Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band – Friday, BBC Four, 9pm
Note that subtitle: this documentary tells the often fraught story of the legendary Band through Robertson’s elder statesman, rose-tinted gaze. The only other surviving Band-member, Garth Hudson, oddly doesn’t appear at all. Nevertheless, it’s still an engaging, well-made film (Martin Scorsese serves as an executive producer) in which the prodigiously talented Robertson – who comes across as a nice guy – waxes effusively about the funky magic he created alongside his comrades, Bob Dylan prominent among them. Packed with colourful detail and warm contributions from fans such as Bruce Springsteen, it may not be the definitive account of the four-fifths Canadian Gods of Americana, but it’s a worthy addition to the canon of Scorsese-affiliated music docs.
Between the Covers – Monday, BBC Two, 7:30pm
The latest – tired pun alert – chapter of this comfy little book club throws the floor open to Hugh Dennis, Giovanna Fletcher, Zoe Lyons and the great Don Warrington. Host Sara Cox canvases their opinions on the late John le Carre’s final novel, The Agent Running in the Field, as well as Another Life, the debut novel from Jodie Chapman. We discover that Warrington likes “very heavy books”, Lyons is a fan of dystopian fiction, Dennis just likes being transported beyond the parameters of his life, and the ever-smiling Fletcher abhors violent and disturbing fiction, preferring instead to lose herself in stories about relationships. Warrington’s polite refusal to say positive things about every book placed before him is delightful.
Inside No. 9 – Monday, BBC Two, 9:30pm
Pemberton and Shearsmith’s latest confection is set in a static caravan which is being used as an on-location green room for a true-crime TV drama written by Jeff Pope. Shearsmith plays an earnest bit-part actor who spends a disturbing afternoon with the strange family who live in the caravan. The parents are played by Pemberton and Pauline McLynn. Adrian Dunbar occasionally pops in as a passive-aggressive version of himself. It’s not one of the strongest episodes, but I quite like the way it addresses the uncomfortable issue of our interest in dramas based on real-life horror. The fact that Shearsmith once starred in one, written by Pope no less, adds an extra layer of self-awareness.
Bake-Off: The Professionals – Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
As this crust-crimping saga continues, the remaining five teams consolidate their quest to be crowned Britain’s best pastry chefs. The first challenge this week is the making of a miniature cube-shaped dessert, which must be perfectly sculpted in every way. They’re also tasked with creating a glistening array of mushroom-shaped desserts (but without any actual mushrooms in them, obviously). The dramatic climax revolves around the painstaking creation of an imaginative heroes and villains-themed macaroon showpiece. It’s a broad conceptual remit: one of the teams opts for Mother Nature vs pollution, while another goes for James Bond vs a generic arch-villain. It is, as always, an extravagant smorgasbord of camp, frothy fun.
The Anti-Vax Conspiracy – Tuesday, Channel 4, 9pm
Preview copies of this documentary weren’t available at the time of writing, but it sounds interesting. And thoroughly depressing. The global anti-vax movement insists that Covid is a myth conjured up by governments to inject us with dangerous vaccines. The programme aims to expose who’s behind this crazy conspiracy theory, and what their agenda is. It inveigles its way into the paranoid mind-set of anti-vaxxers such as Piers Corbyn, who believes the vaccine rollout is equivalent to experiments carried out in Nazi concentration camps. At its centre, however, lurks disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield, whose bogus theories linking vaccines and autism sparked the entire movement. He has since gained fame and fortune in America. What a world.
Building Britain’s Biggest Nuclear Power Station – Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
On a stretch of the Somerset coast, a controversial project is unfolding: the construction of the UK’s first nuclear power station in three decades. Hinkley Point C, which is the size of a small town, is expected to cost more than £22 billion. Filmed over two years, this stats-heavy series is like one of those documentaries about the day-to-day running of luxury hotels, only with two of the world’s most powerful nuclear reactors lurking in the basement. We follow ordinary people as they facilitate a potentially devastating source of energy, which makes for uncomfortable viewing. Yet it’s also grimly amusing at times: episode one begins with the site chaplain saying a prayer while the staff stand around awkwardly.
Bear and Nicola Adams’ Wild Adventure – Friday, STV, 9:30pm
The latest celebrity special from adventurer Bear Grylls – an inherently silly yet harmless man – has a bit more depth than his usual folderol. While yomping across the windy wilds of Dartmoor with Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams, he occasionally stops to interview her. We gain some actual insight into her life and motivations. A truly lovely and inspiring person, she talks movingly about her traumatic childhood and the pressures of coming out as gay. Meanwhile, however, it’s gung-ho business as usual. They abseil down steep cliffs, crawl along a taut rope angled at 45 degrees, and boil an egg using hand sanitiser. Grylls’ overenthusiastic and weirdly emphasised “smashed it!” presentation style never fails to amuse.