Sunday July 29

Travels In Trumpland With Ed Balls

9pm, BBC Two

Going into this three-part documentary, in which the former Shadow Chancellor Of The Exchequer drives across America trying to figure out Trump supporters, there can only be one question: Will he dance? The answer is yes. In fact, not only does Balls pull out some old Strictly moves later in the series, there also comes a chance to see him climb a fence in an amusing manner, get tasered, and strip off for a spray tan. Tonight, though, you’ll just have to make do with watching him don a leotard and start wrestling. Thing is, all this disarming jackass stuff, along with his capacity for talking and listening to people like a regular human being, makes the series highly watchable. Balls is a good communicator, and his ground-level encounters with Trump’s core helps frame their motivations, while highlighting stark divisions across American society. He begins in the Deep South, visiting to the US-Mexico border, where he meets some surprising advocates of the fabled Wall. And wrestles.


Whoever Heard Of A Black Artist? Britain's Hidden Art History 9pm, BBC Two

Towards the end of this excellent documentary, contemporary young black British artists discuss how they were never taught about any black artists at school. Their comments echo the archive footage that opens the programme, of young black artists saying much the same thing back in 1982. But as the film explores, the contribution by artists of African and Asian descent to British modern art has been long, rich, strange and strong. The documentary was made to complement an exhibition curated by artist Sonia Boyce (one of the interviewees in the 1980s footage), for which she has scoured the locked storerooms of the UK’s public art collections to uncover artworks rarely, if ever, displayed. These pieces, and interviews with some of the artists who made them, vividly illustrate a hidden history of British art stretching from the Windrush generation, through the 1960s counterculture, to the radical, politically charged Black Art Movement of the 1980s. The film also considers how the work was received by an art establishment that too often marginalised these artists.


Age Before Beauty

9pm, BBC One

In recent times, writer Debbie Horsfield has been cherished by audiences for giving the nation the romantic balm of Poldark and all those ridiculous costumed Cornish sunsets. But with this new show, she returns to the contemporary northern territory of her earlier series Cutting It (aka the one with Sarah Parish running a hair salon). Once again, it’s a soapy, hooky mix of drama cut with comedy, with a focus on strong and often loud female characters. Set in another Manchester beauty salon, as we begin, Bel (Polly Walker), is persuaded to return to her old role as manager after 20 years away. Her husband, Wes (James Murray), isn’t in favour, but Bel is feeling empty-nesty now their kids have left for university. Things get complicated, however: her sister, Leanne (Kelly Harrison), who’s been running the place, isn’t happy about her return; meanwhile, Leanne’s husband Teddy (Robson Green) – whose idea it was to get Bel back – is secretly in love with Bel, and plotting to make her his. The lively ensemble includes Sue Johnston and Lisa Riley.

Wednesday August 1

Murder In Soho: Who Killed Freddie Mills?

9pm, BBC Four

This engrossing true crime documentary looks back to the colourful life and suspicious death of Mills, the boxer who rose from fighting in fairground booths to become light-heavyweight champion of the world, and a much-loved public figure as one of Britain’s first real sport celebrities. On the night of July 25, 1965, he was found shot dead in the back seat of his Citroën DS behind the Soho nightclub he owned. The official verdict was suicide, but his family has always maintained it was murder. Director Simon Dale attempts to sort fact from rumour and myth – a difficult task, given the story comes marinated in the seductive Britnoir atmosphere of London’s 1960s underworld: all movie types and TV faces rubbing shoulders with the Krays against a backdrop of police corruption and unsolved murders. To counterbalance this, interviews with Mills’s family about the man they remember lend the film an intimate, personal feel, amplified by evocative archive footage, including Mills’s own home movies. All this, and a last-minute twist in the case.


BBC Proms 2018: Folk Music Around Britain and Ireland 8pm, BBC Four

The Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis joins forces with traditional music specialist Sam Lee, who has worked to collect and restore ancient songs from around Britain and Ireland, to present and perform in tonight’s fierce, fiery, haunting and jigging concert, dedicated to exploring the ever-evolving folk traditions of the British Isles. Backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra under conductor Stephen Bell, the show features contributions from artists including Northumbria’s finest, The Unthanks, who combine with the orchestra for an epic performance of their piece Mount The Air; Jarlath Henderson, from Northern Ireland, a master of the uilleann pipes and whistles; and the super-trio ALAW, who unearth and reimagine Welsh traditional music and draw on it for their own original tunes. Look out for roots music of a different order with tonight’s second prom, Havana Meets Kingston (11pm), as dancehall producer Mista Savona presents a meeting of Cuban and Jamaican musicians for some late-night reggae, dub, salsa and Afro-Cuban beats.