoe Saldana and Jennifer Garner, it’s a joy.


Lucy and Desi

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

/ AP

This slightly hagiographic documentary on the comedy pioneer Lucille Ball and her partnership with her husband Desi Arnaz is clearly a passion project for the comedian and actress Amy Poehler. It doesn’t tell you anything new, but Ball was something of a baller, and if your interest was piqued by the recent feature Being the Ricardos, then it’s worth a watch.

Amazon Prime Video

The Ipcress File

Joe Cole as Harry Palmer


ITV’s remake of the hit Sixties spy film starring Michael Caine as reluctant spy Harry Palmer, an anti-Bond in square-framed specs and a mac, is pacy, stylish and highly enjoyable (albeit inadvertently and uncomfortably timely, with a plot that hinges around nuclear weapons). Joe Cole stars as Palmer, joined by Lucy Boynton as agent Jean Courtney.


Against the Ice

GoT alumnus Nicolai Coster-Waldau’s survival drama on Netflix is a satisfying effort, which the actor has co-written as well as being the star – though he’s far older than the real protagonist, Danish explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen. This story of his attempt to recover remains of a previous expedition to Greenland and disprove American claims to the north-eastern territory will warm a chilly evening.


Our House

Line of Duty’s Martin Compston stars alongside Tuppence Middleton in this adaptation of Louise Candlish’s bestselling thriller. Fi (Middleton) arrives home one day to find that her possessions have disappeared and strangers are moving in – when she calls her estranged husband (Compston) to find out what’s happening, he seems to have gone AWOL. Like any psychological thriller worth its pink Himalayan salt, the house in question will probably give you interiors envy.


Peaky Blinders

Tommy Shelby and his squad of flat-cap wearing blokes with undercuts are ready to stride through the smoggy streets of inter-war Birmingham in slow motion once more. The sixth and final series of Steven Knight’s wildly successful drama (though fear not, there’s a film and erm, a ballet in the works) will kick off on BBC One and iPlayer at 9pm on Sunday, with TV’s busiest man Stephen Graham joining the cast in an as yet undisclosed role.

BBC One and BBC iPlayer, Sundays at 9pm


Nicôle Lecky is a real triple – or should that be quadruple? – threat. As well as starring in this TV adaptation of her one-woman show Superhoe, she’s also written and performed songs for it, too. She plays Sasha, a wannabe musician; when she falls in with influencer Carly (Lara Peake), the show begins to explore the blurred boundaries between empowerment and exploitation on social media.

BBC Three and BBC iPlayer

The Dropout

Elizabeth Holmes promised to revolutionise blood testing with a finger prick test. Her start-up Theranos was valued at $9 billion and she ended up on the Forbes rich list… but the tech didn’t work, and Holmes was found guilty of four counts of fraud last year. Amanda Seyfried plays her, complete with black roll neck and that fake voice in this drama based on the hit podcast.


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