England international footballer Jermaine Jenas fronts the documentary on stop and search. Photo: Channel 4

What to watch on television this month in the UK—BBC's Three Families and the Crime of the Century

Plus Channel 4 on the truth about police stop and search
May 2, 2021
The Crime of the Century, Sky Documentaries, May

Acclaimed documentary-maker Alex Gibney made his name in 2005 with Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. His latest is an investigation into the relationship between “Big Pharma” and the US governmental regulators which has allowed America to fall victim to the public health tragedy of mass synthetic opioid addiction—believed to be responsible for half a million deaths in this century alone. With the aid of whistleblowers, it seeks to establish a link between profits and a willingness to perpetuate the crisis.

The Truth About Police Stop and Search, Channel 4, May

Statistics show that black men are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white men. The makers of this one-off, street-level documentary gave camera equipment to 40 black men and teenagers to record their interactions with officers. It’s fronted by former England international footballer Jermaine Jenas, who provides his own experience of being stopped while he was a Spurs player. He also speaks to a former policeman who was stopped more than 30 times off-duty when he was still in the force.

Three Families, BBC One, May

Drama comes closer to documentary in this two-part series, based on the real-life experiences of three families affected by the fact that the 1967 Abortion Act did not apply to Northern Ireland until 2019. It’s set between 2013 and 2019, a period in which this divisive and emotive issue was fought over heatedly in public, even as it continued to influence the lives of women in private. Sinéad Keenan leads the strong cast, and the screenplay was written by Gwyneth Hughes, who scripted the excellent Five Days (2007) and a recent adaptation of Vanity Fair.