Lockdown Telly: What We’re Watching This Week

In this second edition of ‘Lockdown telly’, thanks to you wonderful bunch we are brimming with even more recommended series and singles to watch so that we’re up to speed with the best content on the box. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts in the coming days – and feel free to email us your own suggestions!

This week, thank you to David Vallance & Roisin Bourke for sharing their must-sees with us all. Enjoy…

David Vallance, Executive Producer

“The TV that has most resonated with me in lockdown has been the TV I wish I had been making right now…

For Sama (Channel 4) – I finally caught up on ITN Production’s stunning documentary that covered the Syrian crisis from the hopeful eruption of protest in Aleppo, through the darkness of the regime’s violent response, until finally filmmaker Waad al-Kateab is forced to flee the city she loves.  It is one of the most powerful pieces of television I have seen in my life, elevating factual TV perhaps above anything that has gone before.  Here was a woman bravely documenting the destruction of her city, the death of her friends and the horrors of the siege at personal risk while also managing to show that, despite the atrocities around them, humanity still shone brightly both in terms of the incredible response of her husband and his colleagues in the hospital but also in the shared moments of laughter, of the recognisable mundanity that still continued and the arrival of her beautiful daughter, Sama.  Never before have the victims of war been portrayed so completely, so honestly and so very, very vividly.  Hard to watch, but so incredibly important.

Race Across The World (BBC2) – I loved the first series and the bravery in choosing a road less travelled across Asia… but while Central and South America seemed somehow a slightly more obvious choice, it still delivered incredible access to amazing places, knowledge that many would not possess and characters that you could learn to love as you got to know them across the series.  This time, civil unrest added another level of complexity to filming this series and I could feel my admiration for the crew growing the deeper into the series I fell.

The producers held back some deeper back stories so that your perception was not just changed by how they rose to the challenge and how the pairs interacted.  It was exciting, beautifully shot with buckets of stand out moments and incredible scenery plus experiences that the viewers would surely with they themselves could have… and on top of this, the timing of transmission made it all the more compelling as a reflection of where we wanted to be so much more than stuck in our homes, allowed out for an hour of exercise…

Win The Wilderness: Alaska (BBC2) – A brilliant way of shining a light on the frontier world in America and the spirit that drives those that want to live off grid.  While it was clearly hard to cast people who genuinely would give up their lives in the UK and take over a remote Homestead in the middle of the Alaskan forest, there was much to like about the cast and their desire to win.  But the real joy was using a competition format to introduce you to an American couple who had given up everything to build an incredible home in the middle of nowhere from scratch, with no shops or even timber yards accessible other than by air. 

While I was desperate to know more about what drove the couple to abandon their families and friends to live such an isolated life, the emotion packed final episode made it clear just how much their home meant to them and how devastated they were to be forced by age to leave it all behind.

Roisin Bourke, PD

“I’ve been digging away at the old archives of Catch Up like everyone else.

1- Louis Theroux – BBC/Netflix 

 Selection of his documentaries 

After bingeing on Tiger King like everyone else I wanted to watch ‘Louis Theroux: America’s Most Dangerous Pets’ to see Louis’s take on ‘Joe Exotic’. This lead me down a path of rewatching my favourite Louis Theroux’s docs; my favourite being ‘America’s Most Hated Family’ and Rev two follow up docs, which was fascinating to see a story span over a decade.

2- Made In Chelsea – E4

Needing some mid day light relief, I really enjoyed going back on some of the early series and just having a rainy day binge of beautiful shot reality.

3- Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case – ITV1

A difficult watch and justly harrowing documentary that tells the story of the victim in the middle of the Cyprus rape case. 

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