Lucy the chimpanzee with student Janis Carter. Photo: Channel 4

The best television to watch in the UK this spring

BBC's Pursuit of Love, plus cross-species friendship in Janis and Lucy
April 6, 2021
The Pursuit of Love, BBC One, May Nancy Mitford’s hilarious interwar novel about upper-class England and glamorous Paris seems to be remade every two decades, but this one looks a treat. It’s written and directed by Emily Mortimer, whose wonderful sitcom Doll & Em suggests she will be able to capture Mitford’s wicked humour. Then there’s the glittering cast: Lily James as the headstrong Linda Radlett and Dominic West as her barbaric father, plus Andrew Scott, Freddie Fox, and Mortimer herself. A must-see.

Janis and Lucy, Channel 4, April Cross-species friendship is at the heart of this remarkable documentary about a 1960s experiment that sits very unhappily with modern sensibilities. Lucy the chimpanzee was raised as a human from two days old. She learned how to dress herself and eat at a table with cutlery; but as she grew, she became destructive and sexually attracted to humans. She was finally moved to a chimpanzee rehabilitation centre, where she struggled to integrate with her own species. Janis Carter was a student who volunteered to live with her to try to help her adapt.

Danny Boy, BBC Two, May The Battle of Danny Boy took place in southern Iraq in 2004 between British soldiers and around 100 Iraqi insurgents. In 2009 it was alleged that, after the battle, 20 Iraqi prisoners were murdered and that others were tortured. This drama based on those events focuses on the public inquiry that followed, and on human rights lawyer Phil Shiner (Toby Jones) who pressed the claims in court. Anthony Boyle plays one of the accused soldiers, Sergeant Brian Wood, who had been awarded the Military Cross for his role in the battle.