A hip-hop dance show set to the songs of Sting and tackling the international refugee crisis – it sounds like a discordant, not to say ill-advised, mix but Message In A Bottle was a resounding success with critics when it premiered just before lockdown. The show was the brainchild of choreographer Kate Prince, whose groundbreaking ZooNation Dance Company has transformed the image of street dance. Alan Yentob shadows Prince as she rehearses her diverse group of dancers, while Sting himself calls the show “therapy”. “Sting had never seen his music, only heard it,” Prince asserts.
Of all the enviable places in which to have spent lockdown, Dick and Angel Strawbridge’s French chateau must be near the top of the list. In this new series, they dispense DIY tips via video link, starting with Angel’s ideas for transforming dated bathrooms without changing either the suite or the tiles. Dick then digs out his handmade smoker to advise on the ancient art of cheese smoking.
A new documentary series begins with the aptly named Crapper and Sons. The company runs a landfill site in Wiltshire but, with space running out and landfill losing favour, it must find new ways to keep a rubbish disposal dynasty alive. The opening programme also follows two technicians at a sewage works in west London, and a team of litter collectors at Marylebone Station.
These scripts must be a special joy for the actors involved after all the humiliations of working in the industry, especially when the comic hoodlums mete out physical violence to the smug studio executives. In the latest episode of the richly entertaining black comedy-drama, Rick (Ray Romano), having come to terms with the death of his father (played by Peter Bogdanovich), must now come to terms with the fact that Amara is alive and back in LA – eager to be reunited with her errant husband.
Gee Walker, Jimmy McGovern and the cast of Anthony: ‘We wanted to create a tribute, but not relive the grief’
“Why can’t people cut us some slack?” cries Emily (Jessica Hynes) as Rosie’s nursery tells her that they’re “struggling to meet her needs”. There are problems on the educational front in the later timeline, too, as a teacher notices bruising on Rosie and the matter gets referred to social services. Yet again Shaun Pye and Sarah Crawford, writing from their own experience, do a great job of balancing the comedy with an unvarnished portrayal of raising a child with learning difficulties.
The series finale ends with the only episode named after a man – Reagan. It’s the election year of 1979, and Congress is to grant a three-year extension on the deadline for the signing of the Equal Rights Amendment, but the campaign to enshrine women’s legal rights in the US constitution is stalling. Phyllis (Cate Blanchett) presides over a political fundraiser where she is courted for her support by the Reaganite Republicans (although she won’t be rewarded with the cabinet position she craves), while Bella is fired by President Carter.
Dick Strawbridge, Angel Adoree, Angel Strawbridge, Château
World news – GB – On TV tonight, Alan Yentob meets choreographer Kate Prince on Imagine