Pick of the Week: Monday 18th August
THE GENIUS OF CHARLES DARWIN
Channel 4 Monday 18th Aug 8pm
As the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s masterpiece On the Origin of Species approaches, Professor Richard Dawkins presents the ultimate guide to Darwin and his revolutionary Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection , which Dawkins considers the most important idea ever to occur to a human mind. In this powerful three-part polemical series, Dawkins explains who Charles Darwin was, how he developed his theory, what it is, and why it matters. In this final episode, as he meets creationists, scientists and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dawkins examines why, despite a “mountain of evidence”, Darwin’s theory remains one of the most controversial ideas in history.
BLOOD AND GUTS – A HISTORY OF SURGERY
BBC FOUR Wednesday 20th Aug 9pm
Today, surgery saves hundreds of thousands of lives a year. But getting to this position has not been a simple story of selfless men working tirelessly in the pursuit of medical advancement. It is also a bloodstained tale of blunders, arrogance, mishaps and mistakes. The road to surgical advance has been paved by heroes. However, it has also been littered with lobotomised patients, grave-robbing and neo-Nazis.
Blood And Guts – A History Of Surgery explores how brilliant surgical breakthroughs, sometimes humorous, often tragic, shaped the evolution of modern medicine.
Final Episode: HARLEY STREET
ITV 1 Thursday 21 Aug 2008 9
Simon Burgess (Tim Dutton) turns up unexpectedly at the clinic after falling over in the street. He was a lecturer at Robert (Paul NIcholls) and Martha’s (Suranne Jones) medical school and as Annie (Kim Medcalf) cleans up his wound we learn he’s come to see Martha on the pretence of discussing a lecture he’s giving. She and Simon haven’t seen each other for 12 years and it’s clear they were once lovers. Martha’s shocked when Simon reveals he could have Huntington’s Disease (a debilitating and ultimately fatal disease) and asks her to test his blood, claiming she’s the only person he can trust. The news hits Martha hard especially when she realises he could be the father of her daughter, Tess, since they had a three week affair 12 years ago. If Simon has the disease there’s a chance he could have passed the genetic condition onto Tess.
Meanwhile, Robert’s sister, Kate (Polly Maberly), calls worried about Mal (Philip Jackson) who’s having difficulty breathing. Robert tells her to take him straight to A&E where he’s diagnosed with pneumonia. His kidney condition means he has a low immune system and a simple cough has escalated. Robert’s initially angry with his father for not telling him about his condition and as they discuss their troubled relationship, Robert explains he’s never been able to forgive him for hiding the truth about his mother’s illness when she was dying. We see a new side to their relationship as they resolve their differences and Mal is instrumental in making Robert realise his feelings for Martha.
Fiver Thursday 21st Aug 10pm
Brand new to FIVER comes this emotional,revealing and occasionally graphic documentary series from the US. Offering a remarkable insight into the world of addiction, Intervention tells the story of a different sufferer each week through candid, intimate footage, before showing us what happens when their loved ones plead with them to seek professional help.
First up is Alyson, a bright 27-year-old who was once a prize-winning student with a scholarship to a prestigious university. Having also worked at the White House on several occasions as an intern, her family had every reason to think she was in the process of building a happy and successful life for herself. However everything went wrong when, while still at college, she met and fell in love with a boy named Richie.
WATCH ME DISAPPEAR
Channel 4 Friday 22nd Aug 7:35pm
As part of Channel 4’s Generation Next season, documentary new talent strand First Cut continues with Lucy Cohen’s extraordinary directorial debut. Each year in Britain around 2,500 people are buried alone. No one claims them, and no one attends their funerals. Others have lain dead and undiscovered for weeks, or even years, before they are found, and relatives traced. Driven by a desire to find out more about these lonely individuals from the people who knew and loved them, Lucy Cohen’s bitter-sweet first film pieces together two peoples’ lives, and asks how – in crowded, hectic, connected, modern Britain – it is possible for anyone to simply slip through the cracks and disappear. Using coroner’s reports, reconstruction and good old-fashioned detective work, Cohen painstakingly puts together the stories of two people who died on the same case files of the same coroner in Manchester and who are buried in the same graveyard. As she tracks down relatives and friends, touching stories emerge: the hard-working student dreaming of setting up his own business, and the fashion-conscious girl who stood up to school bullies and played on the street. Celebrating these lost lives, Cohen finds warmth and humour far removed from the bleakness of a lonely death. And taking us back to their gravesides, Cohen pays her respects to those who died unnoticed, but who lived like the rest of us. “By 2010, 16 million of us will be living alone,” says Cohen, “will we die that way too?”