Attenborough’s hammer blow and the blessed return of Lasso
Jack Seale LM
Wild Isles BBC One/iPlayer ★★★★★ There is nothing like a David Attenborough-led documentary, and this – an unparalleled look at the spectacular natural world of Britain and Ireland – is likely to be his last on location. From its majestic score to its pioneering cinematography and its clever narratives, this is education by way of awe. “The British Isles are globally important for nature,” he says, before we follow an orca pod hunting their favourite food – a juicy seal. It isn’t until the final minutes that the hammer blow is delivered: “Though rich in places, Britain as a whole is one of the most nature-depleted places in the world.” If Wild Isles can make viewers aware of what they have, there is some hope, perhaps, that more people will become invested in saving it. Rebecca Nicholson The Holy Land and Us BBC Two/iPlayer ★★★★★ A documentary about Israel and Palestine that will make viewers on each side sympathise with the other? An ambitious undertaking, but this two-parter is a fine attempt as it looks at the formation of Israel in 1948. It follows British Jews whose family histories pivot round Israel, as well as Britons with Palestinian heritage – representatives of both groups visit the region in search of their forebears’ legacy. There is also an element of the celebrity genealogy journey, since the leaders of the fact-finding mission are Good Morning Britain’s Rob Rinder and the actor and writer Sarah Agha, who both have direct connections to the events of 1948. All of the stories hit hard and there are plenty of tears. The way The Holy Land and Us balances facts and feelings makes it a rare gift. Paula Channel 4/All 4 ★★★★☆ As this new two-part documentary points out, in her 1980s and 90s heyday Paula Yates was second only to Diana, Princess of Wales in the world of UK celebrity. At first the idea of a documentary about Yates seems somewhere between pointless and exploitative. The airing of never-before-heard interviews she gave in the two years before she died means a slightly grubby pall is cast over proceedings as they begin. What follows, however, is largely a glorious celebration of her overflowing talent. The presence. The charisma. The natural flirt and the fierce wit, joyfully playing against each other, with the constant message to all watching that a woman could be both at the same time without compromise. Lucy Mangan Ted Lasso Apple TV+ ★★★★☆ As the tale of folksy, idealistic football coach Ted returns for its third and – strong rumour has it – final season, the audience may breathe a small sigh of relief. The makers have not messed with the formula. Kit man turned assistant coach Nate (Nick Mohammed) has followed through on the betrayal on which we ended series two and is now head coach at West Ham, owned by Rebecca’s (Hannah Waddingham) evil ex-husband, Rupert (Anthony Head). They are widely predicted to win the Premier League, while AFC Richmond are predicted to come last. Ted … is fraying. This series knows what it is doing at all times. It purrs along as smoothly as a luxury car, cutting the sweetness with just enough vinegary exchanges to prevent the whole from becoming sickening. Go team!