What to watch? Sunday night drama


10th October 2010

So it comes down to the wire: BBC vs. BBC.

Louis Theroux: Law And Disorder In Lagos
BBC2, Sunday 9pm

In the blue corner, bespectacled and sceptical, it's Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Lagos. DUMDUM. A little Law And Order humour for you there.

Louis travels to Nigeria to carefully look into the protection rackets that double as "dues" paid to a "transport union", which is overseen by a "philanthropist" who dresses like a pimp and probably pimps like a pimp too. The fact that Louis' shtick has never gotten him in proper harm's way is a testament to the man's likeability. He manages to get people to open up and talk about the real, sometimes horrific, always bizarre lives he is there to observe.

In this particular edition, he does find himself at points running from gunfire, but it's more generic-Lagos gunfire than aimed-at-Louis gunfire. Top holiday destination, and potentially very interesting viewing. Watch it on the iPlayer, because…
Single Father
BBC1, Sunday 9pm

In the red corner, weighed down by grief and raising five children alone, it's the Prince of Denmark himself, David Tennant, in Single Father.
By all accounts, this is the show to watch tonight. Swiftly side-stepping mawkish over sentimentality, it is a raw and often painful look at the reality of losing a loved one and how you start rebuilding your life without them, especially while raising five small children at the same time.

By far the most 'grown-up' drama on the TV tonight, it could also be the best by some margin. Tennant is a fabulous actor, especially when he's not growling at the Ood through gritted teeth (don’t get me wrong, I loved 10, but the man has much more range than the suit and converse allowed).

And he's Scottish in this! Losing his wife early on in the opener, SPOILER ALERT, Dave has to struggle to keep his own head straight while comforting his five kids and helping them adjust to their strange new life. With a clever, understated script that doesn't go for the easy tears and doesn't shy from the harsh realities of grief, and co-starring Suranne Jones, who is no slouch in the acting department herself, Single Father is my recommendation to watch tonight, with tissues by your side.

Single dads are unsung heroes; raising kids, keeping jobs and being both Mum and Dad especially when they are dealing with the heartache of losing the person they love. Single mums are great too, but Dads don't get half the press they deserve.
After you've been emotionally beaten up by drama, there's a mini-viewing war at 10pm too. Choose from Britain's answer to Jersey Shore (aka the question no one asked), The Only Way Is Essex, up against the second episode of the new series of House (aka It's Lupus, Oh, No It Isn't.) Decisions, decisions.

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