Telly Today: Midweek May 15th sees The Virtues of Stephen Graham and Nadiya Hussain tackles anxiety.
The Virtues, Channel 4, 9pm
Shane Meadows returns to Channel 4 showcasing his inimitable style with a powerful, bold drama that tackles themes of repressed memory, apocalyptic revenge and the hope of redemption.
BAFTA-nominated Stephen Graham is Joseph, a barely on-the-wagon alcoholic whose precarious reality is knocked for six when his ex-partner moves abroad with their young son, from Liverpool to Australia, for a better life.
With no immediate family to live for, Joseph is haunted by a past he has tried, for decades, to forget – if not actively obscure with drink and drugs. Suffering the hangover from hell – the dry spell over – he walks away from his present life and boards a boat bound for Ireland to confront hazy, fear-inducing memories from a childhood spent in the care system that he’s had to forget.
Emotionally and physically wrecked, Joseph reunites with an incredulous Anna (Helen Behan), the sister he hasn’t seen since childhood. Anna persuades her wary husband Michael (Frank Laverty; Michael Collins) to let Joseph stay and give him work in the family-owned building company. There, Joseph is forced to directly confront the demons of his past when he comes face to face with Craigy (Mark O’Halloran), a shadowy figure who is dogged by dark rumours, and who won’t leave Joseph alone.
Joseph’s precarious family reunion is further complicated when he is immediately drawn to Michael’s fiery sister Dinah (Niamh Algar). Angry and lost, Dinah is fiercely guarded, and, like Joseph, haunted by a deeply-held secret.
Deftly addressing challenging themes of revenge, redemption and repressed memory, Meadows and co-writer, BAFTA-winning Jack Thorne, ask questions of what it really means to be, and have, family.
Stephen Graham is Joseph in The Virtues, Channel 4, 9pm.
Nadiya: Anxiety And Me , BBC One, 9pm
Since Nadiya Hussain won Bake Off in 2015 she’s rarely been off our screens. Despite her incredible success, Nadiya has been living with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks since childhood. In Nadiya: Anxiety And Me, she shares her journey through her first course of therapy. For a long time, Nadiya has kept her anxiety a secret. After years of struggling in silence, she is ready to find out where her anxiety comes from and how to treat it. Nadiya hopes her openness will inspire others to seek help and fight the stigma associated with mental health issues.
While Nadiya is sure that she has some sort of anxiety disorder, she has never been fully diagnosed. A GP refers her to a specialist for a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. Her raw and honest therapy sessions help her to reveal the buried memories and key moments from her past that have led to her anxiety. Nadiya meets others who also have her condition in the hope of understanding her own issues and how anxiety is affecting the nation’s health.Nadiya also learns about the range of treatments available, from medication to online support groups.
Planet Child, ITV, STV, UTV, 9pm
In episode three twin doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken set out to explore how children develop a sense of their own identity and whether girls are really different to boys. For generations, boys and girls have been treated differently and knew from an early age what was expected of them. Life today is very different, and rules around gender are changing.
We meet seven-year-old Uaakhuihe, of the Namibian Himba people, where, from an early age, boys and girls are taught different skills to prepare them for the very different roles they will have to take on as men and women. The Van Tulleken’s take a group of British under seven’s away from their families to an island in the middle of the River Thames to take part in some experiments to find out what it means to be a girl or a boy.
Twin sisters Tyiana and Taiya shock themselves and the boys in a fairground competition and four-year-old American pageant queen, Lyndsey has very strong ideas about how she likes to look.