Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me – Wednesday, BBC Two, 8pm
The affable naturalist deserves plaudits for this moving programme about mental health. It’s a beautiful piece of television.
Filmed by Packham using a hand-held 360 degree camera, it follows him retracing his favourite childhood walk through the gorgeous Hampshire countryside.
There is no music telling us how to feel: the soothing soundtrack is composed of Packham’s voice, a babbling river and birdsong.
Occasionally he bumps into people along the way, but for the most part this is an introspective journey during which Packham talks about his Asperger’s and struggles with depression.
He knows how difficult it is to summon up the energy to commune with nature when you feel bereft of hope, but his advice is tender and wise.
The Bhangra Boss – The Story of DJ Vips – Monday, BBC Scotland, 10:30pm
The Edinburgh-based bhangra DJ Vipen Kumar passed away in 2019.
A cult hero with an impressive legacy, he’s given his due in this enlightening documentary. Kumar emigrated from India with his family when he was a child.
He later went on to open an Asian music shop in Edinburgh, before becoming an in-demand wedding DJ who instinctively knew how to work a crowd.
A dedicated entrepreneur with a fervent passion for music, he also promoted live events and started his own successful record label, via which he nurtured emerging bhangra talent throughout the UK.
A modest visionary, Kumar comes across as a friendly soul who was liked and respected by everyone he met. A good man.
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Scotland – Tuesday, BBC Scotland, 10pm
Paisley schoolboy Harry Birrell was gifted with a cine-camera in 1929. For the rest of his life, it rarely left his side.
This fascinating series delves into the man’s vast archive of life in Scotland during the 20th century. Birrell’s footage is so evocative, it’s like travelling back in time.
His films are populated by ordinary people enjoying themselves; they aren’t ghosts from the past, they’re tangible human beings. And Birrell was no mere amateur.
As the programme makes abundantly clear, he was an unschooled artisan with an innate understanding of how to compose visual narratives.
Highlights in episode one include the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge and a visit to the inaugural Edinburgh Festival.
India’s Rape Scandal – Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
In India, a woman reports a rape every fifteen minutes. But it is estimated that over 90% of attacks are never reported at all.
This disturbing report from C4’s Dispatches team highlights the growing national outcry surrounding a vile network of politicians and their powerful allies who are silencing women they have raped.
These high-profile men regard themselves as above the law, and employ a regime of intimidation, violence and murder to enforce cover-ups.
This is a family news website, so it would be inappropriate of me to quote some of the horrific details contained within the programme.
All I can do is respectfully guide you towards an important and deeply angering expose of institutionalised corruption and abuse.
Yorkshire Firefighters – Thursday, BBC Two, 8pm
This solid frontline series follows the firefighters responsible for protecting over 2 million people in West Yorkshire.
Filmed under Covid conditions, these men and women continue to do their difficult job during a particularly anxious time for everyone.
As one of them says: “I think in terms of your mental health… getting out there and actually being able to fulfil your role as you’ve always done, it’s been massive for us really.”
It begins on November 5, which is always one of their busiest nights of the year. The absence of organised firework displays triggers more opportunities for antisocial public behaviour.
The team must also deal with a raging fire in a former go-kart track.
A Year in the Beacons – Thursday, STV, 8:30pm
The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is a hive of activity.
This undemanding series spotlights some of its residents as they adapt to seasonal changes.
Against an epic backdrop of mountainous vistas, we meet characters such as Harry Legge-Bourke, a textbook toff and full time custodian of the Glanusk Estate.
An ex-military officer and former pageboy to the Queen, Harry is a keen traditionalist on a constant stressful mission to keep the estate afloat.
His galumphing lifestyle is contrasted with that of the Phillips family, who have been farming in this area for five generations. They’re nice people.
We also spend time with the local mountain rescue team, who are often called out to assist unwary tourists.
No Body Recovered – Thursday, STV, 9pm
Early last year, Michael O’Leary from West Wales went missing.
A middle-aged family man, his disappearance made no sense. The last text he apparently sent to his loved ones read: “I’m so sorry.”
His car was found abandoned not far from where he lived. The police initially suspected suicide, but they eventually discovered that O’Leary had been involved in an affair with the wife of one of his friends. Her husband then became the prime suspect.
We all enjoy a good mystery, but I’m always torn when it comes to these true-crime documentaries.
The death of Michael O’Leary was a terrible tragedy, but should we really be watching a programme about it? What purpose does it serve?