The global TV highlight of the week ahead hardly needs a mention, but here goes anyway: France v Croatia in the World Cup 2018 final. It’ll be everywhere, obviously, but specifically on BBC1 and ITV – kick-off is at 4pm with the build-up starting some hours before. The complicating factor this time round is a clash with the final of the men’s singles at Wimbledon, and coverage of that match will switch from BBC1 to BBC2. It’s quite complicated, and, if the tennis goes on for longer than expected then there will be some tough choices for sports fans. Besides that? Well, for England fans, and fans of fine footballing skills, the World Cup play off for third place on Saturday afternoon against Belgium should prove a worthy curtain call for an excellent England run, and, as it happens, quite a thrilling Belgian one too.
Golf is a surprisingly watchable sport (well, I speak for myself), just because there is just so much skill involved, as anyone who has tried to play can attest (again, speaking for myself). While footballers and tennis payers usually don’t succeed in making the difficult look easy, the pace and calm of a golf course has the illusive effect of making every armchair expert think they could do it just as well. Hence the popularity of the game and hence the frustrations most players face with getting even a modest handicap. See for yourself with live coverage of The Open on Sky Sports, plus the highlights package on BBC2.
Take the sport out of the schedules and, to be honest, there’s not that much substance left. This isn’t meant to be some sort of strained metaphor, but the best of the rest is probably The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer, which you can enjoy to its full extent because no one has yet invented “smellyvision”. There’s an unwelcome volume of scatological references in the news these days so I shan’t add to it any more, and merely recommend you take the opportunity to explore out one of the weakest links in Britain’s public infrastructure. The Victorians built our sewers so well that they’ve lasted up until the present day, but they simply cannot cope with the stuff we stuff down the loo – hence the emergence of the dreaded “fatberg”. We shall see if the super sewer will be able to cope with such traffic.
Unless you’re one of those strange people who take to Twitter to rant about Nadiya Hussain (I mean when she won some cookery show) you’ll not be offended but highly chuffed by her return to our screens in Nadiya’s Family Favourites. She’s cooking – what else – her favourite recipes, which seem to consist of some clever twists on traditional dishes – for example a “Back-To-Front” cheesecake. This week’s episode is themed around “family get-togethers” and Nadiya’s dishes include nutty and garlicky furikake fries, mouthwatering beef burgers with bacon jam, and jollof pilau with salted cucumber salad and that aforementioned cheesecake. If only I could cook…
I should mention the docudrama Killed By My Debt. It’s based on the true story of Jerome Rogers, a Croydon teenager who had a job as a motorbike courier. His life was destroyed not by some gambling addition, a heroin habit or even poverty but by two traffic fines from Camden council which were outsourced to a private debt collection firm, with terrifying, spiralling consequences. It’s a tale for our times, sadly, and told exceptionally well.
Prison, on Channel 4 on Thursday, is a behind-the-walls look at life inside Her Majesty’s Prison Durham, the first of two parts. It seems that there really is an epidemic of the synthetic drug spice in our jails, and it is making life even more unpleasant than it already is, or needs be, for staff and inmates alike. If nothing else, the details of the various ways the lags smuggle phones and other contraband around the place is an impressive testament to the ingenuity of the human mind. You wonder what things might be like if they applied their intelligence to good rather than evil.
World Cup 2018 final (ITV Sunday 2.30pm, BBC1, 3pm); Wimbledon women’s singles final (BBC1 Saturday 1.15pm); Wimbledon men’s singles final (BBC1 Sunday 1.15pm); Golf: The Open (Sky Sports, Thursday 6.30am); The Five Billion Pound Super Sewer (BBC2, Tuesday 9pm); Nadiya’s Family Favourites (BBC2, Monday 8pm); Killed By My Debt (BBC1, Wednesday 9pm); Prison (Channel 4, Thursday 9pm)