From a documentary about the extraordinary Pelé to crime thriller Big Sky and Bates Motel, the best on demand TV to watch this week
Pelé (above) is the only player to have won the World Cup three times – with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – and was for a time the highest-paid athlete in the world
Pelé is the only player to have won the World Cup three times – with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – and was for a time the highest-paid athlete in the world. Here, archive footage, alongside interviews with the likes of other Brazilian stars Mário Zagallo, Jairzinho and Rivellino, reveals his extraordinary path from breakthrough talent in São Paulo to global hero. From Tuesday
Cars and comedy combine in a new series starring Kevin James as the crew leader of a fictional Nascar team. All goes well until the owner shakes up their testosterone-fuelled world by handing over the reins to his daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller).
All goes well until the owner shakes up their testosterone-fuelled world by handing over the reins to his daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller, above)
Cue arguments between the old-school blokes and the woman trying to introduce Moneyball-inspired methods designed to drag them into the 21st Century. Available now
This tremendous crime drama is one of the jewels in the Netflix crown. The Byrde family is forced to relocate to the Lake of the Ozarks, a huge reservoir in the Midwest popular with tourists and, er, Mexican drug cartels.
Marty Byrde and wife Wendy (Laura Linney, above, with Jason Bateman) need to keep the gangsters and the equally evil local crime gangs happy, while keeping the law off their back
Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) has got himself mixed up with the wrong people and now has to launder money for gangsters. He and wife Wendy (Laura Linney) need to keep them and the equally evil local crime gangs happy, while keeping the law off their back.
It’s a must-watch and Bateman and Linney are terrific. Available now
Tribes Of Europa
It’s 2074 and a global catastrophe looks set to create a number of dystopian tribal micro-states from what was once known as Europe – unless three siblings and a mysterious cube can alter the course of destiny.
Henriette Confurius, Oliver Masucci and David Ali Rashed star in a German sci-fi drama. Available now
Tom Hardy has a long history of big-screen roles under his belt, most notably in Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as well as TV hits such as Peaky Blinders.
Tom Hardy (above) has a long history of big-screen roles under his belt, most notably in Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as well as TV hits
Here the British actor shows his versatility again in Josh Trank’s biopic exploring the life of Al Capone. The movie takes viewers through the ruthless Chicago bootlegger and businessman’s later years when he was sent to prison at the Atlanta penitentiary, to the time when he was still being monitored by the authorities at his Florida home while suffering from neurosyphilis and dementia. From Wednesday
SKY, BRITBOX, DISNEY+, DISCOVERY+ & APPLE TV+
Star is a new channel housed under the Disney+ banner. It will carry programming aimed at adults, rather than the family or younger viewer content with which the Disney brand is principally associated.
As well as offering a collection of classics such as The X-Files, Lost, 24 and Modern Family, it’s also launching with some originals. Big Sky is a crime thriller from David E. Kelley featuring Ryan Phillippe.
When two young sisters go missing on a remote highway, a detective and her former friend – an ex-cop – who have fallen out over a man join forces to investigate. There’s a twist at the end of the first episode but this falls short of Kelley’s usual standard.
As well as offering a collection of classics such as The X-Files and Lost it’s also launching with some originals. Big Sky is a crime thriller from David E. Kelley featuring Ryan Phillippe (above)
More promising is Solar Opposites, a daft animated comedy from the creators of Rick And Morty about a group of aliens trapped on Earth in suburban America. Star channel launches on Disney+, from Tuesday
Bruno V Tyson
Kevin Macdonald and Benjamin Hirsch’s documentary film tells the story of when Britain’s gentle giant, Frank Bruno, battled with the ‘baddest man on the planet’, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, and the fascinating ways in which the two boxers have remained connected in the three decades since.
This documentary film tells the story of when Britain’s gentle giant, Frank Bruno, battled with the ‘baddest man on the planet’, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson (above, with Bruno)
Fellow fighters Lennox Lewis and Buster Douglas share their memories of the rivalry, while the film is capped off with a brutally honest head-to-head reunion between the two former foes, who used to be portrayed as hero and villain. Sky/NOW TV, from Friday
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry
The 19-year-old goth-tinged pop star Billie Eilish is set to give fans an insight into her life and career in a much-anticipated documentary. The R. J. Cutler-directed film highlights the California-born singer-songwriter’s coming-of-age story and charts her rise from home-grown talent to international superstar and Brit Award-winner.
The 19-year-old goth-tinged pop star Billie Eilish (above) is set to give fans an insight into her life and career in a much-anticipated documentary
The film also follows her at home and on the road, and focuses on the making of the chart sensation’s debut album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which won Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at last year’s Grammy Awards. Apple TV+, from Friday
The United States Vs Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was adored by fans across the globe. However, as this biographical drama shows, she was no stranger to racial injustice, police brutality and censorship, from her rise to fame in the 1930s to her death, aged only 44, in 1959.
The film shows how the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics targeted Billie Holiday (played by a superb Andra Day, above) with a sting operation led by black agent Jimmy Fletcher
The film shows how the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics targeted the singer (played by a superb Andra Day) with a sting operation led by black agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair. Sky/NOW TV, from Friday
The Vaccine: Conquering Coronavirus
Mankind will continue to battle Covid-19 for some time yet, but thanks to the work of thousands of men and women around the world there is hope. Featuring interviews with doctors, scientists and representatives from companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer, this documentary explores what it takes to create a vaccine in record time. Discovery+, from Sunday
You don’t have to be a football fan to admire Chris Chibnall’s poignant drama, based on the story of Manchester United’s legendary Busby Babes who, in 1956, became the youngest side ever to win the league title.
The film focuses on the relationship between Matt Busby’s assistant Jimmy Murphy (David Tennant, above, left with Dougray Scott, right in hat) and young Bobby Charlton
The film, first shown in 2011, reveals the devastating aftermath of 1958’s Munich air disaster, which claimed eight members of the squad. Dougray Scott plays the Red Devils’ legendary Scottish manager Matt Busby, although much of the film focuses on the relationship between his assistant Jimmy Murphy (David Tennant) and young Bobby Charlton (Jack O’Connell). BritBox, from Thursday
Why is there such a buzz about..?
Framing Britney Spears (Sky/NOW TV)
Do you want to watch a chirpy, charming, charismatic young woman being harassed and bullied on the street, online and on television until she is eventually reduced to a broken, sobbing mess with a haunted look in her eyes and serious mental-health issues?
We all reduced Britney Spears (above) to a broken mess in the early 2000s
Sounds like fun, right? Because, as this disturbing documentary reminds us, that’s what we all did to Britney Spears in the early 2000s. This was a time when it was considered normal to speculate on TV about whether Britney had slept with her boyfriend – when a TV interviewer felt it was fine to ask her if she was a virgin.
Framing Britney Spears looks at the career of the woman who was the biggest pop star on the planet and at the controversial ‘conservatorship’ she has been under since 2008, after she was admitted to a psychiatric facility by her father.
The film caused a storm when it was released in the US this month, with stars taking to social media to express their support for the singer, and Miley Cyrus telling the Super Bowl audience: ‘We love Britney.’
Is Britney now effectively a prisoner who sends coded pleas for help to supporters through Instagram? That’s what some believe, and this film doesn’t prove otherwise.
BBC iPLAYER & ALL 4
Although many Hitchcock fans were apprehensive at the thought of a contemporary prequel to Psycho, this Norman Bates origin story turned out to be darkly impressive. Bates Motel ran for five series on the now defunct Universal TV channel, and now makes its free-to-air debut.
Teenager Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga, above, with Highmore) move to a small coastal town to assume ownership of a run-down motel
Teenager Norman (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) move to a small coastal town to assume ownership of a run-down motel.
However, the place isn’t quite as idyllic as it seems. BBC iPlayer, from Sunday
The Nine Lives Of Ozzy Osbourne
Described by his own daughter as an ‘irresistible bad man’, John ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne has a permanent place alongside Keith Richards in rock’s How Is He Still Alive? file.
First shown at Christmas, this documentary tells how a cripplingly shy Brummie boy used drugs, alcohol and ultimately heavy metal to invent his bat-chomping rock persona.
Described by his own daughter as an ‘irresistible bad man’, John ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne (above) has a permanent place alongside Keith Richards in rock’s How Is He Still Alive? file
Now 72, Ozzy looks back on his colourful life, with contributions from former Black Sabbath bandmates and, of course, his wife Sharon – or as she was known to fans of TV’s The Osbournes, Shaaarrrooon! BBC iPlayer, available now
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
Does Adam Curtis simply assemble a collection of archive footage and arresting images and then try to graft a unifying thesis on to them? For example, in the first film of this new series of six, he attempts to thread together such disparate elements as the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, Mao Tse Tung’s wife, the Illuminati, the former model Sandra Paul (now Sandra Howard) and Boolean logic in service of a waftily vague theory about power structures and individualism.
It’s entertaining. Indeed, it’s almost mesmerising with Curtis’s narration, but at the end you’re left wondering what it is you’ve just watched. BBC iPlayer, available now
Bodies centres on registrar Rob Lake (Max Beesley), working in an obstetrics and gynaecology department alongside Dr Maya Dutta (Preeya Kalidas, above)
Before Line Of Duty, ex-doctor Jed Mercurio adapted his first novel into this excellent drama. Bodies centres on registrar Rob Lake (Max Beesley), working in an obstetrics and gynaecology department alongside Dr Maya Dutta (Preeya Kalidas).
Some scenes aren’t for the faint-hearted. BBC iPlayer, available now
A new thriller from some of the clever types behind The Bridge and The Killing takes place in Helsinki, Belgium and Georgia and stars Krista Kosonen as Mari, an ambitious intelligence officer.
She agrees to go undercover in an attempt to befriend a refugee who was once one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. Game Of Thrones star Sibel Kekilli portrays the villain. Walter Presents/All4, available now
Six chirpy twentysomethings (including Charlotte Vega, above) are heading off
Back in 2003, a cast led by Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto got this gory franchise off to a fine start as a group of youngsters duly discovered the horrors lurking in the West Virginia woods.
Sadly, the many straight-to-video sequels weren’t nearly as good, but now the original writer, Alan B. McElroy, has returned and six chirpy twentysomethings (including Charlotte Vega) are heading off on the Appalachian Trail… where The Foundation and a touch of the Scandinavian chiller Midsommar await. Most platforms, from Friday
Lovely to see former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy and the great Rita Tushingham back in big-screen action, albeit in a picture that slightly struggles to sustain its initial promise.
Three young and very amateur burglars break into a remote country house owned by an elderly doctor and his wife. When the would-be thieves can’t open the safe, they agree to wait for the frail owners to return… Most platforms, tomorrow
AMAZON & STARZPLAY
Godfather Of Harlem
This acclaimed 1960s-set prequel to the movie American Gangster stars Forest Whitaker as Bumpy Johnson who, after spending ten years behind bars, sets about regaining control of the neighbourhood he once ruled.
This acclaimed 1960s-set prequel to the movie American Gangster stars Forest Whitaker (above) as Bumpy Johnson who sets about regaining control of the neighbourhood
But to do so he’ll have to go head-to-head with an Italian crime family. A second series is currently in production. StarzPlay, available now
Escape From Pretoria
Adapted from Tim Jenkin’s memoir of his time served as a South African political prisoner in the country’s darkest days of white supremacy, Francis Annan’s film is a well-oiled jailbreak thriller with a harsh history lesson thrown in.
A shaggy-wigged Daniel Radcliffe plays Jenkin. Amazon, from Friday
Louisa May Alcott’s classic story about the four March sisters in Civil War-era Massachusetts has been seen on TV and cinema many times. However, director Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 feature-film version starring Winona Ryder (Jo), Claire Danes (Beth), Kirsten Dunst (Amy) and Trini Alvarado (Meg) is up there with the best. Amazon, from Monday
This Emmy-winning prequel to Treasure Island follows the lesser-known adventures of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens).
This Emmy-winning prequel to Treasure Island follows the lesser-known adventures of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens, second from left, with Tom Hopper, Mark Ryan and Luke Arnold)
It’s 1715, and as Flint fights for the survival of a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes and thieves, he hunts for the ultimate prize: Spanish treasure galleon Urca de Lima. StarzPlay, from Sunday
Parks And Recreation
Brilliant workplace comedy revolving around the politically idealistic Lesley Knope (Amy Poehler), a local government official of a small town in Indiana. It ended up running for seven series and becoming hugely popular.
Later episodes featured cameos from Michelle Obama and Joe Biden. Amazon, available now
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