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Not a footy fan? No polls or goals in this schedule

Need a break from the European Championships and Referendum chat? Keeley Bolger rounds up the best of poll and goal-free TV over the coming weeks...

Published 11/06/2016

The cast of Brief Encounters
The cast of Brief Encounters
Orange is the New Black
Gogglesprogs
Versailles

There are thousands of TV channels, streaming platforms and on-demand services available. Yet, scroll through the listings this summer and you'd be excused for thinking the small screen can only offer endless coverage of the UEFA European Championships or the EU Referendum.

Where are the comedies? The dramas? The documentaries? The programmes which make no references to polls or goals ...

Well, hidden as they are, there are some noble outliers in the schedules, lurking beneath the footy and politics.

So, if you'd rather keep your entertainment (or at least some of it) referee and referendum-free, check out our top alternative TV picks ...

VERSAILLES

The raunchy period drama, about the lavish life of King Louis XIV, aka the Sun King, has plenty of bang for its £20 million buck. Already we've seen the simmering rivalry between Louis and his brother Philippe d'Orleans, as the bed-hopping king plots to transform his father's hunting lodge into the most splendid chateau in Europe, the grand old Palace of Versailles.

The show, which is co-written by Helen Mirren's nephew Simon, is already a hit in France and has attracted positive reviews in the UK, not least for its explicit content.

  • Versailles continues on BBC Two on Wednesdays

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

It's back to non-black for the fourth series of hit prison-based series Orange is the New Black, the edgy American comedy-drama which follows the toils of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) as she transitions from engaged Brooklynite to inmate.

This series is set to delve even deeper into the racial and economic tensions running rampant in the halls of Litchfield women's prison. Overrun with new inmates and overseen by inexperienced guards, the jail undergoes an unprecedented culture war. And there's no prison break on the horizon, either - Netflix has just commissioned a further three runs.

  • Orange is the New Black season four debuts on Netflix on Friday, June 17

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

ITV is going back to the Eighties with their anticipated new drama Brief Encounters. Set in the lively world of Ann Summers parties, it brings together four women, whose friendships are forged and whose lives change through the selling of erotic underwear.

Heading up the cast are Penelope Wilton, in a change from her role as well-meaning but sniffy Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey; former Corrie star Angela Griffin; Sharon Rooney from My Mad Fat Diary, and Peaky Blinders' Sophie Rundle.

  • Brief Encounters is due to start on ITV in early July

WIMBLEDON

Drama and sporting triumph go hand and hand at The Wimbledon Championships and this year's tournament is no different. Former champion Rafael Nadal had to withdraw from the French Open recently due to a wrist injury, but is hoping to make a swift recovery; Andy Murray has split from his coach Amelie Mauresmo, and Serena Williams has her eye on Rio as well as Wimbledon ... Lots to play for, folks.

  • Wimbledon coverage will begin on Monday, June 27 across the BBC and potentially on Eurosport, if a deal is approved by Ofcom

GLASTONBURY

Will it rain? Will Adele tell you off for filming during her performance? Will Radiohead play? Will you lose your tent/friends/sanity before the weekend's over?

  • Attending Glastonbury, good as it is, can be fraught with pitfalls. Bunkering down on the sofa for the BBC's blanket coverage of the festival is a far comfier (and dryer/cheaper/etc...) option. Between the TV, radio and online coverage, the Beeb's band of merry music presenters will be on hand to chat with performers and steer viewers through event highlights and goss. Watch out for performances by ZZ Top, Coldplay, New Order, LCD Soundsystem, Madness, Muse, Laura Mvula and Ellie Goulding.

Across the BBC from Friday, June 24

GOGGLESPROGS

After the one-off episode over Christmas, Channel 4 have commissioned a six-part series of Gogglesprogs, an offshoot of Gogglebox, where the kids are in control of the commentary. This time around, six-year-old Molly and her eight-year-old brother William, friends Stephanie and Christina, and school pals Jacob and Connor give their - often hilarious - take on entertainment, documentaries and dramas. Expect cheeky and straight-talking thoughts on topics including The Undateables, Donald Trump, and Mamma Mia!

  • Gogglesprogs begins on Channel 4 on Friday, June 17

SOUNDBREAKING

Delve deeper into the world and works of some of the most influential musicians and producers of all time, with Sky Arts' new eight-part documentary Soundbreaking.

Through extensive interviews, the series reveals the story behind the music. The first episode focuses on producers, exploring the works of musical innovators George Martin, Phil Spector and Rick Rubin.

  • Soundbreaking begins on Sky Arts on Tuesday, June 21

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