New to View: March 29 – April 4

A weekly guide to what’s new of note on air and online


Rick Stein’s Secret France | Living, 8.30

Rick Stein’s latest culinary travelogue unearths France’s best-kept gastronomic secrets. “The TV equivalent of an armchair nap after a Sunday roastSecret France bears all the hallmarks of classic Rick – unnecessary trips to port towns, the jump-shot of a clean plate after he’s served a gratin on to it, subtle digs at his own director via voiceover – all the while pinned to the same travelogue-mashed-with-eating-and-drinking-format. The only mild change is that in France, Stein seems more reluctant than ever to deviate from his gastrotour to actually get in the set kitchen and cook, so he mainly just bungs a load of lardons on a tart then calls the job a good ’un. The man cooks with the intensity of someone who knows that, somewhere, a pint with their name on it is rapidly growing warm.” — The Guardian.


Ackley Bridge | BBC UKTV, 9.30

2017 drama set in a Yorkshire mill town where the school reflects the largely divided white and Asian communities. Season one of three. “If you like the jangly sprawl of the British Shameless but want something less bleak, or if you like the straightforward narrative of the teen show Degrassi but want something more adult, try this British series about the staff and students at a working-class high school. The show is grounded and unfussy — no montages, no flashbacks, no twists — and while the plot points can tend toward the soapy, they feel authentic and earned.” — New York Times.


Billy Connolly’s Great American Trail | TVNZ 1, 8.30

The Big Yin follows the migratory trail of the Scots, from New York to Nashville. Part one of three. “Connolly wandered down the east coast in a picaresque string of meet and greets. Did it work? His party piece as a stand-up was to riff off the top of his head. Though he’s been at it for years, the itinerant documentary doesn’t always play to that strength, especially now that the zany energy of yore has made way for a more Yodaish shtick.” — The Telegraph.

Mutant Weather | National Geographic, 8.30

Takes viewers onto the front line of the shocking new weather phenomena that are changing the world: terrifying elemental events with names like Dry Lightning, Thundersnow, Polar Vortexes, Firenadoes, Ice Waves and Atmospheric Rivers. Mutant Weather examines these mutations, from gestation and birth to their cataclysmic impact and how they will evolve next, using spectacular video footage, first-hand testimonies from those who’ve experienced them, expert scientific analysis, stunning graphics and dramatic recreations. (Edited blurb.)


Nancy Drew | Sky 5, 9.30

Teenage detective Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a small-town socialite. Into the Badlands’ Maddison Jaizani co-stars.  “There are elements to this sexed-up and murdered-up version of Nancy Drew that feel entertaining and nicely updated and the cast is decent, albeit extraordinarily CW-y. But somehow fiction’s original teenage girl detective has been brought back to TV in a way that feels primarily derivative.” — The Hollywood Reporter.


Great Australian Railway Journeys | Living, 7.30

Michael Portillo explores Australia’s monumental landscapes by riding some of the longest passenger trains and the steepest railway in the world, from Canberra to Melbourne, Sydney to Broken Hill, Newcastle to Brisbane, Port Augusta to Darwin, Kuranda to Townsville, and Adelaide to Perth. “By sheer coincidence, as Michael boarded the Ghan express to roll across the Northern Territory on his way to the Pacific Ocean, a band of dedicated Portillistas and their wives were embarking, too. They all sported cravats, floral shirts, Technicolor chinos and luminous jackets, in tribute to their travelling hero. This trip had been eight months in the planning. Imagine their amazement when they discovered the Magnificent Mike himself was booked onto the same train.” — Daily Mail.

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