Thursday 28 September
Sky Max, 10pm
Danny Brocklehurst and Joe Gilgun’s dark comedy, following the petty crime-filled lives of Vinnie O’Neill (Gilgun) and his friends in the fictional Lancashire town of Hawley, returns for a fifth boxsetted series. It won Best Comedy Drama at the Royal Television Society Awards and might be best described as a sweary Shameless meets Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, but even less politically correct.
Episode one (of eight) picks up soon after the dramatic events of the last series’ finale, when Vinnie’s friend Dylan (Damien Molony) was bundled into the boot of a car as hired goons kidnapped him – was it the dangerous McDonagh brothers or the powerful drug buyer Manolito sending a message to Vinnie? Either way, it’s bad news. It all kicks off with a delicious visual gag about Vinnie’s manhood, before Adyan (Muzz Khan) brings in Vinnie and co on a plan to steal six fancy cars from a transporter. He has an inside man, but the plan stalls when the transporter driver (guest star Lee Mack) swallows the cars’ key fob; the gang kidnap him and a chaotic 24 hours ensues as they wait for nature to take its course. Dominic West, meanwhile, gives another dry turn as Vinnie’s self-obsessed GP. VL
The Castlevania universe expands with this pitch-black adult animation from Kevin Kolde and Clive Bradley. Set during the French Revolution, the new eight-part series focuses on vampire-slayer Richter Belmont (Edward Bluemel), Trevor and Sypha’s descendant, and Maria Renard (Pixie Davies), who discover the counter-revolutionary aristocracy has forged an alliance with the Vampire Messiah.
The Darkness Within La Luz del Mundo
In 2019, Naasón Joaquín García, self-proclaimed “Apostle of Jesus Christ” and the leader of La Iglesia de La Luz del Mundo, founded in Guadalajara, Mexico, was arrested in the United States on 26 charges, including human trafficking, rape and child pornography. In this harrowing documentary, survivors share their stories of the abuse that had gone on in the church for decades.
The inexplicably much-loved (and shamelessly trashy) celebrity reality series returns for another glimpse into the luxurious daily lives of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, who remain divided following the inter-family tensions of the previous season.
Saving Lives at Sea
BBC Two, 8pm
The wholesome series about the RNLI returns, with the team of volunteers tasked with helping people stuck at sea off the Solent, including a young man involved in a jet ski accident. Up on the Wirral, meanwhile, it’s a race against time by two crews to rescue a walker caught in the mudflats.
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
Channel 4, 8pm
New Bake Off host Alison Hammond puts in another shift alongside Jo Brand and Tom Allen to kick off the latest series of the backroom goings-on, digesting the events of Cake Week with famous fans Stephen Mangan and Michelle Visage.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK
BBC Three, 9pm
Sparkles and rhinestones at the ready as 10 new drag queens enter the Werk Room. US model Kristen McMenamy joins Michelle Visage (popping up for the second time today) and Alan Carr on the judging panel as RuPaul determines which contestant is sent packing. Followed by The After Shave with Danny Beard (10.10pm), in which the reigning champion catches up with the first eliminated contestant.
Bus Stop (1956) ★★★★
Talking Pictures TV, 11.25am
A young saloon singer (Marilyn Monroe) finds herself trapped on a bus with a hot-tempered and possessive rodeo rider
(Don Murray) in the middle of a blizzard in this deliciously dark romantic comedy, directed by Joshua Logan. Monroe proved her acting chops in this role, adopting a Phoenix accent and a sweet but steely determination not to let the cowboy have his way. An underrated gem.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) ★★★★
If more than every fifth element of Luc Besson’s joyous Day-Glo opus seems familiar, that’s because the 1960s French comic-strip on which it is based helped to shape every classic science-fiction cinematic universe from Star Wars to Avatar. Wallow in the ugly-beautiful wonderment, while Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan tumble through the futuristic CGI scenery.
Film of the week: Psycho (1960, b/w) ★★★★★
BBC Four, 9pm
The film by which all other works of cinema are judged, Alfred Hitchcock’s expertly crafted horror is still a masterclass in fear and suspense. The motel where young women meet their terrible fate remains utterly forbidding, and its proprietor, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), just as creepy; the character’s creation also gave us the excellent television series Bates Motel, starring Freddie Highmore. Based on Robert Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same name, Psycho follows secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), as she stops for the night at the motel during the height of a storm. There, she meets Bates, whose interests include taxidermy and making obvious just how much he’s been messed up by his mother. The harsh violins during the shower scenes will have you jumping out of your skin, while the black-and-white cinematography makes the pace seem even more spooky. Notorious for good reason, the film was nominated for four Academy Awards and will be remembered throughout history as the definitive example of horror as high-art.
Wildfire (2021) ★★★
Cathy Brady’s Northern Irish drama is an affecting study of grief and the legacy of violence, made even more poignant by the death of its star, Nika McGuigan, before its release. McGuigan plays Kelly, the troubled sister of Lauren (Nora-Jane Noone); the latter spends her days working a tedious job in a factory. When Kelly arrives back on the scene, difficult memories of their late mother and their harrowing childhood soon come to the surface.
Friday 29 September
Amazon Prime Video
The Boys, Prime Video’s deliciously dark, sardonic spin on the superhero genre – filled with violence and gore, is not for the faint of heart. New spin-off Gen V tones down the stakes somewhat by existing as a coming-of-age story set at a college for superheroes: think less American football and wild fraternity parties, more ruthless fights for dominance where gifted students compete to join elite team The Seven.
Launching today with three episodes (of eight, which follow weekly), we’re first introduced to the super students on move-in day, as grieving Marie (Jaz Sinclair) prepares for a fresh start – and glory – with the help of brash roommate Emma (Lizze Broadway). However, the excitement takes a dark turn when Marie goes on a night out with jock-type Golden Boy (Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnie), placing her future at the school in jeopardy. Not just for fans of the original Boys (though cast members including Jessie T Usher, Colby Minifie and Jensen Ackles appear), Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters’s series is a thrilling joy ride through the trials and tribulations of youth; the students’ powers are genuine accessories to their development, rather than Marvel-esque distractions. PP
Sky Main, 6am; highlights, BBC Two, 8.30pm
The greatest tournament in golf begins at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome as Team Europe take on Team USA. The first day features four foursome matches (alternating shots) and four fourball matches (better ball). Team Europe, led by Luke Donald, will be buoyed by a fine set of performances at Wentworth last week. JT
BBC Two, 7.30pm
Adam Frost, Rachel de Thame and Frances Tophill head to Leeds’s York Gate to explore what makes a garden on the cusp of autumn quite so wonderful; beforehand, at 7pm, Beechgrove Garden’s finale: Carole Baxter and George Anderson reflect on why the UK’s soggy summer might have been a good thing for our plants.
Amazing Railway Adventures with Nick Knowles
Channel 5, 9pm
Nick Knowles continues his exploration of Italy’s most stunning sights, from the natural wonders of Mounts Vesuvius and Etna, to the urban sprawl of Naples and Sicily. Expect quips and history amid the ruins of Pompeii and zingy lemon dishes on the Amalfi Coast.
Phil Collins Night
BBC Four, from 9pm
Can you feel… the urge to get stuck into one of pop’s most iconic back catalogues, courtesy of Collins’s performances at the BBC, appearance on David Attenborough’s The Old Grey Whistle Test (10pm) and Genesis on TOTP2 at 10.40pm? Expect such hits as Take a Look at Me Now and Invisible Touch.
This subtitled Norwegian drama brings a heady dose of noir to Friday night. For Life follows detective Victoria Woll (Tone Beate Mostraum) across two timelines: in the present, as she’s solving murder cases and dealing with the repercussions of taking on her powerful, sexist boss; and in the future, when she finds herself behind bars. The whole series will be available
on demand from today.
Mrs Brown’s Boys
BBC One, 9.30pm
After just four episodes, the latest series of Brendan O’Carroll’s inescapable Irish sitcom, comes to an close (though fans will find comfort in the festive special being just three months away. Agnes (O’Carroll) is forced to pair up with nemesis Hillary (Susie Blake) to organise a party. Obviously, sparks fly.
The Graham Norton Show
BBC One, 10.40pm
There’s a noticeable absence of Hollywood titans thanks to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, but never fear – Norton’s ever-popular chat show has recruited some British talent (in Stephen Graham, David Mitchell, Juice’s Mawaan Rizwan and Eurovision alumna Mae Muller) to natter away on the sofa. The Queen of Pop, Kylie Minogue, is also on hand to discuss her fabulous new album, Tension.
Flora and Son (2023)
This looks a treat: an original modern musical brimming with life – and great songs (written by Once director John Carney and Irish musician Gary Clark). Flora (Eve Hewson) is a single mother living in Dublin who is struggling to control her son Max (Orén Kinlan). Encouraged by the police to find him a hobby, Flora rescues a battered guitar from a skip and finds him a music teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whose influence soon turns all three of their lives around.
Following the brutal murder of a young estate agent, tough detective Tom Nichols (Benicio del Toro) tries to bring the killer to justice, but discovers a case filled with twists, turns and shady figures. Has he finally met his match? The film marks music video director Grant Singer’s feature-length film debut, while the cast is nicely stacked – Justin Timberlake and Alicia Silverstone co-star – resulting in an entertaining potboiler perfect for a Friday.
Sherlock Holmes (2009) ★★★
The mockney maestro Guy Ritchie turns his hand to Sherlock Holmes in this energetic and explosive reworking of Conan Doyle’s sleuth – which predates the Benedict Cumberbatch BBC phenomenon. Robert Downey Jr is a wry delight in the title role, Jude Law makes for a smart and witty Dr Watson, and Mark Strong hams it up as the evil Lord Blackwood. As usual, Ritchie totally overdoes the flash, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Raging Bull (1980) ★★★★★
A chance to revisit one of Martin Scorsese (and Robert De Niro’s) best films, prior to the release of Killers of the Flower Moon on October 20. Raging Bull centres on Italian-American boxer Jake LaMotta, who won the world title and lost it in a series of epic encounters with Sugar Ray Robinson. De Niro put himself through physical hell to play LaMotta and picked up the Best Actor Oscar for his efforts. A then-unknown Joe Pesci plays his brother.
Stephen Kelly (SK), Veronica Lee (VL), Keith Watson (KW), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Poppie Platt (PP), Gabriel Tate (GT) and Jack Taylor (JT),