So near... so Fargo


Dawn Renton takes a look at the week’s TV highlights

(Sunday, Channel 4, 9.00.p.m.)

Based on the Coen Brothers’ Oscar winning film, this dark comedy is actually not half bad. Billy Bob Thornton plays mean like he was put on the planet to do so. In this latest episode, though, he shows that he can do meek too. Cop Gus Grimley has finally gotten round to arresting psychopathic killer Malvo (played by Thornton), except he maintains he’s really Frank Petersen, a gentle God-fearing church minister, who couldn’t possibly murder another soul. He fires off one-liners with ease including when a gun is thrust in his face and he utters, quite ingeniously: “I know the Lord tests you in all sorts of ways but that’s a heart-stopper.”

He also steals the scene in which Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) finally thinks he is safe, only to be confronted by the very people he was trying to escape from.

Bloody Tales Of The Tower

(Friday, Channel 5, 7.00p.m.)

The famous Tower of London has always held some fascination for me, and as a bit of a history geek, this is right up my alley. Tag along with historian Suzannah Lipscomb and journalist Joe Crowley as they continue their investigations into stories connected to the Tower of London. In this episode the duo look at three people imprisoned in the Tower of London for treason but who had very different outcomes, the fate of Jesuit priest Fr John Gerard is examined and after he was accused of being sent overthrow Elizabeth I by the pope and cases of Gunpowder Plot conspirator Guy Fawkes and German spy Josef Jakobs, who was captured in 1941 after breaking his ankle while parachuting into England on a mission.

The Culture Show

(Saturday, BBC2, 8.30p.m.)

The popular show celebrates women of the 50s and 60s . And why not? The pop art movement of the 1950s and 60s wan’t all about Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Peter Blake. Female artists also dominated the scene. The women gave their male counterparts a run for their money as they brimmed with sexuality and culture. In this documentary, Alastair Sooke tracks down artists including Pauline Boty, Marisol, Rosalyn Drexler, Idelle Weber, Letty Lou Eisenhauer and Jann Haworth to hear their side of the story. Never heard of any of these fab women? Honestly, me neither, but watch this and all will be revealed.

Man vs Weird

(Monday, Channel4, 10.00 p.m.)

I do like a bit of weirdness and now the people at Channel 4 have taken all that is strange and put it all togther in this brand new series. Comedian Simon Farnaby travels the length and breadth of the world to meet people who claim to have extraordinary abilities. Super powers are investigated this time round as Simon speaks to all manner of people who claim to be real life Supermen. I have no idea whatsoever how these men survive skewering their biceps with a steel pin, swallowing a live snake, balancing on sharp spears or using an electric drill to make a hole in their head. The show is filled with hide-behind-the-cushion moments and even Simon clearly looks squeamish in parts. Also, it probably goes without saying that pulling a car using your eyelids is not something to try at home. Ever.

Later Live With Jools Holland

(Tuesday, BBC2, 10.00 p.m.)

This series keeps bringing us artists I have never heard of but want to know more of. On the bill is George Ezra, a milkybar-skinned Bristol singer/songwriter whose voice will surprise you and beautiful angular art-rocker St Vincent. Then there is Kasabian. The Leicester band, who will pay a visit to Fife for the first time in a couple of weeks, play tracks from new album 48:13, Also appearing are Brian Eno and Natalie Merchant.