Saturday 17 March
Performance Live: Winged Bull in the Elephant Case
BBC Two, 10.40pm; N Ireland and Scotland, 11.40pm
The latest film in the BBC’s series showcasing innovative arts events across the UK is this short immersive dance performance from acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor.
Titled Winged Bull in the Elephant Case, the work was inspired by the National Gallery’s decision during the Second World War to hide some of Britain’s art treasures in the Manod slate mine in Snowdonia. The resulting piece uses extraordinary dance forms, sound, animation, sculpture and even parkour to dramatise the story of one lost painting, which has taken human form, as it strives, with help from its friends, to return home to the National Gallery. Choreographed by McGregor and directed by Robin Friend, the performance was filmed both in the National Gallery and underground at the slate mine. The piece hopes to pose questions about how far we should go to preserve our cultural heritage in difficult times. A new exhibition of 24 archive photographs detailing how the paintings were removed and transported to the mine, along with pictures taken by Friend of how the mine looks today, is currently at the National Gallery. SH
Winter Paralympics Live
Channel 4, 6.00am and 12.30am
For the early birds, the action features the gold medal match in the wheelchair curling and the men’s giant slalom. For the night owls, there is coverage of the women’s giant slalom. As always, there is a round-up of events at 5.30pm. SH
David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities
BBC Two, 8.00pm; not Scotland
The fourth episode of the nature show considers whether plants have an awareness of maths. It may sounds crazy but it makes more sense once David Attenborough ponders why some bamboos flower at the same time, no matter where they are. The series continues on Friday. SH
The Voice UK
The music contest moves into the knockout rounds with 12 acts singing for a place in the semi-finals under the competitive eyes of coaches Jennifer Hudson, will.i.am, Tom Jones and Olly Murs. With only one act from each group able to progress, who will be victorious? SH
Troy: Fall of a City
BBC One, 9.00pm
Things finally move up a gear in the historical epic with a dark, well-paced fifth episode. On the run from the Greeks, fugitive Paris (Louis Hunter) heads to the hills where he grew up. Meanwhile, the Trojans attempt to exploit divisions in the Greek camp. SH
Below the Surface
BBC Four, 9.00pm and 9.45pm
The Danish thriller continues to ratchet up the tension as the police find a wall covered with newspaper clips of task force leader Philip’s (Johannes Lassen) time as a hostage. This leads them to suspect that there’s a more personal element involved. Meanwhile, worried that no one is coming to help them, the hostages hatch their own plan… SH
Sky Atlantic, 10.00pm
It’s the penultimate episode of Steven Soderbergh’s moody crime thriller and we’re no nearer to knowing who killed author Olivia (Sharon Stone). This week, detective Nate (Devin Ratray) suspects that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, and tries to reopen the case. It’s arguable that the plot is secondary to Soderbergh’s desire to experiment with tone and form, while flooding us with information and tantalisingly withholding it too. Both fascinating and frustrating, this drama works best if you just sit back and enjoy the ride. SH
Waterloo (1970) ★★★☆☆
BBC Two, 1.20pm
This lavish costume drama, which tells the story of the Battle of Waterloo, was estimated to have cost $100 m. It stars Rod Steiger as Napoleon, Christopher Plummer as the Duke of Wellington and a cast of 15,000 Soviet soldiers as extras; director Sergei Bondarchuk was supposedly “in command of the seventh largest army in the world” during the film. Look out for a cameo by Orson Welles as Louis XVIII of France.
Suite Francaise (2014) ★★★☆☆
BBC Two, 9.00pm; NI/Scotland, 10.00pm;
Kristin Scott Thomas is more terrifying than the Nazis in this jarringly sweet Second World War romance adaptated from Irène Némirovsky’s epic novel. Michelle Williams, as an unhappy housewife awaiting news from her prisoner-of-war husband and dealing with her haughty mother-in-law (Scott Thomas), does her best to hold the story together with one of her tense performances.
Defiance (2008) ★★★☆☆
BBC Two, 11.10pm; Scot, 12.10am; not NI
Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell star as the Bielski brothers, Jews who escaped from Nazi-occupied Poland and formed a famous partisan army in the forest of Belarus. As well as fighting tooth and nail, their aim is to rescue who they can from the ghettos – not always compatible objectives. Edward Zwick’s direction is too often crude and moralistic, but it’s saved by the quality of the acting.
Sunday 18 March
“We are all happy,” declares Louisa (Keeley Hawes) as the third run of ITV’s smash-hit Sunday night series begins. It’s not hard to see why. Genteel poverty may dog them, but the delightfully whimsical Durrell clan bask in permanent sunshine in Corfu with only cosy familial squabbling as a distraction. Still, there’s a certain irony to Louisa’s words as this enjoyable opener unravels. Her newly single daughter Margo (Daisy Waterstone) is plagued by boredom; peeved eldest son Larry (Josh O’Connor) is smarting from the failure of his novel, and young son Gerry’s (Milo Parker) growing animal collection meets his mother’s disapproval. The main focus, however, is on gun-loving second son Leslie (Callum Woodhouse), who has a trio of girlfriends and is under pressure to choose between them.
Writer Simon Nye’s carefully calibrated, nostalgia-tinged blend of comedy and drama, bolstered by the pitch-perfect performances (with Hawes and Waterstone particularly fine) are the programme’s celebrated calling cards. And it’s moving too. As the family gather around the table at the end of this episode, the scene warms the heart just as the best family-friendly shows should. TD
Life and Death Row
BBC iPlayer, from 10.00am
The BBC has entered into the true-crime genre by focusing on death-row inmates in the US. This compelling series pulls off the difficult task of balancing the morality of the prisoners’ fate against their often-horrendous offences, and its impact on the victim’s families. This episode is no different, looking at the case of 32-year-old John Ramirez, who was convicted of murdering Mexican convenience-store worker Pablo Castro in a robbery that netted him just $1.25. TD
The Marriage of Figaro
Sky Arts, 3.45pm
This is a treat for opera lovers, as they have the chance to see a unique staging of Mozart’s comic masterpiece performed in the composer’s home town of Salzburg. Dan Ettinger conducts a young cast, which includes Adam Platcheka in the title role, Martina Janková as his betrothed, the witty Susanna, and young German soprano Anett Fritsch as Countess Almaviva. TD
Escape to the Chateau
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Dick and Angel Strawbridge return with a fourth series following their renovation of an idyllic Loire-set chateau. It’s now summer, and the couple have their hands full preparing to host seven weddings. TD
Famously Unfit For Sport Relief
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Game celebrities – actress Tameka Empson, TV presenter Susannah Constantine and entertainer Les Dennis – hope to inspire the nation to become healthier by putting themselves through 10 weeks of gruelling fitness training. Their reward? Participating in one of the toughest and muddiest assault courses around. TD
The Good Karma Hospital
A heatwave hits Kerala as this medical drama about a British doctor who transplants herself to southern India returns for a second run. In this episode, Dr Ruby (Amrita Acharia) is keen to manage her first solo night shift but the reality tests her confidence. TD
Channel 4, 10.05pm
It appears as if there is a never-ending supply of European crime dramas. This time we’re in a provincial Belgian town which is shaken by the murder of a 16-year-old girl. Jaded detective Peter Devriendt (Dirk van Dijck) is put on the case, and it takes a shocking turn. TD
Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) ★★★☆☆
This sequel to the 2012 family hit blends entertaining slapstick with a surprisingly sophisticated message about tolerance. Dracula (Adam Sandler) is anxious to see whether his half-human, half-vampire grandson (Asher Blinkoff) will take after his side of the family, setting the stage for a clever allegory about acceptance. Selena Gomez and Steve Buscemi are among the voice cast.
Catch Me If You Can (2002) ★★★★☆
BBC Two, 5.45pm; not Scotland/Wales
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the serial con artist Frank Abagnale Jnr in Steven Spielberg’s charming fact-based drama. The film follows him as he finagles a small fortune by posing as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, all while remaining one step ahead of Tom Hanks’ dogged FBI agent. Christopher Walken earned an Oscar nod for his turn as Abagnale Snr, while the real Frank Abagnale cameos.
Brooklyn (2015) ★★★★☆
BBC One, 8.30pm
The star of Brooklyn is Fiona Weir – not a person who appears on screen, but the woman who cast it. In this pulse-quickening Irish immigrant song, adapted from Colm Tóibín’s equally lovely novel, Weir and the film’s director John Crowley achieve the kind of shivers-down-the-spine serendipity that can’t be taught with their young leads Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen.
Monday 19 March
The Funeral Murders
BBC Two, 9.00pm
One of British television’s most versatile and incisive documentary-makers, Vanessa Engle returns with this terrifying and wholly admirable survey of a particularly bleak fortnight in the chequered history of Northern Ireland pre-Good Friday Agreement. In March 1988, three IRA members were killed by the SAS in Gibraltar. Flown home via Dublin (Belfast airport staff refused to handle their bodies), they were driven to Belfast for a funeral that was left unpoliced by the RUC or the British Army, and then attacked by loyalist Michael Stone, leaving three dead and many injured. Days later, two British army soldiers were attacked by a mob and executed by the IRA after disrupting the funeral of one of Stone’s victims.
As a portrait of an apparently intractable mess, Engle’s film could hardly be bettered. She talks to people on both sides of the conflict (some of them speaking for the first time), probing without provoking and extracting, if not the whole truth, then some startling revelations and bracing honesty. She is helped by astonishing footage of both funerals and the whole thing is a chilling reminder of a very dark time indeed in the history of these islands. GT
BBC One, 9.00pm
The heats enter their final week and, picking from ingredients including cod, bone marrow and chorizo, the seven contestants must rustle up dishes to impress judges Torode and Wallace, two past winners and a losing finalist. GT
This Anna Friel vehicle continues to career from shock tactic to unlikely plot twist as it reaches the halfway point. Tonight, Kevin Hoffs’s blue lorry offers a vital clue and the full extent of the killer’s depravity becomes apparent. GT
Electric Dreams: Kill All Others
Channel 4, 10.00pm
The patchy sci-fi anthology series ends on a high with an electrifyingly powerful parable (directed by Mudbound’s Dee Rees) of society’s capacity to accept the unthinkable in exchange for a quiet life. Vera Farmiga stars as a fascist demagogue who rallies the populace to violence, one man (Mel Rodriguez) risks his life to stand up to her. GT
Imagine: Andrew Lloyd Webber: Memories
BBC One, 10.45pm; NI, 11.10pm; not Wales
Promoting his autobiography Unmasked, Andrew Lloyd Webber talks to Alan Yentob about his remarkable career and apparent capacity, at his Seventies and Eighties peak, to rustle up crowd-pleasing West End hits at will. GT
BBC Three, from 10.00am
Gerran Howell proves an estimable addition to a pitch-perfect cast as Rev Seaton’s son Jacob, returning from Bristol to resettle into village life – with, naturally, Kurtan (Charlie Cooper) stepping up to act as a mentor. Kerry’s (Daisy May Cooper) efforts to give something back to the community continue when she visits her ailing neighbour, Florence, for a “tea talk” and the offer of a little company in the wake of the passing of the latter’s cat. It is, of course, as sublimely funny as ever. GT
Hotspots: on the Frontline
Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm
Stuart Ramsay and Alex Crawford, much-garlanded veteran war reporters for Sky News, host this series aiming to show the realities of their work, from the raw fear of experiencing bombardment to the irrepressible emotions stoked during reports on particularly harrowing stories. This edition focuses on poaching in Namibia, journalism in Zimbabwe and continuing tensions in Jerusalem. GT
The Train (1964, b/w) ★★★★☆
Director John Frankenheimer pitches French resistance member Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster) against German Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) in this Second World War art-theft adventure that knocks spots off George Clooney’s misfiring The Monuments Men (2014). As the Germans retreat from Paris, Waldheim secures a train to bring back plundered masterpieces.
Labyrinth (1986) ★★★★☆
If you were born in the Eighties, then David Bowie wasn’t just a musical genius – he was Jareth the Goblin King. Directed by Jim Henson, written by Terry Jones and with superb music from Bowie, this fantasy film is a classic. When Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) accidentally wishes her baby brother away, she has just 13 hours to navigate her way through a world of weird creatures to find him before he’s turned into a goblin.
Signs (2002) ★★★☆☆
Sony Movie Channel, 9.00pm
Director M Night Shyamalan has never had the tightest grip on reality but this alien invasion flick involving crop circles and green monsters has great difficulty in convincing us of anything other than that the director of The Sixth Sense is a bit of a one-hit wonder. Picking a clumsy Mel Gibson as his star doesn’t help much. There is, though, great suspense, even if the film doesn’t always make sense.
Tuesday 20 March
Great Indian Railway Journeys
BBC Two, 8.00pm
One thing you can say about Michael Portillo, he’s not afraid of repeating a successful formula. In this new four-part excursion, he transplants every element of the previous train travel series he’s made in Britain, America and Europe – from the Bradshaw’s guide to his primary colour outfits and potted histories – to another of the world’s most expansive rail networks, in India. Which guarantees that if you loved those series, you’ll love this one just as much.
So, with a trusty copy of Bradshaw’s 1913 Handbook of Indian, Foreign and Colonial Travel in hand, he sets out to traverse the Punjab from Amritsar, the spiritual home of the Sikh religion, to the hyper-modern Le Corbusier-designed state capital of Chandigarh, before embarking on one of the most spectacular train rides of them all – the high-climbing narrow gauge line from Kolka to Shimla in the foothills of the Himalayas. Along the way he opens a window onto the extraordinary variety of life and landscape in India and also offers a tangible sense of the country’s tangled history with Britain, and the tragedy that followed Partition in 1947. Armchair travel doesn’t get much comfier than this. GO
The World’s Ugliest Pets
ITV, 8.00pm; not STV
Caroline Quentin scours the country for the nation’s most unsightly pets, from hairless guinea pigs to giant snails, and searches for the UK’s ugliest dog to represent the country at The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in California. GO
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, puts her meringue-balancing skills to the test in the third round of the celebrity Bake Off challenge. She’s joined by comedian and composer Tim Minchin, Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, and singer Ella Eyre. GO
BBC One, 9.00pm; Wales, 10.40pm
Another atmospheric series comes to a nail-biting close as DI Perez (Douglas Henshall) is forced to interview serial philanderer Duncan (Mark Bonnar) over the discrepancy in the DNA results. GO
BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI, 11.15pm
Has there ever been a comedy so capable of moving us to tears? The penultimate episode sees Cathy (Lesley Manville) and Michael (Peter Mullan) plumb new depths of awkwardness in the wake of his confession following his mother’s death. Surely something can bring these two together? GO
Jasper Jones (2017) ★★★☆☆
Sky Cinema Premiere, 4.00pm
Hugo Weaving and Toni Collette star in this adaptation of Craig Silvey’s bestselling 2009 novel. Rachel Perkins directs this enchanting Sixties drama, a cross between To Kill a Mockingbird and Stand by Me, with care. Jasper Jones (Aaron McGrath), a teenage outcast of mixed white-Aboriginal heritage, asks for the help of shy bookworm Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) when a murder takes place.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) ★★★★☆
This sequel to the coming-of-old-age comedy, about a flock of English pensioners who migrate to India, is an improvement on its twee predecessor. Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, etc, all play to their strengths but the film finds something profound in their decision to see life out in a place so teeming with it. Tamsin Greig and Richard Gere star as two new guests.
The Tamarind Seed (1974) ★★★☆☆
London Live, 10.00pm
Director Blake Edwards and wife Julie Andrews abandoned Hollywood for exile in Europe where, in 1974, he released this Cold War spy story which he hoped would provide a more worthy showcase for Andrews’s talents than the misbegotten Darling Lili. A romance develops in the Caribbean between Omar Sharif’s KGB agent and Andrews’s English widow when he tries to recruit her as one of his spies.
Wednesday 21 March
Zoe Ball’s Hardest Road Home
BBC One, 9.00pm; Wales, 10.40pm
As anyone who spends time listening to BBC radio will be aware, Zoe Ball spent five days this month cycling over 300 miles from her birthplace of Blackpool to her home back in Brighton to raise awareness for mental health as part of Sport Relief. This documentary covers that epic journey – and Ball, who does her absolute best to keep her spirits high even when the rolling Cotswolds hills threaten to be her undoing, comes across as an absolute trooper.
There are the standard visits from celebrity pals along the way, including Fearne Cotton and McFly’s Harry Judd, but really this programme is about far more than Ball giving it her best shot.
“As some of you might be aware, I lost my boyfriend Billy [Yates, who committed suicide last year during a period of depression] and after he died I really wanted to do something to try and help people who living with mental illness,” Ball explains. And it’s the moving conversations she has with others who have lost loved ones to suicide that resonate. It all adds up to a surprisingly emotional journey and one that will hopefully do a great deal to challenge the stigmas around suicide and depression. SH
The Secret Helpers
BBC Two, 8.00pm
This heart-warming series sees people given life advice from around the world. Tonight’s subjects are Dan, who suffered two life-altering strokes, and Brett, who needs help caring for his twin babies. Stand-out helper is lovely Irish nun Sister Una – whom Brett clearly wishes could take over his life. SH
The Assassination of Gianni Versarce: AMerican Crime Story
BBC Two, 9.00pm
The more time we spend with serial fantasist and murderer Andrew Cunanan, the more Darren Criss, who plays him, walks off with the series. Tonight sees Cunanan very much to the fore as we head back to April 1997 to examine how his murderous spree began. SH
More chaos in Spain as a furious Joyce (Sherrie Hewson) sacks Monty (John Challis) – will a chance meeting help him win back his job? SH
Channel 4, 10.00pm
An outstanding second series of Jo Brand’s gentle social worker comedy comes to a suitably bittersweet end as Rose (Brand) finds her new relationship under threat, while Al (Alan Davies) considers moving on. The episode’s star, however, is Himesh Patel’s Nitin, who takes it upon himself to guide Nat (Isy Suttie) through her pregnancy, with predictable results. SH
Make! Craft Britain
BBC Four, 9.00pm
The most relaxing new show of the week is this three-part celebration of crafting presented by Martha Kearney. Today’s episode focuses on hooky rugmaking, as six amateurs are taught how to make chair cushions and letterpress printmaking by rugmaker Heather Ritchie, while five people attend typographer Kelvyn Smith’s south London workshop. “I don’t think I’ve got the patience,” notes the chatty Lorna –but it all turns out OK in the end. SH
Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm
No one does distressed motherhood more gut-wrenchingly than Suranne Jones, who is on terrific if devastating form tonight as Lennie James’s outstanding drama reaches its half way point. Convinced that the police aren’t doing enough and certain that her daughter Jody is in increasing danger, Jones’s Claire reaches out to Nelly (James). But in a dark world where no one is quite as they claim, can she truly trust him? SH
Surrogates (2009) ★★★☆☆
Sony Movie Channel, 9.00pm
Bruce Willis does double duty in this sci-fi thriller, about a future society in which cybernetic avatars do all our dirty work, as both Robo-Bruce and the ageing human cop who controls it. A new weapon has been devised, by unknown enemies of the state, which can frazzle these androids and simultaneously melt the brains of their human puppeteers. It’s Philip K Dick-lite but good fun.
The Equalizer (2014) ★★☆☆☆
Channel 5, 11.20pm
Film plots don’t come much more simple, or dumber, than this blazingly violent Denzel Washington movie that makes Liam Neeson’s Taken franchise look like Taxi Driver. After helping a teenage prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) free herself from a den of snarling pimps, a mild-mannered hardware store employee (Washington) turns avenging angel. If you like it loud, and unsubtle, this might be for you.
Short Term 12 (2013) ★★★★☆
BBC One, 11.45pm; NI, 12.40am; Scotland/Wales, 12.45am
Set in a foster-care home, Destin Cretton’s sharply and sensitively told film follows a pregnant staff member (Brie Larson, in a powerful performance) who is groping nervously towards a family life with her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jnr), who also works at the facility. But when a surly young girl (Kaitlyn Dever) arrives, her particular case stirs up painful ghosts.
Thursday 21 March
Martin Luther King by Trevor McDonald
Martin Luther King changed American politics for good and his non-violent brand of civil-rights protest continues to influence today’s campaigners. Trevor McDonald presents this worthwhile profile, which, if a tad by the book, is bolstered by its host’s demonstrable commitment and a stellar list of contributors including Colin Powell, Harry Belafonte and civil-rights leaders Al Sharpton and Andrew Young. While the material regarding the
“I have a dream” speech and the Montgomery bus boycott may be familiar to most, and the interview with a former KKK member resolutely unsurprising, the story of King’s early life and almost accidental involvement with the civil rights movement is fascinating.
Towards the end of his life, King jockeyed with the growing Black Power movement and fell out with US president Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Democrats over his public and, for the time, extraordinarily bold conflation of the Vietnam War with endemic racism and poverty. These issues don’t perhaps receive the attention they deserve in the UK. At its heart, this is a solid, straightforward look at one of the most significant figures of the previous century. GT
BBC One, 7.30pm & 9.00pm
After her brief sojourn in Redwater, Ireland, Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) returns to Albert Square, gatecrashing a celebration of her life which is being held by those believing her dead. Will this splashy coup be enough to wrest the initiative back from Coronation Street after a difficult run for EastEnders? GT
Big Cats About the House
BBC Two, 8.00pm
Giles Clark, of Tigers About the House fame, takes over Kent’s Big Cat Sanctuary, with the aim of turning it into a global pioneer for conservation. Yet, in this opener of the three-part observational documentary, he meets obstacles early in the shape of a neglected jaguar cub.
Not Going Out
BBC One, 8.30pm
Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) fall out with their best friends Toby (Hugh Dennis) and Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) over, of all things, a toy keyring that goes missing, as this engagingly old-school sitcom continues. GT
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Mary Beard helms her second and final episode of this lavish but worthwhile enterprise, this time devoted to how invisible deities are transformed into visual art – and the price sometimes paid by those who would do so. It is nourishing for both the brain and the eyes. GT
The Glyndebourne Opera Cup
Sky Arts, 8.00pm
The Glyndebourne Opera Cup brings to prominence some of the world’s most promising young opera singers. This is a behind-the-scenes peek at the competition. GT
Contagion! The BBC Four Pandemic
BBC Four, 9.00pm
Here’s a fun premise: using a mobile phone app to track the nationwide spread of a flu pandemic over the course of a single day from a single carrier in a Surrey town. Hannah Fry is “patient zero”, while Javid Abdelmoneim investigates why flu presents such a serious threat to the nation’s health. GT
Sky One, 9.00pm
The title alone will tell you whether this muscular new thriller series is for you. David Boreanaz (Bones) and Mad Men’s Jessica Paré are paired as troubled special ops man Jason Hayes and his hard-nosed CIA liaison. Their first mission is snatch-and-grab in Liberia. GT
Under Siege (1992) ★★★☆☆
Channel 5, 10.00pm
A gang of terrorists led by a disaffected CIA man (Tommy Lee Jones) hijacks a US battleship, planning to steal its nuclear missiles and hand them over to North Korea. Everything goes to plan until they are thwarted by Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal), who displays a frankly alarming level of martial-arts prowess for a ship’s cook. An enjoyable, if ridiculous, thriller directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive).
Dancer in the Dark (2000) ★★★☆☆
London Live, 10.15pm
Provocative auteur Lars Von Trier serves up a Hollywood-style musical with a difference: shot in Europe on choppy hand-held camera. Pixie-popster Björk plays a factory worker who’s going blind; her attempts to save her child from the same fate end in heartbreak, with slapdash musical numbers. But surrender yourself to the experience, and you’ll end up snivelling into a hankie.
The Dictator (2012) ★★★☆☆
Sacha Baron Cohen plays Aladeen, a North African dictator and a cross between Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi (whose death must have occurred during production). Ben Kingsley has him kidnapped and replaced by a lookalike, leading to Aladeen being adrift in Brooklyn, and taken under the wing of feminist Anna Faris. The jokes are designed to offend, though it’s notable that they steer clear of religion.
Friday 23 March
Sport Relief 2018
BBC One and BBC Two, from 7.00pm
Having raised a record-breaking £55,444,906 in 2016, Sport Relief returns with another night of laughs, challenges, music and assorted silly sports-related japes to coax more generous donations from the viewing public.
Among the highlights this year, Celebrity Boxing makes a comeback with six well-padded famous faces (among them Helen Skelton and Spencer Matthews) taking to the ring for a knockout series of bouts. Also on the cards, comedian John Bishop is on a mission to help England win the World Cup (if they’re
not boycotting it); there’s a clash-of-the-channels BBC vs ITV boat race; and a Strictly Come Dancing special session in which football stars Alex Scott, Chris Kamara and David Ginola transfer their fancy footwork to the dance floor. Gary Lineker, Davina McCall and Ore Oduba are among those hosting on BBC One, and Sue Barker keeps things ticking over on BBC Two while the News at Ten is on with a special edition of A Question of Sport on BBC Two (with guests Denise Lewis, Frank Skinner, Paddy McGuinness and Ed Balls). The fun, frolics and fundraising then continues into the wee hours on BBC One. GO
The Repair Shop
BBC Two, 6.30pm
The team give a veteran ceremonial helmet from the Life Guards a much needed restoration and buff up, and try to get a Victorian clockwork rabbit running again. GO
Britain’s Favourite Food
Channel 4, 8.00pm
A variation on a well-worn theme, as chef and former Strictly contestant Simon Rimmer examines some of Britain’s favourite food brands past and presents for clues as to why so many consumers today have abandoned home cooking in favour of ready meals, kicking off with Seventies classics such as Smash. GO
BBC Two, 8.30pm; Wales, 9.30pm
Monty Don is getting ready for summer at Longmeadow, focusing on dahlias and other tender perennials and sowing annual climbers. Adam Frost, meanwhile, meets a tropical plant enthusiast in Dorset, and there’s a daytrip to a garden full of daylilies. GO
Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago
BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 11.15pm
After a not entirely successful start last week, the celebrities stiffen their resolve for another day’s walking on the Camino de Santiago. To experience different aspects of the trail, the group splits in two, taking one path that features a fountain flowing with free wine and another with lessons in humility and walking sticks. GO
Alexa & Katie
Netflix, from today
This fresh new teenage comedy focuses on two inseparable best friends (Paris Berelc and Isabel May) eager to get their freshman year at high school off to a good start, but are forced to reassess when a crisis leaves them feeling like outsiders. GO
The Defiant Ones
Netflix, from today
Allen Hughes’s Grammy-winning, star-studded, four-part documentary about hip-hop heroes Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre is not only a hymn to two charismatic personalities and their fruitful creative and commercial partnership, but a deep delve into the grit and ambition it takes to succeed against the odds in the music business. GO
Netflix, from today
From the makers of Narcos comes a nerve-shredding new Brazilian crime drama loosely inspired by a real-life corruption and money laundering scandal involving a multi-billion dollar state-run oil company that almost brought down the government. GO
School of Rock (2003) ★★★★☆
Jack Black gives an inexhaustibly inventive comedy performance as wannabe rock star Dewey Finn, who poses as a supply teacher at a stuffy private school in order to make some quick cash. Dewey is inspired by his students’s love for classical music and they form a new band, using lesson time to rehearse in secret for a battle of the bands competition. Richard Linklater directs with a light, witty touch.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) ★★★★☆
You’d be crazy, perhaps stupid, not to fall in love with the charming cast of this cherishable comedy about three generations’ romantic misadventures. Cal (Steve Carell) leaves home following his wife’s affair and starts hanging out with the super-suave Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Meanwhile, son Robbie has an agonising crush on his babysitter. The narrative strands eventually intertwine in a hilariously slapstick climax.
The Ones Below (2015) ★★★☆☆
BBC Two, 12.10am
Screenwriter and Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company David Farr directs this entertaining and gripping thriller set in London. It follows two couples (played by Clemence Poesy, David Morrissey, Stephen Campbell Moore and Laura Birn) who live in the same building. Both of the women are pregnant and become friends, until an accident happens which changes everything.
Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate