Not for the first time in the last 12 months, many of us are now spending more time with our family than we used to, for reasons we don’t need to go into here.
Which got us thinking about this week’s TV picks. From drama to documentary, heartache to hilarity, all of these shows have family affairs at their heart. And all of them are available to watch now.
Back - Channel 4
Back is back, four years after the first series of the sitcom that reunited Peep Show stars, David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
And it was well worth the wait. A comedy with a plot fit for a thriller, Mitchell is the 40-something whose life is turned upside down when the foster brother he never knew he had (played by Webb) turns up out of the blue at his father’s funeral. But is he really what he says he is?
Writer Simon Blackwell is a regular collaborator with Armando Iannucci and worked with Mitchell and Webb on Peep Show. And just like Peep Show, it’s packed full of memorable one-liners with a fabulous supporting cast. Get Back.
What they say: ‘This gaslighting comedy is a joy to watch. Blooming brilliant.’ Independent
Long Lost Family - ITV
ITV’s BAFTA-winning Long Lost Family has just returned for a 10th series on Monday nights.
Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell are back reuniting families, with a team of researchers doing extraordinary work behind the scenes to help find long lost siblings, children and parents.
The stories of loss and reconciliation are beautifully told and pack a hefty emotional punch. Compelling viewing.
What they say: ‘No matter how many of these separation and reunion stories you watch, they never fail to bring you to tears.’ Radio Times
Tin Star: Liverpool - Sky Atlantic
There aren’t many families like the Worths, who have rampaged their way through three series of Sky Atlantic’s Tin Star, and thank goodness for that.
The third series of the noirish thriller sees Jim Worth (an unforgettable Tim Roth) return to his hometown of Liverpool intent on revenge. And with a long line of people in his sights.
Roth is back along with Genevieve O’Reilly as his wife Angela and Abigail Lawrie as their daughter, Anna, with Ian Hart joining the cast as a memorable new villain. Expect fireworks.
What they say: ‘Gritty with a touch of the zany … Tin Star looks set to end in a very loud, very bright blaze of destruction.’ The Guardian
Bangers and Cash - Yesterday
Not only a fabulous name for a series about selling secondhand cars, Bangers and Cash is also a delightful look behind the scenes of a family-run car auction firm.
There’s plenty of classic cars for petrolheads to appreciate, obviously, but the real delight of this series is the Mathewsons themselves, a dynasty of car auctioneers based in north Yorkshire.
Head of the family Derek described it as ‘the best job in the world’ and watching the family firm’s adventures, which have now been commissioned up to series five, he might just be right.
What they say: ‘TV’s love affair with old cars continues … A cracking series.’ TV Times
Bradley and Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad - ITV
Bradley Walsh and his son Barney are back for a third series of their fabulously entertaining travelogue narrated by Alexander Armstrong.
After two series travelling around the United States, this time the pair are going on an extreme excursion around Europe.
The pair’s daredevil father and son bonding includes ski-jumping, paragliding and a bungee jump. But after Bradley suffered a nasty fall riding a bull in the US, they presumably won't be going to Pamplona.
What they say: ‘Funny and actually quite moving.’ The Guardian
It’s A Sin - Channel 4
Channel 4’s new Russell T Davies drama isn’t about a biological family but a group of friends who evolve into each other’s ‘logical family’ (to use Armistead Maupin’s lovely phrase highlighted by Guardian critic Lucy Mangan in her review of the show).
Starring Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells, It’s A Sin follows a group of young gay men exploring their sexuality as the AIDS crisis looms in the 1980s.
It’s 20 years since Davies’s Queer as Folk aired on Channel 4 and his new series, which debuted to universal critical acclaim this month, is his most personal drama yet.
What they say: ‘Full of warmth, joy and celebration … It’s also poignant, shocking and will leave you sobbing. Just watch it, it’d be a sin not to.’ London Evening Standard
Rich Holiday, Poor Holiday - Channel 5
There’s nothing like going on holiday to bring a family together (or tear it apart).
And Channel 5’s Rich Holiday, Poor Holiday, which has just returned for a second series on Sunday nights, puts this theory to the test in some style - by taking two groups of people with very different incomes and switching their holidays.
It follows the success of Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House and is a classic ‘life swap’ format with unpredictable and often hilarious results. Someone’s going to need a holiday after this …
What they say: ‘Two families with vastly different incomes exchange holidays and budgets, to find out whether money really does buy happiness on holiday.’ Radio Times
Finding Alice - ITV
This blackly comic drama opens with a death in the family and explores what happens next. And the answer is it’s complicated, very complicated.
Keeley Hawes stars as the titular Alice, struggling to stop her life from unravelling after she finds her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs of her dream new home.
Brought to you by the team behind ITV’s The Durrells, family is at the heart of the six-part comedy drama which co-stars Joanna Lumley and Nigel Havers as Alice’s parents and Isabella Pappas as her teenage daughter, Charlotte.
What they say: ‘A tender-hearted and darkly comic rumination on life after death.’ iNews
Rhod Gilbert’s Growing Pains - Comedy Central UK
Comedian Rhod Gilbert takes his celebrity guests back in time to revisit the joys - and the horrors - of their teenage years.
Each episode of the six-part series takes in fashion, pop culture, favourite gadgets, first loves, and their relationships with friends and family.
Cringingly awkward and invariably far too relatable, guests include Jonathan Ross, Sara Cox and Richard Ayoade. It’s a retro delight.
What they say: ‘With mystery guests popping up along the way offering up further revelations, the show celebrates those ultimate embarrassing teenage moments.’ Beyond The Joke
Boys - Sky Arts
Ashley Walters’ directorial debut follows a pair of friends embarking on a journey into manhood.
Noah (Hector Abbott) is asked by his older brother to bring him a list of items that he needs in prison. But they cost money which Noah doesn’t have so, joined by his friend Lewis (Jude Chinchen), they embark on a risky and troubling mission that is destined to shape the men they become.
Set against a backdrop of east London’s high rise buildings and estates, the short film written by newcomer Jerome Holder is a poignant tale of teenage masculinity.
What they say: ‘A powerful exploration of masculinity … forces us to examine the reality of vulnerable teenagers and the truth behind why so many young people are led astray.’ Radio Times