The Windermere Children

9pm, BBC Two

It’s dead of night in the summer of 1945, the long war has ended, and at Calgarth Estate by the banks of Lake Windermere, a bus pulls up to let its exhausted passengers out.

The thing is, not all of them want to get out. The coach is carrying a group of child survivors of the Nazi concentration camps who have been sent on a long journey to this unknown corner of Britain to somehow try and begin life again. Many of these uncertain, ghostly children don’t know if any of their families are still alive, out there somewhere, looking for them. Some know for certain their families are dead. Beyond the clothes they wear, they have few possessions. But all carry more than their share of trauma, shock and grief, physical scars and deeper emotional wounds.

Calgarth is a disused compound of workers’ accommodation, and as the kids sit looking suspiciously out through the steamed-up windows, the dark housing camp, with its welcoming committee of shadowy adults waiting to process them, looks very like the camps they recently experienced. They file out warily, silently, eyes wide, heads down, and fearing the worst. All except one boy, so rooted by his fear that he refuses to budge from his seat on the bus at all.

Made to mark this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, The Windermere Children is a deeply affecting drama about what happened across the next few months, as, with the help of a team under the leadership of psychologist Oscar Friedmann (Thomas Kretchman), the children were encouraged to gradually reclaim their lives, learn to trust again, and slowly start to heal.

Written by Simon Block, who based his script on the first-hand accounts of some of the real survivors who found themselves at Calgarth, it’s a simple, sometimes stark, always moving film. This is no sugarcoated nostalgia – the animosity of some of the locals who jeer at or recoil from the young incomers is recorded – but it’s a very human story, delivered by a fine cast. Tim McInnerny flutters amiably as the philanthropist behind the scheme, Romola Garai is wonderfully understated as the art therapist encouraging the kids to relive their terrors through painting, and Iain Glen crafts a lovely performance as the football coach whose big match becomes one of the plot’s turning points.

It’s the kids you remember though – their night terrors, and their constant, desperate longing for news of their families. When that news does come, it is not good. And yet the film is finally about how the children begin to form new, surrogate families among themselves. Although it covers the events of just four months, it is about bonds formed that have lasted down the decades. A story of the possibility of rehabilitation and hope in the face of horror, the closing scene features some of the real-life Windermere Children grown old, and it is astonishingly powerful.

For more of their voices, turn over to BBC Four straight after for the documentary The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words (10.30pm). And look out later in the week for more valuable programmes keeping the memories alive: more powerful testimony in Belsen: Our Story (Tuesday, 9pm, BBC Two); and Auschwitz Untold: In Colour (Wednesday, 10.30pm, Channel 4) setting the accounts of survivors against horrifically powerful and awfully banal archive images.



Stockholm Requiem

11pm, Channel 4

The Scandi-noir just keeps on coming. In this new thriller from Sweden, Based on a bestselling series of novels by crime writer Kristina Ohlsson, the misfit sleuth at the helm is Fredrika Bergman (Liv Mjönes), a criminologist with an aloof attitude, an unconventional approach and, of course, an annoyingly brilliant knack for cracking difficult cases. Shortly after a brutal car accident, she gets assigned to a special investigations unit of the Stockholm police. The team, including leader Inspector Alex Recht (Jonas Karlsson), aren’t too enamoured with her at first, but they urgently need her help in tracking down the main suspect in the abduction of a young girl, who’s gone missing from the city’s main train station. The usual slick, dark and snowy stuff, and easy to watch. All episodes are available online at All4.


Europe: Them Or Us

9pm, BBC Four

As the UK mopes out of the EU, there’s weird Brexit Referendum nostalgia in the air. Tonight comes a repeat for Nick Robinson’s two-part documentary, originally shown just before the 2016 Brexit vote. Drawing on The Poisoned Chalice, the BBC’s excellent 1996 series on the impact of Europe on British politics, Robinson begins by exploring why UK governments initially shunned the Common Market, and then begged to join it. The second programme (10pm) charts the seesawing of opinion about Britain’s place in Europe across the decades that followed. For more Brexcitement, tomorrow brings repeats of Laura Kuenssberg’s twin Brexit Storm films (Wednesday, BBC Four, 9pm), and a new Channel 4 documentary on Nigel Farage: The Man Who Made Brexit (Wednesday, 9pm, Channel 4). On a more positive note: Curb Your Enthusiasm returns on Sky Comedy tonight at 9pm.


Avenue 5

10pm, Sky 1

It’s the second episode of Armando Iannucci’s sci-fi sit-com, and following the mini-catastrophe that knocked them slightly off course last week, the crew of the luxury space liner Avenue 5 are struggling to process the news that their month-long cruise will now last three years. Meanwhile, rumours about what’s going on are running rife among the passengers, spearheaded by human complaints machine Karen (Rebecca Front). It falls to the increasingly out his depth Captain Ryan (Hugh Laurie) to try and placate them with good news. Meanwhile, there are some funerals to get out of the way, leading to a particularly macabre gag about the curious workings of gravity. It’s good stuff and it zings along, but, after only two weeks cooped up with them, some viewers might already find cabin fever setting in.


The Stranger


This eight-part thriller comes adapted from the American crime writer Harlan Coben’s 2015 novel of the same name, but, like Netflix’s last Coben adaptation, Safe, it’s been strained through an odd British filter, transposing the original New Jersey-set story to some nice suburbs in northern England. Richard Armitage stars as Adam Price, a happily married lawyer whose comfortable existence gets turned inside out when a complete stranger approaches him with a shocking secret that Price’s wife Corinne (Dervla Kirwan) has been keeping from him. An increasingly eccentric cast keeps it cooking, including Paul Kaye, Antony Head, Shaun Dooley, Jennifer Saunders, the mighty Stephen Rea, and, best of all, the wonderful Siobhan Finneran, front and centre as the detective trying to make head or tail of the mess that begins to come spooling out.


Buddy Holly: Rave On

10.30pm, BBC Four

There are a lot of bad vibes in the air tonight, but dispel them for a while with a repeat of this terrific 2017 documentary on the original indie music genius. Measured from the release of “That’ll Be The Day” to his death in the plane crash of February 1959, Holly’s career only really lasted 18 months, but in terms of ideas and innovations about lyrics, rhythm, melody, instrumentation and the possibilities of the studio, he laid the foundations the Beatles and Beach Boys built careers on, and countless other pop dreamers still draw from today. The film features interviews with some who knew and worked with Holly, including surviving members of the Crickets, and some of those he influenced, including Robert Wyatt, Don McLean and the great and powerful Dion DiMucci – can we have a documentary about him, please?



10.30pm, BBC Two

The third series of this ambitious crime drama, originally created by the late filmmaker John Singleton (who died last summer), charting the origins of the crack cocaine epidemic that gripped Los Angeles in the 1980s. It’s now the summer of 1984, and after the turf wars that cost him dearly, the emerging kingpin Franklin Saint (Damson Idris) is back on top, more or less. His gang controls the streets, but the police are growing more alert to the spread of drugs, and Officer Wright (Marcus Henderson) has Franklin in his sights like never before. All of which complicates life for Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), the undercover CIA man behind Franklin’s set up, who is secretly running the entire drugs operation to covertly fund Nicaragua’s right-wing Contra rebels. There’s a double bill tonight.