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New Zealand is deploying 'rugby diplomacy' in the southern Pacific with plans to use the sport to unlock development in the region and ward off growing Chinese influence. Wellington is seeking to establish a joint team from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga that would join the Super Rugby club competition, which is contested by 15 teams from southern hemisphere nations and Japan. The involvement of a new Pacific islands team - called Pacific Force - is being seen as a potential catalyst for development in the region at a time when China is seeking to gain a foothold through massive investment. "Part of the plan is that rugby can be a diplomatic force to counter China's influence in the Pacific," said New Zealand media outlet Newshub, who first reported the plan. "The idea is that rugby will help keep hearts and minds away from China, which is saturating the region with money to obtain influence." New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier this year expressed "strategic anxiety" over the Pacific. Beijing is being seen as using its economic muscle to gain influence in South Pacific countries. Australia's Lowy Institute estimates China provided US$1.78 billion in aid, including concessional loans, to Pacific nations between 2006-16. Samoa's lock and captain Chris Vui is tackled during the autumn international rugby union test match between Scotland and Samoa at Murrayfield stadium Credit: AFP China has built a presidential palace and government buildings in East Timor and invested heavily in Vanuatu, a tiny island 1,200 miles north-east from Brisbane where reports last month suggested Beijing was eyeing a military base. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said officials had commissioned an NZ$80,000 (£41,000) report into a Pacific Island Super Rugby franchise. The spokeswoman said: "The establishment of a regional fully professional rugby team in the Pacific Islands has the potential to deliver economic and social benefits to individual players, their families and communities, Pacific Island national rugby unions and teams, and to Pacific Island economies." Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are long-established rugby nations, but players often opt to play for foreign teams at an early stage in their careers. A strong home-based team would help keep star players within the islands, and boost the development of the sport and wider investment. Super Rugby officials are currently exploring plans to restructure the competition from 2021 to 2030. There is speculation that South African teams might opt to join European rugby sides in alternative competitions.
New Zealand deploys ‘rugby diplomacy’ amid scrum with China over Pacific islands
New Zealand is deploying 'rugby diplomacy' in the southern Pacific with plans to use the sport to unlock development in the region and ward off growing Chinese influence. Wellington is seeking to establish a joint team from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga that would join the Super Rugby club competition, which is contested by 15 teams from southern hemisphere nations and Japan. The involvement of a new Pacific islands team - called Pacific Force - is being seen as a potential catalyst for development in the region at a time when China is seeking to gain a foothold through massive investment. "Part of the plan is that rugby can be a diplomatic force to counter China's influence in the Pacific," said New Zealand media outlet Newshub, who first reported the plan. "The idea is that rugby will help keep hearts and minds away from China, which is saturating the region with money to obtain influence." New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier this year expressed "strategic anxiety" over the Pacific. Beijing is being seen as using its economic muscle to gain influence in South Pacific countries. Australia's Lowy Institute estimates China provided US$1.78 billion in aid, including concessional loans, to Pacific nations between 2006-16. Samoa's lock and captain Chris Vui is tackled during the autumn international rugby union test match between Scotland and Samoa at Murrayfield stadium Credit: AFP China has built a presidential palace and government buildings in East Timor and invested heavily in Vanuatu, a tiny island 1,200 miles north-east from Brisbane where reports last month suggested Beijing was eyeing a military base. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said officials had commissioned an NZ$80,000 (£41,000) report into a Pacific Island Super Rugby franchise. The spokeswoman said: "The establishment of a regional fully professional rugby team in the Pacific Islands has the potential to deliver economic and social benefits to individual players, their families and communities, Pacific Island national rugby unions and teams, and to Pacific Island economies." Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are long-established rugby nations, but players often opt to play for foreign teams at an early stage in their careers. A strong home-based team would help keep star players within the islands, and boost the development of the sport and wider investment. Super Rugby officials are currently exploring plans to restructure the competition from 2021 to 2030. There is speculation that South African teams might opt to join European rugby sides in alternative competitions.
New Zealand is deploying 'rugby diplomacy' in the southern Pacific with plans to use the sport to unlock development in the region and ward off growing Chinese influence. Wellington is seeking to establish a joint team from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga that would join the Super Rugby club competition, which is contested by 15 teams from southern hemisphere nations and Japan. The involvement of a new Pacific islands team - called Pacific Force - is being seen as a potential catalyst for development in the region at a time when China is seeking to gain a foothold through massive investment. "Part of the plan is that rugby can be a diplomatic force to counter China's influence in the Pacific," said New Zealand media outlet Newshub, who first reported the plan. "The idea is that rugby will help keep hearts and minds away from China, which is saturating the region with money to obtain influence." New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier this year expressed "strategic anxiety" over the Pacific. Beijing is being seen as using its economic muscle to gain influence in South Pacific countries. Australia's Lowy Institute estimates China provided US$1.78 billion in aid, including concessional loans, to Pacific nations between 2006-16. Samoa's lock and captain Chris Vui is tackled during the autumn international rugby union test match between Scotland and Samoa at Murrayfield stadium Credit: AFP China has built a presidential palace and government buildings in East Timor and invested heavily in Vanuatu, a tiny island 1,200 miles north-east from Brisbane where reports last month suggested Beijing was eyeing a military base. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said officials had commissioned an NZ$80,000 (£41,000) report into a Pacific Island Super Rugby franchise. The spokeswoman said: "The establishment of a regional fully professional rugby team in the Pacific Islands has the potential to deliver economic and social benefits to individual players, their families and communities, Pacific Island national rugby unions and teams, and to Pacific Island economies." Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are long-established rugby nations, but players often opt to play for foreign teams at an early stage in their careers. A strong home-based team would help keep star players within the islands, and boost the development of the sport and wider investment. Super Rugby officials are currently exploring plans to restructure the competition from 2021 to 2030. There is speculation that South African teams might opt to join European rugby sides in alternative competitions.
New Zealand deploys ‘rugby diplomacy’ amid scrum with China over Pacific islands
New Zealand is deploying 'rugby diplomacy' in the southern Pacific with plans to use the sport to unlock development in the region and ward off growing Chinese influence. Wellington is seeking to establish a joint team from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga that would join the Super Rugby club competition, which is contested by 15 teams from southern hemisphere nations and Japan. The involvement of a new Pacific islands team - called Pacific Force - is being seen as a potential catalyst for development in the region at a time when China is seeking to gain a foothold through massive investment. "Part of the plan is that rugby can be a diplomatic force to counter China's influence in the Pacific," said New Zealand media outlet Newshub, who first reported the plan. "The idea is that rugby will help keep hearts and minds away from China, which is saturating the region with money to obtain influence." New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier this year expressed "strategic anxiety" over the Pacific. Beijing is being seen as using its economic muscle to gain influence in South Pacific countries. Australia's Lowy Institute estimates China provided US$1.78 billion in aid, including concessional loans, to Pacific nations between 2006-16. Samoa's lock and captain Chris Vui is tackled during the autumn international rugby union test match between Scotland and Samoa at Murrayfield stadium Credit: AFP China has built a presidential palace and government buildings in East Timor and invested heavily in Vanuatu, a tiny island 1,200 miles north-east from Brisbane where reports last month suggested Beijing was eyeing a military base. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said officials had commissioned an NZ$80,000 (£41,000) report into a Pacific Island Super Rugby franchise. The spokeswoman said: "The establishment of a regional fully professional rugby team in the Pacific Islands has the potential to deliver economic and social benefits to individual players, their families and communities, Pacific Island national rugby unions and teams, and to Pacific Island economies." Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are long-established rugby nations, but players often opt to play for foreign teams at an early stage in their careers. A strong home-based team would help keep star players within the islands, and boost the development of the sport and wider investment. Super Rugby officials are currently exploring plans to restructure the competition from 2021 to 2030. There is speculation that South African teams might opt to join European rugby sides in alternative competitions.
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Japan News Conference - U Arena, Nanterre, France - November 24, 2017. Japan's head coach Jamie Joseph during the news conference. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Rugby Union - Japan News Conference
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Japan News Conference - U Arena, Nanterre, France - November 24, 2017. Japan's head coach Jamie Joseph during the news conference. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - IRB Rugby World Cup 2019 Press Conference - The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London - 27/10/15 (From L-R) Noriyuki Sakamoto, Chairman of The Japan Rugby Football Union, Akira Shimazu, CEO of Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Comittee, Brett Gosper, Rugby World Cup Limited Managing Director and Alan Gilpin, Head of Rugby World Cup, pose or a photograph with The Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup Trophy Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic
FILE PHOTO: IRB Rugby World Cup 2019 Press Conference
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - IRB Rugby World Cup 2019 Press Conference - The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London - 27/10/15 (From L-R) Noriyuki Sakamoto, Chairman of The Japan Rugby Football Union, Akira Shimazu, CEO of Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Comittee, Brett Gosper, Rugby World Cup Limited Managing Director and Alan Gilpin, Head of Rugby World Cup, pose or a photograph with The Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup Trophy Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia (AFP Photo/Toshifumi KITAMURA)
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia (AFP Photo/Toshifumi KITAMURA)
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Michael Little of the Sunwolves (C) dives to score a try during the Super Rugby union match between the Sunwolves of Japan and the Waratahs of Australia
Thursday 5 April The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm “I have investigated some of the UK’s most infamous crimes but I’ve never encountered anything as sinister as this,” says cop turned investigative reporter Mark Williams-Thomas of this series in which he turns his attention to the disappearance of Polegate teenager Louise Kay in 1988. Which is quite a claim, coming as it does from the man who broke the Jimmy Savile story, among others. But when the Kay family turned to him for help after three decades of getting nowhere via the police, Williams Thomas says his own investigation turned up a great deal more than he was expecting, including links to a number of other missing persons cases and the possibility that he might have uncovered “the undetected crimes of a serial killer who has got away with murder for decades”. In this first episode, though, the focus is firmly on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise, who was last seen driving towards Beachy Head after a night out clubbing in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with her best friend, and the fact that her distinctive gold and white Ford Fiesta also vanished that night without trace. Gerard O’Donovan The Cruise: Sailing the Caribbean ITV, 8.30pm More seaborne adventures for the cruise ship Royal Princess, this time as she embarks on an island-hopping tour of such Caribbean destinations as Grenada, the Bahamas and Antigua. If they can get into port, that is, as the ship’s docking winches appear to have failed. Ho-hum. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm David Olusoga takes the reins for a wide-ranging edition exploring how in West Africa, Central America and Japan, art left its own distinctive record of when some great civilisations of the 15th and 16th centuries came into contact for the first time. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm The five British boys are now six weeks into their study programme at the Doon School in Uttarakhand, but it’s not easy for them, especially Jack who finds there is a high price to pay for daring to do better than the others. Unsolved: The Man with No Alibi BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.15pm In the concluding part of this report exploring the July 2002 murder in Bournemouth of Korean student Jong-Ok Shin, Bronagh Munro examines the evidence that convicted Omar Benguit despite the absence of forensics linking him to the crime. GO Deep State Fox, 9.00pm This eight-part British spy thriller gets off to an action packed start, with Mark Strong convincing as ex-MI6 spook Max Easton, unwillingly forced out of retirement by a former intelligence chief in London. It’s not long before he finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy by powerful corporations to foment chaos and revolution in the Middle East. Silicon Valley Sky Atlantic, 10.15pm The popular HBO tech-comedy returns for a fifth series as, despite their record of failure (a video chat app that contravened privacy laws and a partner permanently sozzled in Tibet were just two of their problems), the team at Pied Piper look to be on the verge of success. As Richard’s (Thomas Middleditch) decentralised internet concept approaches launch, there’s ample funding for once and new offices. But the pressure to get things right begins to play on Richard’s mind. GO Nanny McPhee (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 10.20am Emma Thompson wrote and stars in this sweet and old-fashioned fantasy film, based on Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books. She plays an old nanny who finds that the children of a widower (Colin Firth) are a challenge, even for her. Poised between Lemony Snicket and Mary Poppins, the film has moral messages to impart, but luckily not at the expense of an enjoyable, magical tale. Live and Let Die (1973) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm James Bond (Roger Moore) battles one of his more extraordinary opponents, Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a Caribbean criminal mastermind masquerading as a Harlem drug baron. The film was given lukewarm reviews on its release, but this is Moore-era Bond at its preposterous best. Highlights include 007’s voodoo snake ordeal and a thrilling speedboat chase through New Orleans. RocknRolla (2008) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 10.00pm After the dismal Revolver and Swept Away (which starred his ex-wife Madonna), Guy Ritchie attempts a return to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels-esque form with another testosterone-heavy, twisty tale set in London’s underworld. The plot moves vaguely around the theft of a painting from a Russian mobster (Karl Roden) while getting tangled up in various sub-plots. Friday 6 April David Morrissey Credit: BBC The City & the City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Northern Ireland, 9.30pm “I knew there was another city I dare not see… Just on the other side of where I was supposed to look.” So states Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) midway through this engrossing adaptation of China Miéville’s Borgesian novel, which achieves the apparently impossible by bringing a dense and clever book to brilliant, atmospheric life. Borlú, a detective with the Extreme Crime Squad in the rundown vaguely Eastern European city of Beszul, is handed the task of solving the murder of a foreign student. So far, so standard, but what unfolds turns out to be anything but as scriptwriter Tony Grisoni (Red Riding) expertly captures Miéville’s vision of a world in which a city is divided not by a wall or barricade, but by blurred realities the populace is trained from birth not to see. Thus the two cities of Beszul and Ul Qoma coexist in the same space but without acknowledging each other, the town hall their only shared space. To look directly on the other city is to commit “Breach”, bringing about the wrath of the secret police. Grisoni and director Tom Shankland build the tension inexorably as Borlú’s world is slowly but surely upended. An absolute treat. Sarah Hughes Sounds Like Friday Night BBC One, 7.30pm The BBC’s music TV revival didn’t make a huge splash with its first series but it’s still worth checking out, if only because co-host and Radio 1Xtra presenter Dotty is such a likeable presence. Tonight, she’s on the road, while Greg James anchors from the studio. Professor Green, Snow Patrol and Years & Years perform. Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.30pm The satirical quiz show returns for a 55th series, with captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joined by presenter Steph McGovern and comedian Josh Widdicombe; Jeremy Paxman hosts. The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm In an era when the talk show appears tired somehow Graham Norton manages to keep the format enjoyable. Tonight’s episode, the first in a new series, sees husband-and-wife team Emily Blunt and John Krasinski discuss their horror A Quiet Place. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; N Ireland, 11.35pm Following the kerfuffle over its poorly received first series, the arts show returns with a rejigged format and Mary Beard in the presenter’s chair. Informed debate is promised, although Beard has said that she won’t simply replicate the notoriously combative Newsnight Review. SH BBC Young Musician 2018 BBC Four, 7.30pm The contest kicks off at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s new concert hall. Presenter Josie d’Arby is joined by 1998 finalist Alison Balsom as we meet the final five: violinists Elodie Chousmer-Howelles and Stephanie Childress, double bassist Will Duerden, guitarist Torrin Williams and cellist Maxim Calver. The judges are double bassist Leon Bosch, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, violinist and previous Young Musician of the Year winner, Jennifer Pike. Composer Kerry Andrew and the contestants will perform works by Bach, Brahms and Stravinsky. The Nineties Sky Arts, 9.00pm There’s nothing like seeing the decade you came of age in co-opted for nostalgic TV to make you feel old, but for those who can bear seeing their youth dissected Sky Arts at least does it well. Tonight’s second episode continues the focus on the decade’s TV with The Sopranos and Seinfeld under discussion. SH Fury (2014) ★★★★★ 5STAR, 9.00pm David Ayer’s study of the habits and habitats of the American killer male is an astonishing, stirring drama. It’s Germany 1945, and Sgt Don “Wardaddy” Collie (Brad Pitt) and his team are grinding towards Berlin in a battered M4 Sherman tank. There is no rescue mission, just an agonising rumble from one brush with death to the next. The set-piece battles are gripping, and the raw terror of war is blasted home. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm The best of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s romcoms about awfully nice chaps dithering over frightfully pretty girls. Grant plays bumbling Charles, who, ah, er, can’t tell what’s, um, going on between him and the scrummy Carrie (Andie MacDowell), who he keeps, gosh, bumping into at weddings. It’s aged pretty well and certainly knocks spots off Love, Actually. Lawless (2012) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 12.45am An adaptation of the historical novel The Wettest County in the World, John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era western follows three brothers (played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke), who do a tidy business distilling and selling illegal moonshine whiskey. It’s an oddly affectionate clan portrait – the violence the brothers mete out is implicitly forgiven – but the period detail is well observed. Saturday 7 April Saturday night fever: Declan Donnelly presents from Orlando Credit: Rex/Shutterstock Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway ITV, 7.00pm It can’t be easy hosting a show as exuberant as Saturday Night Takeaway on your own but Declan Donnelly made a solid if understandably restrained go of it last week. He ensured that the light entertainment series proceeded pretty much as normal in the absence of long-time work partner Ant McPartlin, whose travails were sensibly referenced only in very brief passing (“I’ve got twice the amount of work to do,” Donnelly noted at one point before mock-berating the production crew that “I’ll have to do it myself, like everything else around here this week”). That said, this final episode ups the ante as Donnelly takes the show on the road to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Once there we’re promised a “super-sized” edition featuring stunts, surprises and “extra-special” guests. No word yet as to who those guests will be but expect Donnelly to continue making the best of a difficult situation, buoyed by extra support from Scarlett Moffatt, who is in charge of ensuring that the Place on the Plane winners have a wonderful time, and Stephen Mulhern, who has the possibly less than enviable task of explaining In for a Penny to an American audience. Sarah Hughes Premier League Football: Everton v Liverpool Sky Sports Main Event, 12.30pm Tired, perhaps, from their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Man City, Liverpool face their bitter local rivals Everton at Goodison Park. The home side, who’ve won three of their last six games, haven’t beaten Liverpool since October 2010, when Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave them a 2-0 victory. Premiership Rugby Union: Bath v Leicester Tigers Channel 5, 1.30pm Time was when Bath and Leicester were the titans of English rugby. Currently they are fifth and eighth in the league, respectively. In September, Bath claimed a 27-23 win at Welford Road, as they held on for their first away win at Leicester since 2003, ensuring an unhappy return for George Ford against the club he left in the summer. The two sides also met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at the Recreation Ground in November, where Bath also emerged victorious, beating Leicester 33-31 on that occasion. Premier League Football: Manchester City v Manchester United Sky Sports Main Event, 5.30pm What better way for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to clinch the title than by beating second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. Sixteen points ahead of them in the table, City have been formidable this season, winning 27 of the 31 league games they’ve played. One of those victories came at Old Trafford, with a goal from Nicolas Otamendi giving City a 2-1 victory when these sides met in December. Britain’s Most Historic Towns Channel 4, 8.00pm Alice Roberts is our guide for this new six-part series, which sees her search the UK for the places that best sum up an historical era. The first era is Roman Britain, so Roberts heads to Chester, where she abseils down walls, hunkers in caves and uncovers the truth about the city. Casualty BBC One, 8.20pm The medical drama’s storyline about Dylan’s (William Beck) alcoholism continues to be sensitively handled as the medic’s ex-wife Sam (Charlotte Salt) worries about whether she can help him. Meanwhile, Ethan (George Hardy) struggles with his own demons as he realises that a patient is related to his brother’s killer. The Voice UK: Live Final ITV, 8.30pm Every reality TV idea has an allotted shelf life and it’s hard not to feel that musical talent contests have come to the end of their run. For those who disagree, The Voice UK’s grand finale is here and the final four battle it out for public approval. Below the Surface BBC Four, 9.00pm & 9.45pm BBC Four’s latest Scandi drama started off tensely but like its predecessor, Modus, it has gone on to become ever more ludicrous. Now it’s the final two episodes, and Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) faces off against Mark (Jakob Oftebro), the man behind the hostage crisis. Much heartfelt talking follows, although you may end up feeling more sympathetic towards the damaged Mark than the chilly Norgaard. Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two Sky Arts, 9.00pm When is a music documentary not a music documentary? When it’s also a sports film. This exuberant film, which was made following the Chicago Cubs’ victory in baseball’s World Series in 2016, follows die-hard Cubs fan and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder as he cheers on his team during their championship run while also preparing the band for two August shows at the team’s Wrigley Field Stadium. The result is an affectionate portrait of the singer as fan. SH Troy: Fall of a City BBC One, 9.10pm David Farr’s epic series reaches its climax with the arrival of the most famous horse in history. After an uninspiring start, Troy has picked up in recent weeks and the final episode is a well-handled tale of betrayal and death. It’s a curate’s egg of a series, let down by poor casting. SH X-Men (2000) ★★★★☆ Film4, 7.00pm Bryan Singer directs an all-star cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry, in the first of the X-Men franchise. A group of mutants must decide whether to side with Professor Xavier (Stewart) or the evil Magneto (McKellen) in what is a solid opening to the series and which paved the way for plenty of big-budget sequels. This is followed by X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 at 9.00pm and 11.35pm respectively. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and this inconsistency leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.05pm Mel Gibson sports his signature Eighties mullet in the second film of this daft-but-fun action franchise. LAPD officer Riggs (Gibson) teams up once again with his partner Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to track down a band of South African criminals while protecting a painfully frenzied witness (Joe Pesci). Naturally, the pair find themselves drawn into violent action sequences orchestrated by stereotypical bad guys. Sunday 8 April Hostess with the mostest: Catherine Tate presents the awards Credit: ITV The Olivier Awards 2018 ITV, 10.20pm Last year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child swept the board with nine Olivier Awards, something that looked impossible to top. But then came Lin Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton, whose West End run has received reviews every bit as rapturous as those from its Broadway debut. The show has a record-breaking 13 nominations, which it is thought will be translated into awards. After being snubbed for Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth will surely be rewarded for his equally magisterial play The Ferryman (its eight nominations include best play and best director for Sam Mendes), while contenders in the acting categories include Bryan Cranston for Network, Andrew Garfield for Angels in America and Lesley Manville for Long Day’s Journey into Night. Catherine Tate will be on hosting duties for the event at the Royal Albert Hall, which will, as usual, feature a crop of stellar performances; this one will include a special tribute to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which turns 50 this year. Let’s hope the organisers bring together Josephs of the past for a big singalong: Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield, Ian “H” Watkins and Lee Mead will all, one suspects, be available. Gabriel Tate Sex Robots and Us BBC Three, from 10.00am James Young, an amputee who created his own bionic arm, meets the people who design sex robots and hears about their plans for them, from being given to old people’s homes to “employment” in brothels. But is it the harmless, even socially responsible pursuit thatthey claim? Formula 1: The Bahrain Grand Prix Sky Sports F1, 3.30pm After the Australian Grand Prix – in which Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a safety-car blunder to win under pristine Melbourne skies – attention turns to the second round of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Another blunder cost Lewis Hamilton on this circuit last year – this time it happened in the pit lane, with Vettel capitalising to win by 6.6 seconds. The Generation Game BBC One, 8.00pm How do you top last week’s cavalcade of silliness in this rebooted game show? You rope in Danny Dyer to join Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and panellists Melvin Odoom and Roisin Conaty for challenges that include cake decorating, balloon modelling and dancing the Argentine Tango. The Durrells ITV, 8.00pm In the fourth episode of the popular drama, Larry (Josh O’Connor) visits Athens with two oddly named guests – Captain Creech (James Cosmo) and Prince Jeejeebuoy (Tanmay Dhanania) – in tow. There, they offer advice to Gerry (Milo Parker), who is applying for a new school. Jesus’ Female Disciples: the New Evidence Channel 4, 8.00pm For centuries, the birth of Christianity was regarded as a largely male affair, with women as only bit-part players. Now, Bible experts Helen Bond and Joan Taylor have discovered evidence that women were involved in everything from preaching and baptising to funding the movement as it grew. This absorbing documentary follows the historians’ progress. Golf: The Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 8.00pm Prepare for a dramatic finale as this year’s first Major – from the Augusta National in Georgia – concludes. Last year, Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the coveted green jacket, beating Justin Rose in a tense play-off. Ordeal by Innocence BBC One, 9.00pm Sarah Phelps’s splendid adaptation continues, as Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) resolves to prove the truth about Jack Argyll’s (Anthony Boyle) alibi by any means necessary. GT Folk Awards 2018 BBC Four, 9.00pm Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis introduce highlights from this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards in Belfast. It features performances from Cara Dillon, Lankum and Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band. The great Nick Drake will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his genius long-established, even if such recognition eluded him during his short life. Producer Dónal Lunny, meanwhile, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of tireless work promoting the renaissance in Irish music, plus The Armagh Pipers Club are presented with the Good Tradition Award. GT Emma (1996) ★★★★☆ BBC Two, 3.00pm Gwyneth Paltrow’s American iciness melts in this deft adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic comic romance. She is Emma Woodhouse, spoilt, charming and an inveterate meddler. Only Mr George Knightley (Jeremy Northam) dares challenge her behaviour – but what are his motives? A clever film with a superb supporting cast, including Toni Collette, Alan Cumming and Ewan McGregor. United 93 (2006) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 9.55pm Director Paul Greengrass’s boneshaking, real-time take on the final hours of the United Airlines plane whose passengers rebelled against their hijackers on September 11, 2001 feels uncomfortably realistic. Greengrass, whose signature rapid cutting made the second and third Bourne films so exciting, proves expert at handling the most infamous atrocity of modern times with intelligence and sobriety. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.00pm This superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel is a triumph. The espionage drama follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service, with Gary Oldman spearheading the excellent ensemble cast, which includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s funny, seductive and suspenseful. Monday 9 April I spy: a recruit sees if she’s got what it takes to be an SOE agent Credit: BBC Secret Agent Selection: WW2 BBC Two, 9.00pm Not unlike Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, this absorbing new series puts a group of recruits through a series of gruelling physical and psychological challenges to see if they could make the grade as a secret agent according to an established selection test used during the Second World War. This test was used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to determine whether recruits from many different walks of life would be capable of being dropped behind enemy lines and surviving as a covert officer with a brief to cause the maximum disruption possible to the enemy in the territory. As with the original SOE, the 14 candidates come from diverse backgrounds (among them a research scientist, a property developer, former police officer, a drag act performer, a retired investment banker and an Army veteran). In the opening episode, they undergo the initial four-day assessment at a remote Scottish country-house estate. The aim is to winnow out weakness and determine who should win a place on the advanced, and suitably terrifying, course in assassination, sabotage and covert intelligence techniques. Gerard O’Donovan Famalam BBC Three, from 10.00am After a successful pilot last year, Vivienne Acheampong, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roxanne Sternberg, Tom Moutchi and John MacMillan return with more culturally skewed sketches. Once again, they feature William and Funke’s raunchy chat show, misunderstood superhero Eclipse, Croydon’s voodoo practitioner Professor Lofuko, and a version of Midsomer Murders. 800 Words BBC One, 2.15pm If you like The Durrells you will definitely want to watch hit Australian comedy drama 800 Words. This gently funny series follows George (Erik Thomson), a widower, who horrifies his teenaged children when he moves the entire family to a remote seaside town in New Zealand. Springtime on the Farm Channel 5, 8.00pm This is the first of five shows this week celebrating the “great British farmer”, with the help of Yorkshire Vet stars Peter Wright and Julian Norton, Adam Henson of Countryfile and Springwatch’s Lindsey Chapman. In this programme, they explore how to cope with the stresses of lambing. MasterChef: The Finals BBC One, 9.00pm Oodles of challenges lie ahead for the remaining amateur chefs in the final week, which takes them as far afield as Peru ahead of Friday’s concluding cook-off. First, though, they’re off to North Yorkshire to cater a country-house lunch for local grandees and farmers. Lisbon: An Art Lovers’ Guide BBC Four, 9.00pm Having covered Barcelona, St Petersburg and Amsterdam in their first series of city-break guides, historian Dr Janina Ramirez and art critic Alastair Sooke jet off to explore three less obvious, art-rich destinations. Beirut and Baku are perhaps the more intriguing but it opens in Lisbon, which built up its art reserves during the centuries Portugal was part of one of the world’s great empires, and currently boasts one of the hottest contemporary art scenes in Europe. GO Marcella ITV, 9.00pm This drama’s been a little less fraught the second time round but Marcella still pushes the boundaries of credibility. In this concluding part, the heroine (Anna Friel) tracks down the killer, only to suffer one of her unfortunate episodes. GO The Core (2003) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 6.25pm Rome starts to crumble, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses and pigeons go mental in Trafalgar Square. Something is obviously amiss, and this time it isn’t climate change. In fact, the Earth’s core has stopped rotating and a team of scientists has to build a special burrowing machine to start it spinning again. Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Aaron Eckhart do their best, but the excitement is intermittent. The Emoji Movie (2017) ★☆☆☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 6.30pm In this animated comedy set inside a smartphone, Gene (voiced by T J Miller), an emoji with multiple facial features, sets out on a quest to be like his colleagues who have only one. He does so with the help of apps like Spotify and Candy Crush. Sadly, the result is so horrendous that there aren’t enough Patrick Stewart-voiced emojis in the world to express what an ugly, artless exercise this is. Triple 9 (2016) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan to kill a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet in John Hillcoat’s crime thriller. There is a lot to like here: a big opening and a strong cast (with Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Anthony Mackie and Chiwetel Ejiofor among them). But it feels like fragments of a great crime drama are missing; it’s enthralling up close, but then the big picture isn’t complete. Tuesday 10 April Back to school: Mark, who has two sons with autism Credit: Channel 4 Class of Mum and Dad Channel 4, 8.00pm Another week, another Channel 4 series about education. Hold off on the black marks, however, because this one is pretty good. The premise is simple: Blackrod Primary School just outside of Bolton has thrown open its doors to a class made up of pupils’ parents (and one grandparent). They’ve agreed to go back to school for the summer term to see what modern education is really like, sports day, Sats tests and all. Naturally, its harder than many of them were expecting – 36-year-old decorator Jonny states early on that he thought he’d be able to slope off for a swift cigarette break rather than having to adhere to strict class rules – but there are some touching stories amid the more obvious moments. Most notably, this opening episode focuses on two parents with challenging home lives – Julia, who is raising her 10-year-old cousin Asha after Asha’s mother died, and Mark, who has two autistic sons. While the parents’ travails are interesting, the children are the real scene-stealers, however, from those delighted that their mothers and fathers are taking part to those who are more sceptical. The pair of five-year-olds who spend their time corpsing in front of the camera are particularly endearing. Sarah Hughes Champions League Football: Manchester City v Liverpool BT Sport 2, 7.45pm The Etihad Stadium is the setting as City and Liverpool fight it out for a place in the semi-finals. Liverpool have the advantage following a 3-0 win at Anfield in the first leg. This Time Next Year ITV, 8.00pm Davina McCall returns with another set of heart-tugging stories of people attempting to transform their lives over the course of a year. First up are two new parents who dream of making life wonderful for their baby girl who has been deaf since birth and a couple desperate to start a family. Come Home BBC One, 9.00pm Danny Brocklehurst’s claustrophobic family drama comes to a head as we flashback to find out exactly what went wrong in Greg (Christopher Eccleston) and Marie’s (Paula Malcomson) marriage. Hospital BBC Two, 9.00pm The engrossing fly-on-the-wall medical series continues with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust struggling to cope with the new NHS ruling regarding the cancellation of all non-urgent surgery. The episode focuses on Val, a 55-year-old with mouth cancer whose surgeon is desperately trying to ensure that her operation goes ahead. Here and Now Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm With only two episodes left to go, Alan Ball’s family drama continues to tread water in the most frustrating ways. On paper, there are a whole bunch of interesting stories in the mix, from Kristen’s (Sosie Bacon) possible relationship with Navid (Marwan Salama) to Ramon’s (Daniel Zovatto) continuing visions, but the problem is nothing much happens with any of them as each story moves on only incrementally each week. In this episode, Audrey (Holly Hunter) finally turns the tables on the perpetually smug Greg (Tim Robbins). Cunk on Britain BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI, 11.15pm Diana Morgan’s pitch-perfect send-up of history programmes moves to the Tudor era and beyond as Cunk takes on Henry VIII, aka “The kingiest king who kinged over Britain” before giving us her unique perspective on “Bloody” Mary Tudor (“horrible like the drink”) and Elizabeth I. SH Divorce Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm The acerbic Sarah Jessica Parker sitcom has been firing on all cylinders throughout its second series – possibly because it’s more interesting watching Frances (Parker) and Robert (the excellent Thomas Haden Church) navigate life after divorce than it was watching them get there. Here, Frances tries to make a new contact in the art world. SH Speed (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm “There’s a bomb on the bus!” is the most famous line and basically the entire plot of one of the best action thrillers of the Nineties. The sizzling chemistry between LAPD Swat specialist Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and passenger Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) sexes up the exhilarating action scenes, while Dennis Hopper is fantastically unhinged as a revenge-driven, retired bomb squad member turned terrorist. Fast & Furious 7 (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 9.00pm Paul Walker was killed in a car crash part-way through making this film so it was completed with the help of his two younger brothers and some subtle computer graphics. The good news is that this is the best film in the franchise and does justice to Walker. It isn’t polished blockbuster film-making – though if it was, it wouldn’t be Fast & Furious. But it speaks straight to your adrenal glands. The Witches of Eastwick (1987) ★★★☆☆ Syfy, 9.00pm It is remarkable that director George Miller’s daft, unfettered romp of a film works at all. But, thanks to Jack Nicholson’s delicious overacting as Daryl Van Horne, a manic gentleman who closely resembles the devil, and the three gorgeous, single small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), who vie for his debased attentions, it somehow does. Wednesday 11 April Family ties: Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz Credit: BBC The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story BBC Two, 9.00pm It’s been fascinating to discover the “true” story behind the 1997 murder of fhion designer Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s glitzy drama, which has expertly depicted the inner world of the perpetrator, a Walter Mitty-style serial killer called Andrew Cunanan (a career-defining role for Darren Criss). This episode, however, has a mid-series lull about it as Cunanan ascends to the higher echelons of gay society, shaping himself meticulously into the posh, preppy eye-candy who saw a sugar daddy (or two) as his way to the top. Elsewhere, the Versace siblings return at last. Gianni (Edgar Ramirez), now in failing health decides to champion his insecure sister Donatella (Penélope Cruz in a frightful wig) and turns her into both designer and muse. Despite a lack of characters to root for – the Versaces’ moments of vulnerability dissolve into tedious histrionics and are eclipsed by Cunanan’s cold-blooded machinations – it’s all quite a fabulous mix of fashion, high society and brutal murder, with some interesting commentary on homophobia in the Nineties as well. Vicki Power The Secret Helpers BBC Two, 8.00pm Watch and weep as timid elderly widow Lesley begins a new life as an out gay woman in this life-affirming docu-series. She’s encouraged with warmth and wisdom by amateur “sages” from abroad, who talk to her secretly through a hidden earpiece. From World War to Cold War Yesterday, 8.00pm As the Second World War drew to a close, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met at Yalta in the Crimea to broker post-war peace. This brisk two-part documentary raids the archives for clips and letters from those who attended, and gathers experts and relatives – including FDR’s grandson – to investigate power plays by Stalin that wrong-footed his Allied counterparts. It’s a detailed look at how and why the compromises reached at Yalta were quickly cast aside. Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy BBC Four, 9.00pm Historian Bettany Hughes continues to explore ancient civilisations, moving on to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Hughes’s odyssey starts under the City of London, where an 1,800-year-old Roman temple to Bacchus was discovered less than 100 years ago, and takes her to Greece, the Middle East and the Caucasus to explore the god’s roots and influence. VP Benidorm ITV, 9.00pm Fluffy as candyfloss, this lewd seaside comedy provides some fun, particularly in the retro casting of stars of yesteryear. This week, an exuberant Sammy (Shane Richie) tries to persuade Monty (John Challis) that, after his successful comeback gig, he is ready for an evening slot. One Born Every Minute Channel 4, 9.00pm This feelgood documentary series brings more poignant tales from a Birmingham labour ward. This week we meet Chantell, about to deliver her third child, who regales us with a moving story of how parenthood with partner Phil has healed the wounds of a traumatic past. First Dates Channel 4, 10.00pm The thoughtful dating show pairs up four more couples, but the road to love is bumpy – septuagenarian Deanna finds her date more interested in the waiter than her. More promising is the match between Bianca and Teza, who allow their vulnerabilities to show. VP The Thin Red Line (1998) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 3.10pm This lyrical Second World War drama, directed by Terrence Malick, tells the story of a group of young US soldiers fighting the Japanese for control of the island of Guadalcanal. Full of stars such as Sean Penn and George Clooney, it struggles with its own battle to squeeze in so many characters but is still an atmospheric meditation on the nature of war. Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody also star. The Remains of the Day (1993) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 3.55pm The success of Merchant Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Thirties-set novel, a well-observed study of regret, is built around its perfectly cast leads: Anthony Hopkins as James, the butler to the doltish aristocrat Lord Darlington (James Fox) and Emma Thompson as a housekeeper who tries to draw him out of his sterile shell. Lush visuals give it an added richness. Transporter 2 (2005) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A martial arts action sequel, in which Jason Statham and Alessandro Gassman are the sporadically thrilling stars. Statham is Frank Martin, who accepts a job as chauffeur to Jack (Hunter Clary), the son of Miami’s politician Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine). But the local Colombian drug dealers aren’t happy with his boss’s efforts to clean up the city. Cue a kidnapping, and a potentially deadly encounter with a cocaine baron. Thursday 12 April Changing attitudes: Holly and Hollie Credit: BBC Living with the Brainy Bunch BBC Two, 8.00pm Enterprising, PR-conscious Ash Ali is headmaster of Chessington Community College, a fast-improving school with a few problem pupils. Among them are Jack and Hollie who, on the surface, are comically awful teenagers. Hollie gripes constantly, throws strops and storms out of classrooms if things aren’t going her way. Jack is sullen, lazy and has clocked up 15 suspensions in the past year. It will come as no surprise to regular viewers of such documentaries that their behaviour is rooted in low self-esteem, although their parents unquestionably indulge their foibles. Ali’s novel solution is to place Hollie with Holly, tapdancing head girl and gregarious boffin, and Jack with Tharush, a Sri Lankan immigrant by way of Italy, whose talents are only matched by his work ethic. Now that Jack and Hollie are in the bosom of new families for six weeks, it’s hoped that a new environment, greater discipline and rigid routines will see their results improve and attitudes pick up. There are setbacks on the largely familiar narrative trajectory, but it’s cast to perfection and, as a demonstration of the importance of parenting in academic achievement, the experiment gets an A-star. Gabriel Tate European Tour Golf: The Open de Espana Sky Sports Golf, 11.00am The opening day’s play of the event from the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, which was won by Andrew Johnston the last time it was held in 2016. War Above the Trenches Yesterday, 8.00pm This decent two-parter tells the story of the Royal Flying Corps and their battle to win control of the air in the First World War. Based on Peter Hart’s book Bloody April, it draws affectingly on the testimony of veterans to show there was more to the Western Front than trench warfare. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm The modern age draws closer, as Simon Schama tackles the theme of radiance, guiding us through Gothic cathedrals, Baroque Venetian masterpieces and dazzling Japanese woodblock prints. The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm The second real-life case of the series sees Mark Williams-Thomas investigating the 1977 murders of three women in Glasgow. The suspect is Angus Sinclair, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing two other women that same year. We hear from his ex-wife, and learn how he was a prime suspect but escaped charges for the first killings when key evidence went missing. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm This diverting documentary series concludes with a Himalayan trek, a controversial article in the school newspaper and the GCSE retakes that were the goal of the entire enterprise. Will Alfie, Harry, Jack and co see their grades improve? Urban Myths: Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder Sky Arts, 9.00pm Sky Arts’ boldly cast series of vaguely apocryphal tales from the pop-culture frontlines returns with a dispatch from the set of Some Like It Hot, the magnificent 1959 comedy that is almost certainly more fun to watch than it was to make. In this minor but entertaining reimagining, Tony Curtis (Alex Pettyfer) is threatening to cuckold Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) by making off with Marilyn Monroe (Gemma Arterton), whose caprice, drinking and sensitivity is driving director Billy Wilder (James Purefoy) to distraction. GT Still Game BBC One, 9.30pm; BBC Two Wales, 10.00pm Justifying its prime-time BBC One slot, the Scottish sitcom bows out in triumph with a typically well-wrought farce involving a Hollywood stuntman, a disastrous driving lesson and romance for the widowed Isa (Jane McCarry). GT The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ★★★★☆ ITV4, 9.00pm Christopher Lee steals the show as the titular assassin, Francisco Scaramanga, in this classic Bond adventure. Roger Moore’s secret agent, in his second outing as 007, must pursue him, with the help of sidekick Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), to the villain’s island lair in order to prevent him harnessing the power of the Sun for evil. The confrontations between Moore and Lee are easily the film’s highlights. Swordfish (2001) ★★☆☆☆ TCM, 9.00pm The most often quoted bit of trivia about this film is that Halle Berry was paid an additional £500,000 to go topless. It’s rather lucky she agreed because she’s probably the most appealing aspect of this frenetic thriller. John Travolta and Hugh Jackman put on testosterone-fuelled displays as a morally dubious counter-terrorist agent and the hacker he blackmails into accessing billions of dollars of government money. Some Like It Hot (1959, b/w) ★★★★★ Sky Arts, 9.30pm When two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) witness a mob hit, they flee the state disguised as women in an all-female band, but further complications arise in the form of demure ukulele player Sugar Kane, superbly played by Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is effortlessly wacky and clever. Before, at 9pm, is Urban Myths, which imagines what happened on the set of this romcom. Friday 13 April Dishing out opinions: John Torode and Gregg Wallace Credit: BBC MasterChef: The Final BBC One, 8.30pm It has taken 25 episodes over seven weeks to whittle down the 56 amateur contestants to three finalists, and in the process, MasterChef 2018 has produced some of the best cooking – and some of the toughest competition – in the series’ long history. (It has been running in one form or another since 1990; and since 2005 in, roughly, its current format with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode presenting.) This last week has been no exception, with the finalists having to dig deeper than ever to produce the best dishes of their lives and some great moments – notably during the spectacular trip to South America when they met Peruvian superchef Gaston Acurio and took on a service at the fifth best restaurant in the world, the Central in Lima, under Michelin-starred maestro Virgilio Martínez Véliz. In the finale, it’s all about who cooks the best food, though, as the final three return to the studio kitchen to undergo a test of culinary skills and nerve as they set about creating the most important three-course meal of their lives – in the hope of being judged worthy of a title that has launched many a great career: MasterChef champion. Gerard O’Donovan Chef’s Table: Pastry Netflix, from today This mouth-watering spin-off from Netflix’s popular global foodie series Chef’s Table puts the focus entirely on sweet stuff, talking the cameras inside the kitchens of some of the world’s best pastry chefs, among them Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar in New York, Corrado Assenza’s Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Sicily, Jordi Roca’s El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and Will Goldfarb’s Room4Dessert in Bali. Lost in Space Netflix, from today Not so much a rerun as a spectacular new take on the classic Sixties sci-fi series about a family marooned in space when their ship runs into difficulty on their way to a new colony and crashes on an unknown and surprisingly hostile planet. There are plenty of thrills and impressive visual effects, and Toby Stephens and Molly Parker are excellent as the pioneering Robinson parents John and Judy, while Parker Posey is an enigmatic (and now female) Dr Smith. GO The City & The City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm Cop thrillers don’t come much more weirdly dystopian than China Miéville’s award-winning 2009 novel and this ultra-stylish adaptation serves its source material very well. In episode two, Inspector Borlú (David Morrissey) ventures back across the border while investigating the murder of a foreign student. Episodes BBC Two, 10.00pm; Wales, 11.05pm Having overcome last week’s unfortunate episode in this sitcom, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) is back on top and leveraging his spurt in the ratings for all it’s worth, handing Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) a welcome opportunity for escape. Lee and Dean Channel 4, 10.00pm More rough charm, as life gets complicated for Stevenage’s very own Dumb and Dumber when Lee’s (Miles Chapman) financial worries mount and Dean (Mark O’Sullivan) is persuaded to premiere his poetry at the local arts club. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; Wales, 11.35pm Freedom of speech and censorship are under the spotlight as host Mary Beard and guests discuss Theatre Clwyd’s production The Assassination of Katie Hopkins and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book Fascism: A Warning. GO Alien: Covenant (2017) ★★★★★ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm The latest film in the Alien saga from Ridley Scott is arguably a mad scientist movie. It follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant (including Katherine Waterson) as they discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but what they uncover a threat beyond their imagination. Michael Fassbender puts in a spectacular turn as kindly robot David and his twisted “brother” Walter. Invictus (2009) ★★★★☆ ITV, 10.45pm Following the death of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie last week, aged 81, here’s Clint Eastwood’s take on South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995. As the country emerges from apartheid, the newly elected President Mandela (an uncanny Morgan Freeman) sees the potential for the national rugby team, led by François Pienaar (Matt Damon), to be a catalyst for harmony. This is a polished and uplifting film. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) ★★★★☆ Gold, 1.40am Much like the Secret Policeman’s Ball, this comedy performance film sees the Monty Python gang take to the stage, but this time they’re in Hollywood. Among the sketches are the Silly Olympics, where athletes compete in absurd sports, The Lumberjack Song, and The Ministry of Silly Walks. This film also features Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate
What's on TV tonight: The Investigator: A British Crime Story and Civilisations
Thursday 5 April The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm “I have investigated some of the UK’s most infamous crimes but I’ve never encountered anything as sinister as this,” says cop turned investigative reporter Mark Williams-Thomas of this series in which he turns his attention to the disappearance of Polegate teenager Louise Kay in 1988. Which is quite a claim, coming as it does from the man who broke the Jimmy Savile story, among others. But when the Kay family turned to him for help after three decades of getting nowhere via the police, Williams Thomas says his own investigation turned up a great deal more than he was expecting, including links to a number of other missing persons cases and the possibility that he might have uncovered “the undetected crimes of a serial killer who has got away with murder for decades”. In this first episode, though, the focus is firmly on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise, who was last seen driving towards Beachy Head after a night out clubbing in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with her best friend, and the fact that her distinctive gold and white Ford Fiesta also vanished that night without trace. Gerard O’Donovan The Cruise: Sailing the Caribbean ITV, 8.30pm More seaborne adventures for the cruise ship Royal Princess, this time as she embarks on an island-hopping tour of such Caribbean destinations as Grenada, the Bahamas and Antigua. If they can get into port, that is, as the ship’s docking winches appear to have failed. Ho-hum. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm David Olusoga takes the reins for a wide-ranging edition exploring how in West Africa, Central America and Japan, art left its own distinctive record of when some great civilisations of the 15th and 16th centuries came into contact for the first time. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm The five British boys are now six weeks into their study programme at the Doon School in Uttarakhand, but it’s not easy for them, especially Jack who finds there is a high price to pay for daring to do better than the others. Unsolved: The Man with No Alibi BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.15pm In the concluding part of this report exploring the July 2002 murder in Bournemouth of Korean student Jong-Ok Shin, Bronagh Munro examines the evidence that convicted Omar Benguit despite the absence of forensics linking him to the crime. GO Deep State Fox, 9.00pm This eight-part British spy thriller gets off to an action packed start, with Mark Strong convincing as ex-MI6 spook Max Easton, unwillingly forced out of retirement by a former intelligence chief in London. It’s not long before he finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy by powerful corporations to foment chaos and revolution in the Middle East. Silicon Valley Sky Atlantic, 10.15pm The popular HBO tech-comedy returns for a fifth series as, despite their record of failure (a video chat app that contravened privacy laws and a partner permanently sozzled in Tibet were just two of their problems), the team at Pied Piper look to be on the verge of success. As Richard’s (Thomas Middleditch) decentralised internet concept approaches launch, there’s ample funding for once and new offices. But the pressure to get things right begins to play on Richard’s mind. GO Nanny McPhee (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 10.20am Emma Thompson wrote and stars in this sweet and old-fashioned fantasy film, based on Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books. She plays an old nanny who finds that the children of a widower (Colin Firth) are a challenge, even for her. Poised between Lemony Snicket and Mary Poppins, the film has moral messages to impart, but luckily not at the expense of an enjoyable, magical tale. Live and Let Die (1973) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm James Bond (Roger Moore) battles one of his more extraordinary opponents, Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a Caribbean criminal mastermind masquerading as a Harlem drug baron. The film was given lukewarm reviews on its release, but this is Moore-era Bond at its preposterous best. Highlights include 007’s voodoo snake ordeal and a thrilling speedboat chase through New Orleans. RocknRolla (2008) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 10.00pm After the dismal Revolver and Swept Away (which starred his ex-wife Madonna), Guy Ritchie attempts a return to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels-esque form with another testosterone-heavy, twisty tale set in London’s underworld. The plot moves vaguely around the theft of a painting from a Russian mobster (Karl Roden) while getting tangled up in various sub-plots. Friday 6 April David Morrissey Credit: BBC The City & the City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Northern Ireland, 9.30pm “I knew there was another city I dare not see… Just on the other side of where I was supposed to look.” So states Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) midway through this engrossing adaptation of China Miéville’s Borgesian novel, which achieves the apparently impossible by bringing a dense and clever book to brilliant, atmospheric life. Borlú, a detective with the Extreme Crime Squad in the rundown vaguely Eastern European city of Beszul, is handed the task of solving the murder of a foreign student. So far, so standard, but what unfolds turns out to be anything but as scriptwriter Tony Grisoni (Red Riding) expertly captures Miéville’s vision of a world in which a city is divided not by a wall or barricade, but by blurred realities the populace is trained from birth not to see. Thus the two cities of Beszul and Ul Qoma coexist in the same space but without acknowledging each other, the town hall their only shared space. To look directly on the other city is to commit “Breach”, bringing about the wrath of the secret police. Grisoni and director Tom Shankland build the tension inexorably as Borlú’s world is slowly but surely upended. An absolute treat. Sarah Hughes Sounds Like Friday Night BBC One, 7.30pm The BBC’s music TV revival didn’t make a huge splash with its first series but it’s still worth checking out, if only because co-host and Radio 1Xtra presenter Dotty is such a likeable presence. Tonight, she’s on the road, while Greg James anchors from the studio. Professor Green, Snow Patrol and Years & Years perform. Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.30pm The satirical quiz show returns for a 55th series, with captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joined by presenter Steph McGovern and comedian Josh Widdicombe; Jeremy Paxman hosts. The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm In an era when the talk show appears tired somehow Graham Norton manages to keep the format enjoyable. Tonight’s episode, the first in a new series, sees husband-and-wife team Emily Blunt and John Krasinski discuss their horror A Quiet Place. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; N Ireland, 11.35pm Following the kerfuffle over its poorly received first series, the arts show returns with a rejigged format and Mary Beard in the presenter’s chair. Informed debate is promised, although Beard has said that she won’t simply replicate the notoriously combative Newsnight Review. SH BBC Young Musician 2018 BBC Four, 7.30pm The contest kicks off at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s new concert hall. Presenter Josie d’Arby is joined by 1998 finalist Alison Balsom as we meet the final five: violinists Elodie Chousmer-Howelles and Stephanie Childress, double bassist Will Duerden, guitarist Torrin Williams and cellist Maxim Calver. The judges are double bassist Leon Bosch, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, violinist and previous Young Musician of the Year winner, Jennifer Pike. Composer Kerry Andrew and the contestants will perform works by Bach, Brahms and Stravinsky. The Nineties Sky Arts, 9.00pm There’s nothing like seeing the decade you came of age in co-opted for nostalgic TV to make you feel old, but for those who can bear seeing their youth dissected Sky Arts at least does it well. Tonight’s second episode continues the focus on the decade’s TV with The Sopranos and Seinfeld under discussion. SH Fury (2014) ★★★★★ 5STAR, 9.00pm David Ayer’s study of the habits and habitats of the American killer male is an astonishing, stirring drama. It’s Germany 1945, and Sgt Don “Wardaddy” Collie (Brad Pitt) and his team are grinding towards Berlin in a battered M4 Sherman tank. There is no rescue mission, just an agonising rumble from one brush with death to the next. The set-piece battles are gripping, and the raw terror of war is blasted home. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm The best of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s romcoms about awfully nice chaps dithering over frightfully pretty girls. Grant plays bumbling Charles, who, ah, er, can’t tell what’s, um, going on between him and the scrummy Carrie (Andie MacDowell), who he keeps, gosh, bumping into at weddings. It’s aged pretty well and certainly knocks spots off Love, Actually. Lawless (2012) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 12.45am An adaptation of the historical novel The Wettest County in the World, John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era western follows three brothers (played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke), who do a tidy business distilling and selling illegal moonshine whiskey. It’s an oddly affectionate clan portrait – the violence the brothers mete out is implicitly forgiven – but the period detail is well observed. Saturday 7 April Saturday night fever: Declan Donnelly presents from Orlando Credit: Rex/Shutterstock Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway ITV, 7.00pm It can’t be easy hosting a show as exuberant as Saturday Night Takeaway on your own but Declan Donnelly made a solid if understandably restrained go of it last week. He ensured that the light entertainment series proceeded pretty much as normal in the absence of long-time work partner Ant McPartlin, whose travails were sensibly referenced only in very brief passing (“I’ve got twice the amount of work to do,” Donnelly noted at one point before mock-berating the production crew that “I’ll have to do it myself, like everything else around here this week”). That said, this final episode ups the ante as Donnelly takes the show on the road to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Once there we’re promised a “super-sized” edition featuring stunts, surprises and “extra-special” guests. No word yet as to who those guests will be but expect Donnelly to continue making the best of a difficult situation, buoyed by extra support from Scarlett Moffatt, who is in charge of ensuring that the Place on the Plane winners have a wonderful time, and Stephen Mulhern, who has the possibly less than enviable task of explaining In for a Penny to an American audience. Sarah Hughes Premier League Football: Everton v Liverpool Sky Sports Main Event, 12.30pm Tired, perhaps, from their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Man City, Liverpool face their bitter local rivals Everton at Goodison Park. The home side, who’ve won three of their last six games, haven’t beaten Liverpool since October 2010, when Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave them a 2-0 victory. Premiership Rugby Union: Bath v Leicester Tigers Channel 5, 1.30pm Time was when Bath and Leicester were the titans of English rugby. Currently they are fifth and eighth in the league, respectively. In September, Bath claimed a 27-23 win at Welford Road, as they held on for their first away win at Leicester since 2003, ensuring an unhappy return for George Ford against the club he left in the summer. The two sides also met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at the Recreation Ground in November, where Bath also emerged victorious, beating Leicester 33-31 on that occasion. Premier League Football: Manchester City v Manchester United Sky Sports Main Event, 5.30pm What better way for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to clinch the title than by beating second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. Sixteen points ahead of them in the table, City have been formidable this season, winning 27 of the 31 league games they’ve played. One of those victories came at Old Trafford, with a goal from Nicolas Otamendi giving City a 2-1 victory when these sides met in December. Britain’s Most Historic Towns Channel 4, 8.00pm Alice Roberts is our guide for this new six-part series, which sees her search the UK for the places that best sum up an historical era. The first era is Roman Britain, so Roberts heads to Chester, where she abseils down walls, hunkers in caves and uncovers the truth about the city. Casualty BBC One, 8.20pm The medical drama’s storyline about Dylan’s (William Beck) alcoholism continues to be sensitively handled as the medic’s ex-wife Sam (Charlotte Salt) worries about whether she can help him. Meanwhile, Ethan (George Hardy) struggles with his own demons as he realises that a patient is related to his brother’s killer. The Voice UK: Live Final ITV, 8.30pm Every reality TV idea has an allotted shelf life and it’s hard not to feel that musical talent contests have come to the end of their run. For those who disagree, The Voice UK’s grand finale is here and the final four battle it out for public approval. Below the Surface BBC Four, 9.00pm & 9.45pm BBC Four’s latest Scandi drama started off tensely but like its predecessor, Modus, it has gone on to become ever more ludicrous. Now it’s the final two episodes, and Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) faces off against Mark (Jakob Oftebro), the man behind the hostage crisis. Much heartfelt talking follows, although you may end up feeling more sympathetic towards the damaged Mark than the chilly Norgaard. Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two Sky Arts, 9.00pm When is a music documentary not a music documentary? When it’s also a sports film. This exuberant film, which was made following the Chicago Cubs’ victory in baseball’s World Series in 2016, follows die-hard Cubs fan and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder as he cheers on his team during their championship run while also preparing the band for two August shows at the team’s Wrigley Field Stadium. The result is an affectionate portrait of the singer as fan. SH Troy: Fall of a City BBC One, 9.10pm David Farr’s epic series reaches its climax with the arrival of the most famous horse in history. After an uninspiring start, Troy has picked up in recent weeks and the final episode is a well-handled tale of betrayal and death. It’s a curate’s egg of a series, let down by poor casting. SH X-Men (2000) ★★★★☆ Film4, 7.00pm Bryan Singer directs an all-star cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry, in the first of the X-Men franchise. A group of mutants must decide whether to side with Professor Xavier (Stewart) or the evil Magneto (McKellen) in what is a solid opening to the series and which paved the way for plenty of big-budget sequels. This is followed by X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 at 9.00pm and 11.35pm respectively. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and this inconsistency leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.05pm Mel Gibson sports his signature Eighties mullet in the second film of this daft-but-fun action franchise. LAPD officer Riggs (Gibson) teams up once again with his partner Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to track down a band of South African criminals while protecting a painfully frenzied witness (Joe Pesci). Naturally, the pair find themselves drawn into violent action sequences orchestrated by stereotypical bad guys. Sunday 8 April Hostess with the mostest: Catherine Tate presents the awards Credit: ITV The Olivier Awards 2018 ITV, 10.20pm Last year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child swept the board with nine Olivier Awards, something that looked impossible to top. But then came Lin Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton, whose West End run has received reviews every bit as rapturous as those from its Broadway debut. The show has a record-breaking 13 nominations, which it is thought will be translated into awards. After being snubbed for Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth will surely be rewarded for his equally magisterial play The Ferryman (its eight nominations include best play and best director for Sam Mendes), while contenders in the acting categories include Bryan Cranston for Network, Andrew Garfield for Angels in America and Lesley Manville for Long Day’s Journey into Night. Catherine Tate will be on hosting duties for the event at the Royal Albert Hall, which will, as usual, feature a crop of stellar performances; this one will include a special tribute to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which turns 50 this year. Let’s hope the organisers bring together Josephs of the past for a big singalong: Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield, Ian “H” Watkins and Lee Mead will all, one suspects, be available. Gabriel Tate Sex Robots and Us BBC Three, from 10.00am James Young, an amputee who created his own bionic arm, meets the people who design sex robots and hears about their plans for them, from being given to old people’s homes to “employment” in brothels. But is it the harmless, even socially responsible pursuit thatthey claim? Formula 1: The Bahrain Grand Prix Sky Sports F1, 3.30pm After the Australian Grand Prix – in which Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a safety-car blunder to win under pristine Melbourne skies – attention turns to the second round of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Another blunder cost Lewis Hamilton on this circuit last year – this time it happened in the pit lane, with Vettel capitalising to win by 6.6 seconds. The Generation Game BBC One, 8.00pm How do you top last week’s cavalcade of silliness in this rebooted game show? You rope in Danny Dyer to join Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and panellists Melvin Odoom and Roisin Conaty for challenges that include cake decorating, balloon modelling and dancing the Argentine Tango. The Durrells ITV, 8.00pm In the fourth episode of the popular drama, Larry (Josh O’Connor) visits Athens with two oddly named guests – Captain Creech (James Cosmo) and Prince Jeejeebuoy (Tanmay Dhanania) – in tow. There, they offer advice to Gerry (Milo Parker), who is applying for a new school. Jesus’ Female Disciples: the New Evidence Channel 4, 8.00pm For centuries, the birth of Christianity was regarded as a largely male affair, with women as only bit-part players. Now, Bible experts Helen Bond and Joan Taylor have discovered evidence that women were involved in everything from preaching and baptising to funding the movement as it grew. This absorbing documentary follows the historians’ progress. Golf: The Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 8.00pm Prepare for a dramatic finale as this year’s first Major – from the Augusta National in Georgia – concludes. Last year, Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the coveted green jacket, beating Justin Rose in a tense play-off. Ordeal by Innocence BBC One, 9.00pm Sarah Phelps’s splendid adaptation continues, as Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) resolves to prove the truth about Jack Argyll’s (Anthony Boyle) alibi by any means necessary. GT Folk Awards 2018 BBC Four, 9.00pm Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis introduce highlights from this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards in Belfast. It features performances from Cara Dillon, Lankum and Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band. The great Nick Drake will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his genius long-established, even if such recognition eluded him during his short life. Producer Dónal Lunny, meanwhile, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of tireless work promoting the renaissance in Irish music, plus The Armagh Pipers Club are presented with the Good Tradition Award. GT Emma (1996) ★★★★☆ BBC Two, 3.00pm Gwyneth Paltrow’s American iciness melts in this deft adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic comic romance. She is Emma Woodhouse, spoilt, charming and an inveterate meddler. Only Mr George Knightley (Jeremy Northam) dares challenge her behaviour – but what are his motives? A clever film with a superb supporting cast, including Toni Collette, Alan Cumming and Ewan McGregor. United 93 (2006) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 9.55pm Director Paul Greengrass’s boneshaking, real-time take on the final hours of the United Airlines plane whose passengers rebelled against their hijackers on September 11, 2001 feels uncomfortably realistic. Greengrass, whose signature rapid cutting made the second and third Bourne films so exciting, proves expert at handling the most infamous atrocity of modern times with intelligence and sobriety. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.00pm This superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel is a triumph. The espionage drama follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service, with Gary Oldman spearheading the excellent ensemble cast, which includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s funny, seductive and suspenseful. Monday 9 April I spy: a recruit sees if she’s got what it takes to be an SOE agent Credit: BBC Secret Agent Selection: WW2 BBC Two, 9.00pm Not unlike Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, this absorbing new series puts a group of recruits through a series of gruelling physical and psychological challenges to see if they could make the grade as a secret agent according to an established selection test used during the Second World War. This test was used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to determine whether recruits from many different walks of life would be capable of being dropped behind enemy lines and surviving as a covert officer with a brief to cause the maximum disruption possible to the enemy in the territory. As with the original SOE, the 14 candidates come from diverse backgrounds (among them a research scientist, a property developer, former police officer, a drag act performer, a retired investment banker and an Army veteran). In the opening episode, they undergo the initial four-day assessment at a remote Scottish country-house estate. The aim is to winnow out weakness and determine who should win a place on the advanced, and suitably terrifying, course in assassination, sabotage and covert intelligence techniques. Gerard O’Donovan Famalam BBC Three, from 10.00am After a successful pilot last year, Vivienne Acheampong, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roxanne Sternberg, Tom Moutchi and John MacMillan return with more culturally skewed sketches. Once again, they feature William and Funke’s raunchy chat show, misunderstood superhero Eclipse, Croydon’s voodoo practitioner Professor Lofuko, and a version of Midsomer Murders. 800 Words BBC One, 2.15pm If you like The Durrells you will definitely want to watch hit Australian comedy drama 800 Words. This gently funny series follows George (Erik Thomson), a widower, who horrifies his teenaged children when he moves the entire family to a remote seaside town in New Zealand. Springtime on the Farm Channel 5, 8.00pm This is the first of five shows this week celebrating the “great British farmer”, with the help of Yorkshire Vet stars Peter Wright and Julian Norton, Adam Henson of Countryfile and Springwatch’s Lindsey Chapman. In this programme, they explore how to cope with the stresses of lambing. MasterChef: The Finals BBC One, 9.00pm Oodles of challenges lie ahead for the remaining amateur chefs in the final week, which takes them as far afield as Peru ahead of Friday’s concluding cook-off. First, though, they’re off to North Yorkshire to cater a country-house lunch for local grandees and farmers. Lisbon: An Art Lovers’ Guide BBC Four, 9.00pm Having covered Barcelona, St Petersburg and Amsterdam in their first series of city-break guides, historian Dr Janina Ramirez and art critic Alastair Sooke jet off to explore three less obvious, art-rich destinations. Beirut and Baku are perhaps the more intriguing but it opens in Lisbon, which built up its art reserves during the centuries Portugal was part of one of the world’s great empires, and currently boasts one of the hottest contemporary art scenes in Europe. GO Marcella ITV, 9.00pm This drama’s been a little less fraught the second time round but Marcella still pushes the boundaries of credibility. In this concluding part, the heroine (Anna Friel) tracks down the killer, only to suffer one of her unfortunate episodes. GO The Core (2003) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 6.25pm Rome starts to crumble, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses and pigeons go mental in Trafalgar Square. Something is obviously amiss, and this time it isn’t climate change. In fact, the Earth’s core has stopped rotating and a team of scientists has to build a special burrowing machine to start it spinning again. Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Aaron Eckhart do their best, but the excitement is intermittent. The Emoji Movie (2017) ★☆☆☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 6.30pm In this animated comedy set inside a smartphone, Gene (voiced by T J Miller), an emoji with multiple facial features, sets out on a quest to be like his colleagues who have only one. He does so with the help of apps like Spotify and Candy Crush. Sadly, the result is so horrendous that there aren’t enough Patrick Stewart-voiced emojis in the world to express what an ugly, artless exercise this is. Triple 9 (2016) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan to kill a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet in John Hillcoat’s crime thriller. There is a lot to like here: a big opening and a strong cast (with Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Anthony Mackie and Chiwetel Ejiofor among them). But it feels like fragments of a great crime drama are missing; it’s enthralling up close, but then the big picture isn’t complete. Tuesday 10 April Back to school: Mark, who has two sons with autism Credit: Channel 4 Class of Mum and Dad Channel 4, 8.00pm Another week, another Channel 4 series about education. Hold off on the black marks, however, because this one is pretty good. The premise is simple: Blackrod Primary School just outside of Bolton has thrown open its doors to a class made up of pupils’ parents (and one grandparent). They’ve agreed to go back to school for the summer term to see what modern education is really like, sports day, Sats tests and all. Naturally, its harder than many of them were expecting – 36-year-old decorator Jonny states early on that he thought he’d be able to slope off for a swift cigarette break rather than having to adhere to strict class rules – but there are some touching stories amid the more obvious moments. Most notably, this opening episode focuses on two parents with challenging home lives – Julia, who is raising her 10-year-old cousin Asha after Asha’s mother died, and Mark, who has two autistic sons. While the parents’ travails are interesting, the children are the real scene-stealers, however, from those delighted that their mothers and fathers are taking part to those who are more sceptical. The pair of five-year-olds who spend their time corpsing in front of the camera are particularly endearing. Sarah Hughes Champions League Football: Manchester City v Liverpool BT Sport 2, 7.45pm The Etihad Stadium is the setting as City and Liverpool fight it out for a place in the semi-finals. Liverpool have the advantage following a 3-0 win at Anfield in the first leg. This Time Next Year ITV, 8.00pm Davina McCall returns with another set of heart-tugging stories of people attempting to transform their lives over the course of a year. First up are two new parents who dream of making life wonderful for their baby girl who has been deaf since birth and a couple desperate to start a family. Come Home BBC One, 9.00pm Danny Brocklehurst’s claustrophobic family drama comes to a head as we flashback to find out exactly what went wrong in Greg (Christopher Eccleston) and Marie’s (Paula Malcomson) marriage. Hospital BBC Two, 9.00pm The engrossing fly-on-the-wall medical series continues with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust struggling to cope with the new NHS ruling regarding the cancellation of all non-urgent surgery. The episode focuses on Val, a 55-year-old with mouth cancer whose surgeon is desperately trying to ensure that her operation goes ahead. Here and Now Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm With only two episodes left to go, Alan Ball’s family drama continues to tread water in the most frustrating ways. On paper, there are a whole bunch of interesting stories in the mix, from Kristen’s (Sosie Bacon) possible relationship with Navid (Marwan Salama) to Ramon’s (Daniel Zovatto) continuing visions, but the problem is nothing much happens with any of them as each story moves on only incrementally each week. In this episode, Audrey (Holly Hunter) finally turns the tables on the perpetually smug Greg (Tim Robbins). Cunk on Britain BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI, 11.15pm Diana Morgan’s pitch-perfect send-up of history programmes moves to the Tudor era and beyond as Cunk takes on Henry VIII, aka “The kingiest king who kinged over Britain” before giving us her unique perspective on “Bloody” Mary Tudor (“horrible like the drink”) and Elizabeth I. SH Divorce Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm The acerbic Sarah Jessica Parker sitcom has been firing on all cylinders throughout its second series – possibly because it’s more interesting watching Frances (Parker) and Robert (the excellent Thomas Haden Church) navigate life after divorce than it was watching them get there. Here, Frances tries to make a new contact in the art world. SH Speed (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm “There’s a bomb on the bus!” is the most famous line and basically the entire plot of one of the best action thrillers of the Nineties. The sizzling chemistry between LAPD Swat specialist Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and passenger Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) sexes up the exhilarating action scenes, while Dennis Hopper is fantastically unhinged as a revenge-driven, retired bomb squad member turned terrorist. Fast & Furious 7 (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 9.00pm Paul Walker was killed in a car crash part-way through making this film so it was completed with the help of his two younger brothers and some subtle computer graphics. The good news is that this is the best film in the franchise and does justice to Walker. It isn’t polished blockbuster film-making – though if it was, it wouldn’t be Fast & Furious. But it speaks straight to your adrenal glands. The Witches of Eastwick (1987) ★★★☆☆ Syfy, 9.00pm It is remarkable that director George Miller’s daft, unfettered romp of a film works at all. But, thanks to Jack Nicholson’s delicious overacting as Daryl Van Horne, a manic gentleman who closely resembles the devil, and the three gorgeous, single small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), who vie for his debased attentions, it somehow does. Wednesday 11 April Family ties: Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz Credit: BBC The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story BBC Two, 9.00pm It’s been fascinating to discover the “true” story behind the 1997 murder of fhion designer Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s glitzy drama, which has expertly depicted the inner world of the perpetrator, a Walter Mitty-style serial killer called Andrew Cunanan (a career-defining role for Darren Criss). This episode, however, has a mid-series lull about it as Cunanan ascends to the higher echelons of gay society, shaping himself meticulously into the posh, preppy eye-candy who saw a sugar daddy (or two) as his way to the top. Elsewhere, the Versace siblings return at last. Gianni (Edgar Ramirez), now in failing health decides to champion his insecure sister Donatella (Penélope Cruz in a frightful wig) and turns her into both designer and muse. Despite a lack of characters to root for – the Versaces’ moments of vulnerability dissolve into tedious histrionics and are eclipsed by Cunanan’s cold-blooded machinations – it’s all quite a fabulous mix of fashion, high society and brutal murder, with some interesting commentary on homophobia in the Nineties as well. Vicki Power The Secret Helpers BBC Two, 8.00pm Watch and weep as timid elderly widow Lesley begins a new life as an out gay woman in this life-affirming docu-series. She’s encouraged with warmth and wisdom by amateur “sages” from abroad, who talk to her secretly through a hidden earpiece. From World War to Cold War Yesterday, 8.00pm As the Second World War drew to a close, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met at Yalta in the Crimea to broker post-war peace. This brisk two-part documentary raids the archives for clips and letters from those who attended, and gathers experts and relatives – including FDR’s grandson – to investigate power plays by Stalin that wrong-footed his Allied counterparts. It’s a detailed look at how and why the compromises reached at Yalta were quickly cast aside. Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy BBC Four, 9.00pm Historian Bettany Hughes continues to explore ancient civilisations, moving on to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Hughes’s odyssey starts under the City of London, where an 1,800-year-old Roman temple to Bacchus was discovered less than 100 years ago, and takes her to Greece, the Middle East and the Caucasus to explore the god’s roots and influence. VP Benidorm ITV, 9.00pm Fluffy as candyfloss, this lewd seaside comedy provides some fun, particularly in the retro casting of stars of yesteryear. This week, an exuberant Sammy (Shane Richie) tries to persuade Monty (John Challis) that, after his successful comeback gig, he is ready for an evening slot. One Born Every Minute Channel 4, 9.00pm This feelgood documentary series brings more poignant tales from a Birmingham labour ward. This week we meet Chantell, about to deliver her third child, who regales us with a moving story of how parenthood with partner Phil has healed the wounds of a traumatic past. First Dates Channel 4, 10.00pm The thoughtful dating show pairs up four more couples, but the road to love is bumpy – septuagenarian Deanna finds her date more interested in the waiter than her. More promising is the match between Bianca and Teza, who allow their vulnerabilities to show. VP The Thin Red Line (1998) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 3.10pm This lyrical Second World War drama, directed by Terrence Malick, tells the story of a group of young US soldiers fighting the Japanese for control of the island of Guadalcanal. Full of stars such as Sean Penn and George Clooney, it struggles with its own battle to squeeze in so many characters but is still an atmospheric meditation on the nature of war. Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody also star. The Remains of the Day (1993) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 3.55pm The success of Merchant Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Thirties-set novel, a well-observed study of regret, is built around its perfectly cast leads: Anthony Hopkins as James, the butler to the doltish aristocrat Lord Darlington (James Fox) and Emma Thompson as a housekeeper who tries to draw him out of his sterile shell. Lush visuals give it an added richness. Transporter 2 (2005) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A martial arts action sequel, in which Jason Statham and Alessandro Gassman are the sporadically thrilling stars. Statham is Frank Martin, who accepts a job as chauffeur to Jack (Hunter Clary), the son of Miami’s politician Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine). But the local Colombian drug dealers aren’t happy with his boss’s efforts to clean up the city. Cue a kidnapping, and a potentially deadly encounter with a cocaine baron. Thursday 12 April Changing attitudes: Holly and Hollie Credit: BBC Living with the Brainy Bunch BBC Two, 8.00pm Enterprising, PR-conscious Ash Ali is headmaster of Chessington Community College, a fast-improving school with a few problem pupils. Among them are Jack and Hollie who, on the surface, are comically awful teenagers. Hollie gripes constantly, throws strops and storms out of classrooms if things aren’t going her way. Jack is sullen, lazy and has clocked up 15 suspensions in the past year. It will come as no surprise to regular viewers of such documentaries that their behaviour is rooted in low self-esteem, although their parents unquestionably indulge their foibles. Ali’s novel solution is to place Hollie with Holly, tapdancing head girl and gregarious boffin, and Jack with Tharush, a Sri Lankan immigrant by way of Italy, whose talents are only matched by his work ethic. Now that Jack and Hollie are in the bosom of new families for six weeks, it’s hoped that a new environment, greater discipline and rigid routines will see their results improve and attitudes pick up. There are setbacks on the largely familiar narrative trajectory, but it’s cast to perfection and, as a demonstration of the importance of parenting in academic achievement, the experiment gets an A-star. Gabriel Tate European Tour Golf: The Open de Espana Sky Sports Golf, 11.00am The opening day’s play of the event from the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, which was won by Andrew Johnston the last time it was held in 2016. War Above the Trenches Yesterday, 8.00pm This decent two-parter tells the story of the Royal Flying Corps and their battle to win control of the air in the First World War. Based on Peter Hart’s book Bloody April, it draws affectingly on the testimony of veterans to show there was more to the Western Front than trench warfare. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm The modern age draws closer, as Simon Schama tackles the theme of radiance, guiding us through Gothic cathedrals, Baroque Venetian masterpieces and dazzling Japanese woodblock prints. The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm The second real-life case of the series sees Mark Williams-Thomas investigating the 1977 murders of three women in Glasgow. The suspect is Angus Sinclair, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing two other women that same year. We hear from his ex-wife, and learn how he was a prime suspect but escaped charges for the first killings when key evidence went missing. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm This diverting documentary series concludes with a Himalayan trek, a controversial article in the school newspaper and the GCSE retakes that were the goal of the entire enterprise. Will Alfie, Harry, Jack and co see their grades improve? Urban Myths: Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder Sky Arts, 9.00pm Sky Arts’ boldly cast series of vaguely apocryphal tales from the pop-culture frontlines returns with a dispatch from the set of Some Like It Hot, the magnificent 1959 comedy that is almost certainly more fun to watch than it was to make. In this minor but entertaining reimagining, Tony Curtis (Alex Pettyfer) is threatening to cuckold Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) by making off with Marilyn Monroe (Gemma Arterton), whose caprice, drinking and sensitivity is driving director Billy Wilder (James Purefoy) to distraction. GT Still Game BBC One, 9.30pm; BBC Two Wales, 10.00pm Justifying its prime-time BBC One slot, the Scottish sitcom bows out in triumph with a typically well-wrought farce involving a Hollywood stuntman, a disastrous driving lesson and romance for the widowed Isa (Jane McCarry). GT The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ★★★★☆ ITV4, 9.00pm Christopher Lee steals the show as the titular assassin, Francisco Scaramanga, in this classic Bond adventure. Roger Moore’s secret agent, in his second outing as 007, must pursue him, with the help of sidekick Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), to the villain’s island lair in order to prevent him harnessing the power of the Sun for evil. The confrontations between Moore and Lee are easily the film’s highlights. Swordfish (2001) ★★☆☆☆ TCM, 9.00pm The most often quoted bit of trivia about this film is that Halle Berry was paid an additional £500,000 to go topless. It’s rather lucky she agreed because she’s probably the most appealing aspect of this frenetic thriller. John Travolta and Hugh Jackman put on testosterone-fuelled displays as a morally dubious counter-terrorist agent and the hacker he blackmails into accessing billions of dollars of government money. Some Like It Hot (1959, b/w) ★★★★★ Sky Arts, 9.30pm When two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) witness a mob hit, they flee the state disguised as women in an all-female band, but further complications arise in the form of demure ukulele player Sugar Kane, superbly played by Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is effortlessly wacky and clever. Before, at 9pm, is Urban Myths, which imagines what happened on the set of this romcom. Friday 13 April Dishing out opinions: John Torode and Gregg Wallace Credit: BBC MasterChef: The Final BBC One, 8.30pm It has taken 25 episodes over seven weeks to whittle down the 56 amateur contestants to three finalists, and in the process, MasterChef 2018 has produced some of the best cooking – and some of the toughest competition – in the series’ long history. (It has been running in one form or another since 1990; and since 2005 in, roughly, its current format with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode presenting.) This last week has been no exception, with the finalists having to dig deeper than ever to produce the best dishes of their lives and some great moments – notably during the spectacular trip to South America when they met Peruvian superchef Gaston Acurio and took on a service at the fifth best restaurant in the world, the Central in Lima, under Michelin-starred maestro Virgilio Martínez Véliz. In the finale, it’s all about who cooks the best food, though, as the final three return to the studio kitchen to undergo a test of culinary skills and nerve as they set about creating the most important three-course meal of their lives – in the hope of being judged worthy of a title that has launched many a great career: MasterChef champion. Gerard O’Donovan Chef’s Table: Pastry Netflix, from today This mouth-watering spin-off from Netflix’s popular global foodie series Chef’s Table puts the focus entirely on sweet stuff, talking the cameras inside the kitchens of some of the world’s best pastry chefs, among them Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar in New York, Corrado Assenza’s Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Sicily, Jordi Roca’s El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and Will Goldfarb’s Room4Dessert in Bali. Lost in Space Netflix, from today Not so much a rerun as a spectacular new take on the classic Sixties sci-fi series about a family marooned in space when their ship runs into difficulty on their way to a new colony and crashes on an unknown and surprisingly hostile planet. There are plenty of thrills and impressive visual effects, and Toby Stephens and Molly Parker are excellent as the pioneering Robinson parents John and Judy, while Parker Posey is an enigmatic (and now female) Dr Smith. GO The City & The City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm Cop thrillers don’t come much more weirdly dystopian than China Miéville’s award-winning 2009 novel and this ultra-stylish adaptation serves its source material very well. In episode two, Inspector Borlú (David Morrissey) ventures back across the border while investigating the murder of a foreign student. Episodes BBC Two, 10.00pm; Wales, 11.05pm Having overcome last week’s unfortunate episode in this sitcom, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) is back on top and leveraging his spurt in the ratings for all it’s worth, handing Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) a welcome opportunity for escape. Lee and Dean Channel 4, 10.00pm More rough charm, as life gets complicated for Stevenage’s very own Dumb and Dumber when Lee’s (Miles Chapman) financial worries mount and Dean (Mark O’Sullivan) is persuaded to premiere his poetry at the local arts club. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; Wales, 11.35pm Freedom of speech and censorship are under the spotlight as host Mary Beard and guests discuss Theatre Clwyd’s production The Assassination of Katie Hopkins and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book Fascism: A Warning. GO Alien: Covenant (2017) ★★★★★ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm The latest film in the Alien saga from Ridley Scott is arguably a mad scientist movie. It follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant (including Katherine Waterson) as they discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but what they uncover a threat beyond their imagination. Michael Fassbender puts in a spectacular turn as kindly robot David and his twisted “brother” Walter. Invictus (2009) ★★★★☆ ITV, 10.45pm Following the death of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie last week, aged 81, here’s Clint Eastwood’s take on South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995. As the country emerges from apartheid, the newly elected President Mandela (an uncanny Morgan Freeman) sees the potential for the national rugby team, led by François Pienaar (Matt Damon), to be a catalyst for harmony. This is a polished and uplifting film. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) ★★★★☆ Gold, 1.40am Much like the Secret Policeman’s Ball, this comedy performance film sees the Monty Python gang take to the stage, but this time they’re in Hollywood. Among the sketches are the Silly Olympics, where athletes compete in absurd sports, The Lumberjack Song, and The Ministry of Silly Walks. This film also features Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate
Thursday 5 April The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm “I have investigated some of the UK’s most infamous crimes but I’ve never encountered anything as sinister as this,” says cop turned investigative reporter Mark Williams-Thomas of this series in which he turns his attention to the disappearance of Polegate teenager Louise Kay in 1988. Which is quite a claim, coming as it does from the man who broke the Jimmy Savile story, among others. But when the Kay family turned to him for help after three decades of getting nowhere via the police, Williams Thomas says his own investigation turned up a great deal more than he was expecting, including links to a number of other missing persons cases and the possibility that he might have uncovered “the undetected crimes of a serial killer who has got away with murder for decades”. In this first episode, though, the focus is firmly on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise, who was last seen driving towards Beachy Head after a night out clubbing in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with her best friend, and the fact that her distinctive gold and white Ford Fiesta also vanished that night without trace. Gerard O’Donovan The Cruise: Sailing the Caribbean ITV, 8.30pm More seaborne adventures for the cruise ship Royal Princess, this time as she embarks on an island-hopping tour of such Caribbean destinations as Grenada, the Bahamas and Antigua. If they can get into port, that is, as the ship’s docking winches appear to have failed. Ho-hum. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm David Olusoga takes the reins for a wide-ranging edition exploring how in West Africa, Central America and Japan, art left its own distinctive record of when some great civilisations of the 15th and 16th centuries came into contact for the first time. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm The five British boys are now six weeks into their study programme at the Doon School in Uttarakhand, but it’s not easy for them, especially Jack who finds there is a high price to pay for daring to do better than the others. Unsolved: The Man with No Alibi BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.15pm In the concluding part of this report exploring the July 2002 murder in Bournemouth of Korean student Jong-Ok Shin, Bronagh Munro examines the evidence that convicted Omar Benguit despite the absence of forensics linking him to the crime. GO Deep State Fox, 9.00pm This eight-part British spy thriller gets off to an action packed start, with Mark Strong convincing as ex-MI6 spook Max Easton, unwillingly forced out of retirement by a former intelligence chief in London. It’s not long before he finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy by powerful corporations to foment chaos and revolution in the Middle East. Silicon Valley Sky Atlantic, 10.15pm The popular HBO tech-comedy returns for a fifth series as, despite their record of failure (a video chat app that contravened privacy laws and a partner permanently sozzled in Tibet were just two of their problems), the team at Pied Piper look to be on the verge of success. As Richard’s (Thomas Middleditch) decentralised internet concept approaches launch, there’s ample funding for once and new offices. But the pressure to get things right begins to play on Richard’s mind. GO Nanny McPhee (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 10.20am Emma Thompson wrote and stars in this sweet and old-fashioned fantasy film, based on Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books. She plays an old nanny who finds that the children of a widower (Colin Firth) are a challenge, even for her. Poised between Lemony Snicket and Mary Poppins, the film has moral messages to impart, but luckily not at the expense of an enjoyable, magical tale. Live and Let Die (1973) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm James Bond (Roger Moore) battles one of his more extraordinary opponents, Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a Caribbean criminal mastermind masquerading as a Harlem drug baron. The film was given lukewarm reviews on its release, but this is Moore-era Bond at its preposterous best. Highlights include 007’s voodoo snake ordeal and a thrilling speedboat chase through New Orleans. RocknRolla (2008) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 10.00pm After the dismal Revolver and Swept Away (which starred his ex-wife Madonna), Guy Ritchie attempts a return to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels-esque form with another testosterone-heavy, twisty tale set in London’s underworld. The plot moves vaguely around the theft of a painting from a Russian mobster (Karl Roden) while getting tangled up in various sub-plots. Friday 6 April David Morrissey Credit: BBC The City & the City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Northern Ireland, 9.30pm “I knew there was another city I dare not see… Just on the other side of where I was supposed to look.” So states Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) midway through this engrossing adaptation of China Miéville’s Borgesian novel, which achieves the apparently impossible by bringing a dense and clever book to brilliant, atmospheric life. Borlú, a detective with the Extreme Crime Squad in the rundown vaguely Eastern European city of Beszul, is handed the task of solving the murder of a foreign student. So far, so standard, but what unfolds turns out to be anything but as scriptwriter Tony Grisoni (Red Riding) expertly captures Miéville’s vision of a world in which a city is divided not by a wall or barricade, but by blurred realities the populace is trained from birth not to see. Thus the two cities of Beszul and Ul Qoma coexist in the same space but without acknowledging each other, the town hall their only shared space. To look directly on the other city is to commit “Breach”, bringing about the wrath of the secret police. Grisoni and director Tom Shankland build the tension inexorably as Borlú’s world is slowly but surely upended. An absolute treat. Sarah Hughes Sounds Like Friday Night BBC One, 7.30pm The BBC’s music TV revival didn’t make a huge splash with its first series but it’s still worth checking out, if only because co-host and Radio 1Xtra presenter Dotty is such a likeable presence. Tonight, she’s on the road, while Greg James anchors from the studio. Professor Green, Snow Patrol and Years & Years perform. Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.30pm The satirical quiz show returns for a 55th series, with captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joined by presenter Steph McGovern and comedian Josh Widdicombe; Jeremy Paxman hosts. The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm In an era when the talk show appears tired somehow Graham Norton manages to keep the format enjoyable. Tonight’s episode, the first in a new series, sees husband-and-wife team Emily Blunt and John Krasinski discuss their horror A Quiet Place. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; N Ireland, 11.35pm Following the kerfuffle over its poorly received first series, the arts show returns with a rejigged format and Mary Beard in the presenter’s chair. Informed debate is promised, although Beard has said that she won’t simply replicate the notoriously combative Newsnight Review. SH BBC Young Musician 2018 BBC Four, 7.30pm The contest kicks off at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s new concert hall. Presenter Josie d’Arby is joined by 1998 finalist Alison Balsom as we meet the final five: violinists Elodie Chousmer-Howelles and Stephanie Childress, double bassist Will Duerden, guitarist Torrin Williams and cellist Maxim Calver. The judges are double bassist Leon Bosch, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, violinist and previous Young Musician of the Year winner, Jennifer Pike. Composer Kerry Andrew and the contestants will perform works by Bach, Brahms and Stravinsky. The Nineties Sky Arts, 9.00pm There’s nothing like seeing the decade you came of age in co-opted for nostalgic TV to make you feel old, but for those who can bear seeing their youth dissected Sky Arts at least does it well. Tonight’s second episode continues the focus on the decade’s TV with The Sopranos and Seinfeld under discussion. SH Fury (2014) ★★★★★ 5STAR, 9.00pm David Ayer’s study of the habits and habitats of the American killer male is an astonishing, stirring drama. It’s Germany 1945, and Sgt Don “Wardaddy” Collie (Brad Pitt) and his team are grinding towards Berlin in a battered M4 Sherman tank. There is no rescue mission, just an agonising rumble from one brush with death to the next. The set-piece battles are gripping, and the raw terror of war is blasted home. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm The best of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s romcoms about awfully nice chaps dithering over frightfully pretty girls. Grant plays bumbling Charles, who, ah, er, can’t tell what’s, um, going on between him and the scrummy Carrie (Andie MacDowell), who he keeps, gosh, bumping into at weddings. It’s aged pretty well and certainly knocks spots off Love, Actually. Lawless (2012) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 12.45am An adaptation of the historical novel The Wettest County in the World, John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era western follows three brothers (played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke), who do a tidy business distilling and selling illegal moonshine whiskey. It’s an oddly affectionate clan portrait – the violence the brothers mete out is implicitly forgiven – but the period detail is well observed. Saturday 7 April Saturday night fever: Declan Donnelly presents from Orlando Credit: Rex/Shutterstock Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway ITV, 7.00pm It can’t be easy hosting a show as exuberant as Saturday Night Takeaway on your own but Declan Donnelly made a solid if understandably restrained go of it last week. He ensured that the light entertainment series proceeded pretty much as normal in the absence of long-time work partner Ant McPartlin, whose travails were sensibly referenced only in very brief passing (“I’ve got twice the amount of work to do,” Donnelly noted at one point before mock-berating the production crew that “I’ll have to do it myself, like everything else around here this week”). That said, this final episode ups the ante as Donnelly takes the show on the road to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Once there we’re promised a “super-sized” edition featuring stunts, surprises and “extra-special” guests. No word yet as to who those guests will be but expect Donnelly to continue making the best of a difficult situation, buoyed by extra support from Scarlett Moffatt, who is in charge of ensuring that the Place on the Plane winners have a wonderful time, and Stephen Mulhern, who has the possibly less than enviable task of explaining In for a Penny to an American audience. Sarah Hughes Premier League Football: Everton v Liverpool Sky Sports Main Event, 12.30pm Tired, perhaps, from their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Man City, Liverpool face their bitter local rivals Everton at Goodison Park. The home side, who’ve won three of their last six games, haven’t beaten Liverpool since October 2010, when Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave them a 2-0 victory. Premiership Rugby Union: Bath v Leicester Tigers Channel 5, 1.30pm Time was when Bath and Leicester were the titans of English rugby. Currently they are fifth and eighth in the league, respectively. In September, Bath claimed a 27-23 win at Welford Road, as they held on for their first away win at Leicester since 2003, ensuring an unhappy return for George Ford against the club he left in the summer. The two sides also met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at the Recreation Ground in November, where Bath also emerged victorious, beating Leicester 33-31 on that occasion. Premier League Football: Manchester City v Manchester United Sky Sports Main Event, 5.30pm What better way for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to clinch the title than by beating second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. Sixteen points ahead of them in the table, City have been formidable this season, winning 27 of the 31 league games they’ve played. One of those victories came at Old Trafford, with a goal from Nicolas Otamendi giving City a 2-1 victory when these sides met in December. Britain’s Most Historic Towns Channel 4, 8.00pm Alice Roberts is our guide for this new six-part series, which sees her search the UK for the places that best sum up an historical era. The first era is Roman Britain, so Roberts heads to Chester, where she abseils down walls, hunkers in caves and uncovers the truth about the city. Casualty BBC One, 8.20pm The medical drama’s storyline about Dylan’s (William Beck) alcoholism continues to be sensitively handled as the medic’s ex-wife Sam (Charlotte Salt) worries about whether she can help him. Meanwhile, Ethan (George Hardy) struggles with his own demons as he realises that a patient is related to his brother’s killer. The Voice UK: Live Final ITV, 8.30pm Every reality TV idea has an allotted shelf life and it’s hard not to feel that musical talent contests have come to the end of their run. For those who disagree, The Voice UK’s grand finale is here and the final four battle it out for public approval. Below the Surface BBC Four, 9.00pm & 9.45pm BBC Four’s latest Scandi drama started off tensely but like its predecessor, Modus, it has gone on to become ever more ludicrous. Now it’s the final two episodes, and Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) faces off against Mark (Jakob Oftebro), the man behind the hostage crisis. Much heartfelt talking follows, although you may end up feeling more sympathetic towards the damaged Mark than the chilly Norgaard. Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two Sky Arts, 9.00pm When is a music documentary not a music documentary? When it’s also a sports film. This exuberant film, which was made following the Chicago Cubs’ victory in baseball’s World Series in 2016, follows die-hard Cubs fan and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder as he cheers on his team during their championship run while also preparing the band for two August shows at the team’s Wrigley Field Stadium. The result is an affectionate portrait of the singer as fan. SH Troy: Fall of a City BBC One, 9.10pm David Farr’s epic series reaches its climax with the arrival of the most famous horse in history. After an uninspiring start, Troy has picked up in recent weeks and the final episode is a well-handled tale of betrayal and death. It’s a curate’s egg of a series, let down by poor casting. SH X-Men (2000) ★★★★☆ Film4, 7.00pm Bryan Singer directs an all-star cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry, in the first of the X-Men franchise. A group of mutants must decide whether to side with Professor Xavier (Stewart) or the evil Magneto (McKellen) in what is a solid opening to the series and which paved the way for plenty of big-budget sequels. This is followed by X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 at 9.00pm and 11.35pm respectively. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and this inconsistency leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.05pm Mel Gibson sports his signature Eighties mullet in the second film of this daft-but-fun action franchise. LAPD officer Riggs (Gibson) teams up once again with his partner Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to track down a band of South African criminals while protecting a painfully frenzied witness (Joe Pesci). Naturally, the pair find themselves drawn into violent action sequences orchestrated by stereotypical bad guys. Sunday 8 April Hostess with the mostest: Catherine Tate presents the awards Credit: ITV The Olivier Awards 2018 ITV, 10.20pm Last year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child swept the board with nine Olivier Awards, something that looked impossible to top. But then came Lin Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton, whose West End run has received reviews every bit as rapturous as those from its Broadway debut. The show has a record-breaking 13 nominations, which it is thought will be translated into awards. After being snubbed for Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth will surely be rewarded for his equally magisterial play The Ferryman (its eight nominations include best play and best director for Sam Mendes), while contenders in the acting categories include Bryan Cranston for Network, Andrew Garfield for Angels in America and Lesley Manville for Long Day’s Journey into Night. Catherine Tate will be on hosting duties for the event at the Royal Albert Hall, which will, as usual, feature a crop of stellar performances; this one will include a special tribute to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which turns 50 this year. Let’s hope the organisers bring together Josephs of the past for a big singalong: Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield, Ian “H” Watkins and Lee Mead will all, one suspects, be available. Gabriel Tate Sex Robots and Us BBC Three, from 10.00am James Young, an amputee who created his own bionic arm, meets the people who design sex robots and hears about their plans for them, from being given to old people’s homes to “employment” in brothels. But is it the harmless, even socially responsible pursuit thatthey claim? Formula 1: The Bahrain Grand Prix Sky Sports F1, 3.30pm After the Australian Grand Prix – in which Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a safety-car blunder to win under pristine Melbourne skies – attention turns to the second round of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Another blunder cost Lewis Hamilton on this circuit last year – this time it happened in the pit lane, with Vettel capitalising to win by 6.6 seconds. The Generation Game BBC One, 8.00pm How do you top last week’s cavalcade of silliness in this rebooted game show? You rope in Danny Dyer to join Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and panellists Melvin Odoom and Roisin Conaty for challenges that include cake decorating, balloon modelling and dancing the Argentine Tango. The Durrells ITV, 8.00pm In the fourth episode of the popular drama, Larry (Josh O’Connor) visits Athens with two oddly named guests – Captain Creech (James Cosmo) and Prince Jeejeebuoy (Tanmay Dhanania) – in tow. There, they offer advice to Gerry (Milo Parker), who is applying for a new school. Jesus’ Female Disciples: the New Evidence Channel 4, 8.00pm For centuries, the birth of Christianity was regarded as a largely male affair, with women as only bit-part players. Now, Bible experts Helen Bond and Joan Taylor have discovered evidence that women were involved in everything from preaching and baptising to funding the movement as it grew. This absorbing documentary follows the historians’ progress. Golf: The Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 8.00pm Prepare for a dramatic finale as this year’s first Major – from the Augusta National in Georgia – concludes. Last year, Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the coveted green jacket, beating Justin Rose in a tense play-off. Ordeal by Innocence BBC One, 9.00pm Sarah Phelps’s splendid adaptation continues, as Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) resolves to prove the truth about Jack Argyll’s (Anthony Boyle) alibi by any means necessary. GT Folk Awards 2018 BBC Four, 9.00pm Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis introduce highlights from this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards in Belfast. It features performances from Cara Dillon, Lankum and Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band. The great Nick Drake will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his genius long-established, even if such recognition eluded him during his short life. Producer Dónal Lunny, meanwhile, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of tireless work promoting the renaissance in Irish music, plus The Armagh Pipers Club are presented with the Good Tradition Award. GT Emma (1996) ★★★★☆ BBC Two, 3.00pm Gwyneth Paltrow’s American iciness melts in this deft adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic comic romance. She is Emma Woodhouse, spoilt, charming and an inveterate meddler. Only Mr George Knightley (Jeremy Northam) dares challenge her behaviour – but what are his motives? A clever film with a superb supporting cast, including Toni Collette, Alan Cumming and Ewan McGregor. United 93 (2006) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 9.55pm Director Paul Greengrass’s boneshaking, real-time take on the final hours of the United Airlines plane whose passengers rebelled against their hijackers on September 11, 2001 feels uncomfortably realistic. Greengrass, whose signature rapid cutting made the second and third Bourne films so exciting, proves expert at handling the most infamous atrocity of modern times with intelligence and sobriety. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.00pm This superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel is a triumph. The espionage drama follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service, with Gary Oldman spearheading the excellent ensemble cast, which includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s funny, seductive and suspenseful. Monday 9 April I spy: a recruit sees if she’s got what it takes to be an SOE agent Credit: BBC Secret Agent Selection: WW2 BBC Two, 9.00pm Not unlike Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, this absorbing new series puts a group of recruits through a series of gruelling physical and psychological challenges to see if they could make the grade as a secret agent according to an established selection test used during the Second World War. This test was used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to determine whether recruits from many different walks of life would be capable of being dropped behind enemy lines and surviving as a covert officer with a brief to cause the maximum disruption possible to the enemy in the territory. As with the original SOE, the 14 candidates come from diverse backgrounds (among them a research scientist, a property developer, former police officer, a drag act performer, a retired investment banker and an Army veteran). In the opening episode, they undergo the initial four-day assessment at a remote Scottish country-house estate. The aim is to winnow out weakness and determine who should win a place on the advanced, and suitably terrifying, course in assassination, sabotage and covert intelligence techniques. Gerard O’Donovan Famalam BBC Three, from 10.00am After a successful pilot last year, Vivienne Acheampong, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roxanne Sternberg, Tom Moutchi and John MacMillan return with more culturally skewed sketches. Once again, they feature William and Funke’s raunchy chat show, misunderstood superhero Eclipse, Croydon’s voodoo practitioner Professor Lofuko, and a version of Midsomer Murders. 800 Words BBC One, 2.15pm If you like The Durrells you will definitely want to watch hit Australian comedy drama 800 Words. This gently funny series follows George (Erik Thomson), a widower, who horrifies his teenaged children when he moves the entire family to a remote seaside town in New Zealand. Springtime on the Farm Channel 5, 8.00pm This is the first of five shows this week celebrating the “great British farmer”, with the help of Yorkshire Vet stars Peter Wright and Julian Norton, Adam Henson of Countryfile and Springwatch’s Lindsey Chapman. In this programme, they explore how to cope with the stresses of lambing. MasterChef: The Finals BBC One, 9.00pm Oodles of challenges lie ahead for the remaining amateur chefs in the final week, which takes them as far afield as Peru ahead of Friday’s concluding cook-off. First, though, they’re off to North Yorkshire to cater a country-house lunch for local grandees and farmers. Lisbon: An Art Lovers’ Guide BBC Four, 9.00pm Having covered Barcelona, St Petersburg and Amsterdam in their first series of city-break guides, historian Dr Janina Ramirez and art critic Alastair Sooke jet off to explore three less obvious, art-rich destinations. Beirut and Baku are perhaps the more intriguing but it opens in Lisbon, which built up its art reserves during the centuries Portugal was part of one of the world’s great empires, and currently boasts one of the hottest contemporary art scenes in Europe. GO Marcella ITV, 9.00pm This drama’s been a little less fraught the second time round but Marcella still pushes the boundaries of credibility. In this concluding part, the heroine (Anna Friel) tracks down the killer, only to suffer one of her unfortunate episodes. GO The Core (2003) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 6.25pm Rome starts to crumble, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses and pigeons go mental in Trafalgar Square. Something is obviously amiss, and this time it isn’t climate change. In fact, the Earth’s core has stopped rotating and a team of scientists has to build a special burrowing machine to start it spinning again. Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Aaron Eckhart do their best, but the excitement is intermittent. The Emoji Movie (2017) ★☆☆☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 6.30pm In this animated comedy set inside a smartphone, Gene (voiced by T J Miller), an emoji with multiple facial features, sets out on a quest to be like his colleagues who have only one. He does so with the help of apps like Spotify and Candy Crush. Sadly, the result is so horrendous that there aren’t enough Patrick Stewart-voiced emojis in the world to express what an ugly, artless exercise this is. Triple 9 (2016) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan to kill a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet in John Hillcoat’s crime thriller. There is a lot to like here: a big opening and a strong cast (with Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Anthony Mackie and Chiwetel Ejiofor among them). But it feels like fragments of a great crime drama are missing; it’s enthralling up close, but then the big picture isn’t complete. Tuesday 10 April Back to school: Mark, who has two sons with autism Credit: Channel 4 Class of Mum and Dad Channel 4, 8.00pm Another week, another Channel 4 series about education. Hold off on the black marks, however, because this one is pretty good. The premise is simple: Blackrod Primary School just outside of Bolton has thrown open its doors to a class made up of pupils’ parents (and one grandparent). They’ve agreed to go back to school for the summer term to see what modern education is really like, sports day, Sats tests and all. Naturally, its harder than many of them were expecting – 36-year-old decorator Jonny states early on that he thought he’d be able to slope off for a swift cigarette break rather than having to adhere to strict class rules – but there are some touching stories amid the more obvious moments. Most notably, this opening episode focuses on two parents with challenging home lives – Julia, who is raising her 10-year-old cousin Asha after Asha’s mother died, and Mark, who has two autistic sons. While the parents’ travails are interesting, the children are the real scene-stealers, however, from those delighted that their mothers and fathers are taking part to those who are more sceptical. The pair of five-year-olds who spend their time corpsing in front of the camera are particularly endearing. Sarah Hughes Champions League Football: Manchester City v Liverpool BT Sport 2, 7.45pm The Etihad Stadium is the setting as City and Liverpool fight it out for a place in the semi-finals. Liverpool have the advantage following a 3-0 win at Anfield in the first leg. This Time Next Year ITV, 8.00pm Davina McCall returns with another set of heart-tugging stories of people attempting to transform their lives over the course of a year. First up are two new parents who dream of making life wonderful for their baby girl who has been deaf since birth and a couple desperate to start a family. Come Home BBC One, 9.00pm Danny Brocklehurst’s claustrophobic family drama comes to a head as we flashback to find out exactly what went wrong in Greg (Christopher Eccleston) and Marie’s (Paula Malcomson) marriage. Hospital BBC Two, 9.00pm The engrossing fly-on-the-wall medical series continues with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust struggling to cope with the new NHS ruling regarding the cancellation of all non-urgent surgery. The episode focuses on Val, a 55-year-old with mouth cancer whose surgeon is desperately trying to ensure that her operation goes ahead. Here and Now Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm With only two episodes left to go, Alan Ball’s family drama continues to tread water in the most frustrating ways. On paper, there are a whole bunch of interesting stories in the mix, from Kristen’s (Sosie Bacon) possible relationship with Navid (Marwan Salama) to Ramon’s (Daniel Zovatto) continuing visions, but the problem is nothing much happens with any of them as each story moves on only incrementally each week. In this episode, Audrey (Holly Hunter) finally turns the tables on the perpetually smug Greg (Tim Robbins). Cunk on Britain BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI, 11.15pm Diana Morgan’s pitch-perfect send-up of history programmes moves to the Tudor era and beyond as Cunk takes on Henry VIII, aka “The kingiest king who kinged over Britain” before giving us her unique perspective on “Bloody” Mary Tudor (“horrible like the drink”) and Elizabeth I. SH Divorce Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm The acerbic Sarah Jessica Parker sitcom has been firing on all cylinders throughout its second series – possibly because it’s more interesting watching Frances (Parker) and Robert (the excellent Thomas Haden Church) navigate life after divorce than it was watching them get there. Here, Frances tries to make a new contact in the art world. SH Speed (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm “There’s a bomb on the bus!” is the most famous line and basically the entire plot of one of the best action thrillers of the Nineties. The sizzling chemistry between LAPD Swat specialist Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and passenger Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) sexes up the exhilarating action scenes, while Dennis Hopper is fantastically unhinged as a revenge-driven, retired bomb squad member turned terrorist. Fast & Furious 7 (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 9.00pm Paul Walker was killed in a car crash part-way through making this film so it was completed with the help of his two younger brothers and some subtle computer graphics. The good news is that this is the best film in the franchise and does justice to Walker. It isn’t polished blockbuster film-making – though if it was, it wouldn’t be Fast & Furious. But it speaks straight to your adrenal glands. The Witches of Eastwick (1987) ★★★☆☆ Syfy, 9.00pm It is remarkable that director George Miller’s daft, unfettered romp of a film works at all. But, thanks to Jack Nicholson’s delicious overacting as Daryl Van Horne, a manic gentleman who closely resembles the devil, and the three gorgeous, single small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), who vie for his debased attentions, it somehow does. Wednesday 11 April Family ties: Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz Credit: BBC The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story BBC Two, 9.00pm It’s been fascinating to discover the “true” story behind the 1997 murder of fhion designer Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s glitzy drama, which has expertly depicted the inner world of the perpetrator, a Walter Mitty-style serial killer called Andrew Cunanan (a career-defining role for Darren Criss). This episode, however, has a mid-series lull about it as Cunanan ascends to the higher echelons of gay society, shaping himself meticulously into the posh, preppy eye-candy who saw a sugar daddy (or two) as his way to the top. Elsewhere, the Versace siblings return at last. Gianni (Edgar Ramirez), now in failing health decides to champion his insecure sister Donatella (Penélope Cruz in a frightful wig) and turns her into both designer and muse. Despite a lack of characters to root for – the Versaces’ moments of vulnerability dissolve into tedious histrionics and are eclipsed by Cunanan’s cold-blooded machinations – it’s all quite a fabulous mix of fashion, high society and brutal murder, with some interesting commentary on homophobia in the Nineties as well. Vicki Power The Secret Helpers BBC Two, 8.00pm Watch and weep as timid elderly widow Lesley begins a new life as an out gay woman in this life-affirming docu-series. She’s encouraged with warmth and wisdom by amateur “sages” from abroad, who talk to her secretly through a hidden earpiece. From World War to Cold War Yesterday, 8.00pm As the Second World War drew to a close, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met at Yalta in the Crimea to broker post-war peace. This brisk two-part documentary raids the archives for clips and letters from those who attended, and gathers experts and relatives – including FDR’s grandson – to investigate power plays by Stalin that wrong-footed his Allied counterparts. It’s a detailed look at how and why the compromises reached at Yalta were quickly cast aside. Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy BBC Four, 9.00pm Historian Bettany Hughes continues to explore ancient civilisations, moving on to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Hughes’s odyssey starts under the City of London, where an 1,800-year-old Roman temple to Bacchus was discovered less than 100 years ago, and takes her to Greece, the Middle East and the Caucasus to explore the god’s roots and influence. VP Benidorm ITV, 9.00pm Fluffy as candyfloss, this lewd seaside comedy provides some fun, particularly in the retro casting of stars of yesteryear. This week, an exuberant Sammy (Shane Richie) tries to persuade Monty (John Challis) that, after his successful comeback gig, he is ready for an evening slot. One Born Every Minute Channel 4, 9.00pm This feelgood documentary series brings more poignant tales from a Birmingham labour ward. This week we meet Chantell, about to deliver her third child, who regales us with a moving story of how parenthood with partner Phil has healed the wounds of a traumatic past. First Dates Channel 4, 10.00pm The thoughtful dating show pairs up four more couples, but the road to love is bumpy – septuagenarian Deanna finds her date more interested in the waiter than her. More promising is the match between Bianca and Teza, who allow their vulnerabilities to show. VP The Thin Red Line (1998) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 3.10pm This lyrical Second World War drama, directed by Terrence Malick, tells the story of a group of young US soldiers fighting the Japanese for control of the island of Guadalcanal. Full of stars such as Sean Penn and George Clooney, it struggles with its own battle to squeeze in so many characters but is still an atmospheric meditation on the nature of war. Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody also star. The Remains of the Day (1993) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 3.55pm The success of Merchant Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Thirties-set novel, a well-observed study of regret, is built around its perfectly cast leads: Anthony Hopkins as James, the butler to the doltish aristocrat Lord Darlington (James Fox) and Emma Thompson as a housekeeper who tries to draw him out of his sterile shell. Lush visuals give it an added richness. Transporter 2 (2005) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A martial arts action sequel, in which Jason Statham and Alessandro Gassman are the sporadically thrilling stars. Statham is Frank Martin, who accepts a job as chauffeur to Jack (Hunter Clary), the son of Miami’s politician Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine). But the local Colombian drug dealers aren’t happy with his boss’s efforts to clean up the city. Cue a kidnapping, and a potentially deadly encounter with a cocaine baron. Thursday 12 April Changing attitudes: Holly and Hollie Credit: BBC Living with the Brainy Bunch BBC Two, 8.00pm Enterprising, PR-conscious Ash Ali is headmaster of Chessington Community College, a fast-improving school with a few problem pupils. Among them are Jack and Hollie who, on the surface, are comically awful teenagers. Hollie gripes constantly, throws strops and storms out of classrooms if things aren’t going her way. Jack is sullen, lazy and has clocked up 15 suspensions in the past year. It will come as no surprise to regular viewers of such documentaries that their behaviour is rooted in low self-esteem, although their parents unquestionably indulge their foibles. Ali’s novel solution is to place Hollie with Holly, tapdancing head girl and gregarious boffin, and Jack with Tharush, a Sri Lankan immigrant by way of Italy, whose talents are only matched by his work ethic. Now that Jack and Hollie are in the bosom of new families for six weeks, it’s hoped that a new environment, greater discipline and rigid routines will see their results improve and attitudes pick up. There are setbacks on the largely familiar narrative trajectory, but it’s cast to perfection and, as a demonstration of the importance of parenting in academic achievement, the experiment gets an A-star. Gabriel Tate European Tour Golf: The Open de Espana Sky Sports Golf, 11.00am The opening day’s play of the event from the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, which was won by Andrew Johnston the last time it was held in 2016. War Above the Trenches Yesterday, 8.00pm This decent two-parter tells the story of the Royal Flying Corps and their battle to win control of the air in the First World War. Based on Peter Hart’s book Bloody April, it draws affectingly on the testimony of veterans to show there was more to the Western Front than trench warfare. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm The modern age draws closer, as Simon Schama tackles the theme of radiance, guiding us through Gothic cathedrals, Baroque Venetian masterpieces and dazzling Japanese woodblock prints. The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm The second real-life case of the series sees Mark Williams-Thomas investigating the 1977 murders of three women in Glasgow. The suspect is Angus Sinclair, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing two other women that same year. We hear from his ex-wife, and learn how he was a prime suspect but escaped charges for the first killings when key evidence went missing. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm This diverting documentary series concludes with a Himalayan trek, a controversial article in the school newspaper and the GCSE retakes that were the goal of the entire enterprise. Will Alfie, Harry, Jack and co see their grades improve? Urban Myths: Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder Sky Arts, 9.00pm Sky Arts’ boldly cast series of vaguely apocryphal tales from the pop-culture frontlines returns with a dispatch from the set of Some Like It Hot, the magnificent 1959 comedy that is almost certainly more fun to watch than it was to make. In this minor but entertaining reimagining, Tony Curtis (Alex Pettyfer) is threatening to cuckold Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) by making off with Marilyn Monroe (Gemma Arterton), whose caprice, drinking and sensitivity is driving director Billy Wilder (James Purefoy) to distraction. GT Still Game BBC One, 9.30pm; BBC Two Wales, 10.00pm Justifying its prime-time BBC One slot, the Scottish sitcom bows out in triumph with a typically well-wrought farce involving a Hollywood stuntman, a disastrous driving lesson and romance for the widowed Isa (Jane McCarry). GT The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ★★★★☆ ITV4, 9.00pm Christopher Lee steals the show as the titular assassin, Francisco Scaramanga, in this classic Bond adventure. Roger Moore’s secret agent, in his second outing as 007, must pursue him, with the help of sidekick Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), to the villain’s island lair in order to prevent him harnessing the power of the Sun for evil. The confrontations between Moore and Lee are easily the film’s highlights. Swordfish (2001) ★★☆☆☆ TCM, 9.00pm The most often quoted bit of trivia about this film is that Halle Berry was paid an additional £500,000 to go topless. It’s rather lucky she agreed because she’s probably the most appealing aspect of this frenetic thriller. John Travolta and Hugh Jackman put on testosterone-fuelled displays as a morally dubious counter-terrorist agent and the hacker he blackmails into accessing billions of dollars of government money. Some Like It Hot (1959, b/w) ★★★★★ Sky Arts, 9.30pm When two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) witness a mob hit, they flee the state disguised as women in an all-female band, but further complications arise in the form of demure ukulele player Sugar Kane, superbly played by Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is effortlessly wacky and clever. Before, at 9pm, is Urban Myths, which imagines what happened on the set of this romcom. Friday 13 April Dishing out opinions: John Torode and Gregg Wallace Credit: BBC MasterChef: The Final BBC One, 8.30pm It has taken 25 episodes over seven weeks to whittle down the 56 amateur contestants to three finalists, and in the process, MasterChef 2018 has produced some of the best cooking – and some of the toughest competition – in the series’ long history. (It has been running in one form or another since 1990; and since 2005 in, roughly, its current format with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode presenting.) This last week has been no exception, with the finalists having to dig deeper than ever to produce the best dishes of their lives and some great moments – notably during the spectacular trip to South America when they met Peruvian superchef Gaston Acurio and took on a service at the fifth best restaurant in the world, the Central in Lima, under Michelin-starred maestro Virgilio Martínez Véliz. In the finale, it’s all about who cooks the best food, though, as the final three return to the studio kitchen to undergo a test of culinary skills and nerve as they set about creating the most important three-course meal of their lives – in the hope of being judged worthy of a title that has launched many a great career: MasterChef champion. Gerard O’Donovan Chef’s Table: Pastry Netflix, from today This mouth-watering spin-off from Netflix’s popular global foodie series Chef’s Table puts the focus entirely on sweet stuff, talking the cameras inside the kitchens of some of the world’s best pastry chefs, among them Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar in New York, Corrado Assenza’s Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Sicily, Jordi Roca’s El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and Will Goldfarb’s Room4Dessert in Bali. Lost in Space Netflix, from today Not so much a rerun as a spectacular new take on the classic Sixties sci-fi series about a family marooned in space when their ship runs into difficulty on their way to a new colony and crashes on an unknown and surprisingly hostile planet. There are plenty of thrills and impressive visual effects, and Toby Stephens and Molly Parker are excellent as the pioneering Robinson parents John and Judy, while Parker Posey is an enigmatic (and now female) Dr Smith. GO The City & The City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm Cop thrillers don’t come much more weirdly dystopian than China Miéville’s award-winning 2009 novel and this ultra-stylish adaptation serves its source material very well. In episode two, Inspector Borlú (David Morrissey) ventures back across the border while investigating the murder of a foreign student. Episodes BBC Two, 10.00pm; Wales, 11.05pm Having overcome last week’s unfortunate episode in this sitcom, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) is back on top and leveraging his spurt in the ratings for all it’s worth, handing Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) a welcome opportunity for escape. Lee and Dean Channel 4, 10.00pm More rough charm, as life gets complicated for Stevenage’s very own Dumb and Dumber when Lee’s (Miles Chapman) financial worries mount and Dean (Mark O’Sullivan) is persuaded to premiere his poetry at the local arts club. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; Wales, 11.35pm Freedom of speech and censorship are under the spotlight as host Mary Beard and guests discuss Theatre Clwyd’s production The Assassination of Katie Hopkins and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book Fascism: A Warning. GO Alien: Covenant (2017) ★★★★★ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm The latest film in the Alien saga from Ridley Scott is arguably a mad scientist movie. It follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant (including Katherine Waterson) as they discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but what they uncover a threat beyond their imagination. Michael Fassbender puts in a spectacular turn as kindly robot David and his twisted “brother” Walter. Invictus (2009) ★★★★☆ ITV, 10.45pm Following the death of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie last week, aged 81, here’s Clint Eastwood’s take on South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995. As the country emerges from apartheid, the newly elected President Mandela (an uncanny Morgan Freeman) sees the potential for the national rugby team, led by François Pienaar (Matt Damon), to be a catalyst for harmony. This is a polished and uplifting film. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) ★★★★☆ Gold, 1.40am Much like the Secret Policeman’s Ball, this comedy performance film sees the Monty Python gang take to the stage, but this time they’re in Hollywood. Among the sketches are the Silly Olympics, where athletes compete in absurd sports, The Lumberjack Song, and The Ministry of Silly Walks. This film also features Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate
What's on TV tonight: The Investigator: A British Crime Story and Civilisations
Thursday 5 April The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm “I have investigated some of the UK’s most infamous crimes but I’ve never encountered anything as sinister as this,” says cop turned investigative reporter Mark Williams-Thomas of this series in which he turns his attention to the disappearance of Polegate teenager Louise Kay in 1988. Which is quite a claim, coming as it does from the man who broke the Jimmy Savile story, among others. But when the Kay family turned to him for help after three decades of getting nowhere via the police, Williams Thomas says his own investigation turned up a great deal more than he was expecting, including links to a number of other missing persons cases and the possibility that he might have uncovered “the undetected crimes of a serial killer who has got away with murder for decades”. In this first episode, though, the focus is firmly on the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 18-year-old Louise, who was last seen driving towards Beachy Head after a night out clubbing in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with her best friend, and the fact that her distinctive gold and white Ford Fiesta also vanished that night without trace. Gerard O’Donovan The Cruise: Sailing the Caribbean ITV, 8.30pm More seaborne adventures for the cruise ship Royal Princess, this time as she embarks on an island-hopping tour of such Caribbean destinations as Grenada, the Bahamas and Antigua. If they can get into port, that is, as the ship’s docking winches appear to have failed. Ho-hum. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm David Olusoga takes the reins for a wide-ranging edition exploring how in West Africa, Central America and Japan, art left its own distinctive record of when some great civilisations of the 15th and 16th centuries came into contact for the first time. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm The five British boys are now six weeks into their study programme at the Doon School in Uttarakhand, but it’s not easy for them, especially Jack who finds there is a high price to pay for daring to do better than the others. Unsolved: The Man with No Alibi BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.15pm In the concluding part of this report exploring the July 2002 murder in Bournemouth of Korean student Jong-Ok Shin, Bronagh Munro examines the evidence that convicted Omar Benguit despite the absence of forensics linking him to the crime. GO Deep State Fox, 9.00pm This eight-part British spy thriller gets off to an action packed start, with Mark Strong convincing as ex-MI6 spook Max Easton, unwillingly forced out of retirement by a former intelligence chief in London. It’s not long before he finds himself at the heart of a covert intelligence war and a conspiracy by powerful corporations to foment chaos and revolution in the Middle East. Silicon Valley Sky Atlantic, 10.15pm The popular HBO tech-comedy returns for a fifth series as, despite their record of failure (a video chat app that contravened privacy laws and a partner permanently sozzled in Tibet were just two of their problems), the team at Pied Piper look to be on the verge of success. As Richard’s (Thomas Middleditch) decentralised internet concept approaches launch, there’s ample funding for once and new offices. But the pressure to get things right begins to play on Richard’s mind. GO Nanny McPhee (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 10.20am Emma Thompson wrote and stars in this sweet and old-fashioned fantasy film, based on Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books. She plays an old nanny who finds that the children of a widower (Colin Firth) are a challenge, even for her. Poised between Lemony Snicket and Mary Poppins, the film has moral messages to impart, but luckily not at the expense of an enjoyable, magical tale. Live and Let Die (1973) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm James Bond (Roger Moore) battles one of his more extraordinary opponents, Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a Caribbean criminal mastermind masquerading as a Harlem drug baron. The film was given lukewarm reviews on its release, but this is Moore-era Bond at its preposterous best. Highlights include 007’s voodoo snake ordeal and a thrilling speedboat chase through New Orleans. RocknRolla (2008) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 10.00pm After the dismal Revolver and Swept Away (which starred his ex-wife Madonna), Guy Ritchie attempts a return to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels-esque form with another testosterone-heavy, twisty tale set in London’s underworld. The plot moves vaguely around the theft of a painting from a Russian mobster (Karl Roden) while getting tangled up in various sub-plots. Friday 6 April David Morrissey Credit: BBC The City & the City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Northern Ireland, 9.30pm “I knew there was another city I dare not see… Just on the other side of where I was supposed to look.” So states Inspector Tyador Borlú (David Morrissey) midway through this engrossing adaptation of China Miéville’s Borgesian novel, which achieves the apparently impossible by bringing a dense and clever book to brilliant, atmospheric life. Borlú, a detective with the Extreme Crime Squad in the rundown vaguely Eastern European city of Beszul, is handed the task of solving the murder of a foreign student. So far, so standard, but what unfolds turns out to be anything but as scriptwriter Tony Grisoni (Red Riding) expertly captures Miéville’s vision of a world in which a city is divided not by a wall or barricade, but by blurred realities the populace is trained from birth not to see. Thus the two cities of Beszul and Ul Qoma coexist in the same space but without acknowledging each other, the town hall their only shared space. To look directly on the other city is to commit “Breach”, bringing about the wrath of the secret police. Grisoni and director Tom Shankland build the tension inexorably as Borlú’s world is slowly but surely upended. An absolute treat. Sarah Hughes Sounds Like Friday Night BBC One, 7.30pm The BBC’s music TV revival didn’t make a huge splash with its first series but it’s still worth checking out, if only because co-host and Radio 1Xtra presenter Dotty is such a likeable presence. Tonight, she’s on the road, while Greg James anchors from the studio. Professor Green, Snow Patrol and Years & Years perform. Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.30pm The satirical quiz show returns for a 55th series, with captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joined by presenter Steph McGovern and comedian Josh Widdicombe; Jeremy Paxman hosts. The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm In an era when the talk show appears tired somehow Graham Norton manages to keep the format enjoyable. Tonight’s episode, the first in a new series, sees husband-and-wife team Emily Blunt and John Krasinski discuss their horror A Quiet Place. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; N Ireland, 11.35pm Following the kerfuffle over its poorly received first series, the arts show returns with a rejigged format and Mary Beard in the presenter’s chair. Informed debate is promised, although Beard has said that she won’t simply replicate the notoriously combative Newsnight Review. SH BBC Young Musician 2018 BBC Four, 7.30pm The contest kicks off at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s new concert hall. Presenter Josie d’Arby is joined by 1998 finalist Alison Balsom as we meet the final five: violinists Elodie Chousmer-Howelles and Stephanie Childress, double bassist Will Duerden, guitarist Torrin Williams and cellist Maxim Calver. The judges are double bassist Leon Bosch, classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, violinist and previous Young Musician of the Year winner, Jennifer Pike. Composer Kerry Andrew and the contestants will perform works by Bach, Brahms and Stravinsky. The Nineties Sky Arts, 9.00pm There’s nothing like seeing the decade you came of age in co-opted for nostalgic TV to make you feel old, but for those who can bear seeing their youth dissected Sky Arts at least does it well. Tonight’s second episode continues the focus on the decade’s TV with The Sopranos and Seinfeld under discussion. SH Fury (2014) ★★★★★ 5STAR, 9.00pm David Ayer’s study of the habits and habitats of the American killer male is an astonishing, stirring drama. It’s Germany 1945, and Sgt Don “Wardaddy” Collie (Brad Pitt) and his team are grinding towards Berlin in a battered M4 Sherman tank. There is no rescue mission, just an agonising rumble from one brush with death to the next. The set-piece battles are gripping, and the raw terror of war is blasted home. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm The best of Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant’s romcoms about awfully nice chaps dithering over frightfully pretty girls. Grant plays bumbling Charles, who, ah, er, can’t tell what’s, um, going on between him and the scrummy Carrie (Andie MacDowell), who he keeps, gosh, bumping into at weddings. It’s aged pretty well and certainly knocks spots off Love, Actually. Lawless (2012) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 12.45am An adaptation of the historical novel The Wettest County in the World, John Hillcoat’s Prohibition-era western follows three brothers (played by Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke), who do a tidy business distilling and selling illegal moonshine whiskey. It’s an oddly affectionate clan portrait – the violence the brothers mete out is implicitly forgiven – but the period detail is well observed. Saturday 7 April Saturday night fever: Declan Donnelly presents from Orlando Credit: Rex/Shutterstock Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway ITV, 7.00pm It can’t be easy hosting a show as exuberant as Saturday Night Takeaway on your own but Declan Donnelly made a solid if understandably restrained go of it last week. He ensured that the light entertainment series proceeded pretty much as normal in the absence of long-time work partner Ant McPartlin, whose travails were sensibly referenced only in very brief passing (“I’ve got twice the amount of work to do,” Donnelly noted at one point before mock-berating the production crew that “I’ll have to do it myself, like everything else around here this week”). That said, this final episode ups the ante as Donnelly takes the show on the road to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Once there we’re promised a “super-sized” edition featuring stunts, surprises and “extra-special” guests. No word yet as to who those guests will be but expect Donnelly to continue making the best of a difficult situation, buoyed by extra support from Scarlett Moffatt, who is in charge of ensuring that the Place on the Plane winners have a wonderful time, and Stephen Mulhern, who has the possibly less than enviable task of explaining In for a Penny to an American audience. Sarah Hughes Premier League Football: Everton v Liverpool Sky Sports Main Event, 12.30pm Tired, perhaps, from their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Man City, Liverpool face their bitter local rivals Everton at Goodison Park. The home side, who’ve won three of their last six games, haven’t beaten Liverpool since October 2010, when Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave them a 2-0 victory. Premiership Rugby Union: Bath v Leicester Tigers Channel 5, 1.30pm Time was when Bath and Leicester were the titans of English rugby. Currently they are fifth and eighth in the league, respectively. In September, Bath claimed a 27-23 win at Welford Road, as they held on for their first away win at Leicester since 2003, ensuring an unhappy return for George Ford against the club he left in the summer. The two sides also met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at the Recreation Ground in November, where Bath also emerged victorious, beating Leicester 33-31 on that occasion. Premier League Football: Manchester City v Manchester United Sky Sports Main Event, 5.30pm What better way for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to clinch the title than by beating second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. Sixteen points ahead of them in the table, City have been formidable this season, winning 27 of the 31 league games they’ve played. One of those victories came at Old Trafford, with a goal from Nicolas Otamendi giving City a 2-1 victory when these sides met in December. Britain’s Most Historic Towns Channel 4, 8.00pm Alice Roberts is our guide for this new six-part series, which sees her search the UK for the places that best sum up an historical era. The first era is Roman Britain, so Roberts heads to Chester, where she abseils down walls, hunkers in caves and uncovers the truth about the city. Casualty BBC One, 8.20pm The medical drama’s storyline about Dylan’s (William Beck) alcoholism continues to be sensitively handled as the medic’s ex-wife Sam (Charlotte Salt) worries about whether she can help him. Meanwhile, Ethan (George Hardy) struggles with his own demons as he realises that a patient is related to his brother’s killer. The Voice UK: Live Final ITV, 8.30pm Every reality TV idea has an allotted shelf life and it’s hard not to feel that musical talent contests have come to the end of their run. For those who disagree, The Voice UK’s grand finale is here and the final four battle it out for public approval. Below the Surface BBC Four, 9.00pm & 9.45pm BBC Four’s latest Scandi drama started off tensely but like its predecessor, Modus, it has gone on to become ever more ludicrous. Now it’s the final two episodes, and Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) faces off against Mark (Jakob Oftebro), the man behind the hostage crisis. Much heartfelt talking follows, although you may end up feeling more sympathetic towards the damaged Mark than the chilly Norgaard. Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two Sky Arts, 9.00pm When is a music documentary not a music documentary? When it’s also a sports film. This exuberant film, which was made following the Chicago Cubs’ victory in baseball’s World Series in 2016, follows die-hard Cubs fan and Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder as he cheers on his team during their championship run while also preparing the band for two August shows at the team’s Wrigley Field Stadium. The result is an affectionate portrait of the singer as fan. SH Troy: Fall of a City BBC One, 9.10pm David Farr’s epic series reaches its climax with the arrival of the most famous horse in history. After an uninspiring start, Troy has picked up in recent weeks and the final episode is a well-handled tale of betrayal and death. It’s a curate’s egg of a series, let down by poor casting. SH X-Men (2000) ★★★★☆ Film4, 7.00pm Bryan Singer directs an all-star cast that includes Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry, in the first of the X-Men franchise. A group of mutants must decide whether to side with Professor Xavier (Stewart) or the evil Magneto (McKellen) in what is a solid opening to the series and which paved the way for plenty of big-budget sequels. This is followed by X-Men 2 and X-Men 3 at 9.00pm and 11.35pm respectively. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Channel 4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and this inconsistency leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.05pm Mel Gibson sports his signature Eighties mullet in the second film of this daft-but-fun action franchise. LAPD officer Riggs (Gibson) teams up once again with his partner Murtaugh (Danny Glover) to track down a band of South African criminals while protecting a painfully frenzied witness (Joe Pesci). Naturally, the pair find themselves drawn into violent action sequences orchestrated by stereotypical bad guys. Sunday 8 April Hostess with the mostest: Catherine Tate presents the awards Credit: ITV The Olivier Awards 2018 ITV, 10.20pm Last year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child swept the board with nine Olivier Awards, something that looked impossible to top. But then came Lin Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton, whose West End run has received reviews every bit as rapturous as those from its Broadway debut. The show has a record-breaking 13 nominations, which it is thought will be translated into awards. After being snubbed for Jerusalem, Jez Butterworth will surely be rewarded for his equally magisterial play The Ferryman (its eight nominations include best play and best director for Sam Mendes), while contenders in the acting categories include Bryan Cranston for Network, Andrew Garfield for Angels in America and Lesley Manville for Long Day’s Journey into Night. Catherine Tate will be on hosting duties for the event at the Royal Albert Hall, which will, as usual, feature a crop of stellar performances; this one will include a special tribute to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which turns 50 this year. Let’s hope the organisers bring together Josephs of the past for a big singalong: Jason Donovan, Phillip Schofield, Ian “H” Watkins and Lee Mead will all, one suspects, be available. Gabriel Tate Sex Robots and Us BBC Three, from 10.00am James Young, an amputee who created his own bionic arm, meets the people who design sex robots and hears about their plans for them, from being given to old people’s homes to “employment” in brothels. But is it the harmless, even socially responsible pursuit thatthey claim? Formula 1: The Bahrain Grand Prix Sky Sports F1, 3.30pm After the Australian Grand Prix – in which Sebastian Vettel took advantage of a safety-car blunder to win under pristine Melbourne skies – attention turns to the second round of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Another blunder cost Lewis Hamilton on this circuit last year – this time it happened in the pit lane, with Vettel capitalising to win by 6.6 seconds. The Generation Game BBC One, 8.00pm How do you top last week’s cavalcade of silliness in this rebooted game show? You rope in Danny Dyer to join Mel Giedroyc, Sue Perkins and panellists Melvin Odoom and Roisin Conaty for challenges that include cake decorating, balloon modelling and dancing the Argentine Tango. The Durrells ITV, 8.00pm In the fourth episode of the popular drama, Larry (Josh O’Connor) visits Athens with two oddly named guests – Captain Creech (James Cosmo) and Prince Jeejeebuoy (Tanmay Dhanania) – in tow. There, they offer advice to Gerry (Milo Parker), who is applying for a new school. Jesus’ Female Disciples: the New Evidence Channel 4, 8.00pm For centuries, the birth of Christianity was regarded as a largely male affair, with women as only bit-part players. Now, Bible experts Helen Bond and Joan Taylor have discovered evidence that women were involved in everything from preaching and baptising to funding the movement as it grew. This absorbing documentary follows the historians’ progress. Golf: The Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 8.00pm Prepare for a dramatic finale as this year’s first Major – from the Augusta National in Georgia – concludes. Last year, Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the coveted green jacket, beating Justin Rose in a tense play-off. Ordeal by Innocence BBC One, 9.00pm Sarah Phelps’s splendid adaptation continues, as Arthur Calgary (Luke Treadaway) resolves to prove the truth about Jack Argyll’s (Anthony Boyle) alibi by any means necessary. GT Folk Awards 2018 BBC Four, 9.00pm Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis introduce highlights from this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards in Belfast. It features performances from Cara Dillon, Lankum and Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band. The great Nick Drake will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his genius long-established, even if such recognition eluded him during his short life. Producer Dónal Lunny, meanwhile, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of tireless work promoting the renaissance in Irish music, plus The Armagh Pipers Club are presented with the Good Tradition Award. GT Emma (1996) ★★★★☆ BBC Two, 3.00pm Gwyneth Paltrow’s American iciness melts in this deft adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic comic romance. She is Emma Woodhouse, spoilt, charming and an inveterate meddler. Only Mr George Knightley (Jeremy Northam) dares challenge her behaviour – but what are his motives? A clever film with a superb supporting cast, including Toni Collette, Alan Cumming and Ewan McGregor. United 93 (2006) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 9.55pm Director Paul Greengrass’s boneshaking, real-time take on the final hours of the United Airlines plane whose passengers rebelled against their hijackers on September 11, 2001 feels uncomfortably realistic. Greengrass, whose signature rapid cutting made the second and third Bourne films so exciting, proves expert at handling the most infamous atrocity of modern times with intelligence and sobriety. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.00pm This superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel is a triumph. The espionage drama follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service, with Gary Oldman spearheading the excellent ensemble cast, which includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s funny, seductive and suspenseful. Monday 9 April I spy: a recruit sees if she’s got what it takes to be an SOE agent Credit: BBC Secret Agent Selection: WW2 BBC Two, 9.00pm Not unlike Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins and BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, this absorbing new series puts a group of recruits through a series of gruelling physical and psychological challenges to see if they could make the grade as a secret agent according to an established selection test used during the Second World War. This test was used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to determine whether recruits from many different walks of life would be capable of being dropped behind enemy lines and surviving as a covert officer with a brief to cause the maximum disruption possible to the enemy in the territory. As with the original SOE, the 14 candidates come from diverse backgrounds (among them a research scientist, a property developer, former police officer, a drag act performer, a retired investment banker and an Army veteran). In the opening episode, they undergo the initial four-day assessment at a remote Scottish country-house estate. The aim is to winnow out weakness and determine who should win a place on the advanced, and suitably terrifying, course in assassination, sabotage and covert intelligence techniques. Gerard O’Donovan Famalam BBC Three, from 10.00am After a successful pilot last year, Vivienne Acheampong, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Roxanne Sternberg, Tom Moutchi and John MacMillan return with more culturally skewed sketches. Once again, they feature William and Funke’s raunchy chat show, misunderstood superhero Eclipse, Croydon’s voodoo practitioner Professor Lofuko, and a version of Midsomer Murders. 800 Words BBC One, 2.15pm If you like The Durrells you will definitely want to watch hit Australian comedy drama 800 Words. This gently funny series follows George (Erik Thomson), a widower, who horrifies his teenaged children when he moves the entire family to a remote seaside town in New Zealand. Springtime on the Farm Channel 5, 8.00pm This is the first of five shows this week celebrating the “great British farmer”, with the help of Yorkshire Vet stars Peter Wright and Julian Norton, Adam Henson of Countryfile and Springwatch’s Lindsey Chapman. In this programme, they explore how to cope with the stresses of lambing. MasterChef: The Finals BBC One, 9.00pm Oodles of challenges lie ahead for the remaining amateur chefs in the final week, which takes them as far afield as Peru ahead of Friday’s concluding cook-off. First, though, they’re off to North Yorkshire to cater a country-house lunch for local grandees and farmers. Lisbon: An Art Lovers’ Guide BBC Four, 9.00pm Having covered Barcelona, St Petersburg and Amsterdam in their first series of city-break guides, historian Dr Janina Ramirez and art critic Alastair Sooke jet off to explore three less obvious, art-rich destinations. Beirut and Baku are perhaps the more intriguing but it opens in Lisbon, which built up its art reserves during the centuries Portugal was part of one of the world’s great empires, and currently boasts one of the hottest contemporary art scenes in Europe. GO Marcella ITV, 9.00pm This drama’s been a little less fraught the second time round but Marcella still pushes the boundaries of credibility. In this concluding part, the heroine (Anna Friel) tracks down the killer, only to suffer one of her unfortunate episodes. GO The Core (2003) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 6.25pm Rome starts to crumble, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses and pigeons go mental in Trafalgar Square. Something is obviously amiss, and this time it isn’t climate change. In fact, the Earth’s core has stopped rotating and a team of scientists has to build a special burrowing machine to start it spinning again. Hilary Swank, Stanley Tucci and Aaron Eckhart do their best, but the excitement is intermittent. The Emoji Movie (2017) ★☆☆☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 6.30pm In this animated comedy set inside a smartphone, Gene (voiced by T J Miller), an emoji with multiple facial features, sets out on a quest to be like his colleagues who have only one. He does so with the help of apps like Spotify and Candy Crush. Sadly, the result is so horrendous that there aren’t enough Patrick Stewart-voiced emojis in the world to express what an ugly, artless exercise this is. Triple 9 (2016) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan to kill a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet in John Hillcoat’s crime thriller. There is a lot to like here: a big opening and a strong cast (with Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Anthony Mackie and Chiwetel Ejiofor among them). But it feels like fragments of a great crime drama are missing; it’s enthralling up close, but then the big picture isn’t complete. Tuesday 10 April Back to school: Mark, who has two sons with autism Credit: Channel 4 Class of Mum and Dad Channel 4, 8.00pm Another week, another Channel 4 series about education. Hold off on the black marks, however, because this one is pretty good. The premise is simple: Blackrod Primary School just outside of Bolton has thrown open its doors to a class made up of pupils’ parents (and one grandparent). They’ve agreed to go back to school for the summer term to see what modern education is really like, sports day, Sats tests and all. Naturally, its harder than many of them were expecting – 36-year-old decorator Jonny states early on that he thought he’d be able to slope off for a swift cigarette break rather than having to adhere to strict class rules – but there are some touching stories amid the more obvious moments. Most notably, this opening episode focuses on two parents with challenging home lives – Julia, who is raising her 10-year-old cousin Asha after Asha’s mother died, and Mark, who has two autistic sons. While the parents’ travails are interesting, the children are the real scene-stealers, however, from those delighted that their mothers and fathers are taking part to those who are more sceptical. The pair of five-year-olds who spend their time corpsing in front of the camera are particularly endearing. Sarah Hughes Champions League Football: Manchester City v Liverpool BT Sport 2, 7.45pm The Etihad Stadium is the setting as City and Liverpool fight it out for a place in the semi-finals. Liverpool have the advantage following a 3-0 win at Anfield in the first leg. This Time Next Year ITV, 8.00pm Davina McCall returns with another set of heart-tugging stories of people attempting to transform their lives over the course of a year. First up are two new parents who dream of making life wonderful for their baby girl who has been deaf since birth and a couple desperate to start a family. Come Home BBC One, 9.00pm Danny Brocklehurst’s claustrophobic family drama comes to a head as we flashback to find out exactly what went wrong in Greg (Christopher Eccleston) and Marie’s (Paula Malcomson) marriage. Hospital BBC Two, 9.00pm The engrossing fly-on-the-wall medical series continues with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust struggling to cope with the new NHS ruling regarding the cancellation of all non-urgent surgery. The episode focuses on Val, a 55-year-old with mouth cancer whose surgeon is desperately trying to ensure that her operation goes ahead. Here and Now Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm With only two episodes left to go, Alan Ball’s family drama continues to tread water in the most frustrating ways. On paper, there are a whole bunch of interesting stories in the mix, from Kristen’s (Sosie Bacon) possible relationship with Navid (Marwan Salama) to Ramon’s (Daniel Zovatto) continuing visions, but the problem is nothing much happens with any of them as each story moves on only incrementally each week. In this episode, Audrey (Holly Hunter) finally turns the tables on the perpetually smug Greg (Tim Robbins). Cunk on Britain BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI, 11.15pm Diana Morgan’s pitch-perfect send-up of history programmes moves to the Tudor era and beyond as Cunk takes on Henry VIII, aka “The kingiest king who kinged over Britain” before giving us her unique perspective on “Bloody” Mary Tudor (“horrible like the drink”) and Elizabeth I. SH Divorce Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm The acerbic Sarah Jessica Parker sitcom has been firing on all cylinders throughout its second series – possibly because it’s more interesting watching Frances (Parker) and Robert (the excellent Thomas Haden Church) navigate life after divorce than it was watching them get there. Here, Frances tries to make a new contact in the art world. SH Speed (1994) ★★★★☆ Film4, 9.00pm “There’s a bomb on the bus!” is the most famous line and basically the entire plot of one of the best action thrillers of the Nineties. The sizzling chemistry between LAPD Swat specialist Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and passenger Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) sexes up the exhilarating action scenes, while Dennis Hopper is fantastically unhinged as a revenge-driven, retired bomb squad member turned terrorist. Fast & Furious 7 (2015) ★★★☆☆ ITV2, 9.00pm Paul Walker was killed in a car crash part-way through making this film so it was completed with the help of his two younger brothers and some subtle computer graphics. The good news is that this is the best film in the franchise and does justice to Walker. It isn’t polished blockbuster film-making – though if it was, it wouldn’t be Fast & Furious. But it speaks straight to your adrenal glands. The Witches of Eastwick (1987) ★★★☆☆ Syfy, 9.00pm It is remarkable that director George Miller’s daft, unfettered romp of a film works at all. But, thanks to Jack Nicholson’s delicious overacting as Daryl Van Horne, a manic gentleman who closely resembles the devil, and the three gorgeous, single small-town friends, Alexandra (Cher), Jane (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer), who vie for his debased attentions, it somehow does. Wednesday 11 April Family ties: Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz Credit: BBC The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story BBC Two, 9.00pm It’s been fascinating to discover the “true” story behind the 1997 murder of fhion designer Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s glitzy drama, which has expertly depicted the inner world of the perpetrator, a Walter Mitty-style serial killer called Andrew Cunanan (a career-defining role for Darren Criss). This episode, however, has a mid-series lull about it as Cunanan ascends to the higher echelons of gay society, shaping himself meticulously into the posh, preppy eye-candy who saw a sugar daddy (or two) as his way to the top. Elsewhere, the Versace siblings return at last. Gianni (Edgar Ramirez), now in failing health decides to champion his insecure sister Donatella (Penélope Cruz in a frightful wig) and turns her into both designer and muse. Despite a lack of characters to root for – the Versaces’ moments of vulnerability dissolve into tedious histrionics and are eclipsed by Cunanan’s cold-blooded machinations – it’s all quite a fabulous mix of fashion, high society and brutal murder, with some interesting commentary on homophobia in the Nineties as well. Vicki Power The Secret Helpers BBC Two, 8.00pm Watch and weep as timid elderly widow Lesley begins a new life as an out gay woman in this life-affirming docu-series. She’s encouraged with warmth and wisdom by amateur “sages” from abroad, who talk to her secretly through a hidden earpiece. From World War to Cold War Yesterday, 8.00pm As the Second World War drew to a close, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met at Yalta in the Crimea to broker post-war peace. This brisk two-part documentary raids the archives for clips and letters from those who attended, and gathers experts and relatives – including FDR’s grandson – to investigate power plays by Stalin that wrong-footed his Allied counterparts. It’s a detailed look at how and why the compromises reached at Yalta were quickly cast aside. Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy BBC Four, 9.00pm Historian Bettany Hughes continues to explore ancient civilisations, moving on to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Hughes’s odyssey starts under the City of London, where an 1,800-year-old Roman temple to Bacchus was discovered less than 100 years ago, and takes her to Greece, the Middle East and the Caucasus to explore the god’s roots and influence. VP Benidorm ITV, 9.00pm Fluffy as candyfloss, this lewd seaside comedy provides some fun, particularly in the retro casting of stars of yesteryear. This week, an exuberant Sammy (Shane Richie) tries to persuade Monty (John Challis) that, after his successful comeback gig, he is ready for an evening slot. One Born Every Minute Channel 4, 9.00pm This feelgood documentary series brings more poignant tales from a Birmingham labour ward. This week we meet Chantell, about to deliver her third child, who regales us with a moving story of how parenthood with partner Phil has healed the wounds of a traumatic past. First Dates Channel 4, 10.00pm The thoughtful dating show pairs up four more couples, but the road to love is bumpy – septuagenarian Deanna finds her date more interested in the waiter than her. More promising is the match between Bianca and Teza, who allow their vulnerabilities to show. VP The Thin Red Line (1998) ★★★★☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 3.10pm This lyrical Second World War drama, directed by Terrence Malick, tells the story of a group of young US soldiers fighting the Japanese for control of the island of Guadalcanal. Full of stars such as Sean Penn and George Clooney, it struggles with its own battle to squeeze in so many characters but is still an atmospheric meditation on the nature of war. Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody also star. The Remains of the Day (1993) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 3.55pm The success of Merchant Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Thirties-set novel, a well-observed study of regret, is built around its perfectly cast leads: Anthony Hopkins as James, the butler to the doltish aristocrat Lord Darlington (James Fox) and Emma Thompson as a housekeeper who tries to draw him out of his sterile shell. Lush visuals give it an added richness. Transporter 2 (2005) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm A martial arts action sequel, in which Jason Statham and Alessandro Gassman are the sporadically thrilling stars. Statham is Frank Martin, who accepts a job as chauffeur to Jack (Hunter Clary), the son of Miami’s politician Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine). But the local Colombian drug dealers aren’t happy with his boss’s efforts to clean up the city. Cue a kidnapping, and a potentially deadly encounter with a cocaine baron. Thursday 12 April Changing attitudes: Holly and Hollie Credit: BBC Living with the Brainy Bunch BBC Two, 8.00pm Enterprising, PR-conscious Ash Ali is headmaster of Chessington Community College, a fast-improving school with a few problem pupils. Among them are Jack and Hollie who, on the surface, are comically awful teenagers. Hollie gripes constantly, throws strops and storms out of classrooms if things aren’t going her way. Jack is sullen, lazy and has clocked up 15 suspensions in the past year. It will come as no surprise to regular viewers of such documentaries that their behaviour is rooted in low self-esteem, although their parents unquestionably indulge their foibles. Ali’s novel solution is to place Hollie with Holly, tapdancing head girl and gregarious boffin, and Jack with Tharush, a Sri Lankan immigrant by way of Italy, whose talents are only matched by his work ethic. Now that Jack and Hollie are in the bosom of new families for six weeks, it’s hoped that a new environment, greater discipline and rigid routines will see their results improve and attitudes pick up. There are setbacks on the largely familiar narrative trajectory, but it’s cast to perfection and, as a demonstration of the importance of parenting in academic achievement, the experiment gets an A-star. Gabriel Tate European Tour Golf: The Open de Espana Sky Sports Golf, 11.00am The opening day’s play of the event from the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid, which was won by Andrew Johnston the last time it was held in 2016. War Above the Trenches Yesterday, 8.00pm This decent two-parter tells the story of the Royal Flying Corps and their battle to win control of the air in the First World War. Based on Peter Hart’s book Bloody April, it draws affectingly on the testimony of veterans to show there was more to the Western Front than trench warfare. Civilisations BBC Two, 9.00pm The modern age draws closer, as Simon Schama tackles the theme of radiance, guiding us through Gothic cathedrals, Baroque Venetian masterpieces and dazzling Japanese woodblock prints. The Investigator: A British Crime Story ITV, 9.00pm The second real-life case of the series sees Mark Williams-Thomas investigating the 1977 murders of three women in Glasgow. The suspect is Angus Sinclair, who is currently serving a life sentence for killing two other women that same year. We hear from his ex-wife, and learn how he was a prime suspect but escaped charges for the first killings when key evidence went missing. Indian Summer School Channel 4, 9.00pm This diverting documentary series concludes with a Himalayan trek, a controversial article in the school newspaper and the GCSE retakes that were the goal of the entire enterprise. Will Alfie, Harry, Jack and co see their grades improve? Urban Myths: Marilyn Monroe and Billy Wilder Sky Arts, 9.00pm Sky Arts’ boldly cast series of vaguely apocryphal tales from the pop-culture frontlines returns with a dispatch from the set of Some Like It Hot, the magnificent 1959 comedy that is almost certainly more fun to watch than it was to make. In this minor but entertaining reimagining, Tony Curtis (Alex Pettyfer) is threatening to cuckold Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) by making off with Marilyn Monroe (Gemma Arterton), whose caprice, drinking and sensitivity is driving director Billy Wilder (James Purefoy) to distraction. GT Still Game BBC One, 9.30pm; BBC Two Wales, 10.00pm Justifying its prime-time BBC One slot, the Scottish sitcom bows out in triumph with a typically well-wrought farce involving a Hollywood stuntman, a disastrous driving lesson and romance for the widowed Isa (Jane McCarry). GT The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) ★★★★☆ ITV4, 9.00pm Christopher Lee steals the show as the titular assassin, Francisco Scaramanga, in this classic Bond adventure. Roger Moore’s secret agent, in his second outing as 007, must pursue him, with the help of sidekick Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), to the villain’s island lair in order to prevent him harnessing the power of the Sun for evil. The confrontations between Moore and Lee are easily the film’s highlights. Swordfish (2001) ★★☆☆☆ TCM, 9.00pm The most often quoted bit of trivia about this film is that Halle Berry was paid an additional £500,000 to go topless. It’s rather lucky she agreed because she’s probably the most appealing aspect of this frenetic thriller. John Travolta and Hugh Jackman put on testosterone-fuelled displays as a morally dubious counter-terrorist agent and the hacker he blackmails into accessing billions of dollars of government money. Some Like It Hot (1959, b/w) ★★★★★ Sky Arts, 9.30pm When two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) witness a mob hit, they flee the state disguised as women in an all-female band, but further complications arise in the form of demure ukulele player Sugar Kane, superbly played by Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is effortlessly wacky and clever. Before, at 9pm, is Urban Myths, which imagines what happened on the set of this romcom. Friday 13 April Dishing out opinions: John Torode and Gregg Wallace Credit: BBC MasterChef: The Final BBC One, 8.30pm It has taken 25 episodes over seven weeks to whittle down the 56 amateur contestants to three finalists, and in the process, MasterChef 2018 has produced some of the best cooking – and some of the toughest competition – in the series’ long history. (It has been running in one form or another since 1990; and since 2005 in, roughly, its current format with judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode presenting.) This last week has been no exception, with the finalists having to dig deeper than ever to produce the best dishes of their lives and some great moments – notably during the spectacular trip to South America when they met Peruvian superchef Gaston Acurio and took on a service at the fifth best restaurant in the world, the Central in Lima, under Michelin-starred maestro Virgilio Martínez Véliz. In the finale, it’s all about who cooks the best food, though, as the final three return to the studio kitchen to undergo a test of culinary skills and nerve as they set about creating the most important three-course meal of their lives – in the hope of being judged worthy of a title that has launched many a great career: MasterChef champion. Gerard O’Donovan Chef’s Table: Pastry Netflix, from today This mouth-watering spin-off from Netflix’s popular global foodie series Chef’s Table puts the focus entirely on sweet stuff, talking the cameras inside the kitchens of some of the world’s best pastry chefs, among them Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar in New York, Corrado Assenza’s Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Sicily, Jordi Roca’s El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, and Will Goldfarb’s Room4Dessert in Bali. Lost in Space Netflix, from today Not so much a rerun as a spectacular new take on the classic Sixties sci-fi series about a family marooned in space when their ship runs into difficulty on their way to a new colony and crashes on an unknown and surprisingly hostile planet. There are plenty of thrills and impressive visual effects, and Toby Stephens and Molly Parker are excellent as the pioneering Robinson parents John and Judy, while Parker Posey is an enigmatic (and now female) Dr Smith. GO The City & The City BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm Cop thrillers don’t come much more weirdly dystopian than China Miéville’s award-winning 2009 novel and this ultra-stylish adaptation serves its source material very well. In episode two, Inspector Borlú (David Morrissey) ventures back across the border while investigating the murder of a foreign student. Episodes BBC Two, 10.00pm; Wales, 11.05pm Having overcome last week’s unfortunate episode in this sitcom, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) is back on top and leveraging his spurt in the ratings for all it’s worth, handing Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) a welcome opportunity for escape. Lee and Dean Channel 4, 10.00pm More rough charm, as life gets complicated for Stevenage’s very own Dumb and Dumber when Lee’s (Miles Chapman) financial worries mount and Dean (Mark O’Sullivan) is persuaded to premiere his poetry at the local arts club. Front Row Late BBC Two, 11.05pm; Wales, 11.35pm Freedom of speech and censorship are under the spotlight as host Mary Beard and guests discuss Theatre Clwyd’s production The Assassination of Katie Hopkins and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book Fascism: A Warning. GO Alien: Covenant (2017) ★★★★★ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm The latest film in the Alien saga from Ridley Scott is arguably a mad scientist movie. It follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant (including Katherine Waterson) as they discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but what they uncover a threat beyond their imagination. Michael Fassbender puts in a spectacular turn as kindly robot David and his twisted “brother” Walter. Invictus (2009) ★★★★☆ ITV, 10.45pm Following the death of Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie last week, aged 81, here’s Clint Eastwood’s take on South Africa’s World Cup victory in 1995. As the country emerges from apartheid, the newly elected President Mandela (an uncanny Morgan Freeman) sees the potential for the national rugby team, led by François Pienaar (Matt Damon), to be a catalyst for harmony. This is a polished and uplifting film. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) ★★★★☆ Gold, 1.40am Much like the Secret Policeman’s Ball, this comedy performance film sees the Monty Python gang take to the stage, but this time they’re in Hollywood. Among the sketches are the Silly Olympics, where athletes compete in absurd sports, The Lumberjack Song, and The Ministry of Silly Walks. This film also features Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate
Rugby Union - HSBC Singapore Sevens - HSBC Sevens World Series - National Stadium, Singapore - 16/4/16 Japan's Teruya Goto (R) is chased by Australia's James Stannard as he runs through to score a try during the pool stage Action Images via Reuters / Jeremy Lee Livepic
HSBC Singapore Sevens - HSBC Sevens World Series
Rugby Union - HSBC Singapore Sevens - HSBC Sevens World Series - National Stadium, Singapore - 16/4/16 Japan's Teruya Goto (R) is chased by Australia's James Stannard as he runs through to score a try during the pool stage Action Images via Reuters / Jeremy Lee Livepic
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
Is this perfect holiday for England rugby fans?
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
Is this perfect holiday for England rugby fans?
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
Is this perfect holiday for England rugby fans?
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
Is this perfect holiday for England rugby fans?
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
Is this perfect holiday for England rugby fans?
The Baglioni Hotel Regina does not resemble an obvious venue for rugby union. Tucked on to the Via Vittorio Veneto, immediately opposite the American embassy in Rome, it is a place of understated five-star elegance, spotless mirrors and the click of pricey heels on polished marble floors. If it ever dreams of scrums and line-outs – of the battle-bloodied foreheads of the swarthy warriors of the modern game – it is far too discreet to discuss it. And yet, just beyond the gilded lobby, Ugo Monye is holding court in a salon room where light cascades from chandeliers on to walls lined with paintings that swirl with 19th-century Romanticism. Not, I sense, that he feels remotely out of place. He is standing on a low stage, expressing his opinion on matters such as who should be England captain, and the same team’s chances of winning next year’s World Cup. As he talks, he fields questions from an audience that is semi-distracted by canapés and glasses of valpolicella. This, surprisingly, is what a mini-break with England Rugby Travel – the specialist tour operator that offers trips for those who want to see the titans of Twickenham play – looks like. Everybody here is enjoying the first evening of a three-night sojourn in the Eternal City, which will end with a fixture against Italy at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Piazza Navona, Rome Credit: Givaga - Fotolia/Givaga That this will be the easiest match of a Six Nations campaign which will, ultimately, prove disappointing (when England walked out on home turf yesterday afternoon to face Ireland, the visitors had already won the championship) only adds to the air of relaxation. The game is the main reason to travel, but this event for England Rugby Travel clients is also a key element of the fun. “It’s great to be involved with things like this,” says Monye – an affable, engaging figure, only recently retired (in 2015), who played on the wing for England from 2008 to 2012, and was part of the British and Irish Lions squad which toured South Africa in 2009. “It’s nice to meet people and hear their opinions about the game. People really love this sport.” Bespectacled and eloquent, Monye is part of a roster of former players used by England Rugby Travel to add stardust to its tour packages. Others include Mike Teague (a stalwart of the Eighties England side who appeared in the 1991 World Cup Final), and Neil Back and Phil Vickery, both members of the conquering team which won the 2003 tournament. Ugo Monye (pictured right) is part of a roster of former players working with England Rugby Travel Credit: getty A man of fewer words but blockier presence, Vickery – who stood firm for England at prop from 1998 to 2010 – joins Monye on the panel at a second event, held at the Roma Eventi Centre off the Piazza di Spagna, the evening after. Both are, however, eclipsed by England head coach Eddie Jones, who spends an hour being interviewed and replying to talking points from the floor, even though, at this stage, kick-off is less than a day away. His Australian drawl and straight answers keep the audience enthralled, but he reveals a soft side too, pausing afterwards to speak to a 13-year-old who boldly states his desire to play for the national team and requests advice from the incumbent of the top job. England Rugby Travel has access to the head coach for such showpieces once a year, and generally saves the slot for a Six Nations match in Dublin or Rome (depending on the fixture list). These two weekends are its most in-demand. This popularity is visible in the happy demeanour of the customers who have booked a dash to Italy. They number just over 500, and have flown in on five chartered (Jet2) aircraft (two from each of Stansted and Gatwick, one from Birmingham), and looked after on every step of the journey – a fleet of coaches is waiting at Fiumicino airport to ferry them to seven hotels. The Baglioni in Rome In my case this is the Starhotels Metropole, a comfortable four-star near Termini railway station, where the tour operator has a desk positioned in the lobby – there to hand out tickets and assist with any queries. It is a slick operation that seems to meet with the approval of rugby followers who rather like the idea of a tickets-and-travel package – some of them with one eye on stretching the concept to next year and the Far East, where the ninth incarnation of the World Cup will be staged in the unfamiliar setting (for rugby) of Japan. There are plenty of spare hours for sightseeing before the match hoves into focus on the Sunday. As expected, England win by a wide margin – but if the result was largely a foregone conclusion, it did not dampen the vibe around the ground as kick-off approached. There were marching bands, food trucks and, for no apparent reason, a clutch of sports cars – Lamborghinis and Ferraris – in blue-and-white Italian police livery. Whether Japan will provide similar pageantry when the sport’s greatest teams arrive in Tokyo is yet to be seen, but anticipation is clearly building. Rugby 2019 World Cup predictor How to book Next year’s Japanese staging of the Rugby World Cup (Sept 20-Nov 2 2019; rugbyworldcup.com) will be the first to be staged in Asia, and will lend itself to pre-arranged travel packages. England Rugby Travel will offer a variety of holidays (0344 788 5000; england rugbytravel.com/rwc2019). These will range from a seven-night option for those who want to sample the atmosphere via two of England’s pool games (against the US and Tonga) to a 45-night extravaganza – staying in Japan for the duration of the tournament and watching 12 matches in 10 cities, including the final. There will also be a 25-night option that will tick off eight fixtures – not least England’s last pool game against France, as well as two of the quarter-finals, the two semi-finals and the final. The Rugby World Cup will be staged in Japan next year Credit: GEtty Full details will be released in late April. Packages will start at £5,995 per person. Prices will cover international flights, internal travel, accommodation, tickets, and support staff. England will not return to Italy for a Six Nations fixture until 2020, but three-night breaks to Rome with England Rugby Travel cost from £499 a head, including flights, accommodation transfer and ticket. Further information on the city at turismoroma.it and italia.it.
FILE - In this Saturday, March 10, 2018 file photo, England's head coach Eddie Jones gestures as he watches his team warm up prior to the start of the Six Nations rugby union match between France and England at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. Jones has apologized for making derogatory remarks about Ireland and Wales during a sponsorship event in Japan last year. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 10, 2018 file photo, England's head coach Eddie Jones gestures as he watches his team warm up prior to the start of the Six Nations rugby union match between France and England at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. Jones has apologized for making derogatory remarks about Ireland and Wales during a sponsorship event in Japan last year. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 10, 2018 file photo, England's head coach Eddie Jones gestures as he watches his team warm up prior to the start of the Six Nations rugby union match between France and England at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. Jones has apologized for making derogatory remarks about Ireland and Wales during a sponsorship event in Japan last year. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference in Tokyo
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew speaks to media during a joint news conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Japan Rugby Football Union President Tadashi Okamura in Tokyo, Japan May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
France's assistant coach Yannick Bru (L) and France's head coach Guy Noves look on ahead of the friendly rugby union international Test match between France and Japan at The U Arena in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris on November 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/FRANCK FIFE)
Rugby Union - Sacked France coach Noves hit with serious misconduct summons
France's assistant coach Yannick Bru (L) and France's head coach Guy Noves look on ahead of the friendly rugby union international Test match between France and Japan at The U Arena in Nanterre on the outskirts of Paris on November 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/FRANCK FIFE)
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - France vs Japan - U Arena, Nanterre, France - November 25, 2017 France head coach Guy Noves Picture taken November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Autumn Internationals - France vs Japan
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Internationals - France vs Japan - U Arena, Nanterre, France - November 25, 2017 France head coach Guy Noves Picture taken November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017 (AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017 (AFP Photo/Paul FAITH)
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
(L-R) Captains from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia, US Wales and Spain pose with the trophy in Dublin ahead of the women's rugby union World Cup on August 6, 2017
Thursday 7 December Catching a Killer: A Bullet Through The Window Channel 4, 9.00pm The most striking thing about Catching a Killer, Channel 4’s ongoing look at how police murder and missing persons investigations work, is the level of access involved. This film follows the fallout from the death of 19-year-old Suhaib Mohammed. It begins with the terrified 999 call stating “My friend just got shot” and ends with the eventual arrest of his killers. Along the way a complex story emerges of a naive teenager who drifted away from his family and whose death was a terrible case of being in the wrong place with the wrong people. It’s Senior Investigating Officer Mike Lynch’s last case before retirement and one he’s therefore doubly determined to solve, but as the investigation continues so his quiet fury over the way in which the dead teenager’s death is dismissed as just another gang death increases. As always though, it is the testimony of the victim’s family which lingers longest. “We knew he’d become more distant, more private, more closed off but I don’t think we realised he was hanging with the wrong people,” says his sister quietly. His devastated father simply notes: “His heart was very soft… he had big dreams.” Sarah Hughes Ross Noble: Off Road Dave, 8.00pm As fans of his previous Dave series (Ross Noble Freewheeling) can tell you, the comedian is a true petrolhead. However, even the enthusiastic Noble might have bitten off more than he can chew this time as he attempts the Scottish Six Days Trial, an event where the world’s best motorbike riders race 100 miles every day across unforgiving terrain. SH Love, Lies & Records BBC One, 9.00pm Kay Mellor’s enjoyable drama continues with Judy (Rebecca Front) sending Rob (Adrian Bower) a video of his fiancé Kate’s (Ashley Jensen) “moment of madness” with Rick (Kenny Doughty) – but can Kate get to it first? SH Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain BBC Two, 9.00pm This week’s focus is Scotland, where a series of Luftwaffe raids over three nights in March 1941 devastated a community, killing 528 people, including 15 members of the same family. For the tightknit society of shipbuilders and factory workers, the aftermath was devastating; many left Clydebank, never to return. SH Live at the Apollo BBC Two, 10.00pm Our host is the sharp, smart and amiable Nish Kumar. He’s joined by the laid-back Irish comic David O’Doherty and rising star Luisa Omielan, who recently rewrote her whole act in the light of her mother’s death from cancer. SH When Rock Arrived in North Korea: Liberation Day: Storyville BBC Four, 11.00pm This hugely entertaining look at how Slovenian art rockers Laibach became the first Western band to play in North Korea works largely because of the eccentric Norwegian director Morten Traavik’s bureaucrat-wrangling skills. The band themselves prove elusive, although the concert footage hammers home just how odd the occasion was. “There are all kinds of music – now I know there’s this kind of music too,” notes one bemused attendee. SH Born to Be Free: Saving Russia’s Whales Channel 4, 11.25pm No documentary is likely to make you angrier this week than Gayane Petrosyan’s bleak and brilliant film about the trade in Beluga whales. She uncovers the terrible fates of 18 belugas bought to Utrish Marine Station to be sold to aquariums across the world. SH Rugby Union: Varsity Match: Oxford University v Cambridge University Thursday, BBC Two, 2.45pm The 136th staging of the annual contest between the two universities takes place at Twickenham. Cambridge prevailed last year to end Oxford’s record-breaking six-year winning streak, and have the superior head-to-head record with 62 wins to their opponents’ 59. The match kicks off at 3.00pm. SH Austin Powers: The Spy Who S*****d Me (1999) ★★★☆☆ Comedy Central, 9.00pm The successful franchise remains nothing more than daft entertainment, but its puerile jokes and cultural referencing still manage to elicit laughs. The “groovy” spy with the wonky teeth (Mike Myers) has his mojo stolen by his arch nemesis Dr Evil (also Myers) and must travel back in time to the swinging Sixties to get it back. Black Sea (2014) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm Written by Dennis Kelly (who co-wrote the musical Matilda) and starring Jude Law, this submarine thriller about a hunt for Nazi gold in a long-lost U-boat is less than the sum of its parts. However, a host of decent character actors – the best of whom, David Threlfall, steals the show – keep things buoyant and the set piece outside the sub, involving aquatic spacesuits and bars of gold, is pulse-pinging. 16 Blocks (2006) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 11.35pm Steered brilliantly by director Richard Donner (Superman, The Goonies) Bruce Willis plays Jack Mosley, a detective who’s assigned to escort prisoner Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to a Grand Jury hearing in this frantic buddy-action film. This may sound simple, but Mosley’s colleagues don’t want Bunker to make it – because he’s a witness in a police corruption case that could bring their worlds crashing down. Friday 8 December Claire Foy in 'The Crown' The Crown Netflix, from today Expectations could hardly be higher for the return of Netflix’s most lavish series. Although the spectacle and horror of the war have passed, the era of Anthony Eden and Harold McMillan is arguably more intriguing for being less frequently dramatised, and Peter Morgan explores the hypocrisies and compromises inherent in the politics of a nation whose global influence is in decline. Anton Lesser makes a ruthless, discreet McMillan, while Jeremy Northam is once again superb as Eden, a man not low on self-confidence yet forced to face his limitations as the Suez Crisis sees him outmanoeuvred. But the focal point of course is the royal family, and specifically the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip: fundamentally solid in its early years, but now subject to considerable stress and strain as the couple drift apart over niggling doubts and suspected betrayals. Claire Foy and Matt Smith are magnificent in the lead roles, rising to the challenges of Morgan’s script to make plausible his educated guesswork and speculations over long-rumoured private affairs. The blend of spectacle and attention to detail remains striking. Gabriel Tate The Grand Tour Amazon Prime Video, from today Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May return for a second go-round of megastar guests, big-budget stunts in exotic locales, and parochial studio chat. The series opens with Ricky Wilson v David Hasselhoff in new segment Celebrity Face Off, and a comparison of a Lamborghini, a hybrid Honda and an electric supercar in a hill-climb race that – as anyone who recalls the headlines from earlier this year will know – goes horribly wrong. GT Judge Rinder’s Crown Court ITV, 8.00pm Two daytime television classics, one ancient and one modern, collide in this bizarre two-parter which sees Judge Robert Rinder, mediator of petty domestic disputes, presiding over a fictional case of arsenic poisoning. As per the original Crown Court, the jurors are members of the public. GT Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast Channel 4, 8.00pm The chefs meet a childhood hero as Mark Hamill, soon to return to cinemas as Luke Skywalker, joins them to learn about making perfect roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, plus a Caesar salad and a seafood feast. GT Brunel: the Man Who Built Britain Channel 5, 8.00pm A giant of the Industrial Revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel had a curious private life to match his towering professional achievements. The ever-reliable Rob Bell begins his two-part profile with Brunel’s first major project, the Thames Tunnel. GT The Year in Music 2017 BBC Two, 9.00pm The BBC Music Awards follow in the footsteps of BBC Sports Personality of the Year and incorporate a review of the year into the bargain. Here, Claudia Winkelman and Clara Amfo look back on the past 12 months with contributors including Stormzy, Nile Rodgers and Liam Gallagher. GT Classic Album: American Pie: Don McLean BBC Four, 9.00pm McLean’s sophomore album is these days less venerated than other landmarks of the era (Blue, Tapestry, After the Goldrush); it is perhaps overshadowed by its monumental title song whose allusive, elusive lyrics offered an alternate history of rock ’n’ roll and eulogy for the hippy dream. Yet there was always more to it, as this diligent documentary asserts. GT Prisoners (2013) ★★★☆☆ More4, 9.00pm This drama, which centres on the abduction of two girls, is harrowing but it succeeds in sustaining its tension to the end. Hugh Jackman is cast into darkness when his six-year-old daughter is kidnapped. Jake Gyllenhaal is the detective in charge of the case, and the pair lock horns early on. What we are then presented with is a criminal puzzle and a very committed cast, which also includes Terrence Howard. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and his inconsistent performance leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Dead Calm (1989) ★★★☆☆ W, 9.00pm In her first big film role, Nicole Kidman displays pluck and vulnerability as Rae Ingram, a woman who loses her infant son in a car accident, and consents to a long recovery at sea, on a luxury yacht called the Saracen. Her husband John (Sam Neill) is an experienced naval officer and stand-up guy, and though he knows banishing Rae’s guilt and grief is going to be tough, he has no idea what shock therapy fate has in mind. Saturday 9 December John Noakes and Shep in 1978 Credit: HULTON John Noakes: TV Hero BBC Two, 5.30pm One quarter of the definitive Blue Peter foursome, alongside Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton and Shep, John Noakes was both its longest-serving presenter and one of its very finest. A gifted communicator, earnest when he had to be but more often game for anything, whether that be a laugh or a lunatic stunt. This affectionate profile of Noakes, who died in May, aged 83, after many years with Alzheimer’s, pivots on perhaps his two best-loved moments. First, there’s a climb up Nelson’s Column, sans ropes or safety harnesses, that was every bit as daft and dangerous as it looked and ample testament to his dauntlessness. That impish sense of humour is demonstrated by the notorious appearance of Lulu the elephant, who relieved herself on the floor before rampaging across the studio and over Noakes’s foot. Ever the entertainer, he milked both for all they were worth. His relationship with the series was an equivocal one and he reportedly resented his clownish persona, but this tribute skirts any controversy in favour of warm nostalgia, with familiar Blue Peter faces including Biddy Baxter and Lesley Judd recalling the man and his work. GT Premier League Football: West Ham United v Chelsea Sky Sports Main Event, 11.30am Having recovered from a goal down to beat Newcastle 3-1 last Saturday, with Eden Hazard helping himself to a brace, Chelsea travel across London to face West Ham United. The home side, who are currently in the relegation zone, will have taken plenty of positives from their 2-1 defeat at Manchester City last Sunday – namely, their defensive display. A similarly obdurate performance here and new manager David Moyes might get a share of the spoils this time. When these sides met at the London Stadium last season, West Ham lost 2-1. PS European Rugby Champions Cup: Toulon v Bath Sky Sports Main Event, 5.15pm Two wins from two reads the stats for both sides so far in this season’s European Champions Cup – at least one of these 100 per cent records will end at Stade Mayol. Bath come into this match on the back of a 42-29 defeat by Exeter, but before that they’d won four on the bounce, with Freddie Burns impressing at fly-half. After the autumn internationals, director of rugby Todd Blackadder now has an embarrassment of riches from which to pick: most notably, England backs Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph. Toulon, meanwhile, ended a three-match losing streak on Saturday when they beat Lyon 39-11. PS Strictly Come Dancing BBC One, 6.45pm The five remaining couples must perform two routines in this semi-final, and with barely a strand of lace between them, expect forensic criticism from the judges. Sunday’s results show will reveal the final four and there will be a performance from Craig David. GT Michael McIntyre’s Big Show BBC One, 8.20pm Wringing his contacts book dry, McIntyre ropes in guests including TV presenters Marvin and Rochelle Humes (taking part in the game Send to All) and pop rock band The Vamps for more fun. GT Witnesses: a Frozen Death BBC Four, 9.00pm and 9.55pm Even in this saturated market for foreign-language thrillers, Witnesses stands out for its lack of gimmicks – though without ever quite scaling the heights of The Bridge or Spiral. Here, Sandra’s (Marie Dompnier) pursuit of the killer takes her into a forest and an orphanage. GT The White Princess Drama, 9.00pm and 10.20pm The excellent Jodie Comer anchors the series to its conclusion tonight with another double bill, as Elizabeth of York (Comer) and Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy) struggle to maintain a united front. GT Peter Blake: Pop Art Life Sky Arts, 9.00pm While there is more to Peter Blake’s work than his cover for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, music has played a crucial role in the development of his art and reputation. This engaging film digs deeply into a mutually fruitful relationship. GT Casualty BBC One, 9.20pm Christmas approaches, bringing annual trauma and discord for the A&E team. Tonight finds Elle’s (Jaye Griffiths) tearaway son Blake (Kai Thorne) going off the rails in response to her suggestion that she spend the festive period with her new boyfriend. Polly (Sophia Di Martino), meanwhile, continues to be unimpressed by Max (Jamie Davis). GT Through the Keyhole: I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here! ITV, 9.50pm The living, breathing definition of an acquired taste, Keith Lemon returns for a fifth series of the show once helmed by David Frost. Guests include Jimmy Carr, Myleene Klass and Tony Blackburn. GT Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) ★★★☆☆ Christmas Gold, 9.40pm Whereas Joe Dante’s original monster hit was a deliciously dark horror flick (and staple Christmas hit) with touches of wry humour, this inferior sequel is essentially a straight-up, riotous comedy, replete with in-jokes and movie references. This time, the gremlins run amok in a Manhattan high-rise building called Clamp Tower, owned by John Glover’s Donald Trump-like mogul. The Cider House Rules (1999) ★★★☆☆ BBC Two, 11.15pm John Irving’s adaptation of his own 1985 novel features a fine Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine, who won an Oscar (only his second at the time). Irving won one too, for Best Screenplay, and there’s no doubt the story is moving, though this version – about an orphan (Maguire) and a doctor (Caine) who performs illegal abortions – is at times a bit saccharine. Paul Rudd co-stars; Lasse Hallström directs. The Drop (2014) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.35pm Tom Hardy anchors this tale of simmering malfeasance as the tender of a Brooklyn bar designated as the drop for ill-gotten gains. Dennis Lehane adapts his own short story Animal Rescue, and makes a perfect team with Belgian director Michaël R Roskam, who gets a tamped-down, shuffling and beautifully calibrated star turn out of Hardy. Sopranos star James Gandolfini adds a burly gravitas in what would be his final movie. Sunday 10 December Jumbo with keeper Matthew Scott in 1882 Credit: BBC Attenborough and the Giant Elephant BBC One, 9.00pm Can we ever have too much Attenborough? It seems not, as right in the foaming wake of the fabulous Blue Planet II (which concludes tonight, see preview below) comes this absorbing, bittersweet tale of the world’s first animal superstar – Jumbo the elephant. It’s a sad story, really. Jumbo shot to fame shortly after his arrival at London Zoo as an orphan in around 1861, but he didn’t get much from the deal. As Attenborough says, his captive life was “troubled, fuelled by alcohol, terrifying fits of violence, a near mystical relationship with his keeper and a tragic end that seems hard to believe”. Which is more than enough to hold the attention for an hour as he joins an international team examining Jumbo’s preserved skeleton at New York’s Museum of Natural History. Attenborough also pokes about in archives at London Zoo, sanctuaries in the Maasai Mara and Tennessee, and Ontario where Jumbo met his very sad end, building as complete a picture of this magnificent creature and his global travels as has ever been assembled. All the while it spreads a positive conservationist message and gives thanks that attitudes are more enlightened now than in Victorian times. GO Premier League Football: Liverpool v Everton & Manchester United v Manchester City Sky Sports Main Event, 1.15pm & 4.15pm “Super Sunday” lives up to its hyperbolic billing, with two potentially exhilarating derbies. First up, we’re at Anfield where Liverpool, fresh from their 5-1 demolition of Brighton, host Everton, who found some form last week, following up their 4-0 win at home to West Ham United with a 2-0 victory against Huddersfield. Later, in the 4.30pm kick-off, José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola renew rivalries as second-placed United host leaders City at Old Trafford. Expect it to be tight. PS Britain’s Wildest Weather 2017 Channel 4, 6.30pm This year has not, so far, been as extreme as some but, given the number of smartphone-wielding citizen journalists, there’s plenty of jaw-dropping footage of every extreme weather event that occurred, among them devastating floods, tornadoes and hair-raising lightning strikes. GO Blue Planet II BBC One, 8.00pm This extraordinary series concludes with an undeniably depressing assessment of mankind’s impact on the marine environment. But David Attenborough, as ever, prefers to put the emphasis on hope. So there’s plenty of uplift too with stories of species brought back from extinction’s brink. GO Coastal Railways with Julie Walters Channel 4, 8.00pm Julie Walters heads for Cornwall on the Great Western route, recalling her childhood holidays in Torquay. She then boards a steam train at Paignton, hears tales of smugglers in Polperro and fills up on cakes in Penzance. GO Leonora Carrington: the Lost Surrealist BBC Four, 9.00pm This fascinating film tells the story of rebellious upper-class British artist Leonora Carrington, who worked alongside Ernst, Breton and Éluard in Paris at the height of the surrealist movement, yet died in 2011 all but forgotten in Mexico. Director Teresa Griffiths mixes interviews and biographical material with experimental animation and tableaux to bring Carrington’s work vividly to life. GO I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! ITV, 9.00pm Seventeen series in and the public appetite for watching celebrities endure humiliation and repulsion shows little sign of drying up. This year’s launch pulled in ITV’s biggest audience of 2017. The final will no doubt draw as big a crowd again. GO Babylon Berlin Sky Atlantic, from 9.00pm Three more atmospheric episodes of the gripping crime series set in the bohemian, political Weimar Germany of the late Twenties. Detective Rath’s (Volker Bruch) investigation uncovers dangerous evidence of a shocking military conspiracy. GO The Sky At Night BBC Four, 10.00pm As well as more stargazing from the Royal Observatory, Maggie Aderin-Pocock is in Norway to see the Northern Lights. GO Ben-Hur (1959) ★★★★★ ITV3, 2.45pm A majestic slice of Hollywood history, this Roman-era melodrama directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston won 11 Academy Awards (not equalled until Titanic in 1997). It still makes for magnificent viewing. Set in 26AD, it tells the story of a Jewish prince who clashes with the Roman governor and ends up enslaved, desperately plotting his revenge. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 3.00pm Jerry Bruckheimer gives the famous sequence from Disney’s Fantasia a fun, live-action reboot. Student Dave (Jay Baruchel) inherits Merlin’s powers, placing him in a power struggle between Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) and Horvath (Alfred Molina). Sadly there are just two scenes with broomsticks to link it to the original. Toby Kebbel is amusing as a stage musician co-opted by the forces of evil. Toy Story (1995) ★★★★★ BBC One, 3.35pm The idea of the first fully computer-generated animated film didn’t have those who had been weaned on the hand-drawn delights of Disney jumping for joy. However, with this beautiful tale, Pixar pushed animation to a new level – the premise, pace and emotion are all pitched perfectly. Whether it’s your first or 400th viewing, the story of toy cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and plastic spaceman Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is a joy. Monday 11 December Faye Marsa, Sarah Parish and Amara Karan in Bancroft Credit: ITV Bancroft ITV, 9.00pm With so many crime dramas clogging up the television schedules it can be hard for a new series to stand out and at first ITV’s latest four-parter seems unlikely to break the mould. There’s an ambitious female cop with a possibly troubled past (the always reliable Sarah Parish), a striving younger cop who is desperate to move up the ranks (Faye Marsay) and the usual crop of jobsworths and strivers (Charles Babalola is particularly good as the married fellow officer Marsay’s Katherine should be steering well clear of). It’s all perfectly well done with a solid script from Kate Brooke (Mr Selfridge) but it seems like nothing special. Then, three quarters of the way through this first episode, something genuinely interesting happens: Bancroft’s secrets are revealed to be very dark indeed just as Katherine’s cold case involving the break-in and violent murder of a young woman in 1990 starts hotting up. With the stakes suddenly raised Bancroft spins off into a dark tale of the lengths that people go to keep the past buried and the stage is set for an intriguing game of secrets and lies. Smart scheduling sees the rest of the story play out over consecutive nights. SH Street Auction BBC One, 11.00am Paul Martin returns with a new series of the surprisingly addictive show in which people band together to raise funds for a member of their community by auctioning off hidden treasures. The fun comes from the unusual objects unearthed from garages and attics. SH Nigella’s Christmas Table BBC Two, 8.00pm If anything is guaranteed to Nigella put into purring overload it’s Christmas. The food on offer includes roast duck with orange, soy and ginger, but this is really about mood rather than food. SH Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life Channel 4, 8.00pm Episode three of this genial series sees Hollywood looking back over his career and his time spent working at the Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire. There’s also a festive get-together in Merseyside and some seasonal Danish pastries, which look delicious. SH The Art That Made Mexico: Paradise, Power and Prayers BBC Four, 9.00pm It’s always a pleasure to find a series that sheds new light on a subject, and so it is with artist Alinka Echeverria’s enthralling films about Mexico’s art. Of course, there are the key points: conquest, independence, dictatorship, revolution and figures such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but what the commentary gives us here is the context for both the history and the artists. This is true of this episode that looks at the relationship between art and power, colonialism and control while examining the enduring power of Kahlo’s work and myth. SH Handmade in Mexico BBC Four, 10.00pm The focus here is on Mexico’s celebrated Tree of Life sculptures, those gaudy, gorgeous interpretations of everything from the creation myth to the resurrection of Christ and the Day of the Dead. It’s a fascinating half-hour in which we see the amount of work and detail that goes into each piece. SH White Right: Meeting the Enemy: Exposure ITV, 10.40pm; STV, 11.05pm; UTV, 11.40pm; Wales, 11.10pm This intriguing-sounding documentary sees the Bafta-nominated Deeyah Khan (Jihad: A Story of the Others) investigate white extremism in the US. Khan visits white nationalist groups, attends a far-right rally and asks why this poisonous ideology is resurgent. SH The Black Swan (1942) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 2.35pm No, this is not the film about the ageing ballet dancer and the young ingénue; this is about high adventure on the seven seas. When Laird Cregar’s Captain Morgan becomes Governor of Jamaica, he promises to put an end to piracy. But things don’t go smoothly, especially when his assistant (Tyrone Power) kidnaps the ex-governor’s beautiful daughter (Maureen O’Hara). This was the final film of silent star Helene Costello. Mamma Mia! (2008) ★★★☆☆ ITV3, 7.50pm This musical comedy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and set to Abba’s hits, is pure escapism. It’s naff, but that’s its selling point, as stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters place tongues firmly in cheeks. At 59, Streep deserved more credit for doing the splits than for her role as a boho mother living on a Greek island whose daughter (Amanda Seyfried) tries to find out who her biological father is. Blood Diamond (2006) ★★★☆☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 8.00pm The diamond industry of Sierra Leone is the subject of this striking thriller. Djimon Hounsou stars as a fisherman forced to work in the fields, who finds and hides a rare pink gem. His life is changed when he meets Leonardo DiCaprio’s self-serving mercenary and Jennifer Connelly’s well-meaning journalist. DiCaprio was Oscar-nominated, but lost to Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. Tuesday 12 December Paul Ready, Diane Morgan and Anna Maxwell-Martin Credit: BBC Motherland BBC Two, 10.00pm Dispensing with the calamitous set pieces of previous episodes and instead documenting the quiet desperation of this ill-starred band of sisters (plus one brother), this superb, exhausting sitcom from a writing supergroup including Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan has been an exquisitely painful delight. We join Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) in an unusually good place, with everything running smoothly thanks to her new Australian nanny, Lyndsey (Sarah Kendall). The kids are clean and happy, the school run is easy, the fridge is stocked – but could she be too good to be true? Amanda (Lucy Punch) has gone to ground after the revelation over her threesome, while her hapless confidant, Kevin (Paul Ready), is desperate to avoid having to get a job. And, should all the mugging get too much, there’s deadpan Liz (Diane Morgan), negotiating tricky relations with her dismal ex and his new, pregnant partner. After an orgy of passive aggression and desperate people in denial, the façades crack, just a little. Happily everyone reverts to fundamentally appalling type just in time for the end of the series and a surely inevitable recommission. GT Judd Apatow: the Return Netflix, from today After 25 years away from stand-up, the comedy zelig whose fingerprints are over everything from Knocked Up and Girls to Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids returns for a special set in Montreal, recorded in July. GT Masterchef: the Professionals BBC Two, 8.00pm After the hopefuls have tackled an invention test and rustled up a dish dedicated to one of their inspirations, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galletti and Gregg Wallace eliminate another two contenders, leaving only six in the contest. GT The A Word BBC One, 9.00pm Joe’s (brilliant Max Vento) family comes together for an end of year show at his old school – tears, acrimony and reconciliation ensue in the conclusion of Peter Bowker’s finely wrought, well-performed drama. A third series should surely be a formality. GT Invasion! with Sam Willis BBC Four, 9.00pm While not quite attaining Lucy Worsley levels of gonzo history, Dr Sam Willis is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable host not above the odd stunt to prove a point. This second episode of a series documenting the incursions that have shaped our nation and its bloodline examines the differing techniques and goals of the invaders. There are the Barbary Corsaire pirates who settled on Lundy Island, King Louis the Lion, invited to invade and crowned by disgruntled nobles, and the Dutch forces that negotiated the Medway just a year prior to the Glorious Revolution. Further proof, if any were needed, that Britain is a mongrel nation and all the better for it. GT The World’s Most Expensive Presents Channel 4, 9.00pm Eyeball-melting opulence and appalling lack of taste do battle with considerable craftsmanship and class in this startling film featuring everything from gold-plated pushbikes to a poker set in alligator-hide case. GT Sports Personality of the Year 2017: The Contenders BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.10pm; Scotland, 11.45pm With reigning title-holder Andy Murray’s injury-hit year effectively ruling him out of contention, Anthony Joshua, Chris Froome, Lewis Hamilton, Jo Konta and Mo Farah will be headlining this year’s roster after another 12 months of outstanding achievement in British sport. The runners and riders are introduced tonight. GT Shane (1953) ★★★★☆ Film4, 3.45pm There are few Westerns that examine the depths of human emotions, but this film by George Stevens is one of them and has become a landmark of cinema. Shane (Alan Ladd) is a cowboy who finds himself idolised for the way that he handles himself in the face of a landowner’s heavies. The climax is a face-off between Shane and smiling, whispering, Oscar-nominated Jack Palance, as the original man in black. A must-see. Mr & Mrs Smith (2005) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 9.00pm A daft comedy thriller which is perhaps best remembered for being the film that introduced Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie. They play a couple whose failing marriage is spiced up dramatically when each discovers that the other secretly works as an assassin. Let down by a weak script, the film is held together by the chemistry between its two leads. Vince Vaughn and Adam Brody co-star. Moonraker (1979) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm The 11th film in the Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the dapper MI6 agent, involves the theft of a space shuttle. It’s one of the weaker Bond films and at times seems more of a comedy than a tense action adventure, but it’s enjoyably frivolous. Michael Lonsdale plays resident baddie Hugo Drax who pinches the aforementioned space shuttle to help along his plan to wipe out the world’s population. Wednesday 13 December Barbara Schulz in Vanished by the Lake Credit: Channel 4 Vanished by the Lake Channel 4, 10.00pm This haunting French crime drama centres on a teenage girl who goes missing at a festival. It’s hardly an original set-up, but much like last year’s hit Gallic import The Disappearance, based on an almost identical premise, the mix of youthful promise cut short and fierce small-town intrigue quickly compels. The girl in question is Chloé Delval (Charlie Joirkin), and as news of her disappearance spreads, memories of a similar 15-year-old case in which two other girls vanished at the same celebration are revived. Into the fray steps striking Parisian detective Lise Stocker (Barbara Schulz), who has returned home to look after her ill mother, but is soon swept up by the case as its personal implications begin to unfold. All of the hallmarks of the Nordic noir genre are present, from the evocative setting (here a Broadchurch-style coastal backdrop) to the close-knit neighbours with secrets to hide. Nevertheless, this opening episode is an effective tension builder and the human impact of the mystery – particularly on Chloé’s fracturing parents – is powerfully moving. Once episode one finishes, the full series will be available to watch on All 4. TD Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets BBC One, 8.00pm Mary Berry rounds off her tour of Britain’s stately homes at Goodwood House, where she is suitably gushing over its royal history and grand interiors. Berry is treated to a hair-raising lap of the nearby motor circuit and whips up a four-tier cake for the cricket tea. TD The Secret Life of the Zoo Channel 4, 8.00pm The plight of the endangered Javan green magpie is on the agenda as keepers at Chester Zoo attempt to breed youngster Permata with older bird Netuba. Elsewhere, a zebra battle breaks out when newcomer Okoth arrives. TD Peaky Blinders BBC Two, 9.00pm A burst of gunfire opens the penultimate episode of period gangster antics, as Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) faces off against mafia honcho Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody). An army colonel, meanwhile, questions Ada (Sophie Rundle) about her Communist past. TD The Channel: The World’s Busiest Waterway Channel 4, 9.00pm The fallout from Project Nemo, the new underwater electricity cable being laid between Belgium and Britain, is explored. We follow the Nemo manager struggling to avoid costly delays and the fisherman whose catch is being compromised by the work. TD Royal Academy: Painting the Future Sky Arts, 9.00pm Virtual reality (VR) is predicted to become the go-to place for everything from entertainment to work. The Royal Academy is getting in on the act with a new exhibition which explores the potential of the medium. This film follows the show’s creation with the artists, including sculptor Antony Gormley, portraitist Jonathan Yeo and Turner Prize-nominee Yinka Shonibare, who are producing works that use the technology to trace the history of the body in art. TD David Hockney: Time Reclaimed Sky Arts, 10.30pm This tribute to David Hockney aims to get beyond the glamour that surrounds his reputation, and focus on the personal aspects of his work. Anecdotes, images and analysis of the pictures themselves highlight the individuality expressed in each period of Hockney’s career, suggesting a diverse oeuvre that defies classification. TD Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 11.00am George Roy Hill directed two of the most popular films ever: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). But this indifferent Julie Andrews musical of the flapper era was first. There’s much to enjoy in the story of a naive woman who leaves her rural roots behind to seek fortune and romance in Twenties New York. James Fox, as a spiffing salesman, is a particular highlight. The Three Musketeers (2011) ★★☆☆☆ E4, 8.00pm Paul W S Anderson’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel is faithful in plot – Porthos, Athos and Aramis (Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans), and disciple d’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), are sent to retrieve the French Queen’s (Juno Temple) necklace. The tone, however, is half action-pantomime, half candy-coloured steampunk comic – fun but terribly slapdash. Poltergeist (1982) ★★★★☆ TCM, 11.15pm Director Tobe Hooper, who made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tones down the gut-churning horror but still ramps up the tension to nightmare levels in this Steven Spielberg-produced chiller. It has one of cinema’s most spine-tinglingly scary moments: “They’re here,” sing-songs a little girl kneeling before the TV. “They” are the spirits, at first playful then increasingly malevolent, who terrorise a suburban family. Thursday 14 December Lord Sugar Credit: BBC The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them BBC One, 8.00pm In the wake of last night’s excoriating interview round, and with this Sunday’s final rapidly approaching to decide who will win a £250,000 investment and the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime, Lord Sugar makes his most personal appearance of the series. Other than those brief to-camera inserts that roll out as taxi cabs ferry freshly defenestrated candidates away from Sugar Towers to forever dream of fortunes that might have been made, this is one of few occasions in each “process” when Lord Sugar appears on screen away from the wannabe tycoons and talking to viewers directly. And he makes the most of it with his trademark witty-gritty line in East End charm, although professionalism usually prevents him from really dishing the behind-the-scenes dirt on why he thought 16 of them worthy only of the tip of his boot. Instead he looks back over this 13th series identifying the key commercial and strategic errors that led to each of his firing finger decisions, and what ultimately marked out the two finalists from the others. It’s a lot to get through in an hour but, as series recaps go, it’s usually a hoot. GO Ashes Cricket: Australia v England BT Sport 1, 1.30am The enduring Ashes Down Under conundrum: wake up early to watch it or stay up late? The third Test, held at the WACA Ground in Perth, gets under way in the early hours of Thursday morning, with England hoping to bounce back from two demoralising defeats. Lose this one and captain Joe Root will have to surrender the urn to the Aussies. PS European Tour Golf: The Indonesian Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 6.00am It’s the opening day of the tournament at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club, where Thailand’s Poom Saksansin won the title last year. Saksansin shot an overall score of 270 to finish on -18, five strokes ahead of joint runners-up Masahiro Kawamura of Japan and fellow Thai players Phachara Khongwatmai and Suradit Yongcharoenchai. PS Amazing Spaces Snow and Ice Special Channel 4, 8.00pm George Clarke and his inventive sidekick Will Hardie travel to Norway’s remoter parts to check out why this small country on the edge of Europe punches above its weight in architecture and design. Could it be something to do with the cold weather, they wonder? GO Love, Lies & Records BBC One, 9.00pm Kay Mellor’s drama about the romance of working at a Leeds registry office delivers on melodrama, if not subtlety. In this penultimate episode Kate (Ashley Jensen) struggles to make a decision after Rob’s (Adrian Bower) surprise proposal. GO Blitz: the Bombs That Changed Britain BBC Two, 9.00pm The final edition looks at the horrific impact of German incendiary bombs, in particular one that set a church ablaze in Bristol in November 1940 and started a firestorm that ravaged the city’s historic centre. GO The Tunnel: Vengeance Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm Sky’s award-winning version of The Bridge (its milieu that of British and French police teams linked by the Channel Tunnel) returns for a third and final run. A pity, as Stephen Dillane as spiky detective and Clémence Poésy as his emotionally remote French opposite number make an appealing pair. This first of six episodes packs in plenty of action as the pair set out to find the link between a burnt-out trawler and a maintenance worker attacked by a plague of rats. GO Extraordinary Teens: School of Life and Deaf Channel 4, 10.00pm This absorbing film follows a year in the life of Mary Hare Boarding School for deaf pupils in Berkshire. Seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old about to undergo a potentially life-changing cochlear implant, this film gives a profound sense of the physical and emotional complexities of growing up deaf. GO The Russell Howard Hour Sky One, 10.00pm We’ve reached the penultimate episode of this excellent topical comedy series. It’s little more than an extended version of BBC Three’s (and later BBC Two’s) Good News but that’s exactly what fans (and Sky, who snapped Howard up) wanted and he has delivered, pushing his brand of highly topical, politically aware, positive reinforcement stand-up with aplomb. GO Life (2017) ★★★☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm Daniel Espinosa’s Earth-orbiting suspense flick was released less than two months before Ridley Scott’s new chapter in his Alien franchise, and bears many of the same hallmarks. It’s also a little bit Gravity. Ryan Reynolds is one of a crew of astronauts aboard a space station conducting research into life on Mars. In terms of entertainment, the film does its baseline job of getting you to chew your nails off. There’s Something About Mary (1998) ★★★☆☆ Comedy Central, 9.00pm There are bad taste jokes in abundance in this comedy from the Farrelly Brothers. Ben Stiller stars as Ted, a shy man who realises he’s still in love with Mary (Cameron Diaz, proving her comic abilities), the date he tried to take to prom 13 years ago. So, to track her down, he hires an oily private eye (Matt Dillon) who also fallsin love with her and sets out to keep the pair apart. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) ★★★☆☆ Universal Channel, 9.00pm Nicolas Cage has top billing in Dominic Sena’s remake of the 1974 cult film – a mind-numbingly testosterone-laced ride. Cage and Angelina Jolie are among a crew of thieves who must steal 50 cars in 72 hours to stop the murder of Cage’s brother. It’s more than serviceable entertainment, plus car aficionados will have fun spotting the Cadillacs and Corvettes. Friday 15 December Paul, Andy, Cynthia and Diana in The Sweet Makers Credit: BBC The Sweet Makers at Christmas BBC Two, 9.00pm Following their enjoyable three-part series earlier this year, BBC Two’s Sweet Makers return for this one-off Christmas special looking at changing treats from Georgian times to the Twenties. As before, the show is a lovely mix of baking and interesting social history with Emma Dabiri and Dr Annie Gray, who fill us in on how each era viewed Christmas and how confectionery changes over time. The show’s highlight comes during the Victorian Era, also known as the moment when Christmas as we know it was invented, as chocolatiers Paul A Young and Diane Short, bespoke cake decorator Cynthia Stroud and sweet consultant Andy Baxendale recreate a Boar’s Head cake. “That’s the most bonkers thing we’ve ever made,” notes Young, looking at the finished result, which is rich in chocolate, beautifully decorated and featuring unnervingly glazed eyes. He’s right but it also looks fabulous, as do the intricate Twelfth Cakes, a speciality in Georgian times. The Twenties brings with it the wonderful news that before Terry’s invented the chocolate orange they introduced the chocolate apple to the world, before looking to the future and the invention of Lord Mackintosh’s Quality Street. SH Jean-Claude Van Johnson Amazon Prime Video, from today This delightfully silly new series sees Jean-Claude Van Damme as a retired action film star with a secret: he’s a special agent and he wants back in the game. It’s inspired mayhem anchored by a winning performance from the laconic Van Damme. SH Trollhunters Netflix, from today Guillermo del Toro’s inventive animation returns for a second series, and it features the voice of the late Anton Yelchin as reluctant hero Jim Lake Jnr. The story continues where the first series left off, and sees Jim adventure deeper into the Troll world to battle the leader of the Darklands. This series also features Mark Hamill and Game of Thrones’s Lena Headey. SH Judge Rinder’s Crown Court ITV, 8.00pm; not STV or UTV; Wales, 11.10pm Judge Rinder’s reboot of classic Seventies series Crown Court might lack the big-name actors of the original but its meld of real-life crime and courtroom drama is just as addictive. Tonight, the jury decides if James Byron (Rupert Young) murdered his wife. SH Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast Channel 4, 8.00pm Sarah Millican is a brave guest of Oliver and Doherty – brave because it swiftly transpires that cooking really isn’t her thing. But Oliver manages to bite his tongue while showing her how to cook her favourite microwave meal from scratch. SH Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.00pm The 54th series of the satirical news quiz comes to an end with the ever-reliable David Tennant in the host’s chair. It has been a patchy series, which was marked by a new low when Jo Brand had to explain why sexual harassment jokes weren’t funny to the male panellists. So let’s hope it goes out on a high. SH Roy Orbison: Love Hurts BBC Four, 9.30pm Roy Orbison’s three sons, Wesley, Roy Jnr and Alex, take centre stage to discuss their father in this emotional documentary. SH The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm; NI, 11.05pm Prepare for Star Wars: The Last Jedi overload as John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill join Norton on the sofa. Don’t expect any spoilers but there’s sure to be some nice eulogies to the late Carrie Fisher. SH Before I Go to Sleep (2014) ★★★☆☆ More4, 9.00pm Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth star in this uninvolving thriller based on SJ Watson’s twisty bestseller. Kidman plays a woman who, after suffering a head injury, has no idea who she is or who the man sleeping next to her might be (it’s Colin Firth, playing her husband). She keeps a daily video diary but starts to notice discrepancies between what she’s recorded and what Firth tells her. The Pledge (2001) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 9.00pm A tense mystery directed by Sean Penn with a fine cast including Jack Nicholson, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Aaron Eckhart and Vanessa Redgrave. Nicholson is a detective who has to handle a horrific case on the day of his retirement – the murder of a seven-year-old girl. He promises to bring the killer to justice, only to find that the case is far from straightforward. A powerful, unsettling film. Hyena (2014) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 11.15pm This violent thriller about corrupt drug-squad officers is very violent indeed, so be prepared to cover your eyes for some parts of writer-director Gerard Johnson’s film. Michael Logan (an intense Peter Ferdinand) is the leader of this special force, assigned to tackle drug trafficking among the Balkan gangs. Stephen Graham, as his dubious boss, is as reliable as ever. Above all, it’s a grisly exploration of the criminal mind. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Catherine Gee, Simon Horsford, Sarah Hughes, Clive Morgan, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power, Patrick Smith, Gabriel Tate and Rachel Ward
What's on TV tonight: Catching a Killer and Love, Lies & Records
Thursday 7 December Catching a Killer: A Bullet Through The Window Channel 4, 9.00pm The most striking thing about Catching a Killer, Channel 4’s ongoing look at how police murder and missing persons investigations work, is the level of access involved. This film follows the fallout from the death of 19-year-old Suhaib Mohammed. It begins with the terrified 999 call stating “My friend just got shot” and ends with the eventual arrest of his killers. Along the way a complex story emerges of a naive teenager who drifted away from his family and whose death was a terrible case of being in the wrong place with the wrong people. It’s Senior Investigating Officer Mike Lynch’s last case before retirement and one he’s therefore doubly determined to solve, but as the investigation continues so his quiet fury over the way in which the dead teenager’s death is dismissed as just another gang death increases. As always though, it is the testimony of the victim’s family which lingers longest. “We knew he’d become more distant, more private, more closed off but I don’t think we realised he was hanging with the wrong people,” says his sister quietly. His devastated father simply notes: “His heart was very soft… he had big dreams.” Sarah Hughes Ross Noble: Off Road Dave, 8.00pm As fans of his previous Dave series (Ross Noble Freewheeling) can tell you, the comedian is a true petrolhead. However, even the enthusiastic Noble might have bitten off more than he can chew this time as he attempts the Scottish Six Days Trial, an event where the world’s best motorbike riders race 100 miles every day across unforgiving terrain. SH Love, Lies & Records BBC One, 9.00pm Kay Mellor’s enjoyable drama continues with Judy (Rebecca Front) sending Rob (Adrian Bower) a video of his fiancé Kate’s (Ashley Jensen) “moment of madness” with Rick (Kenny Doughty) – but can Kate get to it first? SH Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain BBC Two, 9.00pm This week’s focus is Scotland, where a series of Luftwaffe raids over three nights in March 1941 devastated a community, killing 528 people, including 15 members of the same family. For the tightknit society of shipbuilders and factory workers, the aftermath was devastating; many left Clydebank, never to return. SH Live at the Apollo BBC Two, 10.00pm Our host is the sharp, smart and amiable Nish Kumar. He’s joined by the laid-back Irish comic David O’Doherty and rising star Luisa Omielan, who recently rewrote her whole act in the light of her mother’s death from cancer. SH When Rock Arrived in North Korea: Liberation Day: Storyville BBC Four, 11.00pm This hugely entertaining look at how Slovenian art rockers Laibach became the first Western band to play in North Korea works largely because of the eccentric Norwegian director Morten Traavik’s bureaucrat-wrangling skills. The band themselves prove elusive, although the concert footage hammers home just how odd the occasion was. “There are all kinds of music – now I know there’s this kind of music too,” notes one bemused attendee. SH Born to Be Free: Saving Russia’s Whales Channel 4, 11.25pm No documentary is likely to make you angrier this week than Gayane Petrosyan’s bleak and brilliant film about the trade in Beluga whales. She uncovers the terrible fates of 18 belugas bought to Utrish Marine Station to be sold to aquariums across the world. SH Rugby Union: Varsity Match: Oxford University v Cambridge University Thursday, BBC Two, 2.45pm The 136th staging of the annual contest between the two universities takes place at Twickenham. Cambridge prevailed last year to end Oxford’s record-breaking six-year winning streak, and have the superior head-to-head record with 62 wins to their opponents’ 59. The match kicks off at 3.00pm. SH Austin Powers: The Spy Who S*****d Me (1999) ★★★☆☆ Comedy Central, 9.00pm The successful franchise remains nothing more than daft entertainment, but its puerile jokes and cultural referencing still manage to elicit laughs. The “groovy” spy with the wonky teeth (Mike Myers) has his mojo stolen by his arch nemesis Dr Evil (also Myers) and must travel back in time to the swinging Sixties to get it back. Black Sea (2014) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm Written by Dennis Kelly (who co-wrote the musical Matilda) and starring Jude Law, this submarine thriller about a hunt for Nazi gold in a long-lost U-boat is less than the sum of its parts. However, a host of decent character actors – the best of whom, David Threlfall, steals the show – keep things buoyant and the set piece outside the sub, involving aquatic spacesuits and bars of gold, is pulse-pinging. 16 Blocks (2006) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 11.35pm Steered brilliantly by director Richard Donner (Superman, The Goonies) Bruce Willis plays Jack Mosley, a detective who’s assigned to escort prisoner Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) to a Grand Jury hearing in this frantic buddy-action film. This may sound simple, but Mosley’s colleagues don’t want Bunker to make it – because he’s a witness in a police corruption case that could bring their worlds crashing down. Friday 8 December Claire Foy in 'The Crown' The Crown Netflix, from today Expectations could hardly be higher for the return of Netflix’s most lavish series. Although the spectacle and horror of the war have passed, the era of Anthony Eden and Harold McMillan is arguably more intriguing for being less frequently dramatised, and Peter Morgan explores the hypocrisies and compromises inherent in the politics of a nation whose global influence is in decline. Anton Lesser makes a ruthless, discreet McMillan, while Jeremy Northam is once again superb as Eden, a man not low on self-confidence yet forced to face his limitations as the Suez Crisis sees him outmanoeuvred. But the focal point of course is the royal family, and specifically the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip: fundamentally solid in its early years, but now subject to considerable stress and strain as the couple drift apart over niggling doubts and suspected betrayals. Claire Foy and Matt Smith are magnificent in the lead roles, rising to the challenges of Morgan’s script to make plausible his educated guesswork and speculations over long-rumoured private affairs. The blend of spectacle and attention to detail remains striking. Gabriel Tate The Grand Tour Amazon Prime Video, from today Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May return for a second go-round of megastar guests, big-budget stunts in exotic locales, and parochial studio chat. The series opens with Ricky Wilson v David Hasselhoff in new segment Celebrity Face Off, and a comparison of a Lamborghini, a hybrid Honda and an electric supercar in a hill-climb race that – as anyone who recalls the headlines from earlier this year will know – goes horribly wrong. GT Judge Rinder’s Crown Court ITV, 8.00pm Two daytime television classics, one ancient and one modern, collide in this bizarre two-parter which sees Judge Robert Rinder, mediator of petty domestic disputes, presiding over a fictional case of arsenic poisoning. As per the original Crown Court, the jurors are members of the public. GT Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast Channel 4, 8.00pm The chefs meet a childhood hero as Mark Hamill, soon to return to cinemas as Luke Skywalker, joins them to learn about making perfect roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, plus a Caesar salad and a seafood feast. GT Brunel: the Man Who Built Britain Channel 5, 8.00pm A giant of the Industrial Revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel had a curious private life to match his towering professional achievements. The ever-reliable Rob Bell begins his two-part profile with Brunel’s first major project, the Thames Tunnel. GT The Year in Music 2017 BBC Two, 9.00pm The BBC Music Awards follow in the footsteps of BBC Sports Personality of the Year and incorporate a review of the year into the bargain. Here, Claudia Winkelman and Clara Amfo look back on the past 12 months with contributors including Stormzy, Nile Rodgers and Liam Gallagher. GT Classic Album: American Pie: Don McLean BBC Four, 9.00pm McLean’s sophomore album is these days less venerated than other landmarks of the era (Blue, Tapestry, After the Goldrush); it is perhaps overshadowed by its monumental title song whose allusive, elusive lyrics offered an alternate history of rock ’n’ roll and eulogy for the hippy dream. Yet there was always more to it, as this diligent documentary asserts. GT Prisoners (2013) ★★★☆☆ More4, 9.00pm This drama, which centres on the abduction of two girls, is harrowing but it succeeds in sustaining its tension to the end. Hugh Jackman is cast into darkness when his six-year-old daughter is kidnapped. Jake Gyllenhaal is the detective in charge of the case, and the pair lock horns early on. What we are then presented with is a criminal puzzle and a very committed cast, which also includes Terrence Howard. Legend (2015) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 9.00pm Tom Hardy gives a solid, convincing performance as east London gangster Reggie Kray but his caricatured portrayal of twin brother Ronnie lets him down, and his inconsistent performance leads to an entertaining though muddled film. Emily Browning, however, gives just the right mix of defiance and despair as Frances Shea, Reggie’s put-upon wife. Watch out for some particularly gory scenes. Dead Calm (1989) ★★★☆☆ W, 9.00pm In her first big film role, Nicole Kidman displays pluck and vulnerability as Rae Ingram, a woman who loses her infant son in a car accident, and consents to a long recovery at sea, on a luxury yacht called the Saracen. Her husband John (Sam Neill) is an experienced naval officer and stand-up guy, and though he knows banishing Rae’s guilt and grief is going to be tough, he has no idea what shock therapy fate has in mind. Saturday 9 December John Noakes and Shep in 1978 Credit: HULTON John Noakes: TV Hero BBC Two, 5.30pm One quarter of the definitive Blue Peter foursome, alongside Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton and Shep, John Noakes was both its longest-serving presenter and one of its very finest. A gifted communicator, earnest when he had to be but more often game for anything, whether that be a laugh or a lunatic stunt. This affectionate profile of Noakes, who died in May, aged 83, after many years with Alzheimer’s, pivots on perhaps his two best-loved moments. First, there’s a climb up Nelson’s Column, sans ropes or safety harnesses, that was every bit as daft and dangerous as it looked and ample testament to his dauntlessness. That impish sense of humour is demonstrated by the notorious appearance of Lulu the elephant, who relieved herself on the floor before rampaging across the studio and over Noakes’s foot. Ever the entertainer, he milked both for all they were worth. His relationship with the series was an equivocal one and he reportedly resented his clownish persona, but this tribute skirts any controversy in favour of warm nostalgia, with familiar Blue Peter faces including Biddy Baxter and Lesley Judd recalling the man and his work. GT Premier League Football: West Ham United v Chelsea Sky Sports Main Event, 11.30am Having recovered from a goal down to beat Newcastle 3-1 last Saturday, with Eden Hazard helping himself to a brace, Chelsea travel across London to face West Ham United. The home side, who are currently in the relegation zone, will have taken plenty of positives from their 2-1 defeat at Manchester City last Sunday – namely, their defensive display. A similarly obdurate performance here and new manager David Moyes might get a share of the spoils this time. When these sides met at the London Stadium last season, West Ham lost 2-1. PS European Rugby Champions Cup: Toulon v Bath Sky Sports Main Event, 5.15pm Two wins from two reads the stats for both sides so far in this season’s European Champions Cup – at least one of these 100 per cent records will end at Stade Mayol. Bath come into this match on the back of a 42-29 defeat by Exeter, but before that they’d won four on the bounce, with Freddie Burns impressing at fly-half. After the autumn internationals, director of rugby Todd Blackadder now has an embarrassment of riches from which to pick: most notably, England backs Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph. Toulon, meanwhile, ended a three-match losing streak on Saturday when they beat Lyon 39-11. PS Strictly Come Dancing BBC One, 6.45pm The five remaining couples must perform two routines in this semi-final, and with barely a strand of lace between them, expect forensic criticism from the judges. Sunday’s results show will reveal the final four and there will be a performance from Craig David. GT Michael McIntyre’s Big Show BBC One, 8.20pm Wringing his contacts book dry, McIntyre ropes in guests including TV presenters Marvin and Rochelle Humes (taking part in the game Send to All) and pop rock band The Vamps for more fun. GT Witnesses: a Frozen Death BBC Four, 9.00pm and 9.55pm Even in this saturated market for foreign-language thrillers, Witnesses stands out for its lack of gimmicks – though without ever quite scaling the heights of The Bridge or Spiral. Here, Sandra’s (Marie Dompnier) pursuit of the killer takes her into a forest and an orphanage. GT The White Princess Drama, 9.00pm and 10.20pm The excellent Jodie Comer anchors the series to its conclusion tonight with another double bill, as Elizabeth of York (Comer) and Henry VII (Jacob Collins-Levy) struggle to maintain a united front. GT Peter Blake: Pop Art Life Sky Arts, 9.00pm While there is more to Peter Blake’s work than his cover for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, music has played a crucial role in the development of his art and reputation. This engaging film digs deeply into a mutually fruitful relationship. GT Casualty BBC One, 9.20pm Christmas approaches, bringing annual trauma and discord for the A&E team. Tonight finds Elle’s (Jaye Griffiths) tearaway son Blake (Kai Thorne) going off the rails in response to her suggestion that she spend the festive period with her new boyfriend. Polly (Sophia Di Martino), meanwhile, continues to be unimpressed by Max (Jamie Davis). GT Through the Keyhole: I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here! ITV, 9.50pm The living, breathing definition of an acquired taste, Keith Lemon returns for a fifth series of the show once helmed by David Frost. Guests include Jimmy Carr, Myleene Klass and Tony Blackburn. GT Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) ★★★☆☆ Christmas Gold, 9.40pm Whereas Joe Dante’s original monster hit was a deliciously dark horror flick (and staple Christmas hit) with touches of wry humour, this inferior sequel is essentially a straight-up, riotous comedy, replete with in-jokes and movie references. This time, the gremlins run amok in a Manhattan high-rise building called Clamp Tower, owned by John Glover’s Donald Trump-like mogul. The Cider House Rules (1999) ★★★☆☆ BBC Two, 11.15pm John Irving’s adaptation of his own 1985 novel features a fine Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine, who won an Oscar (only his second at the time). Irving won one too, for Best Screenplay, and there’s no doubt the story is moving, though this version – about an orphan (Maguire) and a doctor (Caine) who performs illegal abortions – is at times a bit saccharine. Paul Rudd co-stars; Lasse Hallström directs. The Drop (2014) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 11.35pm Tom Hardy anchors this tale of simmering malfeasance as the tender of a Brooklyn bar designated as the drop for ill-gotten gains. Dennis Lehane adapts his own short story Animal Rescue, and makes a perfect team with Belgian director Michaël R Roskam, who gets a tamped-down, shuffling and beautifully calibrated star turn out of Hardy. Sopranos star James Gandolfini adds a burly gravitas in what would be his final movie. Sunday 10 December Jumbo with keeper Matthew Scott in 1882 Credit: BBC Attenborough and the Giant Elephant BBC One, 9.00pm Can we ever have too much Attenborough? It seems not, as right in the foaming wake of the fabulous Blue Planet II (which concludes tonight, see preview below) comes this absorbing, bittersweet tale of the world’s first animal superstar – Jumbo the elephant. It’s a sad story, really. Jumbo shot to fame shortly after his arrival at London Zoo as an orphan in around 1861, but he didn’t get much from the deal. As Attenborough says, his captive life was “troubled, fuelled by alcohol, terrifying fits of violence, a near mystical relationship with his keeper and a tragic end that seems hard to believe”. Which is more than enough to hold the attention for an hour as he joins an international team examining Jumbo’s preserved skeleton at New York’s Museum of Natural History. Attenborough also pokes about in archives at London Zoo, sanctuaries in the Maasai Mara and Tennessee, and Ontario where Jumbo met his very sad end, building as complete a picture of this magnificent creature and his global travels as has ever been assembled. All the while it spreads a positive conservationist message and gives thanks that attitudes are more enlightened now than in Victorian times. GO Premier League Football: Liverpool v Everton & Manchester United v Manchester City Sky Sports Main Event, 1.15pm & 4.15pm “Super Sunday” lives up to its hyperbolic billing, with two potentially exhilarating derbies. First up, we’re at Anfield where Liverpool, fresh from their 5-1 demolition of Brighton, host Everton, who found some form last week, following up their 4-0 win at home to West Ham United with a 2-0 victory against Huddersfield. Later, in the 4.30pm kick-off, José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola renew rivalries as second-placed United host leaders City at Old Trafford. Expect it to be tight. PS Britain’s Wildest Weather 2017 Channel 4, 6.30pm This year has not, so far, been as extreme as some but, given the number of smartphone-wielding citizen journalists, there’s plenty of jaw-dropping footage of every extreme weather event that occurred, among them devastating floods, tornadoes and hair-raising lightning strikes. GO Blue Planet II BBC One, 8.00pm This extraordinary series concludes with an undeniably depressing assessment of mankind’s impact on the marine environment. But David Attenborough, as ever, prefers to put the emphasis on hope. So there’s plenty of uplift too with stories of species brought back from extinction’s brink. GO Coastal Railways with Julie Walters Channel 4, 8.00pm Julie Walters heads for Cornwall on the Great Western route, recalling her childhood holidays in Torquay. She then boards a steam train at Paignton, hears tales of smugglers in Polperro and fills up on cakes in Penzance. GO Leonora Carrington: the Lost Surrealist BBC Four, 9.00pm This fascinating film tells the story of rebellious upper-class British artist Leonora Carrington, who worked alongside Ernst, Breton and Éluard in Paris at the height of the surrealist movement, yet died in 2011 all but forgotten in Mexico. Director Teresa Griffiths mixes interviews and biographical material with experimental animation and tableaux to bring Carrington’s work vividly to life. GO I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! ITV, 9.00pm Seventeen series in and the public appetite for watching celebrities endure humiliation and repulsion shows little sign of drying up. This year’s launch pulled in ITV’s biggest audience of 2017. The final will no doubt draw as big a crowd again. GO Babylon Berlin Sky Atlantic, from 9.00pm Three more atmospheric episodes of the gripping crime series set in the bohemian, political Weimar Germany of the late Twenties. Detective Rath’s (Volker Bruch) investigation uncovers dangerous evidence of a shocking military conspiracy. GO The Sky At Night BBC Four, 10.00pm As well as more stargazing from the Royal Observatory, Maggie Aderin-Pocock is in Norway to see the Northern Lights. GO Ben-Hur (1959) ★★★★★ ITV3, 2.45pm A majestic slice of Hollywood history, this Roman-era melodrama directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston won 11 Academy Awards (not equalled until Titanic in 1997). It still makes for magnificent viewing. Set in 26AD, it tells the story of a Jewish prince who clashes with the Roman governor and ends up enslaved, desperately plotting his revenge. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010) ★★★★☆ Channel 4, 3.00pm Jerry Bruckheimer gives the famous sequence from Disney’s Fantasia a fun, live-action reboot. Student Dave (Jay Baruchel) inherits Merlin’s powers, placing him in a power struggle between Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) and Horvath (Alfred Molina). Sadly there are just two scenes with broomsticks to link it to the original. Toby Kebbel is amusing as a stage musician co-opted by the forces of evil. Toy Story (1995) ★★★★★ BBC One, 3.35pm The idea of the first fully computer-generated animated film didn’t have those who had been weaned on the hand-drawn delights of Disney jumping for joy. However, with this beautiful tale, Pixar pushed animation to a new level – the premise, pace and emotion are all pitched perfectly. Whether it’s your first or 400th viewing, the story of toy cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and plastic spaceman Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is a joy. Monday 11 December Faye Marsa, Sarah Parish and Amara Karan in Bancroft Credit: ITV Bancroft ITV, 9.00pm With so many crime dramas clogging up the television schedules it can be hard for a new series to stand out and at first ITV’s latest four-parter seems unlikely to break the mould. There’s an ambitious female cop with a possibly troubled past (the always reliable Sarah Parish), a striving younger cop who is desperate to move up the ranks (Faye Marsay) and the usual crop of jobsworths and strivers (Charles Babalola is particularly good as the married fellow officer Marsay’s Katherine should be steering well clear of). It’s all perfectly well done with a solid script from Kate Brooke (Mr Selfridge) but it seems like nothing special. Then, three quarters of the way through this first episode, something genuinely interesting happens: Bancroft’s secrets are revealed to be very dark indeed just as Katherine’s cold case involving the break-in and violent murder of a young woman in 1990 starts hotting up. With the stakes suddenly raised Bancroft spins off into a dark tale of the lengths that people go to keep the past buried and the stage is set for an intriguing game of secrets and lies. Smart scheduling sees the rest of the story play out over consecutive nights. SH Street Auction BBC One, 11.00am Paul Martin returns with a new series of the surprisingly addictive show in which people band together to raise funds for a member of their community by auctioning off hidden treasures. The fun comes from the unusual objects unearthed from garages and attics. SH Nigella’s Christmas Table BBC Two, 8.00pm If anything is guaranteed to Nigella put into purring overload it’s Christmas. The food on offer includes roast duck with orange, soy and ginger, but this is really about mood rather than food. SH Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life Channel 4, 8.00pm Episode three of this genial series sees Hollywood looking back over his career and his time spent working at the Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire. There’s also a festive get-together in Merseyside and some seasonal Danish pastries, which look delicious. SH The Art That Made Mexico: Paradise, Power and Prayers BBC Four, 9.00pm It’s always a pleasure to find a series that sheds new light on a subject, and so it is with artist Alinka Echeverria’s enthralling films about Mexico’s art. Of course, there are the key points: conquest, independence, dictatorship, revolution and figures such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but what the commentary gives us here is the context for both the history and the artists. This is true of this episode that looks at the relationship between art and power, colonialism and control while examining the enduring power of Kahlo’s work and myth. SH Handmade in Mexico BBC Four, 10.00pm The focus here is on Mexico’s celebrated Tree of Life sculptures, those gaudy, gorgeous interpretations of everything from the creation myth to the resurrection of Christ and the Day of the Dead. It’s a fascinating half-hour in which we see the amount of work and detail that goes into each piece. SH White Right: Meeting the Enemy: Exposure ITV, 10.40pm; STV, 11.05pm; UTV, 11.40pm; Wales, 11.10pm This intriguing-sounding documentary sees the Bafta-nominated Deeyah Khan (Jihad: A Story of the Others) investigate white extremism in the US. Khan visits white nationalist groups, attends a far-right rally and asks why this poisonous ideology is resurgent. SH The Black Swan (1942) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 2.35pm No, this is not the film about the ageing ballet dancer and the young ingénue; this is about high adventure on the seven seas. When Laird Cregar’s Captain Morgan becomes Governor of Jamaica, he promises to put an end to piracy. But things don’t go smoothly, especially when his assistant (Tyrone Power) kidnaps the ex-governor’s beautiful daughter (Maureen O’Hara). This was the final film of silent star Helene Costello. Mamma Mia! (2008) ★★★☆☆ ITV3, 7.50pm This musical comedy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and set to Abba’s hits, is pure escapism. It’s naff, but that’s its selling point, as stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters place tongues firmly in cheeks. At 59, Streep deserved more credit for doing the splits than for her role as a boho mother living on a Greek island whose daughter (Amanda Seyfried) tries to find out who her biological father is. Blood Diamond (2006) ★★★☆☆ Sky Cinema Greats, 8.00pm The diamond industry of Sierra Leone is the subject of this striking thriller. Djimon Hounsou stars as a fisherman forced to work in the fields, who finds and hides a rare pink gem. His life is changed when he meets Leonardo DiCaprio’s self-serving mercenary and Jennifer Connelly’s well-meaning journalist. DiCaprio was Oscar-nominated, but lost to Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. Tuesday 12 December Paul Ready, Diane Morgan and Anna Maxwell-Martin Credit: BBC Motherland BBC Two, 10.00pm Dispensing with the calamitous set pieces of previous episodes and instead documenting the quiet desperation of this ill-starred band of sisters (plus one brother), this superb, exhausting sitcom from a writing supergroup including Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan has been an exquisitely painful delight. We join Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) in an unusually good place, with everything running smoothly thanks to her new Australian nanny, Lyndsey (Sarah Kendall). The kids are clean and happy, the school run is easy, the fridge is stocked – but could she be too good to be true? Amanda (Lucy Punch) has gone to ground after the revelation over her threesome, while her hapless confidant, Kevin (Paul Ready), is desperate to avoid having to get a job. And, should all the mugging get too much, there’s deadpan Liz (Diane Morgan), negotiating tricky relations with her dismal ex and his new, pregnant partner. After an orgy of passive aggression and desperate people in denial, the façades crack, just a little. Happily everyone reverts to fundamentally appalling type just in time for the end of the series and a surely inevitable recommission. GT Judd Apatow: the Return Netflix, from today After 25 years away from stand-up, the comedy zelig whose fingerprints are over everything from Knocked Up and Girls to Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids returns for a special set in Montreal, recorded in July. GT Masterchef: the Professionals BBC Two, 8.00pm After the hopefuls have tackled an invention test and rustled up a dish dedicated to one of their inspirations, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galletti and Gregg Wallace eliminate another two contenders, leaving only six in the contest. GT The A Word BBC One, 9.00pm Joe’s (brilliant Max Vento) family comes together for an end of year show at his old school – tears, acrimony and reconciliation ensue in the conclusion of Peter Bowker’s finely wrought, well-performed drama. A third series should surely be a formality. GT Invasion! with Sam Willis BBC Four, 9.00pm While not quite attaining Lucy Worsley levels of gonzo history, Dr Sam Willis is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable host not above the odd stunt to prove a point. This second episode of a series documenting the incursions that have shaped our nation and its bloodline examines the differing techniques and goals of the invaders. There are the Barbary Corsaire pirates who settled on Lundy Island, King Louis the Lion, invited to invade and crowned by disgruntled nobles, and the Dutch forces that negotiated the Medway just a year prior to the Glorious Revolution. Further proof, if any were needed, that Britain is a mongrel nation and all the better for it. GT The World’s Most Expensive Presents Channel 4, 9.00pm Eyeball-melting opulence and appalling lack of taste do battle with considerable craftsmanship and class in this startling film featuring everything from gold-plated pushbikes to a poker set in alligator-hide case. GT Sports Personality of the Year 2017: The Contenders BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.10pm; Scotland, 11.45pm With reigning title-holder Andy Murray’s injury-hit year effectively ruling him out of contention, Anthony Joshua, Chris Froome, Lewis Hamilton, Jo Konta and Mo Farah will be headlining this year’s roster after another 12 months of outstanding achievement in British sport. The runners and riders are introduced tonight. GT Shane (1953) ★★★★☆ Film4, 3.45pm There are few Westerns that examine the depths of human emotions, but this film by George Stevens is one of them and has become a landmark of cinema. Shane (Alan Ladd) is a cowboy who finds himself idolised for the way that he handles himself in the face of a landowner’s heavies. The climax is a face-off between Shane and smiling, whispering, Oscar-nominated Jack Palance, as the original man in black. A must-see. Mr & Mrs Smith (2005) ★★★☆☆ 5STAR, 9.00pm A daft comedy thriller which is perhaps best remembered for being the film that introduced Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie. They play a couple whose failing marriage is spiced up dramatically when each discovers that the other secretly works as an assassin. Let down by a weak script, the film is held together by the chemistry between its two leads. Vince Vaughn and Adam Brody co-star. Moonraker (1979) ★★★☆☆ ITV4, 9.00pm The 11th film in the Bond series, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as the dapper MI6 agent, involves the theft of a space shuttle. It’s one of the weaker Bond films and at times seems more of a comedy than a tense action adventure, but it’s enjoyably frivolous. Michael Lonsdale plays resident baddie Hugo Drax who pinches the aforementioned space shuttle to help along his plan to wipe out the world’s population. Wednesday 13 December Barbara Schulz in Vanished by the Lake Credit: Channel 4 Vanished by the Lake Channel 4, 10.00pm This haunting French crime drama centres on a teenage girl who goes missing at a festival. It’s hardly an original set-up, but much like last year’s hit Gallic import The Disappearance, based on an almost identical premise, the mix of youthful promise cut short and fierce small-town intrigue quickly compels. The girl in question is Chloé Delval (Charlie Joirkin), and as news of her disappearance spreads, memories of a similar 15-year-old case in which two other girls vanished at the same celebration are revived. Into the fray steps striking Parisian detective Lise Stocker (Barbara Schulz), who has returned home to look after her ill mother, but is soon swept up by the case as its personal implications begin to unfold. All of the hallmarks of the Nordic noir genre are present, from the evocative setting (here a Broadchurch-style coastal backdrop) to the close-knit neighbours with secrets to hide. Nevertheless, this opening episode is an effective tension builder and the human impact of the mystery – particularly on Chloé’s fracturing parents – is powerfully moving. Once episode one finishes, the full series will be available to watch on All 4. TD Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets BBC One, 8.00pm Mary Berry rounds off her tour of Britain’s stately homes at Goodwood House, where she is suitably gushing over its royal history and grand interiors. Berry is treated to a hair-raising lap of the nearby motor circuit and whips up a four-tier cake for the cricket tea. TD The Secret Life of the Zoo Channel 4, 8.00pm The plight of the endangered Javan green magpie is on the agenda as keepers at Chester Zoo attempt to breed youngster Permata with older bird Netuba. Elsewhere, a zebra battle breaks out when newcomer Okoth arrives. TD Peaky Blinders BBC Two, 9.00pm A burst of gunfire opens the penultimate episode of period gangster antics, as Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) faces off against mafia honcho Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody). An army colonel, meanwhile, questions Ada (Sophie Rundle) about her Communist past. TD The Channel: The World’s Busiest Waterway Channel 4, 9.00pm The fallout from Project Nemo, the new underwater electricity cable being laid between Belgium and Britain, is explored. We follow the Nemo manager struggling to avoid costly delays and the fisherman whose catch is being compromised by the work. TD Royal Academy: Painting the Future Sky Arts, 9.00pm Virtual reality (VR) is predicted to become the go-to place for everything from entertainment to work. The Royal Academy is getting in on the act with a new exhibition which explores the potential of the medium. This film follows the show’s creation with the artists, including sculptor Antony Gormley, portraitist Jonathan Yeo and Turner Prize-nominee Yinka Shonibare, who are producing works that use the technology to trace the history of the body in art. TD David Hockney: Time Reclaimed Sky Arts, 10.30pm This tribute to David Hockney aims to get beyond the glamour that surrounds his reputation, and focus on the personal aspects of his work. Anecdotes, images and analysis of the pictures themselves highlight the individuality expressed in each period of Hockney’s career, suggesting a diverse oeuvre that defies classification. TD Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 11.00am George Roy Hill directed two of the most popular films ever: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). But this indifferent Julie Andrews musical of the flapper era was first. There’s much to enjoy in the story of a naive woman who leaves her rural roots behind to seek fortune and romance in Twenties New York. James Fox, as a spiffing salesman, is a particular highlight. The Three Musketeers (2011) ★★☆☆☆ E4, 8.00pm Paul W S Anderson’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel is faithful in plot – Porthos, Athos and Aramis (Ray Stevenson, Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans), and disciple d’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), are sent to retrieve the French Queen’s (Juno Temple) necklace. The tone, however, is half action-pantomime, half candy-coloured steampunk comic – fun but terribly slapdash. Poltergeist (1982) ★★★★☆ TCM, 11.15pm Director Tobe Hooper, who made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tones down the gut-churning horror but still ramps up the tension to nightmare levels in this Steven Spielberg-produced chiller. It has one of cinema’s most spine-tinglingly scary moments: “They’re here,” sing-songs a little girl kneeling before the TV. “They” are the spirits, at first playful then increasingly malevolent, who terrorise a suburban family. Thursday 14 December Lord Sugar Credit: BBC The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them BBC One, 8.00pm In the wake of last night’s excoriating interview round, and with this Sunday’s final rapidly approaching to decide who will win a £250,000 investment and the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime, Lord Sugar makes his most personal appearance of the series. Other than those brief to-camera inserts that roll out as taxi cabs ferry freshly defenestrated candidates away from Sugar Towers to forever dream of fortunes that might have been made, this is one of few occasions in each “process” when Lord Sugar appears on screen away from the wannabe tycoons and talking to viewers directly. And he makes the most of it with his trademark witty-gritty line in East End charm, although professionalism usually prevents him from really dishing the behind-the-scenes dirt on why he thought 16 of them worthy only of the tip of his boot. Instead he looks back over this 13th series identifying the key commercial and strategic errors that led to each of his firing finger decisions, and what ultimately marked out the two finalists from the others. It’s a lot to get through in an hour but, as series recaps go, it’s usually a hoot. GO Ashes Cricket: Australia v England BT Sport 1, 1.30am The enduring Ashes Down Under conundrum: wake up early to watch it or stay up late? The third Test, held at the WACA Ground in Perth, gets under way in the early hours of Thursday morning, with England hoping to bounce back from two demoralising defeats. Lose this one and captain Joe Root will have to surrender the urn to the Aussies. PS European Tour Golf: The Indonesian Masters Sky Sports Main Event, 6.00am It’s the opening day of the tournament at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club, where Thailand’s Poom Saksansin won the title last year. Saksansin shot an overall score of 270 to finish on -18, five strokes ahead of joint runners-up Masahiro Kawamura of Japan and fellow Thai players Phachara Khongwatmai and Suradit Yongcharoenchai. PS Amazing Spaces Snow and Ice Special Channel 4, 8.00pm George Clarke and his inventive sidekick Will Hardie travel to Norway’s remoter parts to check out why this small country on the edge of Europe punches above its weight in architecture and design. Could it be something to do with the cold weather, they wonder? GO Love, Lies & Records BBC One, 9.00pm Kay Mellor’s drama about the romance of working at a Leeds registry office delivers on melodrama, if not subtlety. In this penultimate episode Kate (Ashley Jensen) struggles to make a decision after Rob’s (Adrian Bower) surprise proposal. GO Blitz: the Bombs That Changed Britain BBC Two, 9.00pm The final edition looks at the horrific impact of German incendiary bombs, in particular one that set a church ablaze in Bristol in November 1940 and started a firestorm that ravaged the city’s historic centre. GO The Tunnel: Vengeance Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm Sky’s award-winning version of The Bridge (its milieu that of British and French police teams linked by the Channel Tunnel) returns for a third and final run. A pity, as Stephen Dillane as spiky detective and Clémence Poésy as his emotionally remote French opposite number make an appealing pair. This first of six episodes packs in plenty of action as the pair set out to find the link between a burnt-out trawler and a maintenance worker attacked by a plague of rats. GO Extraordinary Teens: School of Life and Deaf Channel 4, 10.00pm This absorbing film follows a year in the life of Mary Hare Boarding School for deaf pupils in Berkshire. Seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old about to undergo a potentially life-changing cochlear implant, this film gives a profound sense of the physical and emotional complexities of growing up deaf. GO The Russell Howard Hour Sky One, 10.00pm We’ve reached the penultimate episode of this excellent topical comedy series. It’s little more than an extended version of BBC Three’s (and later BBC Two’s) Good News but that’s exactly what fans (and Sky, who snapped Howard up) wanted and he has delivered, pushing his brand of highly topical, politically aware, positive reinforcement stand-up with aplomb. GO Life (2017) ★★★☆☆ Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm Daniel Espinosa’s Earth-orbiting suspense flick was released less than two months before Ridley Scott’s new chapter in his Alien franchise, and bears many of the same hallmarks. It’s also a little bit Gravity. Ryan Reynolds is one of a crew of astronauts aboard a space station conducting research into life on Mars. In terms of entertainment, the film does its baseline job of getting you to chew your nails off. There’s Something About Mary (1998) ★★★☆☆ Comedy Central, 9.00pm There are bad taste jokes in abundance in this comedy from the Farrelly Brothers. Ben Stiller stars as Ted, a shy man who realises he’s still in love with Mary (Cameron Diaz, proving her comic abilities), the date he tried to take to prom 13 years ago. So, to track her down, he hires an oily private eye (Matt Dillon) who also fallsin love with her and sets out to keep the pair apart. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) ★★★☆☆ Universal Channel, 9.00pm Nicolas Cage has top billing in Dominic Sena’s remake of the 1974 cult film – a mind-numbingly testosterone-laced ride. Cage and Angelina Jolie are among a crew of thieves who must steal 50 cars in 72 hours to stop the murder of Cage’s brother. It’s more than serviceable entertainment, plus car aficionados will have fun spotting the Cadillacs and Corvettes. Friday 15 December Paul, Andy, Cynthia and Diana in The Sweet Makers Credit: BBC The Sweet Makers at Christmas BBC Two, 9.00pm Following their enjoyable three-part series earlier this year, BBC Two’s Sweet Makers return for this one-off Christmas special looking at changing treats from Georgian times to the Twenties. As before, the show is a lovely mix of baking and interesting social history with Emma Dabiri and Dr Annie Gray, who fill us in on how each era viewed Christmas and how confectionery changes over time. The show’s highlight comes during the Victorian Era, also known as the moment when Christmas as we know it was invented, as chocolatiers Paul A Young and Diane Short, bespoke cake decorator Cynthia Stroud and sweet consultant Andy Baxendale recreate a Boar’s Head cake. “That’s the most bonkers thing we’ve ever made,” notes Young, looking at the finished result, which is rich in chocolate, beautifully decorated and featuring unnervingly glazed eyes. He’s right but it also looks fabulous, as do the intricate Twelfth Cakes, a speciality in Georgian times. The Twenties brings with it the wonderful news that before Terry’s invented the chocolate orange they introduced the chocolate apple to the world, before looking to the future and the invention of Lord Mackintosh’s Quality Street. SH Jean-Claude Van Johnson Amazon Prime Video, from today This delightfully silly new series sees Jean-Claude Van Damme as a retired action film star with a secret: he’s a special agent and he wants back in the game. It’s inspired mayhem anchored by a winning performance from the laconic Van Damme. SH Trollhunters Netflix, from today Guillermo del Toro’s inventive animation returns for a second series, and it features the voice of the late Anton Yelchin as reluctant hero Jim Lake Jnr. The story continues where the first series left off, and sees Jim adventure deeper into the Troll world to battle the leader of the Darklands. This series also features Mark Hamill and Game of Thrones’s Lena Headey. SH Judge Rinder’s Crown Court ITV, 8.00pm; not STV or UTV; Wales, 11.10pm Judge Rinder’s reboot of classic Seventies series Crown Court might lack the big-name actors of the original but its meld of real-life crime and courtroom drama is just as addictive. Tonight, the jury decides if James Byron (Rupert Young) murdered his wife. SH Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast Channel 4, 8.00pm Sarah Millican is a brave guest of Oliver and Doherty – brave because it swiftly transpires that cooking really isn’t her thing. But Oliver manages to bite his tongue while showing her how to cook her favourite microwave meal from scratch. SH Have I Got News for You BBC One, 9.00pm The 54th series of the satirical news quiz comes to an end with the ever-reliable David Tennant in the host’s chair. It has been a patchy series, which was marked by a new low when Jo Brand had to explain why sexual harassment jokes weren’t funny to the male panellists. So let’s hope it goes out on a high. SH Roy Orbison: Love Hurts BBC Four, 9.30pm Roy Orbison’s three sons, Wesley, Roy Jnr and Alex, take centre stage to discuss their father in this emotional documentary. SH The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm; NI, 11.05pm Prepare for Star Wars: The Last Jedi overload as John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill join Norton on the sofa. Don’t expect any spoilers but there’s sure to be some nice eulogies to the late Carrie Fisher. SH Before I Go to Sleep (2014) ★★★☆☆ More4, 9.00pm Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth star in this uninvolving thriller based on SJ Watson’s twisty bestseller. Kidman plays a woman who, after suffering a head injury, has no idea who she is or who the man sleeping next to her might be (it’s Colin Firth, playing her husband). She keeps a daily video diary but starts to notice discrepancies between what she’s recorded and what Firth tells her. The Pledge (2001) ★★★★☆ Sony Movie Channel, 9.00pm A tense mystery directed by Sean Penn with a fine cast including Jack Nicholson, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Aaron Eckhart and Vanessa Redgrave. Nicholson is a detective who has to handle a horrific case on the day of his retirement – the murder of a seven-year-old girl. He promises to bring the killer to justice, only to find that the case is far from straightforward. A powerful, unsettling film. Hyena (2014) ★★★☆☆ Film4, 11.15pm This violent thriller about corrupt drug-squad officers is very violent indeed, so be prepared to cover your eyes for some parts of writer-director Gerard Johnson’s film. Michael Logan (an intense Peter Ferdinand) is the leader of this special force, assigned to tackle drug trafficking among the Balkan gangs. Stephen Graham, as his dubious boss, is as reliable as ever. Above all, it’s a grisly exploration of the criminal mind. Television previewers Toby Dantzic, Catherine Gee, Simon Horsford, Sarah Hughes, Clive Morgan, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power, Patrick Smith, Gabriel Tate and Rachel Ward

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