10 TV picks: real lives

We’re keeping it real with these 10 TV picks, all of which are based around the theme of ‘real lives’.

From a drama inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to behind the scenes at a Manchester fashion phenomenon, from a revealing portrait of Imelda Marcos to a celebration of the remarkable Captain Sir Tom Moore, it’s time to get real.

The Life and Times of Captain Sir Tom - ITV

Few life stories are quite as extraordinary as that of 100-year-old former Army Officer, Captain Sir Tom Moore.

This documentary, which airs on ITV on Thursday [13 August] features Captain Sir Tom telling for the first time his life story, from growing up in Yorkshire and fighting on the frontline in WW2 to raising more than £30m for NHS charities by walking lengths of his garden.

With unprecedented access to Captain Sir Tom and his family, it tells the amazing story of a man who became a national hero and was knighted by the Queen aged 100.

What they say: ‘As winning as you would expect.’ Radio Times


Inside Missguided: Made in Manchester - Channel 4

Channel 4 takes us behind the scenes of Manchester-based fast fashion company Missguided and its maverick owner, Nitin Passi.

The company’s workforce reflects its customer base - young and female - and the pace is fast and furious (and occasionally foul-mouthed).

Missguided became an online sensation but the cameras arrive as it attempts to bounce back from a £26m loss by spending big. Very big.

What they say: ‘The language is, er, colourful, the pace frenetic and … what’s jaw-dropping is seeing how fast the market moves.’ Radio Times

The Beverley Allitt Tapes - Sky Crime

This three-part documentary tells the chilling story of Beverley Allitt, one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers.

Allitt was convicted in 1993 of murdering four children, attempting to murder three other children and causing grievous bodily harm to a further six while working as a paediatric nurse at a Lincolnshire hospital.

The Beverley Allitt Tapes uses police interviews - many of them never heard before - and evidence from survivors, detectives and medical professionals to piece together the horrific events and try to unearth what could possibly have motivated the killer currently serving 13 life sentences in prison.

What they say: ‘True crime at its absolute darkest.’ Stylist


Unsaid Lives - ITV

A series of short films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Unsaid Lives airs on ITV across four consecutive nights this week beginning on Monday [10 August].

Aiming to reflect what’s happening in Britain today, the four films are about “real people in completely real situations, confronting and exploring racism and prejudice”.

With a cast including Nicholas Pinnock, Joe Cole, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Paapa Essiedu, it’s ITV's second series of prime time short form dramas after the lockdown-inspired Isolation Stories starring Sheridan Smith amongst others.

What they say: ‘A star-studded series of short films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.’ Radio Times


Grace of Monaco: Hollywood Princess - Channel 5

An impossibly glamorous but ultimately tragic tale, this documentary tells the story of Grace Kelly’s transformation from Hollywood royalty to the real thing.

Grace Kelly’s acting career was cut short after just six years when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. But what a six years it was, including starring roles in Rear Window, To Catch a Thief and an Oscar for The Country Girl.

Grace of Monaco: Hollywood Princess charts her life as Monaco’s princess before her death in a car crash, aged just 52.

What they say: ‘Archive-laden documentary charting the screen icon’s transformation into the Princess of Monaco before her untimely death.’ The Guardian


Babies: Their Wonderful World - W

Real lives at their earliest, Babies: Their Wonderful World examines the extraordinary changes that take place during the first two years of life that are instrumental in making us who we are.

Presented by developmental paediatrician Dr Guddi Singh, this three-part series is one of the most wide-ranging scientific studies into babies ever conducted.

Bringing together more than 200 babies, world-leading experts reveal how quickly we become individuals, shed light on the age-old nature vs nurture debate and identify the earliest building blocks for success (or failure).

What they say: ‘There can be few better ways to spend an hour than being educated while watching babies and toddlers messing about.’ The Times

The Kingmaker - Sky Documentaries

Lauren Greenfield’s acclaimed film about Imelda Marcos is a vivid and damning portrait of the former first lady of the Philippines.

Infamously leaving behind 1,220 pairs of shoes when she was exiled with her husband in the 1980s, Marcos returned to her homeland as a widow and it is here that Greenfield was given intimate access to her subject.

It was praised by critics as an exquisitely horrible portrait and a darkly compelling watch.

What they say: ‘While the film starts in wry fly-on-the-wall mode, it morphs into something weightier and surreally unsettling - Louis Theroux to Luis Buñuel in 60 minutes flat.’ Daily Telegraph

Jürgen Klopp: Germany’s Greatest Export - Channel 4

Jürgen Klopp is special not just because he steered Liverpool to the league title for the first time since the 1989/90 season.

He is also that rarest of beasts, a football manager whose appeal transcends club boundaries (well, most of them) - a character who is funny and wise, driven and self-deprecating.

This Channel 4 documentary narrated by devoted Liverpool fan David Morrissey tells the story of one of the most admired managers in the game and how he led Liverpool to the very top.

What they say: ‘A fascinating insight into the man who delivered Liverpool’s first league title after a wait of 30 years.' Liverpool Echo

Anne: The Princess Royal at 70 - ITV

This documentary celebrating the life and work of Princess Anne is a right royal treat to mark her 70th birthday.

Cameras spent more than a year following the Princess Royal, giving viewers a rare glimpse behind the scenes of her private and public life.

And of all the contributions from friends and family, none was more memorable than its footage of the Queen taking part with her daughter on her first video conference call.

What they say: ‘What emerged here was a portrait of a decent, hardworking, funny and down-to-earth woman.’ iNews

Bob Monkhouse: The Million Joke Man - Gold

Paul O’Grady is our guide to the comic genius of Bob Monkhouse, the comedian and all-round entertainer who died in 2003.

Monkhouse had so many gags - each of them lovingly recorded in 16 beautifully handwritten and illustrated joke books - that Million Joke man is barely an exaggeration.

This three-part portrait mixes unlimited access to Monkhouse’s personal archive with warm reminiscences from friends and family - and of course no end of footage of the great man himself.

What they say: ‘A fitting tribute to Britain’s greatest comedy craftsman.’ Daily Star

You might also like

Netflix: your questions (mostly) answered

We provide the lowdown on Netflix’s plans to introduce advertising to its platform.


Big Think at BAFTA 2022

Join us at BAFTA on Tuesday 14th of June as Big Think returns back to BAFTA with a whole host of brilliant thinkers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.


CFlight upgrades launched

CFlight raises clock numbers and extends back data less than two months after its beta launch