GRAYSON PERRY’S BIG AMERICAN ROAD TRIP
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
Last summer, Grayson Perry travelled to America in the hope of gaining a better understanding of its tumultuous societal divisions, which have grown with unsettling alacrity during Trump’s time in office. He wants to examine the debates around “race, class, identity and economic opportunity”, hence why he begins his timely journey in Atlanta, Georgia, a burgeoning hub of African-American prosperity. He has several fascinating conversations with local residents, who shed light on the reality of white privilege and racial prejudice. They tell us something about where America might be heading, hopefully for the better. Perry, as always, comes across as intelligent, inquisitive and empathetic. He listens and learns. It’s an illuminating programme with far more depth than most travelogues.
Monday, BBC One, 8:30pm
Series two of this agreeable paranormal sitcom from the Horrible Histories team begins with an accidental public sighting of Button House’s resident grey lady. A photograph goes viral, the media arrive, and the corporeal owners spy an opportunity: if their hotel becomes known as a haunted hot-spot, bookings will increase. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan. Ghosts is charming, a clever/daft confection written and performed by an exceptional cast. For some mystifying reason, the first series was scheduled after the watershed. The BBC have clearly learned from their mistake. It’s a family-friendly show. The slightly ruder yet entirely inoffensive jokes won’t register with young children, but they’ll tickle everyone else. It belongs in this slot.
THE WRITE OFFS
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9:30pm
Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to read and write. This valuable series highlights just how difficult life can be for people with severe dyslexia. Everyday things that most of us take for granted are all but impossible for them. Kindly Sandi Toksvig, whose son is profoundly dyslexic, oversees an experiment in which eight volunteers attempt to change their lives via expert one-to-one tuition and a series of challenges based in the big bad world. The most anxious member of the group is Craig, who struggles to spell two-letter words. He opens up about his frustration and feelings of inadequacy. Eventually, Craig and co are tested in front of friends and family. Feelgood vibes ensue.
THE GRAND PARTY HOTEL
Thursday, BBC One, 8pm
The Shankly Hotel in central Liverpool specialises in showing its guests an affordably luxurious good time. Kitschy themed party suites are the major selling point, places where people can celebrate important moments in their lives. In episode one of this bubbly new series, nervous staff meet their new general manager, a camel-coated tycoon who has run successful hotels in London and Las Vegas. During all his years in the business, he’s never seen anything quite like the Shankly. Meanwhile, a woman books a suite to celebrate her divorce (she’s brought some friends along, it would be tragic otherwise) and a wedding is enlivened by the surprise appearance of an X Factor legend. No, not Chico. The other one.