C4, Saturday, 8pm

THIS week O’Grady’s journey through Hollywood’s classics looks at musicals.

The heyday of musicals was in the 40s and 50s, and the theory is that the public wanted something light-hearted and glamorous as a response to the years of war they’d just endured. Hollywood had the answer with classics such as Singin’ In The Rain and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

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But O’Grady shows how the image of the Hollywood musical as something cheesy and cheerful isn’t wholly accurate, and we also look at grittier, bolder musicals such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Flashdance.

And even though the era of the all-singing, all-dancing musical may have passed, we see that Disney are keeping the tradition alive through animated films. Every Disney cartoon seems to come with a hit song, especially clear in Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King and, most recently, Frozen, with its annoyingly ubiquitous song, Let It Go.

The best thing about cartoon musicals is that adults can openly say “Yeah, it’s for the kids” but still sneakily enjoy the songs.

BBC2, Saturday, 9.30pm

IN this hour-long special, Kirsty Wark previews some of the best acts at this year’s Festival, and there is a good mix of genres here.

She meets the Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, a singer from Arbroath who’s conquering the musical world, and she also talks to the cabaret artiste Meow Meow, an exotic singer from Australia who’s performing in the city with her own glittery interpretation of The Little Mermaid. There will also be bombastic, foot-stamping music from Orkestra del Sol.

And if all that singing and playing sounds a bit too loud and energetic then you can just sit back and listen to the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce discuss his new collection of short stories.

You say that’s still too noisy for you? OK, we also have a mime artist called Tape Face who appeared on This Morning earlier this year and upset all the viewers. I assume that counts as a positive review for any artist?


BBC2, Sunday, 9pm

AASMAH Mir and Sanjeev Kohli discuss the impact of India’s partition on their respective families, one Muslim and the other Sikh.

They explain how Britain divided India into two new countries: an independent India and the new Muslim state of Pakistan. “At the stroke of a pen” Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus “turned on one another” and a mass migration began, with some populations no longer feeling welcome and fleeing to the other side of the dividing line.

During the Raj, these religious groups were united against a common enemy and fought for freedom together, but once the freedom was granted there was nothing to hold them and they fell apart in religious violence.

The fathers of both celebrities were just young boys at the time, and share their frightening memories of the Partition, with Mir’s father saying they waited in anxiety to see what side of the line they’d be on. Then they all ran in fear, shouting: “The Sikhs are coming!” Mir’s father hid his noisy young brother in a pile of cotton to muffle his cries so they wouldn’t be found. “It was a question of life and death.”

C4, Sunday, 9pm

THIS new series has taken the slot previously held by The Handmaid’s Tale, so it had better be good.

It’s certainly unusual and wildly dramatic.

It’s a Norwegian drama which opens with a violent bank robbery gone wrong. The action then jumps to an equally frightening scene: in a damp bunker a man shaves, trims his shaggy hair, and starts work in his underground laboratory, but before he can tend to his experiments he must dispose of some dead rats. The perils of subterranean lab work!

Then the story jumps back to six months previously, where our weird underground scientists is in a bright, clean, sunny clinic. So what happened to send him deep into the earth? And what is he working on down there?

His wife is dying and wants to try a risky, experimental drug which she, a scientist, had developed herself. No doctor will dare administer the treatment so he hides his sick wife in the bunker and works on her himself, funding his scheme with illicit treatment of society’s criminals.