All this week in the Daily Mail, as tens of millions of people across the country stay indoors, the Mail’s TV critic Christopher Stevens and TV Editor Mike Mulvihill are helping you to navigate the vast back catalogue of catch-up TV — available through the

All this week in the Daily Mail, as tens of millions of people across the country stay indoors, the Mail’s TV critic Christopher Stevens and TV Editor Mike Mulvihill are helping you to navigate the vast back catalogue of catch-up TV — available through the ‘s iPlayer and ITV Hub, as well as streaming video services such as and Amazon Prime. 

Today it’s documentaries — war, chat, , science and everything in between… 

Documentary collections 

Clive James’s Postcards iPLAYER 

The Australian wit, critic and memoirist who died last year will always be remembered for the sadistic Japanese gameshow Endurance, which he championed in Clive James On TV.But his best work is this occasional series of travelogues. 

Reporting from his favourite European capitals, he then ventures off to Cairo, Miami, Rio and Bombay. Everywhere is described with his trademark sardonic quips, whether he’s learning to pick up Italian girls in cafes or paraglide behind a speedboat. 

Six episodes 

Stacey Dooley Investigates iPLAYER

Pictured: Stacey Dooley during filming for BBC programme Beaten by my Boyfriend

Pictured: Stacey Dooley during filming for BBC programme Beaten by my Boyfriend

If you know this Essex redhead only from her appearance on Strictly, it’s a shock to see her in action as a war reporter.She’s unafraid to tackle the toughest interviews, quizzing Isis brides in Syria, confronting whale hunters and meeting sex workers in the Philippines. 

14 episodes 

Face To Face iPLAYER 

Before chat shows, TV did interrogations.In these confrontations from the early 1960s, interviewer John Freeman puts his subjects through some merciless analysis. Some, such as Martin Luther King, handle look, as though he’s disappointed beyond words — and the interviewees start jabbering, condemning themselves. 

It’s a magnificent technique, one he tests in more than 50 documentaries, talking to swingers, neo-Nazis, big-game hunters and religious obsessives. 

52 episodes

Michael Palin iPLAYER/ BRITBOX 

With his movie career booming thanks to films such as A Fish Called Wanda, the former Python unintentionally launched a new TV genre when he agreed to copy Jules Verne’s heroes by travelling Around The World In Eighty Days without using planes.Join him in North Korea, Brazil, the U.S. and the Pacific Rim. 

Seven episodes 

North Korea free on My5 New Lives In The Wild MY5/BRITBOX 

Ben Fogle has matured into a connoisseur of eccentrics, able to win the confidence of the most prickly hermits such as the Aussie recluse who shares his island with his two wives — both shop mannequins. 

He delves deep into the psychology of civilisation’s dropouts and, to find out what drives people to live outside society, he lives with them too. 

29 episodes

Nazi Victory: The Post-War Plan UKTV PLAY 

The archives of UKTV Play are stuffed with box sets about war, especially World War II, with titles like Hitler’s Propaganda Machine and Secret Nazi Bases. 

One of the most imaginative is historian and Mail writer Guy Walters’ six-part alternative history, analysing what could have happened if the Blitz had led to German invasion. 

It’s a great series to watch alongside the Amazon drama that imagines the same nightmare, The Man In The High Castle. 

Six episodes 

A 2004 photograph taken during filming shows Michael Palin during his travels from the Himalaya's to Bengal

A 2004 photograph taken during filming shows Michael Palin during his travels from the Himalaya’s to Bengal

Extreme Railways UKTV PLAY/BRITBOX 

One of the great things about watching Chris Tarrant flog his way across the Andes or Siberia by train is how little effort he makes to disguise his misery. 

Unlike Michael Portillo, a fellow lover of rail travel whose rainbow suits are never creased, Tarrant looks like he’s slept in a bush before the journey even starts. 

He makes these trips for the sheer love of trains, and that enthusiasm is infectious.The journeys are fascinating too, more so because he goes to places you’d never want to see. Ticket for Guantanamo Bay, debouchage anyone? 

11 episodes 

Explained NETFLIX

Here’s one for conspiracy theorists.

Last November Netflix added a documentary to its Explained series, asking experts including Bill Gates to predict what would happen in the next flu pandemic. It could be under way even now, booms the voiceover. As it turned out, they weren’t wrong. The show even identifies China’s notorious ‘wet markets’, where animals are butchered in front of shoppers, as a probable launch pad for a new virus.

That’s a powerful recommendation for this show’s research. Other episodes discuss whether humans will be able to keep eating meat, and how cryptocurrencies work. 

30 episodes   

Attenborough’s Early Years iPLAYER Our Planet NETFLIX 

Pictured: David Attenborough in an undated photograph. His earliest and most recent series are less well known but equally wonderful

Pictured: David Attenborough in an undated photograph. His earliest and most recent series are less well known but equally wonderful

Everyone is familiar with Sir David’s greatest shows, such as Life On Earth and Blue Planet II (both available on iPlayer).His earliest and most recent series are less well known but equally wonderful. In Attenborough’s Early Years, Zoo Quest takes him to Indonesia in the 1950s in search of the Komodo dragon, and to Madagascar long before the destruction of the rainforests. 

Adventure: Zambezi follows him across Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, when elephants roamed in huge herds.Sixty years later he makes an impassioned plea for the protection of the world’s remaining wild habitats in last year’s Our Planet. 

22 episodes   

Hip-Hop Evolution NETFLIX

This series offers a new way to look at the history of black America.

When the first DJs in Harlem started picking out snippets of dance music from their vinyl to create a hypnotic rhythm, segregation in the Deep South was just ending. By the time rappers such as Kanye West and Dr Dre were multimillionaires, America had its first black president.

This documentary, featuring interviews with just about every major living rapper, reveals how those two things happened in parallel. 

12 episodes 

The Vietnam War NETFLIX 

This documentary is film-maker Ken Burns’s best yet.A rock soundtrack accompanies hours of newsreel footage, but what is unique about this ten-parter are the interviews with former U.S. Marines and Viet Cong soldiers, telling of the hell they endured.

Ten episodes 

Classic Albums NOWTV/SKY TV 

But if you want detail, Classic Albums analyses the great rock LPs ¿ from Steely Dan to Pink Floyd ¿ track by track, separating the vocals from the guitars, and picking apart the rhythm section

But if you want detail, Classic Albums analyses the great rock LPs — from Steely Dan to Pink Floyd — track by track, separating the vocals from the guitars, and picking apart the rhythm section

Music specials abound in the streaming archives.Netflix offers all that you will need to get started. — Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue, a woozy account of Bob Dylan’s mid-1970s world tour, and Bruce Springsteen’s autobiographical Broadway stage show. But if you want detail, Classic Albums analyses the great rock LPs — from Steely Dan to Pink Floyd — track by track, separating the vocals from the guitars, and picking apart the rhythm section.

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-35d53d60-6e39-11ea-9a4f-dbb1e2da7680" website up with TV classics while in lockdown