The best TV to watch this week from Magpie Murders to Rain Dogs and a Grease prequel
It’s certainly a packed week of TV ahead, from a classy whodunit written by Anthony Horowitz and starring Lesley Manville to the latest vehicle for This Country’s Daisy May Cooper.
Also on the itinerary, it’s the prequel you never knew you needed as we head back to school for Grease: the Rise of the Pink Ladies.
And Alex Jones brings us heartwarming stories as she reunites those wanting to reconnect...
Saturday, 1 April, 9.15pm: Magpie Murders | BBC One
In an unusual move, the BBC has acquired Magpie Murders, the tricksy six-part mystery written by Anthony Horowitz and first made available on Britbox in 2022. And as well as bringing this whodunnit to a wider audience, the corporation will also air its follow-up, Moonflower Murders, which will be filmed in 2023.
Read the Yahoo review: Magpie Murders: A detective drama that offers something new and exciting (3 min read)
Read the Variety review: Amusing whodunnit delivers quaint mystery within a mystery (4 min read)
For the uninitiated, this original case centres on Susan Ryeland (the marvellous Lesley Manville), a successful editor whose career is thrown into crisis when the latest mystery novel by her top author turns up with its final chapter missing. And then she too finds herself embroiled in a suspicious death…
Tuesday, 4 April, 10.40pm (11.40pm in Northern Ireland): Rain Dogs | BBC One
Daisy May Cooper’s new project is this state-of-the-nation drama about a single mum and her daughter, penned by Cash Carraway (best known for her bestselling book Skint Estate).
A co-production between the BBC and HBO, Rain Dogs charts the relationship between chaotic Costello Jones (Cooper) and her offspring Iris (Fleur Tashijan).
Read the Hollywood Reporter review: British dramedy offers rewards for those who brave the bleakness (5 min read)
Having been estranged from her family, Costello faces an uphill battle when it comes to making a living in a landscape of climbing rents, plummeting wages and job insecurity. But what impact will privileged gay guy Selby (Jack Farthing) have on their lives?
Also still available on BBC iPlayer: This Country
Thursday, 6 April, 9.00pm: Dreamland | Sky Atlantic
The sun may be shining in the seaside town of Margate, but there’s dark comedy to be found in this portrayal of multi-generational female family dynamics.
At the core is former Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman who plays eldest sister Trish, pregnant for the third time and convinced that, this time, she’ll be giving birth to a girl. Support comes from her two siblings (Gabby Best and Aimee-Ffion Edwards), as well as her mum (Frances Barber) and nan (Sheila Reid).
But a destabilising element is set to arrive in the form of other sister Mel (Lily Allen), who makes an unexpected reappearance in their lives…
Thursday, 6 April, 8.00pm: Reunion Hotel | BBC Two
Long Lost Family meets Surprise Surprise as Alex Jones reconnects people with someone significant from their past, be it a lost friend, a family member or past love.
The setting is a hotel in north east Wales and each of the reunions is set to be rooted in the surrounding area. So expect high emotion and plenty of heartfelt moments as we see an ex-pupil brought back into the orbit of the teacher who made a lasting impact on him and thanks given to some life-saving heroes. Says Jones: “It’s exciting to help guests reconnect with a piece of their lives they thought had been lost.”
Thursday, 6 April: Beef S1 | Netflix
Fresh from its Oscar-winning glory with Everything Everywhere All At Once, indie film studio A24 is back with Beef, a brand new drama-comedy series on Netflix, starring the Oscar-nominated Steven Yeun and comedian Ali Wong.
Read the Indiewire review: Ali Wong and Steven Yeun are knockouts in Netflix’s outsized A24 drama (6 min read)
The 10-part series, which will be available to binge, was the subject of a fierce bidding war in 2021 and begins with a road rage incident that develops into a full-blown cycle of revenge. The show premiered to huge acclaim at the SXSW festival which suggests Netflix could have another hit on its hands.
Friday, 7 April, 9.00pm: Pilgrimage: the Road through Portugal | BBC Two
Nicely scheduled in time for Easter, this follow-up to last year’s Road to the Scottish Isles sees seven well-known personalities with differing faiths and beliefs taking a journey along the northern route of the Fatima Way in Portugal.
The celebrity pilgrims this time around are Su Pollard (who was raised Church of England), Jewish actor Rita Simons, Pentecostal Born-Again Christian Shayne Lynch (of Boyzone fame), reality star and agnostic Vicky Pattison, the Catholic maths guru Bobby Seagull, Muslim comedian Nabil Abdulrashid, plus Paralympian skier Millie Knight, who is non-practising Church of England.
Still available on BBC iPlayer: Pilgrimage: the Road to the Scottish Isles
Friday, 7 April: Tiny Beautiful Things episode 1 | Disney+
Kathryn Hahn (best-known to UK viewers as Agatha Harkness in the Marvel series WandaVision) returns to TV to play Clare, a floundering writer who achieves workplace success as an advice columnist, just as her own personal life is falling dramatically apart.
With a marriage that feels as though it’s in its death throes and a teenage daughter who’s resisting her affections, the last thing Clare feels qualified to do is offer the benefit of her wisdom. But when she’s asked by a friend to take over the column Dear Sugar, Clare reluctantly takes on the job and finds herself to be a salve for readers. But can she put right the parts of her own life that have gone wrong?
Friday, 7 April: Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies episode 1 | Paramount+
Set four years before Sandy became hopelessly devoted to Danny, this prequel to the original Grease movie takes us to the Rydell High of 1954. Rock ‘n’ roll is still to make an impact on the school, while the T-Birds haven’t roared into view. But four fed-up outcasts are about to dare to have fun on their own terms – and spark something of a moral panic in the process.
Read the EW review: Rydell's girl gang gets an uneven origin story (6 min read)
Read the Consequence review: Rise of the Pink Ladies is confection and camp, but simply has too much heart to hate (5 min read)
Expect music, some romance, a little comedy and roles for relative unknowns including Marisa Davila (as Jane), Cheyenne Isabel Wells (playing Olivia) and Ari Notartomaso (featuring as Cynthia).
Watch a trailer for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies