Pat Stacey’s weekend TV picks: Serial killer thriller puts a period spin on things


ne of the big streaming platforms is probably the last place you’d expect to find a series like A Private Affair (Amazon Prime). It’s a serial killer yarn, but about as far removed from what we expect from the genre as it’s possible to get.

In Galicia in the late 1940s — cue plenty of stylish period trappings — glamorous, upper-class Marina Quiroga (Aura Garrido), who has the soul of a sleuth, defies the gender conventions of the time and sets out to catch the murderer terrorising her town, where her brother happens to be police chief.

In something of a change of pace, the excellent Jean Reno plays her faithful butler and sidekick Héctor.

Sins of Our Mother (Netflix), on the other hand, is exactly what you’d expect — another true-crime documentary. It’s the story of Lori Vallow, who’s currently awaiting trial for the murder of two of her children and her husband’s ex-wife.

This week’s episode of The Outer Limits (Talking Pictures TV, 8pm) represents what’s generally regarded as one of the finest hours in US TV history: Demon with a Glass Hand, written by Harlan Ellison.

Robert Culp plays a time traveller from the future called Trent, who has no memory of his life before the past 10 days. His left hand has been replaced by a glass-encased computer that’s shaped like the lost appendage, but with three fingers missing.

They’re in the possession of the humanoid aliens hunting him through a vast building (LA’s famous Bradbury Building, also used in Blade Runner). The computer tells him that he must kill his pursuers and reattach the fingers in order to learn the purpose of his mission.

The incredibly poignant finale reveal takes some beating, even today.

Funny to think that The Grand Tour Presents (Amazon Prime) was once considered the streamer’s flagship series. If you still care, Clarkson, Hammond and May are in Arctic Scandinavia — as if the climate didn’t have enough to put up with already.

Comedy-thriller is a term always to be approached with extreme caution since so many of them struggle to be either funny or thrilling. Am I Being Unreasonable? (BBC1, 9.30pm) is co-written by and stars This Country’s Daisy May Cooper as Nic, a mother who can’t bond with the other women at the school gate.

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Then along comes Jen (Selin Hizli), who offers friendship and a few nips of gin during the boring school fete. But is she too good to be true?

Can’t say I was as taken with terrorist thriller Munich Games (Sky Atlantic, 9pm) as some of the British critics were. It’s watchable, though not yet the tension-packed palm-sweater we were promised. Maybe this third episode will prove me wrong.

After 17 years, the final season of Mock the Week (BBC2, 10pm) gets under way, the BBC having apparently decided that Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9pm) is all the satire needed. It’s not.


The death of Queen Elizabeth II last week continues to have an impact on the schedules, with the pre-recorded launch show of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 this evening being pushed back to next Friday. Also postponed for a week is Blankety Blank. 

In their places are a celebrity edition of Pointless (BBC1, 6.10pm) — which was apparently one of the Queen’s favourite shows — and the film Paddington (BBC1, 7pm). The late Queen and the loveable bear are seemingly indivisible now.


James Nesbitt and Charlene McKenna return in Bloodlands

Those who like their Saturdays heavy on light entertainment guff are still well catered for with The Masked Dancer (VM1/ITV, 6.30pm) and The Voice UK (BBC1, 8pm).

Of more substance is intriguing new three-part series Hitler: The Lost Tapes (Channel 4, 8pm), which explores the dictator’s public and private personas — although the so-called “tapes” are actually pictures taken by Hitler’s official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann and several hours of footage shot by Eva Braun. 


David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet II (BBC1, 8pm) mixes stunning, uplifting footage of polar bears leading their cubs to hunt and harp seals teaching their cubs to swim with a stark warning that the Arctic Ocean is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth.

If you thought Bloodlands (BBC1, 9pm), starring James Nesbitt at his most Nesbitty as Northern Irish cop DCI Tom Brannick, who’s as bent as a paperclip and a multiple murderer to boot, hit peak daftness last year, you were wrong. There’s more.

Brannick and McGovern (Charlene McKenna) investigate the death of an accountant who, wouldn’t you know it, is connected to Brannick’s shady past.

And since we’re talking about peak daftness, wasn’t it really clever of the Kennys to leave a stash of drugs in an unlocked cupboard where they could be found by Lee, who you wouldn’t trust not to rob your eyes when you blink, in last week’s North Sea Connection (RTÉ1, 9.30pm)?

This week, they receive a frantic phone call from Shane about Lenny. Oooh, now I wonder what could possibly have happened?

If past programmes in the strand are anything to go by, The Secret World of… Ice Cream (Channel 4, 8pm) will have you smiling fondly at old adverts for long-ago treats from the sweltering summers of your childhood. Well, either that or softly weeping as you contemplate your mortality.

Documentary series Stolen: Catching the Art Thieves (BBC2, 8pm) is as gripping as any thriller. Tonight’s episode relates how Swedish police and the FBI spent five years tracking thieves who stole two Renoirs and a Rembrandt from Stockholm’s National Museum.

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