Best new movies and shows on BBC iPlayer in May 2022

Every month BBC iPlayer offers a plethora of new movies and TV shows to watch. Critic Lillian Crawford picks six of the best titles to check out in the coming weeks.

Top Picks: TV

Imagine… Jacob Collier: In The Room Where It Happens (BBC One, From May 2)

Jacob Collier’s talents seem to know no bounds. Apparently capable of playing every instrument on the planet, the London-born musician and arranger has swept up Grammy awards for each of his first four albums since 2016’s In My Room and for all three Djesse volumes. He is the subject of a new documentary in the Imagine… strand in which a host of famous fans discuss Collier’s remarkable success.

Alan Yentob interviews Collier himself about his musical influences and home life, as well as talking to the likes of Jools Holland, Herbie Hancock, and Quincy Jones who has championed Collier as one of the most talented musicians working today. The documentary is being screened prior to a reshowing of the BBC Prom Collier hosted in 2017, with both being made available throughout May on iPlayer.

The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC One, May 4)

The Great British Sewing Bee returns to the BBC for an eighth series, featuring a host of keen new contenders hoping to impress judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young with their needlework. With the last series currently available on iPlayer to watch in its entirety, the show promises to be another refreshing bout of wholesome creativity to bring us some Springtime escapism.

Sara Pascoe is going it alone as the host for the next ten weeks, all of which will be made available on iPlayer shortly after each broadcast. The second week’s tasks are all sporting in theme, with challenges including making high-top trainers, transforming netball kits into daywear, and designing jackets for a sporting hero.

The Terror: Infamy (BBC Two, May 6)

Following the acclaimed first series starring Jared Harris and Ciarán Hinds which fictionalised Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic, the horror anthology series returns with a second ten-episode instalment. This series is set in an American-run Japanese internment camp during the Second World War with a cast including Derek Mio and George Takei.

While the first season premiered on AMC back in 2019, this marks the UK premiere of the show. Two episodes will be broadcast on BBC Two each week, but if you can’t wait for the next episode the whole series is now available on iPlayer. That being said, it looks much too frightening to binge in one go…

Top Picks: Movies

The Two Faces of January (BBC Two, May 2)

The directorial debut of Hossein Amini, The Two Faces of January is a delectably stylish thriller set in Greece. Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, whose Deep Water has also recently received a cinematic treatment, the film stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst as a glamorous couple who come unstuck when a private detective pursuing them is killed.

Co-starring Oscar Isaac as their tour-guide accomplice, the film feels like a vintage 1960s Cold War thriller with plenty of twists and turns throughout. It also features a mesmerising score from Alberto Iglesias which is certainly not to be missed. The film will be available on iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast.

Top Hat (BBC Four, May 5)

What could be dreamier than a double bill with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? Two of the duo’s finest films are available on iPlayer indefinitely at the moment, starting with Top Hat and moving to The Gay Divorcee. Both feature several breathtaking song-and-dance numbers, including the sublime “Cheek to Cheek“. They certainly don’t make ‘em like they used to.

The films are also joined on iPlayer by a documentary featuring contemporary interviews with Fred and Ginger, and a Talking Pictures special looking at their cinematic career. Few things could be cheerier to enjoy this May, especially with so many Irving Berlin bangers to boot.

Passport to Pimlico (BBC Two, May 6)

Undoubtedly the best lockdown film, Passport to Pimlico is a shining example of the comedies made at Ealing Studios in the post-War period. Helmed by the sensational Stanley Holloway and featuring side-splitting supporting performances from Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, and Margaret Rutherford, the comedic premise of a local London government under siege remains hilariously original.

The film is being screened as one of BBC Two’s regular British classic matinees, with other Ealing treasures including Scott of the Antarctic coming later this month. Having all experienced the hysteria and challenges of managing with limited resources in isolation over the past couple of years, it’s all rather farcical in its relatability now.