TV This week: Silent Witness| Cucumber| Benidorm

The Eichmann Show
The Eichmann Show
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Your pick of this week’s TV.


Silent Witness (BBC1, 9pm)

When Amanda Burton announced she was leaving this superb drama, many of us wondered whether or not the show would sustain its ratings figures and popularity.

But that was over 10 years ago now and Emilia Fox is certainly holding her own in the lead role. And with the show turning 20 next year, there will be plenty to celebrate soon enough.

We’ve reached the halfway marker of this 18th series now, and this week’s two-parter kicks off with a suspected paedophile found dead in a playground.


The Eichmann Show (BBC1, 9pm)

Considering the cast of this new one-off drama boasts some of the biggest names in British comedy - including Martin Freeman, Rebecca Front and Andy Nyman - the subject matter is heavyweight.

Adolf Eichmann was one of the key architects of the Holocaust, and the programme is shown as part of the BBC’s season of shows commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps.

Joining them is American star Anthony LaPaglia who stars as Leo Hurwitz, a TV director blacklisted during the McCarthy period, but who teams up with groundbreaking producer Milton Fruchtman (Freeman) to capture the testimony of Eichmann, one of the war’s most notorious Nazis, during his trial and broadcast it across the world.

The 1961 trial of Eichmann in Israel was a momentous event, described at the time as the ‘trial of the century’, and shown on TV in 37 countries over the course of four months.

It was remarkable for being the first time that the horror of the death camps had been heard publicly, live, from the mouths of some of its victims. An estimated 80 per cent of the population of Germany watched at least one hour a week of the trial, as it became the world’s first truly global television event.


Wolf Hall (BBC2, 9pm)

In a new drama series adapted from Hilary Mantel’s two Booker-prize-winning novels, Damian Lewis is hoping we can see beyond Henry VIII’s weight and diseases.

The story is approached from the perspective of Henry’s advisor Thomas Cromwell (acclaimed stage actor Mark Rylance).

It’s also allowed Lewis to explore another side to the King. “What we’re trying to concentrate on a little bit is just to give a more varied portrait of Henry, and that’s really how this is written. Henry’s not in it very much but when we see him there’s great variety in his character and his personality...”

The six-part series begins with the monarch desperate to produce a male heir, which means ending his marriage to Katherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley).

Unfortunately, Cardinal Wolsey (Jonathan Pryce) isn’t having much luck in persuading the Pope to annul the union - and if he falls from favour, that will also have a knock-on effect on his protege, Thomas Cromwell.


Cucumber (Channel 4, 9pm)

It is 16 years since Russell T Davies turned TV upside down with his controversial and groundbreaking Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk.

Since then, he’s most famous for breathing new life into Doctor Who in 2005 before handing over in 2010,

Now he’s back with not just one series - he’s launching three. Cucumber will feature on the main channel, with Banana on sister station E4 and documentary Tofu available online.

“Cucumber is sort of the TV equivalent of a novel, and Banana is a series of short stories relating to some of the more peripheral characters in Cucumber.

“Cucumber is the story of Henry who’s got a marvellous, wilful, wild streak in him,” Davies says.

“Cucumber is very much about the gay middle-aged male experience, in Banana we’ve got younger men, we’ve got women, we’ve got lesbians, we’ve got transsexual stories. We cover the whole gamut, really.”


Benidorm (STV, 9pm)

Derren Litten’s sun-kissed saga of eclectic holiday makers and staff at the Solana hotel has touched a chord with millions since it debuted in 2007. As this is supposed to be the last series, the writer has pulled out all the stops to ensure his characters go out on a high.

In the latest offering, Kenneth embarks on a quest to find a cure for Joyce’s mysterious ailment; Glynn plans an ideal day out for Jacqueline, and the Oracle hopes walking on hot coals will impress the resort’s regulars.

Also this week, soap stalwart Denise Black guest stars as Les’s ex Gloria. She turns up at the hotel in the hope of coaxing son Liam back to Britain.


The Voice UK (BBC1, 7pm)

Emma Willis and Rita Ora have been flashing a lot of flesh lately, either on Celebrity Big Brother or The One Show, so little wonder they’ve helped attract millions of viewers for this engaging search-for-a-star strand.

Here Emma and Marvin Humes front the third round of the competition to find the nation’s best new vocal talent.

Coach Rita, along with Tom Jones, and Ricky Wilson, sits with her back to the auditioners, hitting her button to spin her chair if she wants to mentor that singer - and allowing the hopeful to choose whose team they want to join if more than one coach turns.


Get Your Act Together (STV, 6.45pm)

These days, the schedules are packed with reality efforts putting familiar faces through their paces as they attempt to learn a new skill.

Here, ITV strides in with another series of a similar set-up, in which celebrities will battle it out to learn jaw-dropping talents, including contortion, fire dancing and ventriloquism.

Presented by Stephen Mulhern, the series kicked off with model Danielle Lloyd being mentored by The Catwall Acrobats; ex-Westlifer and presenter Brian McFadden taught by magicians Penn & Teller, and singer and actor Ray Quinn learning from the talents of impressionist Debra Stephenson.

The studio audience will decide which celeb has entertained them the most and gets a chance to go through to the final...