This week's home entertainment: from A Perfect Planet to The Great

This week David Attenborough returns to soothe our nerves, while Elle Fanning camps it up as Catherine the Great


A Perfect Planet

Witness the welcome return of David Attenborough’s soothing narration over glossy visuals of the natural world in this five-part series. Documenting the resilience of animals across the globe, from white wolves in Canada to bears in Russia, he details their challenging living environments and how human influence has been having an impact.
Sunday 3 January, 8pm, BBC One


Playing themselves for laughs, Michael Sheen and David Tennant reprise their lockdown comedy for a second series. The video chats between the pair meander through their careers and relationships, and theres a new arrival in the form of their American agent Tom.
Monday 4 January, 9.45pm, BBC One

I Am Greta

This intimate documentary traces the story of the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, from her one-person school strikes outside the Swedish parliament to her Atlantic journey to speak at the UN climate action summit in New York. A portrait of a crusader who has inspired a generation.
Sunday 3 January, BBC Three

Aretha Franklin.
Sweet sensation ... Aretha Franklin. Photograph: Courtesy Amazing Grace Film, LLC

Amazing Grace

This powerhouse of a film documents Aretha Franklin’s live recording of her 1972 gospel album, Amazing Grace. The queen of soul herself is in transcendent form, singing from the lectern of the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles and backed by a gargantuan choir. It is a performance said to have inspired audience member Mick Jagger.
Saturday 2 January, 8.30pm, BBC Two


A hit when it aired on the Alibi channel in 2019, crime drama Traces arrives on BBC One. When Emma Hedges (Molly Windsor) begins work at a forensics lab, her training case has startling similarities to an unsolved crime from her past.
Monday 4 January, 9pm, BBC One


The highly acclaimed police procedural, often cited as France’s answer to The Wire, returns for its final season. While the team are left reeling by the incarceration of Gilou (Thierry Godard), Laure and Ali take on a tricky case involving the murder of a minor with no identity.
Saturday 2 January, 9pm, BBC Four

Death in Paradise
Call the cops ... Death in Paradise. Photograph: Denis Guyenon

Death in Paradise

Ralph Little’s Neville Parker – a detective inspector who suffers from several serious allergies – takes over the beat for season 10 of the BBC’s gentle crime drama staple set on the fictitious, but crime-riddled, Caribbean island of Saint Marie. Series regular Don Warrington returns.
Thursday 7 January, 9pm, BBC One

The Great

Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning camp it up deliciously in this comedy-drama based very loosely on the rise of Catherine the Great, and created by the co-writer of The Favourite. Fanning is the new empress of all Russia looking to be more than just the wife of a useless husband.
Sunday 3 January, 9pm, Channel 4

The Stand

James Marsden, Amber Heard and Whoopi Goldberg star in this adaptation of Stephen King’s 1978 post-apocalyptic novel about a world decimated by plague. Humankind’s fate rests with 108-year-old soothsayer Mother Abagail (Goldberg), while darkness looms in the shape of Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man” (a creepy Alexander Skarsgård).
Sunday 3 January, Starzplay

A Discovery of Witches.
London waiting ... A Discovery of Witches. Photograph: Simon Ridgway

A Discovery of Witches

Teresa Palmer’s reluctant witch and Matthew Goode’s hungry vampire join forces in the second series of this lavish fantasy drama. After the bloodthirsty finale to season one, the pair hide out in Elizabethan London and try to control Palmer’s powers.
Friday 8 January, 9pm, Sky One



With video gaming only increasing in popularity and profitability, this entertaining podcast delves into the stories behind some of our favourite games and features. There have been lively discussions on everything from the history of fitness games to gaming addiction and the Xbox 360’s glitchy “red ring of death”.
Weekly, widely available

Science Weekly

With coronavirus vaccines on the horizon but caseloads showing no signs of slowing down, the Guardian’s science and health correspondents are on hand to guide us through the latest developments, as well as the stories we might have missed. Recent episodes have included discussions on birdsong and the relationship between stress and health.
Weekly, the Guardian

From Now.
Spaced out ... From Now. Photograph: Qcode

From Now

The QCode podcast studio presents this starry new scripted sci-fi, starring Succession’s Brian Cox and Bodyguard’s Richard Madden. The pair star as twin brothers, with Madden playing an astronaut thought to have vanished in space 35 years previously but who returns to Earth exactly the same age as he was when he first left. A prickly reunion ensues.
Weekly, widely available

Nothing Is Real

For three seasons, Jason Carty and Steven Cockcroft have been meeting over the net to record their thoughts on all things Beatles. A recent trio of episodes take a deep dive into George Harrison’s epic 1970 debut solo album, All Things Must Pass, including a choice nugget about the 40-odd-years-hidden contribution of a young Phil Collins.
Weekly, widely available

Rave to the Grave

DJ, journalist and raver Vivian Host charts the history of electronic music while also digging out some eye-opening party stories and deft advice along the way. Each episode features a guest appearance from an iconic party person, be it bassline king AC Slater or the anointed queen of house, vocalist Barbara Tucker.
Weekly, widely available

Pieces of a Woman
Shattered ... Pieces of a Woman. Photograph: Benjamin Loeb


Pieces of a Woman

(15) (Kornél Mundruczó) 126 mins
Vanessa Kirby is outstanding in this wrenching drama about a woman who loses her baby just after a home birth. Shia LaBeouf plays her partner, a builder of bridges who struggles to connect with her, and there is an excellent cameo from Molly Parker as the midwife.
In cinemas and Netflix

One Night in Miami

(Cert TBC) (Regina King) 114 mins
Based on a true story, Kemp Powers’s version of his own play places Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr) and the NFL star Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) in the same motel room one evening in 1964. The many facets of African-American identity are explored in a superbly acted drama about conflict and community.
In cinemas

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

(15) (Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross) 98 mins
A fly-on-the-barfly drama-documentary – very much in the “structured reality” style – that watches the patrons of a dingy Las Vegas joint as they enjoy/endure its final night before closing. Pipe dreams and failed lives undercut the in vino conviviality of this temporary family.
In cinemas & Curzon Home Cinema

Sing Me a Song.
Monk rocked ... Sing Me a Song. Photograph: Publicity image

Sing Me a Song

(PG) (Thomas Balmès) 95 mins
This sequel to 2013 doc Happiness revisits novice Buddhist monk Peyangki in his remote Bhutan monastery. The now 18-year-old is hooked on mobile-phone gaming, but also – via social media – enrapt by karaoke-bar singer Ugyen. A sad tale of innocence lost.
In cinemas and on digital


(Cert TBC) (David Osit) 89 mins
A fascinating look at the day-to-day life of Musa Hadid, the stoic mayor of Ramallah in Palestine’s West Bank, as he deals with festive lights, sewage issues, a municipal fountain – but also Israeli army incursions and rock-throwing protesters.
In cinemas and on digital

Another Year

Mike Leigh’s typically bittersweet comedy-drama follows a year in the life of well-off London couple Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen). Through four seasons on the allotment and at home, a cycle of birth and death, laughter and tears is enacted; mainly generated by Gerri’s delusional colleague (Lesley Manville) and Tom’s alcoholic pal (Peter Wight).
Monday 4 January, 11.45pm, Film4

• This article was amended on 15 January 2021. An earlier version misspelled the name of the actor Peter Wight as “Peter Wright”.


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