Saturday 10 June

Barry Manilow at the BBC

BBC Two, 8.25pm

TV is in a particularly musical mood tonight, promising a funky start to the weekend. BBC Two kicks things off with an evening dedicated to US pop pioneer Barry Manilow (in his own words, the “Justin Bieber of the ’70s”), before segueing into another edition of Later… with Jools Holland, while Sky Arts has a wonderful documentary about the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald (see right for more on the latter two).

Over the past 40 years, Manilow has been a regular fixture on BBC music programming, with his classic anthems (Mandy, Copacabana, Could It Be Magic) being played to millions of viewers on Top of the Pops, Parkinson and from assorted filmed concerts, including his open-air gig at Blenheim Palace in August 1983. A mix of archive footage, performances and interview clips, this is an entertaining chance to revisit the career of one of the world’s most enduringly popular performers, who celebrates his 80th birthday on June 17. As is is typical with the BBC format, more Manilow-mania follows, with One Night with Barry Manilow (9.25pm) and his sets at Birmingham’s NEC in 1989 (11.10pm) and London’s Hyde Park in 2019 (midnight). PP

Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em: 50 Years of Laughs

Channel 5, 8.25pm

A celebration of one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms. Filled with the show’s funniest clips, from Frank Spencer (Michael Crawford) making a farcical attempt at roller-skating to the family’s tussle with a Christmas tree, there’s also insight from cast and crew. Followed by Michael Crawford: Mr Entertainment at 9.55pm.


BBC One, 9.10pm

Nicola Walker’s droll detective drama continues. When a writer is found dead beneath a bridge, the team are tasked with finding the killer – but her plethora of enemies, garnered through her vicious writing, mean that there’s more than a few suspects.

Ancient Egypt by Train with Alice Roberts

Channel 4, 9.10pm

The second edition of the popular historian’s tour of Egypt by rail takes her to Cairo, home of the pyramids. With Victorian Egyptologist Amelia Edwards’s book A Thousand Miles Up the Nile to keep her company, Roberts first marvels at an array of Tutankhamun’s treasures on display at the Grand Egyptian Museum before learning about the origins of the impressive structures in Saqqara. 

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things

Sky Arts, 9.15pm

Comprising a seamless blend of archive footage, music and interview, this fantastic documentary (by Brit Leslie Woodhead and first shown in 2020) about the Summertime singer charts her career from a lucky stint at a Harlem talent show to being at the forefront of American jazz and the Civil Rights movement.

Later... With Jools Holland

BBC Two, 10.25pm

North London’s Alexandra Palace Theatre plays host to more starry guests this week, as Jools Holland welcomes electro-queen Alison Goldfrapp, who performs songs from her new album The Love Invention, Wigan indie-rockers The Lathums and songwriter Eddie Chacon (of Charles & Eddie fame) with his producer John Carroll Kirby.

Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark

Sky Comedy, 10.30pm

Comedian Marc Maron has enraptured audiences with his deliciously dark stand-up. This special, filmed at New York City’s Town Hall, covers the spectrum of ageing, anti-Semitism, faith and the pandemic. Maron’s frank discussions about reconnecting with his father and the loss of his partner Lynn Shelton in 2020 are standouts. 

The Last Sunset (1961) ★★★

ITV4, 4.10pm  

This is a Western with excellent credentials: directed by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen), written by Dalton Trumbo (Spartacus) and starring Kirk Douglas and Rock Hudson. Sadly, the result is more solid than spectacular. Douglas is the gunslinger on the run in Mexico, Hudson the lawman who leads him on a cattle drive to Texas where justice can be done. Carol Lynley and Dorothy Malone co-star as the fine females in tow.

Titanic (1997) ★★★★★

Channel 4, 5.25pm  

Having won 11 Oscars and taken home more than a billion dollars at the global box-office, James Cameron’s opulent blockbuster about the sinking of the RMS Titanic is an unparalleled success, uniting critics and cinema-goers. At its heart is the romance between poor artist Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and rich girl Rose (Kate Winslet), as the deadly iceberg drifts ever closer. Even viewers determined to find it soppy are liable to be swept along.

Whisky Galore! (2016) ★★★

BBC Two, 6.20pm  

A remake of Alexander Mackendrick’s Ealing comedy (adapted from Compton Mackenzie’s novel, itself inspired by the wreck of a ship bearing 50,000 cases of whisky off the Hebrides). In 1949, the starved islanders uniting against English bureaucracy to scavenge scotch was a quietly subversive comedy about defying the ration; in 2016 it felt a bit pointless, but Eddie Izzard and Gregor Fisher are among the colourful characters.

A Star is Born (2018) ★★★★★

BBC One, 10.20pm  

The third remake of the 1937 William A Wellman original is an utter doozy. Bradley Cooper plays Jack, a booze-addled country singer who meets Ally, a waitress with big dreams, played by Lady Gaga. They shack up together as they try to negotiate the highs and lows of the music industry – as well as their fragile, budding love. What ensues is an Oscar-winning story of love and heartbreak with the finest soundtrack of recent years.

Sunday 11 June

Elizabeth: a Life Through the Lens

Channel 4, 7pm

While it proves impossible to condense the extraordinary life and times of Queen Elizabeth II, Richard Shaw’s film assembles some experienced pundits and excellent footage to scrutinise the relationship between the late Queen and her public over her 96 years. Beginning with a childhood whose relative seclusion was made possible by the unlikelihood of her ever ascending the throne, it takes us through the war years, in which she was successfully repositioned as a princess of the people, through to the televised Coronation which appeared to present the perfect marriage of tradition and modernity.

The 1950s and 1960s are intriguingly posited as a time when the tightrope walk of personal and professional responsibilities felt especially precarious, her many tours of duty creating the impression of an absent mother; fly-on-the-wall series The Royal Family was a response effective enough to alarm the Queen into withdrawing the footage. Her final years are more familiar and thus less intriguing, while the conclusion that she will remain “an enigma” feels limp. But there is much to enjoy here, nonetheless. GT

Songs of Praise

BBC One, 1.15pm

The singer and long-time Songs of Praise presenter Katherine Jenkins travels to London’s Syon House, where she is moved to look back on the highlights of her time on the show, from visits to Caldey Island, Gas Street Church in Birmingham and the Tower of London to favourite hymns including Amazing Grace, Lord Thy Church on Earth is Seeking and Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.

Soccer Aid for Unicef

ITV1, 6.30pm

Always a reliable source of hilarious incongruity – remember Diego Maradona taking a penalty against Jamie Theakston? – this year’s charity beanfeast sees Mo Farah, Jill Scott and Tom Hiddleston lead the English line against a World XI including Usain Bolt, Patrice Evra and, honouring his Irish roots, Lee Mack. Dermot O’Leary and Alex Scott introduce the action where silliness nestles alongside sporting prowess.

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2023

BBC Four/BBC Two Wales, 8pm

Airing for the next five nights, this annual contest assembles 16 young performers and begins with singers from South Korea, Canada, England and South Africa, only one of whom will progress to Thursday’s final. The judging panel includes mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and Aidan Lang, general director of Welsh National Opera.

Gods of Tennis

BBC Two, 9pm; Wales, 9.30pm

This superb series arrives at one of the great sport rivalries, a clash of styles, temperaments and headbands as Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe squared off in two successive Wimbledon finals. The two men offer frank, engaging accounts of the media scrutiny and mutual respect.

60 Days on the Estates

Channel 4, 9pm

The revealing series concludes with Ed Stafford heading to estates east of Glasgow to survey the crippling impact of the cost-of-living crisis on a community already beset by drug addiction.

Trump: Byd Eithafol

S4C/iPlayer, 9pm

Maxine Hughes attempts to secure a sit down with the former President for this Welsh documentary. When this proves testing, she talks to some of his avid supporters, with only the last few minutes featuring an interview with Trump himself. Trump’s contempt for his followers is apparent, but the whining over “rigged elections” is both unchallenged and tiresome. 

Meet Me in St Louis (1944) ★★★★★

BBC Two, 1.30pm  

An adorable musical, and the set on which a 22-year-old Judy Garland met her future husband, director Vincente Minnelli. A St Louis banker threatens to take his family to New York, sabotaging his daughter’s (Garland) relationship with her boyfriend, and putting her sister’s nose out of joint too. The soundtrack features classics The Trolley Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (a delight for all seasons).

Clueless (1995) ★★★★

Channel 4, 2pm  

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, this cult high-school satire launched the Hollywood careers of Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd. The plot follows the trials and tribulations of Cher (Silverstone), a bubbly 15-year-old shopaholic who’s the most popular girl at Beverly Hills High and just wants to make the world a better place (while wearing Calvin Klein, of course). The late Brittany Murphy is fantastic fun as innocent newbie Tai.

Paddington 2 (2017) ★★★★★

BBC One, 2.55pm  

Everyone’s favourite ursine Peruvian has taken on special meaning in recent years, following his connection with Queen Elizabeth II. In this heartwarming sequel, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is framed for robbery and sentenced to 10 years in jail. There’s a whole new set of characters for the bear to win over with his quaint, flummoxed ways, with Hugh Grant a delicious standout. Perhaps the best family film of the decade.

Film of the week: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) ★★★★

BBC Two, 10pm

Ahead of the West End stage show’s 50th anniversary next week, what better time to watch – or discover – this fantastic, flamboyant cult favourite, a musical send-up of sci-fi and horror B movies. Deliciously camp and remarkably ahead of its time, The Rocky Horror Picture Show brought the original 1973 play (which premiered at the Royal Court and has now been seen by more than 30 million theatregoers across the globe) to a new audience, creating a fan culture of cosplay and audience participation. When innocent young couple Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick) stumble across an abandoned mansion inhabited by a transvestite scientist (Tim Curry), a hunchbacked handyman (Richard O’Brien, who wrote the play and music) and his wacky sister (Patricia Quinn), plus other odd-balls, they’re pulled into a weird and wonderful world of music and surprises. Curry’s Frank-N-Furter is considered one of cinema’s most iconic characters, while the songs – The Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite and Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me, to name a few – are timeless. Give yourself over to absolute pleasure and get stuck in, pelvic thrust and all.

Rush (2013) ★★★★

BBC One, 10.30pm  

Ron Howard’s thrumming, petrol-head drama is a giddying delight. It dramatises the real-life competition between James Hunt and Niki Lauda for the 1976 F1 championship. Hunt, played by Thor’s Chris Hemsworth, is a swaggering, cocksure aristocrat, hopping into cars and women’s beds with equal ease; Daniel Brühl’s Lauda is dour and more calculating. Their rivalry drives them, and fuels this exhilarating tale.

Monday 12 June

Best Interests

BBC One, 9pm

Award-winning screenwriter Jack Thorne applies the “ripped from the headlines”’ style he employed to such effect in National Treasure (2016) and Help (2021) to the topic of the ethics surrounding terminal illness in this emotional four-part drama. Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen put in powerhouse performances as hard-pressed parents Nicci and Andrew, whose teenage daughter Marnie (Niamh Moriarty) has suffered a life-limiting form of muscular dystrophy since birth. In their care she enjoys a happy, active, love-filled life at home. But when her condition deteriorates suddenly after contracting a chest infection, her doctors – led by well-meaning consultant Samantha (Noma Dumezweni) – begin to question whether withdrawing treatment and allowing Marnie to die peacefully might, in the long run, be the least painful course.  

Unsurprisingly, her parents disagree, and what follows is a searing exploration of the heart-rending legal mess that can ensue when both parties head for the courts. Alison Oliver (Conversations with Friends) quietly impresses as Marnie’s elder sister Katie, who’s spent a lifetime overshadowed by her sister’s illness. Continues tomorrow (Tuesday). GO

Richard Osman’s House of Games Night

Dave, 7pm

A repeat, but a fun one. In the very first episode of the pumped-up prime-time version of the show, Roisin Conaty, Jennifer Saunders, Jason Manford and Jermaine Jenas play the usual silly games with Richard, but with extras including a house band and some surprise special guests.


BBC Two, 8pm; Wales, 9.30pm

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and the team keep track of the events at RSPB Arne in Dorset. Megan McCubbin enjoys the buzz at a nature reserve on the Isle of Purbeck and Gillian Burke visits a wood where red squirrels thrive.

The Hunger: The Story of the Irish Famine

PBS America, 8.30pm

Liam Neeson narrates a two-part history (concluding tomorrow) of the devastating Irish potato famine that, in the 1840s, saw the population of Ireland plummet by 2 million as a result of starvation, typhus and emigration to America. 

Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland

BBC Two, 9pm; Wales, 11.15pm

More harrowing testimony from those who lived through the Troubles. By now it’s the late 1980s and the violence reaches a new peak of savagery. As tensions rise in the wake of an attack on the funeral of three terrorists killed in Gibraltar, mob rage explodes when two soldiers drive their car into a funeral procession.

Sarah Beeny vs Cancer

Channel 4, 9pm

“I found out three weeks ago that I had breast cancer… I’ve been waiting 40 years to hear this.” The property presenter plunges us straight into her cancer journey, bringing her restrained, no-nonsense style to this honest, step-by-step account of her treatment (culminating in a double mastectomy in March) and comparing it with her mother’s very different experience in the 1980s. Moving and personal. 

The Sky at Night

BBC Four, 10pm

A special edition devoted to the science that’s keeping Britain at the forefront of space technology. Chris Lintott visits a rocket company near Glasgow, Maggie Aderin-Pocock gets a preview of the new National Satellite Testing Facility in Oxfordshire and Danielle George visits ClearSpace, a company hoping to solve the problem of space junk orbiting earth. Fascinating, insightful television. 

Ransom (1996) ★★★

TCM Movies, 9pm  

More Ron Howard to get stuck into after Rush on Sunday. The year after Braveheart, Mel Gibson showed his scary side in this gripping thriller. Gibson and Rene Russo play the millionaire couple Tom and Kate Mullen, who turn the tables on a gang that kidnaps their son (Brawley Nolte). Offering the ransom as a bounty on the kidnappers’ heads, they set off a cat-and-mouse game. It’s smart and slick, and holds its tension.

Conan the Barbarian (1982) ★★★

5Action, 9pm  

Arnold Schwarzenegger provides the mountainous biceps and Teutonic fury, but the real credit for this gloriously camp swords ‘n’ sandals epic belongs to director John Milius. Based on the fantasy series by Robert E Howard, it chronicles the saga of a young warrior who must avenge his family and tribe after they are slaughtered by an evil sorcerer. Think Game of Thrones with even more leather jockstraps.

Only You (2019) ★★★★

BBC Three, 9.30pm  

Writer-director Harry Wootliff’s debut is an engrossing love story, starring The Crown’s Josh O’Connor and Laia Costa. He plays the wide-eyed romantic Jake; she is the cynical Elena, 10 years his senior and less convinced that their affair will last after they bump into each other one New Year’s Eve while fighting over a taxi in Glasgow. After hesitations, a relationship forms, but the strains of beginning a family start to take hold.

Tuesday 13 June

Africa Rising With Afua Hirsch

BBC Two, 9pm; Wales, 11.15pm

Journalist Afua Hirsch travels to Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa to explore how creatives are reinventing culture across the continent. There’s the occasional travelogue cliché – “There’s something about Marrakesh; it’s just got that X factor” – as she introduces us to those who are shaking up the arts across the continent by melding tradition with modern innovation. The first episode takes us to Morocco, where Hirsch meets renowned photographer Hassan Hajjaj – the “Andy Warhol of Africa”, who was once a market trader in London – and saddles up with Amal Amhari, an exponent of Tbourida (a Moroccan equestrian performance dating from the 16th century) and explores Amazigh (formerly Berber) rug weaving with artist Sarah Allaoui. She also meets the country’s new superstar singer Rym Fikri.

For many young African artists, the need to make it in the West is no longer key, while the fusion of East and West can create something greater than the sum of its parts, as we learn with hip-hop artist Sigou. This is not a definitive guide to modern African culture, but Hirsch offers an engaging run-through of what’s happening there. All three episodes are on iPlayer (from Tuesday 13). VL

The Martin Lewis Money Show: Live Special

ITV1, 8pm

Martin Lewis’s expertise is much needed during the cost-of-living crisis, and among the subjects that he advises on tonight are checking your state pension position and the latest on astronomical UK energy prices.

The Greatest Auction

Channel 4, 8pm

AJ Odudu hosts as private collectors and antiques dealers bid in the specially created auction house. Up for sale are the work of an art forger, a Leeds United programme from 1904, a taxidermy unicorn and a 1970s drum set. One person’s tat can be another’s treasure...

Grand Designs: The Streets

Channel 4, 9pm

Kevin McCloud updates us on the innovative self-build development in York. Jonathan is using an experimental new system in which wooden boxes are held together with bolts, while steelworker Matt wants a butterfly roof design inspired by Scunthorpe steel. His wife Maryellen has reservations, and is worried that it could look too industrial.

Jay Blades’ East End Through Time

Channel 5, 9pm

The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades, who hails from London’s East End, presents this three-part series about the area’s history and some of its more notable – and disreputable – characters. It’s a breezy run-through of two millennia, but Blades delivers some interesting anecdotes – such as who the original Jack the Lad was, the fate of pirates in Wapping and why Bethnal Green, in particular, has long been associated with boxing.

The Witness Is a Whale

BBC Four, 9pm

This award-winning documentary tracks the crisis in global whaling populations from the Cold War (recently uncovered Soviet documents show that officials illegally ordered massive whaling operations) through to today, when efforts to protect the mammal are thwarted somewhat by Japan’s continuing of the abhorrent practice.  

The Ark

Sky Sci-Fi, 9pm & 10.05pm

This 12-part series has a terrific jeopardy-laden opening sequence but it’s a story that you may feel you’ve seen before: 100 years into the future, spacecraft Ark One suffers a catastrophic event that kills the crew and senior officers while transporting colonists to a faraway planet. Christie Burke and Richard Fleeshman are the junior officers who have to save the day. 

Parenthood (1989) ★★★★

Comedy Central, 9pm  

Steve Martin shows his brilliance in this warm-hearted comedy. Martin stars as Gil Buckman, who is trying to juggle being a good father with career troubles and day-to-day survival. The pathos, coupled with frequent humour, makes it eminently watchable. Keanu Reeves, Dianne Wiest and Joaquin Phoenix are among the excellent all-star cast. For more Martin, Housesitter is also on Comedy Central on Saturday at 4.50pm.

Man of Steel (2013) ★★★

ITV1, 10.45pm  

Zack Snyder’s blockbuster delivers Superman’s origin story to us like a fist crashing through a concrete wall: with maximum force and minimum irony. The most sincere incarnation of the superhero so far, Henry Cavill dons the iconic blue suit with a muscular seriousness that banishes any possibility of goofy fun. Though it’s impressive to look at, it’d do well to lighten up a little. Diane Lane, Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe co-star.

Prince of Darkness (1987) ★★★

Sky Sci-Fi, 11.05pm  

Veteran horror director John Carpenter followed up early box-office hits The Fog and The Thing with this devilish thriller. When a vial of slime found by a priest (Donald Pleasence) turns out to be the essence of Satan, terror quickly breaks out – the academics who identified the substance are transformed into zombified killers, while student Kelly’s (Susan Blanchard) heavy dose makes her Satan personified.

Wednesday 14 June


BBC One, 10.40pm & 11.10pm; Wales, 11.10pm & 11.35pm; NI, 11.55pm & 12.15am

Having become an unlikely needs-must hit over lockdown, it always felt like a bit of a stretch to bring a comedy centred around Zoom and social distancing back for a third series in the post-Covid age. But Simon Evans’s deft script finds new ways to have fun with the notion; remote working and online meetings, after all, remain commonplace. We are initially led over familiar ground as David Tennant (stuck in Tokyo while filming a cream cheese advert), Michael Sheen (bored at home) and their real-life spouses Georgia and Anna attempt to keep their insistent former collaborator Evans at bay as he plans to revive his own ailing career with a radio play starring the Good Omens pairing.

And yet, in spite of the irresistible, self-mocking Sheen-Tennant chemistry, a frantic farce around a birthday party and some starry cameos, diminishing returns look set to take root. Then, something unexpected happens and, even after the meta stylings of series two, events become more complex. All seven, easily digestible episodes are on iPlayer; if the ending suggests that they may now have run out of road, it still leaves us with several set-pieces to cherish. GT

The Full Monty


Over a quarter of a century after they took everything off, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and his five fellow former steelworkers-turned-strippers are back for an eight-part series from original writer Simon Beaufoy (along with Trust co-writer Alice Nutter) that proves an equally enticing blend of silliness and social commentary. Capers (dognapping, pigeon rearing) are deftly woven into the serious stuff as Horse (Paul Barber) struggles to sign on, Lomper (Steve Huison) keeps loan sharks at bay and Dave and Jean (Mark Addy and Lesley Sharp) battle to save their marriage. 

Our Planet II


David Attenborough is back on narration duties for the four-part second series of this eye-popping wildlife extravaganza which this time focuses on migration. In an admirably democratic approach to the animal kingdom, creatures from honey bees and tadpoles to polar bears and penguins have their behaviours lovingly filmed and analysed.

The Repair Shop

BBC One, 8pm

Jay Blades and his team get to work on a brass cornet, a ventriloquist’s dummy, a Roman chair and a much-treasured but now crumbling handwritten notebook.

The Gallows Pole

BBC Two, 9pm

Shane Meadows’s excellent, darkly funny and occasionally chilling 18th-century thriller reaches a gripping climax (for now, at least – more must surely be on the way) as David Hartley (Michael Socha) and his counterfeiters carry out their first hit on the reprehensible clothier (Ralph Ineson).

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig

Channel 4, 9pm

Comedian Judi Love joins Sandi Toksvig for tonight’s mildly diverting boost to the British holiday rental market, pottering around the Lake District to observe rutting stags and the home of Beatrix Potter (and her beloved creation Peter Rabbit), before sampling wine on Lake Windermere and hot-and-spicy cottage pie in a remote farmhouse.

The Overlap on Tour

Sky Max, 9pm

Expect thermonuclear levels of banter during this behind-the-scenes peak at the arena tour of opinionated football chat from Gary Neville, Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher, as they take each other back to their homelands. We begin in Ireland, where Keane persuades the other two to kiss the Blarney Stone and try out hurling. 

El Dorado (1966) ★★★★

Film4, 4.10pm  

Howard Hawks’s classic Western stars John Wayne in the twilight of his career. The film leans into this: Wayne plays Cole Thornton, an ageing gunfighter who is called in to help a booze-soaked sheriff (Robert Mitchum) struggling to defend a rancher and his family against a heartless tycoon (Edward Asner) trying to drive them off their land for its water resources. Thornton recruits a young gambler (James Caan) to help.

A Bronx Tale (1993) ★★★★

Great! Movies, 9pm  

A superb directorial debut from Robert De Niro, who adapted Chazz Palminteri’s 1989 one-character play of the same name. It follows Italian-American teenager Calogero (Francis Capra) as he’s caught between loyalty to two patriarchs – one his honest, hard-working father Lorenzo (De Niro), the other a local mobster (Palminteri) – and the racial tensions that plague his New York City community. The performances are fantastic across the board.

Champion (1949, b/w) ★★★★★

Sky Cinema Greats, 10pm  

Think of Kirk Douglas’s Michael “Midge” Kelly as the original Rocky or Apollo Creed. On the run from a shotgun marriage and in desperate need of cash to support his disabled brother Connie (Arthur Kennedy), Midge angles his way into a short-term job as a boxer. His tough start in life has made him scrappy, and he proves to be a naturally gifted fighter – but as the trophies stack up, his bosses soon learn that he’s impossible to control.

Thursday 15 June

Black Mirror


Charlie Brooker’s hyper-cool satirical anthology series makes an eagerly anticipated return following a four-year lay-off. Comprising five new standalone episodes, season six features another packed stable of big-name actors (Salma Hayek, Kate Mara, Daniel Portman and Michael Cera among them), with dystopian storylines, as ever, riffing on the paranoia-inducing dangers that media and technology pose to us all.      

The opening episode, Joan is Awful, even points the finger at its host medium, when an ordinary TV viewer (Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy) discovers that the Netflix-like streaming platform she subscribes to has been spying on her to make a major TV drama based on her life. In Beyond the Sea, Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett experience classic sci-fi-inspired terror in space, while Demon 79 features Anjana Vasan as a sales assistant who believes she’s being instructed (by a glamorously demonic Paapa Essiedu) to commit terrible acts in order to prevent an imminent disaster. Despite wide-ranging themes, all five episodes are, according to Brooker, “tonally Black Mirror through-and-through but with some crazy swings and more variety than ever before.” GO

Count Abdulla


Poking delicious fun at all kinds of cultural sensitivities, this sitcom stars Arian Nik as Abdulla Khan, a British-Pakistani doctor caught between his Muslim family and secular London co-workers. His identity crisis only gets worse when, after a Halloween (or Halaloween as the episode title coyly puts it) party, he’s attacked by a vampire (Jaime Winstone).

How to Win the Ashes

BBC Two, 7pm

Ahead of the first Test at Edgbaston next week, with England hoping to wrest the trophy back from Australia, this documentary looks back at the history of one of the fiercest rivalries in international sport. Ben Stokes, Jimmy Anderson and Glenn McGrath are among the contributors.

Jersey and Guernsey

Channel 5, 8pm

A new series celebrating the heritage and lifestyle of the Channel Islands. Tonight, we meet a potato farmer who battles the elements to harvest the year’s first Jersey Royals while, over on Guernsey, two road-train operators prepare to greet the first cruise ship of the tourist season.

Scandalous: Phone Hacking on Trial

BBC Two, 9pm

Told mainly through the testimony of those targeted by tabloid journalists – Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant and Heather Mills among others – James Newton’s documentary delves into a scandal that’s still generating headlines.

Britain’s Most Expensive Houses

Channel 4, 9pm

Another run for the series that follows Sotheby’s high-end estate agents as they market the UK’s most expensive properties to foreign investors. Tonight, a John Nash townhouse overlooking Regent’s Park in London seems a snip at £29 million; plus, an opulent houseboat on the Thames and a Georgian-inspired bauble in Bath. 

Blackadder: The Lost Pilot

Gold, 9pm

Here’s a huge treat for Blackadder fans: a showing of the never-before-broadcast pilot episode, created 40 years ago by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the main series (but not in the pilot) explores how all the elements were there (but in a slightly different order) and talks to many of the key players. Entertaining companion show Blackadder: A Cunning Story, focusing on the show’s enduring appeal, airs on Friday at 9pm. 

The Swimmer (1968) ★★★★

Film4, 11am  

Based on a John Cheever short story, this surreal drama stars Burt Lancaster as a wealthy ad-man in suburban Connecticut who decides to make the eight-mile journey back home after a party via his neighbours’ swimming pools. The sunny mood changes when he meets people from his past at each house who confront him with his failures. Give yourself up to this dreamlike film and reap the rewards.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013) ★★★

Film4, 9pm  

North Korean terrorists storm the White House and hold the president (Aaron Eckhart) hostage. Gerard Butler, as an agent with a dark past, storms in and raises star-spangled hell. With a strong cast which also includes Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, this is pantomime patriotism poured into a Die Hard-shaped mould and left to set. The result is surprisingly diverting. Sequel London Has Fallen is on Film4 on Friday at 9pm. 

Anaïs in Love (2021) ★★★★

Film4, 11.20pm  

Love triangles get the once-over in this buoyant French romcom, directed by Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet. Millennial Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) is stuck in a rut: she’s broke and she’s fallen out of love with her partner. She winds up meeting Daniel (Denis Podalydès), who immediately falls in love with her – but there’s one small problem: he lives with Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), and Anaïs falls head over heels for her too.

Friday 16 June

Queen of Oz

BBC One, 9.30pm

Catherine Tate has always had an eye for colourful comic characters. Just take the petulant teenager Lauren Cooper (“am I bovvered?!”), or the obnoxious, foul-mouthed Nan. Her latest creation is HRH Princess Georgiana, the rude, crude, hard-partying black sheep of a fictional British royal family. She drinks. She swears. She sleeps around. In the opening scene of tonight’s premiere – Tate’s first BBC comedy in eight years – she ruins a royal visit to a school by vomiting over a child, who tells her, “You smell like my grandad… He was an alcoholic.” To save the monarchy, it is decided that she be sent into exile – as the new Queen of Australia. 

It is fairly broad stuff. “I look like I finished a marathon and celebrated with a stroke!” shouts Georgiana in one scene, aghast at unflattering photos of her arriving in Australia in the middle of summer. Tate’s brash performance (her natural accent often breaks through her posh one) is by far the best thing about it. Although the character herself can feel too jarring to sustain a six-part series (all episodes are available on iPlayer from Friday 16). For Australian PM Rebecca (Rachel Gordon), however, she is the gift republicanism has been waiting for. SK

The Grand Tour: Eurocrash

Amazon Prime Video

In search of a road trip no one has ever done before, the petrolhead trio plot a 1,400-mile course between Gdańsk in Poland and Bled, Slovenia. They must also do it in ludicrously inappropriate cars: meaning that James May must navigate motorways in a tiny two-door Crosley Convertible. Nonetheless, it is a fairly familiar road paved with blokey banter and budget-busting set-pieces.

Stan Lee


Without Stan Lee there would be no Spider-Man, no Iron Man, no Incredible Hulk. This engaging documentary charts the late Lee’s journey from his Depression-era childhood to Marvel Comics and becoming the most recognisable comic-book writer ever.



The first episode of the seventh and penultimate series of the time-travel romance finds Claire (Caitríona Balfe) imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit. The dashing Jamie (Sam Heughan) must mount a rescue, but the nascent flames of the American Revolutionary War prove a complication. It is wonderfully performed and lavishly produced.

Isle of Wight Festival 2023

Sky Arts, 7pm

Forget the tent and skip the ferry: Sky Arts kick off three days of highlights from the Isle of Wight music festival. Tonight’s headliner is Britpop royalty Pulp, who have reformed for a series of gigs this summer. Other acts include indie rockers Courteeners and – most exciting of all? – the original 1998 line-up of girl-group Sugababes.

Our Lives: The Girl Who Sails With Her Breath

BBC One, 7.30pm; NI/Wales, 8.30pm

Natasha, a young woman with cerebral palsy, cannot walk on her own – but she can sail a 46ft yacht. She steers with her breath. This inspiring documentary follows Natasha and her family as she takes on her biggest challenge yet – crossing the Atlantic. 

They All Came Out to Montreux

BBC Four, from 10.15pm

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival has played host to practically every legend in music: Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Miles Davis, Prince – the list goes on. This three-part series recounts how Claude Nobs built the festival from the ground up, and features fantastic footage of live gigs. Hence Nina Simone: Live at Montreux 1976, which precedes at 9pm. 

Extraction 2 (2023)


This sequel is sure to rope in viewers – the first film, released in 2020, became Netflix’s most-watched original movie. Director Sam Hargrave brings much of the same macho action, as mercenary Tyler Rake (played by Marvel favourite Chris Hemsworth) recovers from his grievous wounds obtained on his last mission, ready to take on a fresh host of international criminals and killers. Based on the graphic novel Ciudad by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers.

The Lost King (2022) ★★★

Sky Cinema Premiere, 8pm  

Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan go digging for Richard III in this compelling drama from Stephen Frears (Victoria & Abdul, Philomena). It tells the true story of the 2012 discovery of the monarch’s remains beneath a Leicester car park, and how mother-of-two Philippa Langley (Hawkins) found herself at the centre of a historic storm after her hobby turned into the archaeological discovery of the century.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) ★★★★★

Channel 5, 10pm  

Clint Eastwood rides into town with a gun and a cigar to make a few quick bucks, settle some scores and accidentally invents a whole new genre of movie. Sergio Leone’s first Spaghetti Western adapts Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and sets a high bar (albeit one that he surpassed with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) with its understated direction, epic landscapes and magnetic star. The peerless, late Ennio Morricone provides the score.

The French Connection (1971) ★★★★★

BBC Two, 11.05pm  

This gritty and absorbing thriller set the template for countless hard-bitten crime films of the Seventies and beyond. Gene Hackman is superb as “Popeye” Doyle, a surly copper determined to trap a suave French drug dealer (Fernando Rey) who is smuggling heroin across the Atlantic. The white-knuckle car chase, in which Popeye tails an elevated train, remains gripping. It scooped five Oscars, including Best Picture.

Television previewers

Chris Bennion (CB), Jack Taylor (JT), Veronica Lee (VL), Stephen Kelly (SK), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Poppie Platt (PP) and Gabriel Tate (GT)

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2022-11-17T15:17:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd