Sunday July 1

Reporting Trump's First Year: The Fourth Estate

12 midnight, BBC Two

Inexplicably bumped into the graveyard slot, this excellent, eye-opening documentary, about how The New York Times has reported President Trump’s first year, continues with a packed second episode. It begins with a bang, as the paper gets wind that Trump is about to fire FBI director James Comey, and scrambles to get the word out, and chase the underlying story. Soon, journalist Michael Schmidt is relentlessly pursuing a scoop regarding Comey’s memos about his private encounters with Trump, as colleagues uncover how prominent members of the president’s campaign team engaged in a secret meeting with a lawyer with Kremlin connections during the election. Meanwhile, more unexpected administration firings and resignations follow thick and fast. But soon, the paper’s reporting comes under hostile scrutiny. At the same time, faced with shrinking advertising revenue, and moving toward a fully digital future, the NYT’s executive editor is preparing a “restructure” that will result in heavy job losses at the paper, prompting a walk out by staff.

Monday July 2

The NHS: A People's History

9pm, BBC Four

Continuing the season to mark the NHS’s 70th anniversary, Alex Brooker presents this three-part series, telling its history from ground level, through the memories and mementoes of patients and staff. Among the artifacts tonight are one of the last remaining roadworthy Invacars, the small, ice-blue vehicles adapted for disabled drivers that were provided free across the 1960s and 70s; the graduation certificate of a doctor who qualified on the NHS’s first day in 1948 – and then was thrown straight into surgery, anyway; and, from the pre-NHS days, a booklet listing a family’s expenditure on doctor’s fees. But while the creation of the service marked a new dawn, old prejudices still lingered, and staff and patients alike recall examples of racism, sexism, and outright snobbery. There’s more celebration later this week with The Big NHS Singalong Live (Wednesday, 9pm, STV) as the NHS Choir attempts to break the record for the biggest mass singalong. Chic legend Nile Rodgers will be on hand to help, although rumours that there will be 350 million singers are probably exaggerated.

Tuesday July 3

Good Girls


Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks leads this new series, a crime drama laced with comedy, setting out to do a Breaking Bad from a woman’s perspective. Or, actually, three women. Beth (Hendricks), her sister Annie (Mae Whitman) and Ruby (Retta from Parks And Recreation) are suburban mothers all juggling money troubles: Beth and Annie’s spring from the lousy men in their lives, while Ruby is facing crippling medical bills for her sick child. They hit on an unlikely solution: they’ll stage a heist on the supermarket where Annie works. Somehow, despite their lack of experience and talent for blundering into trouble, they pull it off, finding more cash than they dreamed of in the vault. But that’s when their troubles really begin, as it turns out the fortune belongs to a gang that wants it back. The tone is uncertain to begin, never quite as dark nor quite as funny as it could be. But the three leads are good together, and worth sticking with. The entire series is available from today.

Thursday July 5

Whites v Blacks: How Football Changed a Nation 10pm, BBC Four A repeat for this fine 2016 documentary by Adrian Chiles and director Stephen Finnigan, exploring the virulent racism surrounding British football in the 1970s as it hit a toxic peak at the end of the decade. The film takes as its focus a special testimonial played at West Bromwich Albion in 1979, for which, as a gimmick, a team comprised entirely of black players was assembled to take on an all-white side. “Now, the thought of it makes you wince,” says Chiles, yet for the black players involved, the gimmick had higher stakes. Some of them, including Brendon Batson and the late Cyrille Regis, recall the everyday bigotry they faced in a period when racism was rife, and black faces were unwelcome on the pitch, in the boardroom, or in the stands – they and fellow veterans recall the monkey chants, N-words and bananas thrown onto the pitch. Times have changed, but interviews with some of the following generations of black players, including Ian Wright, Les Ferdinand and Jason Roberts, underline that racism isn’t dead yet.

Friday 6

Smashing Hits: The 80s Pop Map Of Britain & Ireland 10pm, BBC Four There’s a slight air of the completely cobbled together retread about this new three-part series, another marker in the gentle decline of BBC Four’s Friday night music documentaries from being essential and insightful, to being just made for the sake of them having another music programme to stick out on a Friday night. But it’s an amiable enough jaunt for all that, with a decent haul of interviewees and a likable presenting double act in Midge Ure and Kim “From Mel And Kim” Appleby. Essentially, the pair drive around the towns and cities that produced some of the most notable music of the decade. First stop tonight is London, for a lot of Spandau Ballet and not enough Adam And The Ants, then it’s off to Coventry, for an examination of the 2 Tone movement that sprang up around the music, attitude, and ideas of the blessed Specials, featuring contributions from the band’s Neville Staple and Rhoda Dakar, and The Selecter’s Pauline Black. Last stop is Sheffield, for some Human League and ABC.

Saturday July 7

Rik Mayall: Lord Of Misrule

10pm, BBC Four

Another showing for this 2014 documentary, made shortly after Mayall died, and paying a very fond farewell to the People’s Poet, saying so long to Kevin Turvey, waving goodbye to Richard “Richie” Richard, bidding adieu to Lord Flashheart, and wishing Alan B’Stard, bon voyage. Still visibly bereft by his sudden death in June of that year aged only 56, a host of Mayall’s comrades pay tribute in a heartfelt but still pretty funny profile. His long term soul brother in danger, Ade Edmondson, is understandably absent, but other comrades gather, including the Young Ones crew of Ben Elton, Christopher Ryan and Alexie Sayle, various Blackadder people, and Greg Davies, who latterly cast Mayall as his dad in his sitcom Man Down. Other admirers, from Michael Palin to Simon Pegg, declare their fandom, too, and Mayall himself is present in copious archive footage to pop the bubble when it threatens to gets too serious. Eat knuckle, fritz.