This week's pick is Peter Moffatt's detailed dramatic portrayal of the dehumanising practices and effects of Britain's criminal justice system.
Other highlights in a week of high-quality political programming are the classic film which depicts the events of the controversial 1925 American creationism v Darwinism courtroom debate, documentaries on the escalation of gang-related violence in Britain and an investigation into the despicable corporate practice of encouraging tobacco addiction in children in Africa.
Saturday 28 June - 7 - 9pm - BBC4 - Inherit the Wind
A black and white film made in 1960 and heavily based on events that took place in 1925, this Kramer-helmed courtroom classic, kicking off BBC4's "Courtroom Dramas" season has, distressingly, never been more apposite. Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly lead a stellar cast in what is largely a reconstruction of the famed "Scopes Monkey" trial in 1925 in Tennessee when a high-school teacher named Scopes was prosecuted for teaching Darwinism. A similar trial took place on the same issue in 2005 in Pennsylvania and one recent survey showed that 54 per cent of Americans still doubt Darwin's findings.
Monday 30 June - 8 - 9pm - Channel 4 - Dispatches: The Truth about Street Weapons
This edition of Dispatches marks the beginning of Channel 4's major new season, "Disarming Britain" which is about the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the growing problem of gang-related gun and knife crime. In this first film, an intrepid clinician who is at the forefront of the treatment of young people who have been injured in street attacks, tours Britain in an attempt to dissuade young people from carrying weapons.
Monday 30 June - 9 - 10pm - Channel 4 - Kids, Knives and Broken Lives
The "Disarming Britain" series continues with this documentary in which young people discuss the experiences that have led to them feeling the need to carry weapons on the street. They also offer suggestions as to what can be done to stem the escalating tide of violence and gang retaliation.
Pick of the Week :rb:
Monday 30 June - 9 - 10pm - BBC1 - Criminal Justice - 1/5
Ex-barrister Peter Moffatt wrote this drama based on some of his own courtroom experiences and as a result of real-life research in police stations and prisons. Already being acclaimed by some critics as the drama of the year, BBC1 is ambitiously showing it in five nightly consecutive one hour slots, concluding, therefore, this Friday 4 July at 9pm. It tells the story of a pleasant 21 year old man who has never been in trouble before who awakes after a drug-fuelled sexual encounter to find the young woman murdered and with no memory of what has happened. He finds himself then thrown into something of a nightmare of Kafakeque proportions as, having been arrested for the murder, he finds even his own legal team believe he is guilty and when he wants to do "the right thing" by telling the truth, is told he should not and must "play the game" if he is to stand any chance of being found innocent. In what has been unique for a drama to date, every stage of Coulter's legal journey is tracked from the night of the incident to events after the verdict via every single police inteview, court appearance and prison encounter when he is on remand. Moffat has said that his prime motivation in writing the story "is to explore whether a normal person, innocent or not, can go through the criminal justice system and come out the other side remotely the same human being".
Tuesday 1 July - 9 - 10pm - BBC2 - Duncan Bannatyne Takes on Tobacco
Shown as part of the BBC's high-quality documentary strand, "This World" , multi-millionaire entrepeneur and ex-smoker Duncan Bannatyne makes for an unlikely critic of the effects of big business when he travels to Africa to find out why increasing numbers of children are starting to smoke. He meets children as young as ten who not only smoke but attempt to make a meagre living by selling cigarettes to other children. They do so at the manipulative behest of, in particular, British American Tobacco who, in some countries, own over 90 per cent of the market share in tobacco. Bannatyne interviews children who tell how slick marketing encourages them to spend their lunch money on buying cigarettes sold singly, a technique known as "single stick" that BAT and their cohorts use to encourage addiction in residents of poorer countries. Appalled, Bannatyne prepares to confront the BAT representative on his return to Britain.