Alan Dee’s guide to the pick of next week’s TV

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Arena: Jonathan Miller (BBC Two, times vary)

When it comes to documentary strands, few are as long-running and consistently enthralling as the BBC’s Arena. Jonathan Miller has been successful in both the science and arts world, and he’s a fascinating man in his own right. Here, Miller himself discusses his life and work, while distinguished collaborators such as Oliver Sacks, Eric Idle, Kevin Spacey and Penelope Wilton, offer their opinions too.


Silent Witness (BBC One, 9pm)

Silent Witness is back for its 15th series, and it kicks off with a two-part case involving Leo’s old friend, Professor Lizzie Fraser.

He’s devastated by her suicide, which may be tied to the murder of her sister, a forensic scientist who was stabbed to death at a crime scene a decade ago.

Watch out for more classic eyebrow-raising from star Nikki (Emilia Fox), who always expects something fishy is going on. Always curious and open-minded, the irrepressible Nikki can be impetuous, but when she’s up against it she’s capable of showing her mettle.


Damien Hirst: The First Look (Channel 4, 8pm)

Damien Hirst could never fit the stereotypical notion of a traditional artist – for a start, he doesn’t stand in front of a canvas every day producing lifelike oil paintings. Instead, he produces often bizarre sculptures and unusual images using a wide variety of media. He’s about to have his first UK retrospective, and this documentary sees him take comedian and artist Noel Fielding on a guided tour of it, two days before the exhibition opens at Tate Modern. More than 70 works will be on view, including two installations. Hirst will describe his motivations for creating such ground-breaking offerings, as well as his rise to fame, from his early days at Goldsmiths to his status as British art’s premier enfant terrible.

Famous fans including including Joan Collins, Bono, Ronnie Wood, Keith and Lily Allen, and Ronnie O’Sullivan offer their opinions, as does the teacher who tutored Hirst during his A-level art course – for which he received an ‘E’ grade.


Pub Dig (Five, 8pm)

Rory McGrath had been trying to get a show off the ground about “pubs as a historical place in a community” but to no avail. So when Oxford Scientific Films approached him saying they wanted to do an archaeology programme, the two ideas melded to form this show. For the first of the series, Rory and archaeologist Paul Blinkhorn head for the Command House pub in Chatham, Kent, where they dig through 400 years of naval history and discover relics from the time of Nelson and the British Empire’s seafaring supremacy. Their aim is to find a lost Tudor dockyard where the fleet that destroyed the Spanish Armada was based.


One Born Every Minute (Channel 4, 9pm)

This is reality television that quite frankly, couldn’t get any more real. Always moving and never dull, this series about the work of midwives at Leeds Royal Infirmary has become addictive viewing.


Fraud Squad (ITV1, 9pm)

The spotlight here is on fraud involving cash machines. Prepare to be shocked, and you’ll be a bit nervous the next time you head to the hole in the wall.


The Preston Passion (BBC One, 12pm)

A unique collaboration between the Beeb and Preston Guild that mixes live performance with pre-recorded drama to offer an unusual take on the story of the Passion. The three dramas last 13 minutes each and will focus on Pilate, Mary and Jesus and have been inspired by real Preston residents, both past and present.