Mrs Brown, Maradona, and The English Game: What to watch on TV this weekend –

Pat Stacey has trawled the schedules for the best TV to watch tonight, Saturday, and Sunday from new drama to nostalgic documentaries.

You couldnt find enough outstanding dramas about football to make up a five-a-side team. The superb BBC film United, about the 1958 Munich air disaster and its aftermath, would be in a league of its own although the depiction of Manchester United manager Matt Busby, played by Dougray Scott, was heavily criticised by his family.

Channel 4s The Manageress (1989-90), starring Cherie Lunghi as a woman who becomes manager of an English second division club, was also good, but is all but forgotten these days. After those two, theres really only Skys Dream Team and ITVs tacky Footballers Wives, which were basically elongated soaps.

Into this sparsely populated field comes The English Game (Netflix, from today), a five-part mini-series penned by none other than Julian Fellowes. If you think football and the man behind Downton Abbey and Belgravia seems an odd fit, know that its another period piece about class divisions and the birth of the modern game in the 19th century.

As long as the BBC has an archive of live pop and rock performances to draw on, therell always be documentaries like The Story of Ready Steady Go! (BBC4, 9pm). Its a fast-moving look at the show that started on ITV in 1963 and revolutionised television for the kids, especially when Cathy McGowan joined Keith Fordyce as co-presenter in 64.

The timing was perfect, coinciding with the meteoric rise of The Beatles. The show, which went out live on Fridays, was praised for its intimate style, but it was the artists it booked that really caught the eye. But by 1966, it was all over as the BBCs Top of the Pops gained dominance. The documentary is followed at 10pm by an hour-long compilation of RSG! performances.

Bulletproof (Sky 1, 9pm), British TVs answer to Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon, returns for a second run, with Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke (who co-created it with Nick Love) as the fast-talking, faster-shooting NCA cops taking down organised crime in London.

Also returning, but with more emphasis on plot than car chases and knockabout violence, is Italian cop drama Thou Shalt Not Kill (More4, 9pm). Someone wasnt listening to the commandment, because Turin detective Valeria Ferro (Miriam Leone, a former Miss Italy, apparently) has to investigate the murder of a domestic abuse victim.

Ant & Decs Saturday Night Takeaway (Virgin Media One/UTV, 7pm) is going ahead without a studio audience. It will be the acid test of whether a light entertainment show that depends on a noisy, excited crowd to keep the energy going, can survive in the eerie echo of an empty studio.

With coronavirus nixing the football fixtures, well have to make do with Diego Maradona (Channel 4, 9pm), Asif Kapadias stylised feature documentary. It focuses on a specific period, the players time at Napoli from 1984 to 1991, during which he deteriorated from fresh-faced, fleet-footed wizard to bloated, cocaine-addled mess.

The BBC replaced last weeks cancelled Match of the Day with Mrs Browns Boys Live. Too much of that sort of thing and it wont be self-isolation well be contemplating, but self-immolation. Still, I imagine millions will be thrilled by the return of All Round to Mrs Browns (BBC1, 9.15pm; RTE1, 9.45pm). The guests dropping in to the Brown household in Finglas, Glasgow, are Caitlyn Jenner and John Barrowman and his parents.

Its the final episode of Hidden (BBC4, 9pm), which sees Cadi headed for a tense showdown in the woods with knife-wielding murderer Mia, whos looking for one last victim.

Another week, another psychological thriller. The clue to this latest one is in the title, The Nest (BBC1, 9pm). Glasgow couple Dan and Emily (Martin Compston and Sophie Rundle) have almost everything they could possibly want: a beautiful waterside home, a thriving business and a happy marriage.


The Nest - Dan (Martin Compston), Emily (Sophie Rundle), Kaya (Mirren Mack) - (C) Studio Lambert - Photographer: Mark Mainz

BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz

Whats missing from their lives is a child. IVF treatments have failed, while an attempted surrogacy with Dans sister ends in miscarriage.

Troubled, vulnerable 18-year-old Kaya (Mirren Mack) insinuates her way into their home. As youll probably already have figured out, where theres a nest, theres a cuckoo.

Antiques Roadshow (BBC1, 8pm) is another programme that could end up being recorded without an audience present while the coronavirus rages on. Here, as they say, is one they made earlier, at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, which showcases the Victorian mania for growing exotic plants. Among the items examined is a Chinese box that movie star Gregory Peck once tried, and failed, to buy.

Kids getting on your nerves stuck in the house? Spare a thought for the parents in Brainboxes (W, 8pm), a documentary about six gifted New Zealand kids whose brilliance comes with challenges.

Well be seeing lots of repeats until the crisis abates, but few as good as West Side Stories: The Making of a Classic (BBC4, 10pm), an excellent 2016 documentary about the tumultuous creation of the smash-hit show.


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Mrs Brown, Maradona, and The English Game: What to watch on TV this weekend -

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