23 March 2019 10:00
Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me (Channel 4) | All4 Michael Jackson's wealth and stardom may have proved a useful fortification against lawsuits while he was alive (Jackson settled with Jordan Chandler for a reported $23m in 1994, and was acquitted of molesting Gavin Arvizo in 2005), but try as it may, his estate could not stop the Leaving Neverland documentary being shown. Among other things, Dan Reed's gruelling two-parter was a masterclass in how celebrity can be weaponised, not least against starstruck children, such as the subjects of the documentary: choreographer Wade Robson, now 36 (he says he was abused between seven and 14, after winning a dance competition to meet Jackson), and computer programmer James Safechuck, 40 (who says he was abused from the age of 10, after starring with Jackson in a Pepsi advert). As for the question: "Why didn't the parents stop it?", the mothers (interviewed here) seemed just as "groomed" as their children said they had been – Safechuck's mother squirmed as she confessed that Jackson helped them buy a house. At getting on for four hours, at times Leaving Neverland had the atmosphere of a high-stakes therapy session, as Robson and Safechuck described how a "dream come true" turned into a nightmare. While there have been attempts to discredit the two men's belated decision to speak up (among other details, Robson's denials of abuse helped acquit Jackson in 2005), on Leaving Neverland, such question marks crumbled in the face of their lengthy detailed testimonies and mostly composed demeanour.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Wade Robson meets Michael Jackson for the first time in Leaving Neverland. Why do I get the feeling that Phoebe Waller-Bridge likes trouble? The second series of Fleabag, again written by and starring her, arrived "371 days, 19 hours and 26 minutes later", in a flurry of sex (Fleabag flirting with new character, "cool, smoking priest", played by Andrew Scott), violence (a punch-up between Fleabag and her loathsome, lying brother-in-law, Martin, played by Brett Gelman), and miscarriage – suffered secretly in a restaurant toilet cubicle by Fleabag's sister, Claire (Sian Clifford). Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Writing so sharp it could scratch your eyes out': Phoebe Waller-Bridge, post punch-up, in the second series of Fleabag. In the end it was almost as much of a bloodbath as the other show Waller-Bridge writes, Killing Eve. Before it all kicked off, our favourite selfish, rude, inappropriate, fag-smoking malcontent (the Dorothy Parker of the Fomo generation?) had, relatively speaking, been behaving herself at the engagement meal of her inadequate father (Bill Paterson) and snaky godmother (Olivia Colman, on fine, forked-tongue form). While I felt the first series flagged slightly towards the end, this was a dark, stylish return – the telly staple of a tense family celebration, but with sudden twists and writing so sharp it could scratch your eyes out. Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Fine-tuned': (l-r) Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn, Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland and Siobhan McSweeney in Derry Girls. For obvious reasons, there was a sense of ethical tenterhooks when it came to watching Home, a new comedy written by and starring the talented Rufus Jones (W1A; Camping), about a Syrian refugee who ends up living with an English family after stowing away in their car's boot. "He's lost and alone and he needs looking after." "He's not Paddington." Peter ended up sleeping on the sofa opposite Sami, with the latter drily remarking: "We've both been exiled by an unstoppable force." This came through stronger towards the end, when Sami invited Peter to ask him questions. Lives are lost as two women pursue their obsession with each other in Killing Eve. Phoebe Waller-Bridge: It was empowering to show women being violent Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge says viewers are tired of seeing women being "brutalised" on the small screen. The writer said it was "refreshing" to depict violent women in her other TV hit, Killing Eve. Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer, in Killing Eve (Aimee Spinks/BBC America) "We're being allowed to see women on slabs the whole time and being beaten up, and in some ways that's important to see because it shows the brutality against women. BBC3 drama Killing Eve, starring Jodie Comer as a psychopathic killer and Sandra Oh as an MI5 operative, is set to return for a second series. Waller-Bridge said of the dark thriller: "Strangely, there's hardly any blood, there's hardly any gruesomeness that we were allowed to show. Waller-Bridge told the BBC One show she had "always had a penchant for the outrageous end of humour". Her Fleabag alter ego makes comments that "don't align with the message" such as she would "take two years off her life to have a hot body". After the first series of Fleabag aired on BBC Two in the autumn of 2016, its creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge watched her career go interstellar – quite literally: she landed a sizeable role in 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story on the back of it. She was also given a free hand for her next BBC project and chose to take a behind-the-scenes role and adapt the novel Killing Eve for television. Understandably, then, series two of Fleabag arrived with a great deal more fanfare than its predecessor and a cast list whose clout illustrated it and Waller-Bridge's growing reputation, with Sherlock's Andrew Scott joining Bill Paterson, Olivia Colman and Sian Clifford who play (respectively) Dad, Godmother and sister Claire. Fleabag is still edgy, excruciating to watch at points, constantly teetering between black comedy and outright nihilism, and still powered by Waller-Bridge in the title role, a performance peppered with to-camera asides that continually break the fourth wall to comment on the action or reveal her own inner thoughts. It was, in short, the family dinner from hell, this one called to celebrate the impending marriage of Dad and Godmother and overseen by a peculiarly attentive waitress (Maddie Rice, who played Fleabag in last year's one-woman stage version). "I'm aware of the irony of that," he said as an embarrassed silence fell, and Fleabag gave us one of her looks. "So hot," said Fleabag, with a lascivious wink into the camera lens. Film world beckons but Phoebe still has time for Fleabag Killing Eve trailer reveals first look at sinister second season Phoebe Waller-Bridge can do no wrong. While 33-year-old Waller-Bridge is sublimely talented, she also rocks a plunging bra-less jumpsuit with the best of them. ALEXANDRA SHULMAN: 'Phoebe Waller-Bridge can do no wrong. The actor/writer's second series of her TV show Fleabag has launched triumphantly and there are many of us counting down the minutes to the return of her funny and twisted psychodrama Killing Eve'. How encouraging it is to see that powerful women are showing that they can get stuff done and indulge in a glamorous appearance, rather than feel they have to play it down in order to be listened to. As parents there comes a point when it's essential to allow our children to learn how to deal with life outside their protected family bubble. I think I'm allowed to say what follows because: a) I have never depended on a penny of a man's money; b) I have employed and I hope supported many women in their working lives; c) I have worked all my adult life; and d) because I feel that asking a female if they are a feminist is one of those 'Duh?' questions. THIS WEEK'S TV Fleabag BBC1, Mon