TABOO, BBC1, 9.15pm
HOODED figures. Men galloping on horseback. Wide landscapes and stirring music. This new series is for fans of The Musketeers and Saturday night-style historical dramas although, to be fair, it’s far darker and more melancholy than its comically swashbuckling predecessors.
Our hooded figure arrives in a freezing old mortuary in London where he leans over a white corpse with coins pressed on its eyes. “Forgive me father, for I have indeed sinned,” he whispers.
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This is a new eight-part series starring Tom Hardy and is from the creator of Peaky Blinders.
It’s set in the smoky, bleak London of 1814, where Delaney (Hardy) has returned from mysterious adventures in Africa for his father’s funeral.
Back on the scene to claim his inheritance, and perhaps a bit of revenge for his father’s death, he makes himself a thorn in the side of everyone else and their carefully laid plans. The wonderful Jonathan Pryce also stars as Sir Stuart Strange, who is immediately positioned as Delaney’s enemy.
DAVID BOWIE: THE LAST FIVE YEARS, BBC2, 9pm
“IN the last five years of his life, Bowie released some of his most fascinating and revealing work,” says this programme.
I wonder what my dad would say to that, having been a loyal Bowie fan forever yet always indulging in a grumble whenever he went to a concert and saw his idol do “his new stuff”. But maybe, with the passage of time, grumbles about “new stuff” dissipate as the fans have space to absorb and adapt. After all, Bowie was a master at changing and maybe the rest of us just needed time to catch up with him.
This programme examines his output in those final five years, during which he produced two albums and a stage play, Lazarus.
Musical collaborators and friends, such as Tony Visconti and Toni Basil, offer contributions but the best thing is the inclusion of Bowie himself.
He appears via archive footage and interviews, and we see he remained productive and brilliant until the end.