Alan Dee’s guide to the pick of the week’s TV
London – The Modern Babylon (BBC Two, 9.20pm)
This feature-length documentary takes a look back at the past century of the capital’s history. An extensive patchwork of archive clips, songs, poems and interviews bring the story to life. But it isn’t just newsreel footage – director Julien Temple has also delved into London’s movie past too by adding excerpts of its big-screen history, with clips from Blackmail, Peeping Tom, The Long Good Friday and even – surprisingly – his own, much-maligned Absolute Beginners.
Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony (BBC One, 9pm)
After a thrilling 16 days of competition artistic designer Kim Gavin is the man who brings the London Olympics to a dramatic conclusion in this spectacular closing ceremony. Featuring more than 4,000 performers, it is sure to be a sight to behold. Gavin, along with musical direction from 007 composer David Arnold, aims to celebrate one of the nation’s greatest cultural exports in a show entitled A Symphony of British Music.
Ruth Rendell’s Thirteen Steps Down (ITV1, 9pm)
By day, Mix Cellini (Luke Treadaway) seems like a fairly average young man, albeit one with an unusual name and a sideline in offering his sexual services to rich, bored women. But by night he’s consumed with his twin obsessions – the infamous serial killer of the 1940s and 1950s, John Reginald Christie, and the supermodel Nerissa Nash (Elarica Gallacher).
This drama based on a novel by crime queen Ruth Rendell is sure to end very badly indeed, but it grips to the final scene.
Accused (BBC One, 9pm)
It boasts a tremendous cast, the episodes are all written or co-written by the acclaimed Jimmy McGovern, and it explores how ordinary people can find themselves standing in the dock, on trial for the most horrifying crimes – but for many people, the real draw of the second series of Accused is the chance to see Sean Bean in drag.
He stars in the first of the six stand-alone dramas, playing college teacher Simon Gaskell, who leads an intriguing double life. In the evenings, he is a transvestite who does the rounds of Manchester’s bars looking for love. No, really.
The Flowerpot Gang (BBC One, 8pm)
The seemingly mismatched teaming of daredevil former Rear of the Year winner Anneka Rice, ex-cricketer Phil Tufnell and horticulturalist Joe Swift forming the eponymous Flowerpot Gang and fronting what can perhaps be best described as Ground Force for a new generation. It shouldn’t work – but it very clearly does.
The BBC 999 Awards (BBC One, 8pm)
Kirsty Young and Lenny Henry will be paying their respects to the outstanding and tireless work of Britain’s police, fire and rescue, ambulance, coastguard and mountain rescue services.
Joined by various familiar faces, including an appearance by BBC staple John Barrowman, the duo will be honouring the heroic acts the officers and volunteers perform on a day-to-day basis. The 999 emergency number came in to use 75 years ago, and the staff at the other end of the phone call have proved invaluable to millions around the country.
Corrie Goes to Kenya (ITV1, 9pm)
Coronation Street actors Sue Cleaver, Ryan Thomas, Brooke Vincent and Ben Price join forces with the charity SAFE to use performing arts to educate people on the dangers of HIV and drug abuse. In this two-part documentary we see how the star use their Coronation Street storyline experience as a way of spreading the word.