Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black & White – Tuesday, STV, 9pm
Last year, on Britain’s Got Talent, Ashley Banjo and Diversity performed a powerful dance piece in response to the murder of George Floyd. Banjo knew it would spark a debate, but he wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming torrent of criticism he received. In this probing programme, Banjo examines how racism manifests itself in Britain today. One of his interviewees is the astute historian David Olusoga, who makes the point that, although institutional racism is no longer overt, it still exists in more insidious forms. Banjo also meets outspoken comedian Jim Davidson, who storms off when his logical fallacies are challenged thus proving Banjo’s point that all forms of prejudice are irrational.
Michael X: Hustler, Revolutionary, Outlaw – Monday, Sky Showcase, 10pm
Michael X was a radical civil rights activist who, in the 1960s and early 1970s, positioned himself as the face of Black Power in Britain. Born Michael de Freitas in Trinidad and Tobago, he was eventually found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in his homeland. This documentary attempts to make sense of his complex, murky saga. De Freitas once worked as an enforcer for a notorious slum landlord, until an encounter with Malcolm X changed the course of his life. He was a charismatic, articulate and often controversial (self-appointed) spokesman for Britain’s black community. He was also violent and ruthless. The film features contributions from some of those who knew him.
Impeachment: American Crime Story – Tuesday, BBC Two, 9.15pm
From the team that brought you vivid dramas about the trial of OJ Simpson and the assassination of Gianni Versace, comes this fairly promising mini-series about the infamous Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The tone is slightly camp and knowing, but it’s sympathetic towards Lewinsky. She’s depicted as a harmless ingenue who was betrayed and unfairly vilified; the scene-stealing villain of the piece is Linda Tripp, the disgruntled civil servant who manipulated Lewinsky into doing her bidding. Clinton is played by, of all people, Clive Owen, although he only turns up at the end of episode one. Despite the bleakly amusing tone, this is a fundamentally serious drama about sexism and abuse of power.
Shetland – Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
Series six of this atmospheric, windswept detective yarn begins with DI Jimmy Perez (the always watchable Douglas Henshall) mourning the recent death of his mother. Shetland is rarely cheerful, but that’s why people tune in: it is, at its core, a rather sad and occasionally quite soulful piece of Celtic noir. Plus the stories are generally solid. This week, Perez investigates the murder of a controversial local businessman. As if the poor guy doesn’t have enough on his plate (his widowed dad is struggling with dementia). Yes, the sheer amount of crime that occurs in this fictionalised Shetland is fundamentally absurd, but if that can’t be overlooked then other shows of a similar ilk are available.
Four Hours at the Capitol – Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
On January 6 2021, a violent mob of alt-right yahoos – who couldn’t accept their spiritual king Trump had been dethroned – invaded the Capitol in Washington. Trump, stung and embittered by his humiliating defeat, encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell”. He instigated a riot. This blow-by-blow documentary, most of it filmed by the protesters themselves, hurls us into the chaos. It’s a tense, disturbing study of mob mentality; of how people with axes to grind can be fired up by inflammatory rhetoric and safety in numbers. It also reminds us that four protesters and a police officer died during the riot. Four officers subsequently took their own lives. Trump escaped scot-free.
Extraordinary Extensions – Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
The rapper Tinie Tempah is also a property developer/designer. That’s why he’s hosting this barely disguised version of Grand Designs, in which he follows various people as they add ambitious extensions to their homes. In episode one he meets a pleasant pair of ageing hippies – the husband makes lysergic graphic novelist Alan Moore look like William Rees-Mogg – who are renovating their 17th-Century yeoman’s cottage. He also witnesses a suburban Edwardian home being given a stylish experimental makeover. The only real difference between this and Grand Designs is Tempah is sympathetic towards the participants. He’s a natural presenter too; a relaxed and likeable presence.
Charlene White: Empire’s Child – Thursday, STV, 9pm
Black History Month continues with this revealing programme in which genial journalist and Loose Women host Charlene White examines how the painful legacy of Britain’s empire has shaped the lives of black people in Britain; her own family included. It’s basically an episode of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?, but the stolen format works well in this particular context. The more White digs into her tangled family tree, the more saddened she becomes. This, inevitably, is a story of slavery and exploitation. “Is it a nice history?” she asks. “No. But I still feel it was something I needed to know.” And she’s also, quite rightly, proud of what her ancestors achieved.