Tonight's TV tips

Tune in to BBC2 at 9pm for Children of Syria. Lyse Doucet follows the lives of six children over six months. Their stories offer an intimate and powerful insight into a country being torn apart.

Tonight's TV tips

CURRENT AFFAIRS: Supermarket Wars: Channel 4 Dispatches (Channel 4, 8pm)

Not so long ago, if you were doing your weekly ’big shop’, chances are you would have been heading to one of the so-called ’big four“ supermarkets - Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Asda. But recently the retail giants have begun to lose their grip on the retail sector.

While their profits are slipping, sales at discount stores like Aldi and Lidl are booming – and some customers are choosing to abandon the ritual of trudging down the aisles with a misbehaving trolley altogether in favour of ordering their groceries online.

In this edition of Dispatches, Harry Wallop looks at the secrets of Aldi and Lidl’s success, and finds out how the traditional supermarkets are fighting back with an aggressive price war.

They claim to have slashed the prices on thousands of everyday items, but Wallop asks if all these offers are as special as they seem.

DOCUMENTARY: Children of Syria (BBC2, 9pm)

The war in Syria is now into its fourth year, with still no end in sight – and many of the casualties have been children.

Tens of thousands have been killed and wounded, but as this documentary reminds us, even those who have been physically unharmed have been deeply affected by growing up amid the conflict. Many have been left traumatised, while others are learning to hate.

In this programme, Lyse Doucet follows the lives of six youngsters over the course of six months. Filmed in Damascus, Homs and amongst the refugee community in Turkey, with unique access to the conflict frontlines, their stories offer an extraordinary insight into the conflict.

But the documentary also raises wider questions about the long-term consequences of the conflict – how will a generation whose lives have been so influenced by war go on to shape their country’s future?

DOCUMENTARY: Long Lost Family (UTV, 9pm)

Perhaps one day there will be an edition of Long Lost Family that doesn’t have us sobbing on the sofa – but not this week, as two people go in search of a missing parent.

Richard, 57, was adopted as a baby by Florence and William Cue, who had lost two young children. He remembers making monthly pilgrimages to the cemetery to visit their graves, but despite his adoptive parents’ grief, they ensured Richard had a happy, loving childhood.

As he grew older, he became increasingly preoccupied with finding his birth mother, so he could thank her for the sacrifice she made and reassure her that she gave him a better life.

Now Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell are about to make that dream a reality.

Meanwhile, 52-year-old Tania Barlett last heard from her Iranian father in 1981, when he sent her a letter asking her to write to him in Tehran – her reply was returned unopened.

It was a dangerous time for anyone in Iran with links to the West, and Tania has spent the next 33 years in limbo, unable to find out what happened to him.

But now she’s about to hear his story, and find out just why he was unable to contact her.

COMEDY: Virtually Famous (E4, 10pm)

It can feel like all TV panel shows are starting to merge into one, so fair play to E4 for looking beyond the cast of usual suspects to find a host for this latest edition, which began last week.

They’ve recruited Kevin McHale, aka Artie from Glee, to chair the quiz which celebrates online sensations, from memes to Vine shorts. If none of that previous sentence made sense, you might feel like you’re not in the target audience, but give it a try – you could learn something.

This week, team captains Seann Walsh and Chris Stark are joined by comedians Katherine Ryan and Joe Lycett, as well as actress/ model Helen Flanagan and former WBA heavyweight champion boxer David Haye.

Let’s hope they’ve all been spending a lot of time on Twitter and YouTube lately, because their knowledge of what’s getting shared online is about to be put to the test.

FILM: Waitress (Film4, 6.50pm)

(2007) Jenna is a small-town waitress with a gift for dreaming up delicious pie recipes.

She hopes her talent will eventually earn her enough money to leave her controlling husband, but the mission becomes more urgent when she discovers she’s pregnant – and an affair with the married local doctor probably won’t help either.

Film fans were shocked in 2006 when actress, writer and director Adrienne Shelly was killed after interrupting a theft at her apartment. The tragedy rather overshadowed this romantic drama, which was released shortly after her death, but it is a fitting tribute to her talent.

Although it may be a little too sweet for some tastes, there are some tart one-liners to counteract the sugar – and those pies do look very tasty.

Starring: Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, Adrienne Shelly, Eddie Jemison

FILM: Betty Blue (Film4, 10.45pm)

(1986) The film that launched a thousand posters into student flats in the 1980s and 1990s, Betty Blue follows a struggling author who falls in love with a mysterious, unconventional woman.

She provides him with plenty of literary inspiration, but as her behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, the writer begins to realise that his lover isn’t just a kooky free-spirit – she’s dealing with serious mental problems.

This erotic drama really couldn’t be any more French if it tried, and while some viewers will be swept away by the romance and passion, others may decide it’s not quite as deep and meaningful as it thinks it is.

However, even the doubters should be impressed by a charismatic, star-making performance from Beatrice Dalle, who is simply incredible in her film debut.

Starring: Beatrice Dalle, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Consuelo de Haviland, Gerard Darmon, Clementine Celarie, Jacques Mathou

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

great irish summer

From walking and hiking, to day trips and camping, your guide to holidays at home in 2021

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up