The Honourable Woman
BBC2, Thursdays, 9pm
The Honourable Woman is the BBC’s big summer blockbuster, starring none other than Hollywood megastar Maggie Gyllenhaal. It follows Nessa Stein, a peace activist who inherits her father’s arms business. It’s shot with all the quality of a great BBC drama and, at eight episodes, it’s long enough to keep you occupied for the rest of the summer. It’s already two episodes in, but you can catch up on iPlayer.
BBC One, August, date TBC
Clear out your diary and get stuck into five standalone, half-hour films that are set to be shown nightly over a week. The Secrets is essentially BBC One’s new writing festival, showcasing up-and-coming talent. The title alludes to the theme of the series; each episode will involve “dark secrets coming to light via a tense encounter”. An excellent cast is lined up to star including the ubiquitous but uniquely talented, Olivia Colman, alongside Alison Steadman, Sally Hawkins and Emilia Fox.
The Community Shield
Sunday 10 August at 3pm, broadcast live by BT Sport
The next football match of note we can look forward to is the clash between Manchester City and Arsenal in the Community Shield. Expect to see: a first outing from new Gunners signing Alexis Sánchez, Bacary Sagna lining up for City against his former club and one or two sheepish-looking England “stars”. The fixture is a great warm up to the season and the first taste of things to come. Sure, it’s really meaningless, but try telling that to David Moyes.
First night Friday 18 July, 7.30pm, BBC2
While it may lack the baying hordes of the World Cup, the BBC Proms is the highlight of the year for fans of classical music. The Royal Albert Hall will play host to some of the finest musicians in the world, including celebrated conductor Sir Andrew Davis who will open the proceedings with Elgar’s biblical oratorio The Kingdom, which will see Erin Wall singing soprano and Andrew Staples on tenor. Tickets are still available at bbc.co.uk/proms – get in there quick.
Sky Atlantic, Wednesday 16 July, 9pm
Off the back of the recent success of Girls and Veep, HBO has commissioned another comedy series, Silicon Valley. It’s a satirical look at the people who work for tech giants like Google and Facebook in San Francisco. Expect it to be a bit like the Big Bang Theory, only the hot girls love them, they’ve got wads of cash and it’s got more than one joke. The series was created by Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill notoriety, so expect crass humour and plenty of it. It’s got rave reviews over The Pond and it’s coming to the UK this month on Sky Atlantic.
The Commonwealth Games
Opening ceremony 23 July, BBC1
The next big sporting event in the calendar is to be held a little closer to home than the World Cup. Even better, there’s no chance of England having to make an early trip home this time. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will feature a host of athletes who became national heroes after the 2012 Olympics and should help to plug the gaping hole left in your viewing schedule by the lack of football. Expect to see Tom Daley dominating the diving, but Mo Farah is out injured.
The Killing US Season 4
Available on Netflix from 1 August
The US remake of The Killing refuses to die, even after not one, but two cancellations by its broadcaster AMC. The first season of the series, based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen, was praised by critics. But the channel axed it after season three, leaving Netflix to pick up where it left off. Now the online-only streaming service will be airing the fourth season in its entirety. If the trailers are anything to go by, Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder are still investigating grisly murders and it’s definitely still jumper weather. The six-parter will see the pair trying to solve the sudden murder of a family, whose only survivor is a child at an all-boys military academy.