THEY were used to the stares. The stares they could handle. Being asked if they were aliens, though, that was annoying. As was watching their mother live in constant fear of her family being deported. She deserved a medal, said one of her daughters. She was not the only one.

In Two Sisters, One Body (Channel 4, Sunday) we met Carmen and Lupita, conjoined twins. They came to America as babies for an operation to separate them, but doctors deemed it impossible. “Eighteen years later we’re still in the States, and we’re still stuck together,” said Carmen. “We’ve been asked every question in the book, but what we never get to explain is that we’re people, just like you. With our own lives and our own **** going on.”

You could only imagine the experiences that could be filed into the latter category. It looked exhausting being them, physically, mentally, emotionally, every way. Yet they were such lovely young women, a credit to their parents and to America, which made you wonder why some were so intent on deporting them. The family had been allowed to stay in the US on a special visa but it was in danger of being cancelled.

As the cameras followed the sisters in what was going to be a crunch year in their lives, they came across as what they were: ordinary teens doing ordinary teen things, hanging out with friends, taking a driving test, but doing so under extraordinary circumstances. “Don’t worry about us,” said Carmen after another setback. “We’ll get there in the end. We always do.” The least they deserved was a green card.

America’s beautiful, and not so beautiful, sides were also on show in Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things (BBC2, Saturday). Narrated by the actor Sophie Okonedo, it began with the story of a 16-year-old Ella entering amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Having lost her mother when she was a teenager, she had been through reform school for running away from home, and for a spell she lived on the streets. The audience looked at her, standing there in a dirty dress, and laughed. Then she sang. You know the rest.

Only in America could Fitzgerald – or Ella, just Ella, as everyone called her – go on to be crowned the First Lady of Song, perform with Sinatra, have Marilyn Monroe as a fan, and be beloved by millions around the world. And only in America did her house have to be bought by her white manager because the neighbours would have blocked a sale to a black person. Only in America could Ella play in the south, get arrested with her band on trumped up charges, then be asked for autographs by those same racist police officers.

Leslie Woodhead’s 90-minute film paid tribute to Ella’s genius. The queue of those waiting to laud her stretched from Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson to Andre Previn. It also took care to put her life and career in the context of the times, making her success even more remarkable.

What was turning out to be quite the week for fabulous women continued with Philharmonia (Channel 4, Sunday). Set in Paris, it was the story of a gifted conductor, Helene, returning home from New York to take on an established orchestra. Quelle horreur for the musicians who had voted against her, for her misogynist boss, and for the horn player who was bumping bones with Helene’s husband.

The dialogue was ripe at times (“Eef you let ‘er, Helene Barizet weel destroy you!”), and there were several outbreaks of Dynasty-level flouncing and furniture chewing.

I also refuse to believe a composer and a conductor would ever treat a piano like *that*. But everyone looked tres chic, there was a plot involving a crazy mother in a locked hospital, and if that was not enough there was violin playing by the Seine. Deliciously silly.

Television does love a spot of recycling, and a catchphrase, hence the arrival of Alan Carr’s Epic Game Show (STV, Saturday, above) which takes its picks from past classics and jushes them up. This week it was Play Your Cards Right, next week it’s The Price is Right.

The keen eyed viewer will have spotted some differences, the main one on the first show being the absence of a “dolly dealer”.

There was a woman, she dealt the giant cards, but since we’re not in 1970s Kansas she was not called a “dolly dealer” any more.

“I can’t say you look wonderful these days,” said Carr. “Though I can say you look workmanlike and efficient,” he added shaking her by the hand. (Yes, it was recorded pre-virus).

All the other old saws were present, including the audience getting a big kick out of shouting “higher” and “lower”.

Carr was a genial host, and he had the all-important sideways glances to camera off pat. Got to have some post-modern irony. It was still a long hour. We were easier to please in the old days.

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