This week's pick is a searing fictitious debate on the existence or otherwise of God as discussed by a group of Jews in Auschwitz on the eve of the execution of half of them.
Other highlights examine the effects of Muslim extremism, of the credit-crunch on individuals from varied walks of life and on a middle-class family when the husband is accused of downloading child pornography.
Sunday 31st August - 9 - 10.30pm - BBC1 - Fiona's Story
This hard-hitting stand-alone drama stars Gina McKee and Jeremy Northam as a prosperous middle-class married couple with three young daughters whose seemingly ordered lives are thrown into turmoil one morning when the police call and arrest the husband for downloading images of abused children. The drama's main focus is the reaction of McKee's character who understandably moves through a cataclysmic range of emotional responses and thought processes particularly after her husband returns home on bail. The programme challenges the viewer to "think the unthinkable" and be unwilling to take for granted the appearance of domestic normalcy.
Monday 1st September - 8 - 9pm - Channel 4 - Dispatches - Undercover Mosque: the Return
Dispatches is one of the very few factual programmes which dares risking being deemed "politically incorrect" in order to expose unpalatable and unacceptable situations and contexts. In this follow-up to last year's documentary the team go back undercover to see if extremist beliefs are still being disseminated in some Muslim institutions in the UK; they also ask what role the religious establishment of Saudi Arabia is playing in spreading this hard-line ideology.
Monday 1st September - 8.30 - 9pm - BBC1 - Panorama - How the Economy Got Personal
In order to examine the effects of the current credit-crunch on individuals, this week's edition looks at how, as an exemplar, a publican, a brickcutter, a mother and a pawnbroker have each in turn been affected. Also, utilising information supplied by thousands of viewers, the programme maps the areas where the squeeze is having the greatest effect across the UK.
Pick of the Week :rb:
Wednesday 3rd September - 9 - 10.30pm - BBC2 - God on Trial
Highly acclaimed Shakespearean actor Antony Sher thought he had ended his artistic association with the effects of the Holocaust on humanity after starring in the stage adaptation of Primo Levi's "If This Were a Man" which was recently also shown as a film. But Frank Cottrell Boyce's screenplay for "God on Trial" changed his mind. Rupert Graves, Stephen Dillane and Stellan Skarsgard also star in this drama which mostly consists of lengthy philosophising on the existence or otherwise of God. The drama is set in Auschwitz, mostly in one room, and as half the prisoners know they are are going "to the gas" the following day, they have just 24 hours to conclude whether or not God exists and, if He does, how could He break his covenant with the Jews in such an appalling way. So powerful is this drama that it led one reviewer to comment "the tension is kept alive by asking and answering more tough questions of the faithful than Richard Dawkins has yet managed in his lifetime."