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The best UK TV to watch this week from White House Plumbers to The Gallows Pole

This Is England's Shane Meadows returns to television with a new period setting, while Alan Carr's memoirs come to screens

The best UK TV coming up includes Alan Carr's memoirs, a new Shane Meadows and the return of Springwatch.  (BBC/ITV/Sky/Netflix)
The best UK TV coming up includes Alan Carr's memoirs, a new Shane Meadows and the return of Springwatch. (BBC/ITV/Sky/Netflix)

On UK TV this coming week writer/director Shane Meadows launches a new drama set in the 18th century, and there’s some contemporary intrigue from Midsomer.

Plus the ill deeds of the Nixon administration are being probed on Sky Atlantic, while Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan are out enjoying the natural world in the new season of Springwatch.

Here's Yahoo's guide to the week ahead on UK television.

Sunday, 28 May, 8.00pm: Midsomer Murders | ITV1


Pictured: Jeremy Whittingdale (KEVIN WHATELY), Phoebe Whittingdale (TESSA WONG) with Luke Dunlow (DYLAN WOOD)

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Dylan Wood, Kevin Whatley, and Tessa Wong in Midsomer Murders: For Death Prepare. (ITV)

There was disappointment for fans of Midsomer Murders back in January when a new episode of the bucolic whodunnit was shelved by ITV in favour of an interview with Prince Harry conducted by Tom Bradby. Well now, nearly five months later, we finally get to see what was cancelled at the last minute.


Read more: Holly Willoughby 'embarrassed' by Midsomer cameo 

And it turns out to be a tricksy case involving deadly goings-on at the Midsomer Mummers Amateur Opera Society. Among the guest stars is Kevin Whately – an actor used to conducting policework in Inspector Morse and Lewis, but positioned here on the suspect list.

Monday, 29 May, 7.30pm: Springwatch | BBC Two

Springwatch 2023,Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke,Picture shows: Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke Photo taken in 2019.,BBC,Jo Charlesworth
Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams, Gillian Burke will host Springwatch 2023. (BBC) (BBC/Jo Charlesworth)

Spring is a season associated with renewal so it feels appropriate for perennial favourite Springwatch to be enjoying something of a revamp with this series coming from a fresh location – RSPB Arne in Dorset.

Read more: Chris Packham awarded £90k damages after winning libel battle over tiger claims

And for those wondering why this spot in particular has been picked, it’s one of the few places in the UK where all six of the country’s native reptiles can be found, including the rare Sand Lizards and Smooth Snakes. Feeling familiar, though, is the presenting double act of Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, with reports coming from both Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke.

Tuesday, 30 May, 9.00pm: White House Plumbers | Sky Atlantic

Justin Theroux as G Gordon Liddy & Woody Harrelson as E Howard Hunt in White House Plumbers. (HBO/Sky)
Justin Theroux as G Gordon Liddy & Woody Harrelson as E Howard Hunt in White House Plumbers. (HBO/Sky) (© 2023 Home Box Office, Inc. Al)

The behind-the-scenes machinations of the Nixon years were explored most recently in the acclaimed 2022 series Gaslit. But the recreations of that murky political era keep coming in White House Plumbers with this new take on the story of the saboteurs and Watergate masterminds who imploded the presidency they were attempting to protect.

Read more: The wild true story behind White House Plumbers

Starring are Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, who play operatives E Howard Hunt and G Gordon Liddy, two members of the team of so-called “White House Plumbers” whose job it was to plug press leaks by any means at their disposal – a responsibility that quickly spiralled out of control…

Wednesday, 31 May, 9.00pm: The Gallows Pole | BBC2

The Gallows Pole,31-05-2023,1,The Stagmen, David Hartley (MICHAEL SOCHA),Element Pictures (GP) Limited/Objective Feedback LLC,Dean Rogers
Michael Socha in The Gallows Pole. (BBC) (BBC/Element Pictures (GP) Limited/Objective Feedback LLC/Dean Rogers)

The moorland hills of 18th-century Yorkshire are our destination for this true-life story fictionalised by Shane Meadows from a book by Benjamin Myers. Over three parts, we chart the rise of David Hartley (Michael Socha) and the Cragg Vale Coiners, a gang of weavers who masterminded a revolutionary criminal scam that sunk the economy and went down as the largest fraud in our history.

Says Meadows of his project: “It may have turned into one of the biggest crimes in British history, but it was pulled off by a bunch of destitute farmers and weavers doing what they had to to survive and I think people will resonate with that.”

Thursday, 1 June, 9.00pm: Who Do You Think You Are? | BBC1

Who Do You Think You Are? S19,01/06/2023,Andrew Lloyd Webber,Andrew Lloyd Webber,Andrew Lloyd Webber,At the Theatre Royal (his theatre),Wall to Wall,Stephen Perry
Who Do You Think You Are?: Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Theatre Royal. (BBC) (Wall to Wall)

The latest run of the beloved genealogy series will offer up an eclectic mix of family histories, including stories of clog-wearing rope dancers, murder trials, tragic accidents and Scottish royalty. But which celebrities will be seen digging into their pasts?

Read more: Who Do You Think You Are?: Claire Foy, Bear Grylls, Emily Atack to take part in new season

Well, episode one will see musical theatre maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber shining a spotlight on his ancestors. And he’ll be followed in subsequent editions by comedian Emily Atack, actors Claire Foy and Lesley Manville, former Strictly pro Kevin Clifton, DJ Dev Griffin, presenter Chris Ramsey, adventurer Bear Grylls and twin doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

Thursday, 1 June: Changing Ends | ITVX

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From Baby Cow Productions

Changing Ends: Ep1 on ITVX

Pictured: Graham Carr [Shaun Dooley] and Young Alan [Oliver Savell].

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Graham Carr (Shaun Dooley) and Young Alan (Oliver Savell) in Changing Ends. (Baby Cow/ITV) (ITV)

Alan Carr mines his own family history for this autobiographical comedy about his life in 1980s’ Northampton, where he grew up as the son of a fourth division football manager.

Carr will play himself in the present day while young Alan is portrayed by Oliver Savell, who charts the comedian’s journey through puberty, adolescence and self-discovery against the backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain and a community that wasn’t exactly inclusive.

Read more: Alan Carr 'emotional' as shooting begins on Changing Ends

In the words of the series itself: “It’s about figuring out who you are when your family are Match of the Day and you’re a bit Miss Marple.”

Thursday, 1 June: The Days | Netflix

The Days (Netflix)
The Days (Netflix)

This dark new Japanese drama invites comparisons to the acclaimed Chernobyl, as we’re being offered a depiction of another nuclear power plant disaster – on this occasion, the one in Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.

What we’re set to witness over the eight-episode run-time is the incident from three perspectives: the government, the corporations, and those working on the site itself. Piecing these points of view together, the question of what exactly happened on that fateful day will be answered. Koji Yakusho and Yutaka Takenouchi star.

Watch a trailer for The Days