The must-see TV this week: From Beecham House and The Lawyer to Big Little Lies and Glastonbury 2019
From music festival coverage to yet another Sunday night period drama, Jacob Stolworthy picks the essential viewing over the next seven days
Could 2019 be British TV’s best year in recent memory? It certainly seems so – and we’re only just approaching the halfway mark. So far, we’ve had the flat-out hilarious final series of both Fleabag and Mum, Shane Meadows’s harrowing The Virtues and Russell T Davies’s prescient near-future drama Years and Years.
Now, ITV is lobbying for inclusion with new period drama Beecham House. From writer-director Gurinder Chadha (the filmmaker behind Bride and Prejudice and Bend It Like Beckham), this series follows John Beecham (Tom Bateman), an enigmatic entrepreneur from England who arrives at an opulent estate in Delhi. Think Downton Abbey – or indeed Upstairs Downstairs – given an Indian makeover
The costume drama will add a lavish sheen to your Sunday evenings. Like Aidan Turner (Poldark) and Richard Madden (Bodyguard) before him, you just know lead star Bateman is ready and waiting to become the latest source of James Bond speculation. Let the headlines begin.
If you’re looking to see the week in with something grittier, Channel 4 has you sorted. Swedish series The Lawyer begins and it arrives with impressive credentials: it’s created by Hans Rosenfeldt, who oversaw all four fantastic series of The Bridge, and it’s already the most streamed original series on Viaplay, Sweden’s answer to Netflix.
The show follows a young defence lawyer (Alexander Karim) whose attempts to avenge his parents’ death lures him into a dangerous game. It’s an enticing plot, but be warned: all episodes will be available to watch on All 4 as soon as the first one finishes, so it may be a sleepy start to the week, too.
The ladies of Monterey return in episode three of Big Little Lies’ second season (Sky Atlantic), but, unlike the Californian location, their future’s not looking too sunny. Last week’s instalment left things on a sour note with Madison’s (Reese Witherspoon) marriage in tatters, Renata (Laura Dern) facing financial ruin and Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) discovering her son was killed moments after Celeste (Nicole Kidman) discovered he’d raped Jane (Shailene Woodley).
As played by Streep, Mary Louise glides between disconcerting and terrifying. This week, she sets her sights on Jane, as she attempts to untangle the web of lies surrounding what happened that evening. In many respects, this is Streep – a raised eyebrow here, a cutting remark there – trying her hand at psychological horror. She’s magnetic.
Those who are still devastated about not getting tickets to this year’s Glastonbury will want to lay claim to their sofa from next Friday. Worthy Farm may be opening its gates to a limited number of people, but the BBC’s coverage – licence permitting – is welcoming all. Performances from key stages (Pyramid, Other, John Peel, Park and West Holts) will be streamed all weekend long on iPlayer, meaning you can watch along as Stormzy, Tame Impala, Kylie Minogue and Janelle Monae deliver whatever they have up their respective sleeves. And the best thing? You don’t have to climb into your wellies.
Beecham House (ITV1, Sunday 9pm); The Lawyer (Channel 4, Sunday 10pm); Big Little Lies (Sky Atlantic, Monday 9pm); Glastonbury 2019 (BBC2 and BBC4, Friday 7.30pm onwards)