Saturday 18 November
My Country: a Work in Progress
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Adapted from their National Theatre production by Rufus Norris and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, My Country uses the words of voters to wrestle with the meaning and implications of Brexit. Britannia (Penny Layden) has called six representatives from around the United Kingdom to listen to their concerns on everything from immigration to disillusionment with Westminster – the views and occasionally idiotic soundbites from party leader are cleverly deployed to illuminate the latter.
It’s impossible, of course, to condense an issue so complex into under an hour, but Duffy and Norris do cover a lot of ground, while using the medium for telling close-ups and journeys into the great British countryside. It is also, on occasion, very funny, not least in a medley of off-centre national anthems, including Delilah and Donald, Where’s Your Troosers? The tone is one of reconciliation, pivoting on a closing quote about unity from the late Jo Cox MP that runs contrary to the often depressing evidence of the preceding 54 minutes. Whether it brings anything new to the debate is itself moot, but it’s a bracing alternative to the standard Saturday night television. Gabriel Tate
Strictly Come Dancing
BBC One, 6.45pm
With sanity descending and the weakest couple voted off last week – Ruth Langsford and Anton du Beke – the remaining eight pairs head to the bright lights and shiny floors of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
Michael McIntyre’s Big Show
BBC One, 8.10pm
The divisive but unarguably slick and successful stand-up returns for a third series of family fun, with Emeli Sandé, politician-turned-Strictly star Ed Balls and Stereophonics as guests on the show. There is also the frankly sinister prospect of McIntyre sneaking into your bedroom after dark for the Midnight Gameshow segment.
The X Factor Live
After the shock elimination of Alisah Bonaobra in George Michael week, the remaining hopefuls must interpret the theme of Crazy in Love for the fourth weekend of live shows.
I Know Who You Are
BBC Four, 9.00pm & 10.30pm
Emerging relatively unscathed from stop-start scheduling and occasionally bewildering plotting, the Spanish thriller concludes its second series with a double-bill of death and double-dealing. Inspector Barros (Pere Arquillue) targets former hostage Ana (Susana Abaitua) for interview, deeming her testimony essential to prosecuting venal lawyer Juan Elias (Francesc Garrido).
The White Princess
Philippa Gregory’s sequel to The White Queen rakes over the embers of the Battle of Bosworth. Once again, it’s history told from a female perspective: the focal point is Elizabeth of York (Jodie Comer), who is the sister of Richard III and pledged to Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy) to bring the divided nation together in spite of personal antipathy and the machinations of relatives and advisers. Historical accuracy is at times sacrificed on the altar of entertainment, but it’s never dull. GT
Dave Gilmour: Live at Pompeii
BBC Two, 10.40pm
After joining his old Floyd bandmates to look back at Wish You Were Here on Sky Arts at 9.00pm, the guitarist returns to Pompeii, venue for one of the group’s most memorable gigs back in 1972. Among the tracks performed from across his career are Money, On an Island and Comfortably Numb. GT
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
E4, 9.00pm ★★★☆☆
Matt Damon chose not to return for this fourth film in the Jason Bourne series, so here a new agent-on-the-run takes centre stage. Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, who must try to survive when a Colonel (Ed Norton) decides to terminate the clandestine Operation Outcome. It amounts to little more than an exciting chase but retains the trilogy’s gloss. Oscar Isaac, Rachel Weisz, Paddy Considine and Albert Finney co-star.
Channel 4, 9.00pm ★★★★★
In this brilliant, bombastic sci-fi romp from Luc Besson, Scarlett Johansson (always worth watching) plays a drug mule who is dosed with an experimental substance that increases her brainpower by an untold degree. Space-time becomes a flick book, and Lucy’s the girl to rifle through its pages. Besson described it as La Femme Nikita plus Inception plus 2001: A Space Odyssey: that’s ambitious, egotistical, and mostly right.
American Gangster (2007)
ITV4, 10.05pm ★★★★☆
Denzel Washington is imperious as the Seventies Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas in Ridley Scott’s cocksure crime thriller. Charting Lucas’s domination of the heroin market during the Vietnam War and his investigation by honest New Jersey cop Richie Roberts (a casually excellent Russell Crowe), the film features an enthralling final face-off. Cuba Gooding Jr provides ample support.
Man on the Moon (1999)
BBC One, 12.20am ★★★☆☆
Relatively unknown this side of the Atlantic, Andy Kaufman was a cult figure in the US: an oddball, anarchic comedian famed for his idiosyncratic characters whose life was tragically cut short by cancer in 1984. In this sympathetic biopic, the similarly kooky Jim Carrey puts in a bravura performance (and arguably his greatest) as Kaufman – only for Milo Forman’s film to become predictably cloying towards the end.
Sunday 19 November
BBC One, 9.00pm
Oscar-winning American screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan was perhaps an unusual choice to adapt a turn-of-the-century British novel about class divisions, but he has turned EM Forster’s dialogue into sparkling, flirtatious conversation and has given his characters depth while avoiding caricature. They seem far more natural than, say, the residents of Downton Abbey.
Two pivotal events in this second episode set in motion the tragedies to come. Ruth Wilcox (Julia Ormond) has died, and her family is appalled to discover that she made a last-minute bequest to Margaret Schlegel (Hayley Atwell). Meanwhile, the do-gooding Schlegel sisters’ meddling in the life of lowly clerk Leonard Bast (Joseph Quinn) send him down a destructive path. Tonight, we also witness a hint of romance between Margaret and widower Henry Wilcox (Matthew Macfadyen) in scenes of lively conversation handled with panache. There’s strong support, too, from Bessie Carter as Wilcox’s daughter, Evie, and from Miles Jupp as her fiancé, Percy Cahill.
The shadow of the feted 1992 Merchant Ivory film looms over this lavish adaptation, but this is a stately remake that deserves much praise of its own. Vicki Power
Blue Planet II
BBC One, 8.00pm
Tonight the lush documentary series plunges into the Big Blue, a desert area of ocean where food is scarce. Footage of a feeding frenzy on a shoal of lanternfish shows what is known as “boiling seas”, while the sight of sleeping sperm whales is spellbinding.
Guy Martin’s WWI Tank
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Racer Guy Martin trades his motorbike for a tank in this absorbing two-hour documentary. In honour of the centenary of the Battle of Cambrai, in which tanks were first used to destructive effect, the mechanically minded Martin builds a 30-tonne tank from scratch.
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
It was unknown whether Ant McPartlin would co-present the 17th series of this reality contest with pal Declan Donnelly, having spent time in rehab earlier this year. Thankfully, his return has been confirmed, so tonight the pair welcome contestants including Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, ex-footballer Dennis Wise and boxer Amir Khan.
Britain’s Cycling Superheroes: The Price of Success
BBC Two, 9.00pm
This documentary sees the architects of Britain’s cycling achievements, Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton, defend themselves against accusations of doping. VP
Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm & 10.00pm
Apart from a gripping opening chase scene, tonight’s double-bill of the German thriller fails to convey much jeopardy for its lead characters. The Burgermeisters of Berlin continue their half-hearted plotting to discredit the striking workers swarming the streets, while Charlotte’s (Liv Lisa Fries) amateur detective work leads her to a jazz club and a Charleston with Detective Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch).
Country Music Awards 2017: Highlights
BBC Four, 10.00pm
The 51st awards ceremony, hosted by stars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley earlier this month, featured foot-stomping music, down-home charm and a tribute to the victims of last month’s shootings in Las Vegas. This highlights show selects the best performances from the night, including Miranda Lambert, winner of Female Vocalist of the Year, and Keith Urban, whose Blue Ain’t Your Color was up for Single of the Year. VP
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
ITV3, 1.20pm ★★★★☆
Albert Finney is unrecognisable as the Belgian sleuth, this time on a train with every A-lister there ever was. All the passengers, it seems, bore a hefty grudge towards Richard Widmark’s villain but who actually killed him? The whole caper is as enjoyable as ever, and besides: how often do you get to share a carriage with Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman?
Mr Popper’s Penguins (2011)
Channel 4, 3.00pm ★★★☆☆
Jim Carrey returns once again to baffled bemusement in this surreal comedy about a property shark forced to act as a surrogate parent to some penguins, that are a sort-of inheritance from his father. Providing you don’t expect sophistication, this is an enjoyable film sustained by occasional glimpses of brilliance from Carrey. The award-winning Angela Lansbury co-stars.
Channel 4, 11.00pm ★★★★★
Joe Wright’s grand vision of Ian McEwan’s novel is everything that his 2005 truncated Pride and Prejudice was not. Atonement benefits from James McAvoy’s subtle performance as the man whose life is wrecked by a girl’s foolish fantasy. The film’s theme is the power of art to atone for our sins: not one for the realists. But it does romance with the same sweeping aplomb as The English Patient.
Monday 20 November
Elizabeth & Philip: Love and Duty
BBC One, 9.00pm
To mark the 70th wedding anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, Kirsty Young presents this respectful portrait of the couple as they reach a landmark in their marriage. Young traces their story from the moment in 1939 when, on a visit to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth with her father King George VI, the then 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth first set her eyes on the dashing young cadet Philip Mountbatten. Their subsequent marriage in 1947 is recalled as the most glamorous event in times of great postwar austerity (although, like Alexander Armstrong in ITV’s recent A Very Royal Wedding, Young cannot resist the opportunity to be awestruck by some dazzling royal engagement-related diamonds).
Most affectingly, a handful of good citizens who also tied the knot that year fondly remember their own courtships and enduring relationships. The royal marriage might have had its ups and downs, but the mood here is celebratory and even the annus horribilis of 1992 is seen simply as one more obstacle overcome by a unique partnership based on “strong foundations, shared values and dedication to duty.” Gerard O’Donovan
BBC Three, from today
This impressively cast one-off adult animation is created by Fonejacker’s Ed Tracy. It features married stars Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley alongside Javone Prince and Kayvan Novak as four students who become embroiled in a weird rescue mission when the internet suddenly disappears. Sticky is one of 12 comedy pilots being aired by the BBC this year.
Dispatches: How to Avoid the Dementia Tax
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Few areas hurt the “squeezed middle” more than care for the elderly. Tazeen Ahmad investigates why some dementia sufferers must sell their homes yet others get free provision, and whether the right financial advice can save a fortune.
Would I Lie to You?
BBC One, 8.30pm
Two of the BBC’s funniest panel shows return tonight. Ed Balls, David Baddiel and Jo Brand are among the names on WILTY?, while Sue Perkins’s guests on Insert Name Here on BBC Two at 10.00pm (NI, 11.15pm) include Katherine Ryan and Nish Kumar.
Labour: The Summer That Changed Everything
BBC Two, 9.00pm
This eye-opening film follows four Labour candidates through Theresa May’s snap election and its aftermath, assessing the key role played by Momentum.
Storyville: My Mother’s Lost Children
BBC Four, 10.00pm
An extraordinary film in which documentary-maker Danny Ben-Moshe investigates the story of how his two young half-siblings, Andrew and Michelle, disappeared without a trace shortly after his mother Lillian’s divorce in the late Fifties. It’s a touching tale of family secrets, shame and deception that unfolds across four continents and five decades,delivering as much intrigue and as many emotional twists as a psychological thriller. GO
BBC One, 10.45pm; not NI
There is, apparently, a stalking epidemic in Britain, but the Government is doing nothing to stop it, according to this disturbing documentary following the work of anti-stalking charity Paladin. The programme focuses on three cases – including a bus driver and a single mother – that reveal the impact of years of abuse. GO
To Have and Have Not (1944, b/w)
TCM, 3.00pm ★★★★★
Howard Hawks took on the challenge of filming Ernest Hemingway’s “unfilmable” novel, making considerable changes to its plot. Instead, essentially, it is a reworking of Casablanca and features Humphrey Bogart in one of his best roles as a patriot who falls for sultry Lauren Bacall (in her movie debut). The novel’s sharp dialogue is retained, resulting in a gloriously witty film. The two stars would later marry in real life.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Film4, 4.20pm ★★★★☆
This is Alfred Hitchcock’s remake of his own 1934 film. Dr Ben McKenna (James Stewart) and his wife Jo (Doris Day, three years after Calamity Jane) are forced to keep silent about a planned political murder. The jury’s out on which film is better, but perhaps the earlier black-and-white version is a shade more sinister than this excellent, glitzier take, which won an Oscar for the song Qué Será, Será.
Nuns on the Run (1990)
London Live, 10.00pm ★★★☆☆
Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane impersonate ladies of the habit in this raucous comedy as two men on the run from the law. It’s a modern interpretation of Some Like It Hot and there’s even a nod or two towards Monty Python in the cod theological debates. Idle and Coltrane, meanwhile, must get the best bad transvestites award in cinema for their slapstick bafflement and sheer lack of effort at being womanly.
Tuesday 21 November
The A Word
BBC One, 9.00pm
It would be nice if Peter Bowker’s lovely family drama received the attention that it deserves. For, in a television climate saturated with bleak crime series, The A Word shines out like a much-needed beacon. From its starting point last season, looking at the effect that five-year-old Joe’s (Max Vento) autism had on his family, the show has spread out its vision to examine the wider relationships among those characters while continuing to show how Joe, now seven, deals with the challenges of life.
This is a drama attuned to the everyday rhythms of life and filled with recognisable moments and personalities, from Christopher Eccleston’s well-meaning but blunt grandfather Maurice to Morven Christie’s prickly Alison, determined to do right by her son regardless of the personal cost and despite the often very different parenting style of Joe’s father, Paul (Lee Ingleby).
This episode sees Joe adjust to his new school, while his older sister Becky (Molly Wright) attempts to deal with the fallout from the end of her relationship. Meanwhile, Louise (Pooky Quesnel) tries to stop Maurice and Ralph (Leon Harrop) from mothering her in the light of her cancer diagnosis. Sarah Hughes
MasterChef: The Professionals
BBC Two, 8.00pm
The ordinary MasterChef is heart-warming and the celebrity version throws up entertaining moments but The Professionalsis the most enjoyable. Tonight, it’s the signature challenge, which means that the competitors have 20 minutes to combine fruit and meringue.
Sky One, 9.00pm
The all-action military drama continues, and Mac (Warren Brown) finds himself in serious trouble after blowing his cover at the survivalist camp. Can the rest of Section 20 get him out? Elsewhere, “Jihadi Jane” Lowry (Katherine Kelly) continues to run rings around the gang and the pressure mounts on Donovan (Nina Sosanya).
BBC Two, 10.00pm; not NI
Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) faces the horror that is the children’s pool party in a strong episode of the comedy, which also sees Kevin (Paul Ready) dealing with his own personal hell: another dad. Meanwhile, Liz (Diane Morgan) has her mind on carnal affairs.
The Truth About Muslim Marriage
Channel 4, 10.00pm
Academic Myriam François presents this interesting film about Muslim marriage in the UK. It focuses on the many women who assume that they’re legally married having undergone an Islamic ceremony. François looks why this misinformation is so widespread and the problems that it causes.
Sky One, 10.00pm
The trouble with Sick Note is that it’s impossible to watch without imagining the brilliant show that it might have been. The premise – good-for-nothing Daniel Glass (Rupert Grint) pretends that he has cancer and in doing so sparks a series of disasters – is entertaining and the cast, from Nick Frost as bumbling doctor Iain to Grint as the weasly Daniel, are spot on. The script, however, is full of flat jokes more likely to elicit grimaces rather than belly laughs. In the third episode, Daniel tries to find out how hurt Ash (Tolu Ogunmefun) really is after last week’s hit and run. SH
Channel 4, 11.05pm
Ever wondered what a crime drama that crossed dark Italian thriller Gomorrah with the hyperactive plotting of a telenovela would be like? Mexican drama Mr Avila is the answer. Tony Dalton plays a salesman turned hit man, whose life becomes increasingly complicated. SH
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Sony Movie Channel, 9.00pm ★★★★☆
A funny yet plangent drama about the travesties that are children’s beauty pageants, but much more about family and hope. Olive (Abigail Breslin) has qualified for a pageant. Trouble is, it’s to be held 800 miles from her home, so Mum (Toni Collette) bundles the family into a van and they head off on a journey that proves rather more eventful than they’d bargained for.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
ITV4, 9.00pm ★★★★☆
Stanley Kubrick’s tightly constructed anti-war satire is two films in one. The first half focuses on the training – and dehumanising – of a squad of marines before they are allowed to join the corp, while the second half sees the soldiers arrive in Vietnam and follows the experiences of two of them in combat, showcasing their sense of humour offset by the tragedy of war. Lee Ermey is superb as the Drill Sergeant.
The Outsiders (1983)
London Live, 10.00pm ★★★☆☆
This adaptation of SE Hinton’s coming-of-age novel features a veritable galaxy of up-and-coming Brat Pack stars. Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Ralph Macchio play the members of a rural gang whose rivalry with another gang turns deadly. Despite the realism of the source material, director Francis Ford Coppola takes an overly stylised approach to what should be a grittier film.
Wednesday 22 November
Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets
BBC One, 8.00pm
A more ambitious prospect than Mary Berry’s usual cookery series, Country House Secrets sends the erstwhile Bake Off judge to four of the nation’s great rural piles where she learns about their history, experiences their hospitality, looks upstairs and down, and, of course, cooks a few dishes. With Downton Abbey now consigned to TV history, the BBC has allowed Berry to visit its real-life equivalent, Highclere Castle, for this opener.
Owned by the Carnarvons since 1679, Highclere became renowned in the Victorian era for its house parties, entertaining everyone from Benjamin Disraeli to the future Edward VII (the latter’s festivities costing the modern equivalent of £500,000 for three nights).
There are cameos from Tutankhamen, a B17 Flying Fortress and some eager spaniels; the banter errs towards soporific, but no one tunes into a Mary Berry programme for high-octane thrills. Instead, she proves a refreshing antidote to the standard celebrity host, her modesty symbolised by the endearing verbal tic of prefacing gobbets of information with “I’m told” (it’s hard to imagine many other presenters giving credit to researchers so willingly). Gabriel Tate
Netflix, from today
Westworld’s deft deconstruction of the mythology of the oater hasn’t denuded it of its power after all, if Godless is anything to go by. While this Steven Soderbergh-produced western respects the genre’s traditions, it is not in thrall to them – this seven-parter sees outlaw Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) arriving at Alice Fletcher’s (Michelle Dockery) ranch in a town run by women. He is on the run from dangerous criminal Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang, who have been tracking their former ally across the dust-swept plains of New Mexico. Written and directed by Logan’s Scott Frank, it combines spectacle, hardscrabble frontier life and guarded emotions with aplomb.
BBC One, 9.00pm
The remaining hopefuls must set up a dog-service company, with one group opting for obedience training and the other for spa treatments. Cue canine puns from Lord Sugar that will have you whimpering.
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Following their worst Christmas ever, things only get worse for Tommy (Tom Hardy) and the Shelbys. The disgruntled factory workers are primed to revolt, an unreliable new ally (played by Aiden Gillen) is recruited and a dicey new business deal is entertained.
Digging for Britain
BBC Four, 9.00pm
Alice Roberts visits more British archaeological digs, beginning at the Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire, where evidence has been found to indicate its role not just as a sacred site but in everyday domestic life. GT
Violent Men: Behind Bars
Channel 4, 9.00pm
The concluding partof this fine series documenting the realities of long prison sentences meets men – from new inmates to those completing rehab prior to release – sent to HMP Shotts, in Scotland, for acts of horrific violence.
Raped: My Story
Channel 5, 9.00pm
This programme details 10 pummellingly powerful and often very upsetting accounts of rape told directly to camera by those who suffered it, exploring the emotional, physical and psychological damage that many still feel today. It’s hard to watch, but serves as timely, irrefutable evidence that the legal process and support networks around rape need (another) thorough rethink. GT
Ghostbusters II (1989)
E4, 8.00pm ★★★☆☆
Most of the ingredients that made the 1985 original an infectious hit are still present here, including Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray as leaders of an ghost-catching emergency service and recent Doc Martin star Sigourney Weaver as Murray’s love-interest. However, some of the spark has gone – and villain Vigo (Wilhelm von Homburg) isn’t a patch on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Sky Cinema Superheroes, 8.00pm ★★☆☆☆
In this adaptation of the DC Comics stories, the government assembles the world’s most dangerous villains to defeat another, even worse villain, figuring that they’ll all die in the process. Despite a sizzling cast that includes Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and model Cara Delevingne, what should be a fun tale of superheroes behaving badly is merely an unholy mess.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Film4, 9.00pm ★★★☆☆
Cowboys and aliens – in the same film? Director Jon Favreau would have you believe it’s possible. Set in 1875, the film follows outlaw Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) and rancher Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), who team up to save a group of town dwellers who have been abducted by aliens. A bizarre but intriguing visual spectacle – Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro offered advice on the extraterrestrial creatures.
Thursday 23 November
Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain
BBC Two, 9.00pm
It’s an eye-catching idea: identify individual bombs from among the millions that rained down on Britain during the Blitz, and select four that had greater impact than any others. So much so, they might even have had beneficial effects in the long run. The bomb featured in this opener, which hit 8 Martindale Road in London’s docklands on the first night of the Blitz in September 1940, didn’t actually explode. But the evacuation it prompted set in motion a series of events that led to horrific loss of life.
Public outrage at the authorities’ ineptitude, unpreparedness and apparent callous disregard for working people, boosted by campaigning journalist Peter Ritchie Calder, eventually led to Tory MP Henry Willink being appointed to organise a better response to the Blitz. He, in turn, wrote the first draft of the postwar White Paper, proposing what would eventually become the NHS. It really is a bit of a stretch (and may even be offensive to some) to suggest that a German bomb was what effectively led to the founding of the British welfare state. But the story makes for an intriguing slice of social and political history none the less. Gerard O’Donovan
She’s Gotta Have It
Netflix, from today
Can the feted director Spike Lee recreate, 21 years on, the magic of his scintillating 1986 romcom in this much-anticipated new series? Lee’s plotline remains the same – the story of beautiful New Yorker Nola Darling’s (DeWanda Wise) highly entertaining efforts to decide which of her lovers she should settle down with permanently. But it is updated to reflect the mind-boggling choice of partners available to the 21st-century adventurer. As Nola confesses to one therapist: “As a sex-positive polyamorous pansexual, monogamy never seemed like a remote possibility for me.”
Harry and Meghan: A Royal Revolution? Tonight
A fortnight since its relationship-tracking documentary Harry and Meghan: Truly, Madly, Deeply, ITV devotes another programme to the Royal engagement that hasn’t yet happened. Here reporter Fiona Foster considers what the rest of the Royal family think of the relationship.
Love, Lies & Records
BBC One, 9.00pm
Kay Mellor’s moreish drama set in a Leeds registry office continues as Kate (Ashley Jensen) is forced to step down from her big promotion. And things go from bad to worse when Rob (Adrian Bower) turns up with worrying news about their daughter.
Trump: An American Dream
Channel 4, 9.00pm
The revealing review of the US President’s life story reaches the Nineties, with Donald Trump’s personal and business life in meltdown as his wife Ivana seeks a divorce (and a massive settlement) and his business empire teeters towards bankruptcy.
John Bishop: in Conversation with Jeremy Corbyn
In what is a last-minute addition to John Bishop’s intimate interview series, the Labour leader joins him for a frank discussion about his life and his politics, including his thoughts on President Trump and the Chilcott Enquiry, as well as the impact of the death of his brother. GO
The Search for a Miracle Cure
Channel 4, 10.00pm
An emotionally charged documentary following lawyer Mark Lewis’s quest for a cure for multiple sclerosis. The degenerative disease was thought incurable but here Lewis embarks on a trial of a new stem-cell treatment that has shown remarkable results. GO
5STAR, 10.00pm ★★☆☆☆
After making the truly awful Swept Away with then-wife Madonna, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels… director Guy Ritchie returns to his suit-wearing gangster roots and his favourite star, Jason Statham. It’s stylishly shot but unfortunately this Ritchie/Luc Besson-penned tale of chess, revenge, con artists and assassins is weaved into such a complex, maze-like brain-teaser that it’s virtually incomprehensible.
Film4, 11.15pm ★★★☆☆
Bradley Cooper stars in this thriller about a writer whose former brother-in-law slips him a pill that enables him to access 100 per cent of his brain. His book is finished in four days, so he goes back for more and this time nets himself a fortune on the stock market. Neil Burger directs at breakneck pace, but afterwards you wish that Cooper’s character had used that brainpower for something more interesting than making money.
Hello Ladies: The Movie (2014)
Sky Atlantic, 12.00midnight ★★☆☆☆
When HBO didn’t give Stephen Merchant’s sitcom a second series, he made this movie instead. It follows him in the role of Stuart, a geeky IT guy who’s looking for his soul mate in Los Angeles. When he learns that his ex-girlfriend is planning to visit, he sets out to impress her with his new lifestyle. Unfortunately, this style of cringe-making comedy has been done to death.
Friday 24 November
Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Jamie Oliver and childhood mucker Jimmy Doherty return for another series of their hyperactive meld of cookery programme, food information and celebrity chat hosted at their Southend Pier caff. This series tends to stand or fall with the visiting celebrity but luckily this week it’s Simon Pegg, who gamely enters into the spirit of things by serving customers, cooking what looks like a pretty good tagine and admitting that he’s far more food conscious in these Mission: Impossible days (Tom Cruise is apparently the devil for pushing cakes on those trying to stay in shape).
Friday Night Feast feels closer in tone to the early cookery shows that made Oliver’s name and Pegg enters into the cheeky-chappy spirit, mucking around with Doherty and dropping sardonic asides. “It’s fundamentally evil but at the same time beautiful,” he remarks of Oliver’s Provençal Bake, a calorific but clearly delicious mixture of pancakes, cheese, ham and tomatoes, which causes one customer to gush, “I never want it to end.” Elsewhere, Oliver and Doherty go on the road to uncover the joys of free-range duck, and Doherty builds a barbecue for the Stoke Mandeville wheelchair rugby team. Sarah Hughes
Sounds Like Friday Night
BBC One, 7.30pm
BBC One’s live music show is a great idea but so far has been a bit hit and miss. Presenters Greg James and Dotty are enthusiastic but more risks are needed when booking the live acts. Craig David co-hosts this episode, and there are performances from The Killers and Anne-Marie.
Australian Wilderness with Ray Mears
ITV, 8.00pm; not STV, UTV or Wales
Ray Mears’s laid-back excursion around Australia continues in South Australia’s Flinders mountain ranges, which provides a dramatic setting for three species of kangaroos and the country’s largest bird of prey.
Have I Got News for You
BBC One, 9.00pm
The personable Stephen Mangan takes the host’s chair for this episode of the satirical news-based panel game. He’s joined by business journalist Steph McGovern and comedian Jo Caulfield.
Extreme Wives with Kate Humble
BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm
Kate Humble heads to the remote town of Shillong in north-east India to meet with the matrilineal Khasi people in the fascinating final episode. The Khasi pass everything, including property, down the female line and hand power to the youngest daughter in each family. SH
Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge
Sky Arts, 9.00pm
Anyone who has read Sticky Fingers, the recent biography of Rolling Stone supremo Jann Wenner, will realise that this Alex Gibney series is something of a puff piece in comparison. That said, it’s still very enjoyable. The focus here is on the kidnap of Patty Hearst and the way in which the counterculture slowly became mainstream.
Gregory Porter’s Popular Voices
BBC Four, 10.00pm
Jazz musician Gregory Porter’s outstanding series continues with a focus on crooners. All the usual suspects – Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the unbeatable Nat King Cole – are present but what makes this series so exceptional is the knowledge Porter brings to his subject. This episode dissects why Sinatra was “a little too presumptuous for the croon” as well as looking at how everyone from Iggy Pop to David Bowie used the technique. The real pleasure, however, comes from the music. SH
Collateral Beauty (2016)
Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm ★★☆☆☆
The plot of David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) and Allan Loeb’s (Just Go with It) film is fantastically unhinged: Will Smith is an ad-exec who has lost his daughter to cancer, and in his grief is pestered on the streets of New York by the personifications of Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore) and Death (Helen Mirren) – “the three abstractions”.
Dark Shadows (2012)
W, 9.00pm ★★☆☆☆
Tim Burton’s film is at its best in the opening scenes, when it can afford to be all show and no tell. It’s Johnny Depp, naturally, who plays Barnabas Collins, an 18th-century Byronic rascal who is transformed into a vampire by a jealous witch (Eva Green) and wakes up in Nixon-era small-town America. Depp and Burton’s eighth film together brought them level with De Niro and Scorsese, although in numerical terms only.
Channel 4, 12.05am ★★★★★
Richard Linklater’s real-time depiction of a boy growing up over 12 years received the biggest Oscar snub of recent years, winning only one award, for Patricia Arquette as for Best Supporting Actress. From 2002, Linklater spent a few days each year filming the same actors to chart Mason’s (Ellar Coltrane) ordinary life – in what is an extraordinary, beautiful and moving string of small, everyday moments.
Catherine Gee, Sarah Hughes, Clive Morgan, Gerard O'Donovan, Patrick Smith, Gabriel Tate and Rachel Ward