What’s on TV tonight: The Great British Spitfire Restoration, I Can See Your Voice, and more
Saturday 24 April
The Great British Spitfire Restoration
Channel 4, 8pm
The Spitfire represents the ingenuity and derring-do of wartime Britain. So it’s heartening to discover that a panel of aviation enthusiasts have devoted their time to ensuring this military legacy is not lost. This one-off documentary follows aircraft engineers who dedicate themselves to restoring Spitfires in a hangar at Biggin Hill in Kent – apposite, since Spitfires took off from the airfield during the war to protect London from the Luftwaffe. We’re introduced to Peter Monk, a former commercial pilot who turned his obsession with Spitfires into a business: cameras follow his team of nearly 30 men on a four-month, £2million overhaul of a rusted 1943 Mark 9 Spitfire that served in France and Italy during the war before being sold to the Greek army.
Monk scours the country for original components and his men assiduously piece together this old aircraft – there’s more talk of fuselages and footage of rivets being riveted than a layman might enjoy, but there’s no doubting their skill. The biggest surprise comes when a 96-year-old former pilot visits the rebuild – we won’t spoil it, but it provides one of two emotional moments. The second is when the rebuilt vintage warbird takes to the skies again. VP
Rugby Union: Women’s Six Nations: England v France
BBC Two, 1.30pm (kick off 2pm)
In a week that has exposed the toxic commercialisation and corporate greed at the heart of sport, enjoy a spectacle that prioritises fair competition and sporting excellence over shareholder dividends and vulgar exhibitionism. This year’s condensed Women’s Six Nations has been a tale of two teams: England and France, who meet in today’s final. Both have dominated their respective pools with thumping bonus point wins, barely pausing to concede along the way. England are hunting for their third championship in as many years; France, their first since 2018. Italy face Ireland in the third place play-off (iPlayer, noon), and Scotland take on Wales for the Wooden Spoon (iPlayer, 5pm).
Snooker: World Championship
BBC Two/BBC Four & Eurosport
The Snooker World Championship enters its second week at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre with defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in scintillating form.
I Can See Your Voice
BBC One, 7.25pm
This daft singing contest continues with Jimmy Carr’s ribbing of fellow judge Amanda Holden remaining the best reason to watch. Tonight, Ronan Keating joins the celebrity detectives to help a father-and-son duo guess which of a line-up of folk are talented singers and which are tuneless.
BBC One, 9pm
This implausible domestic drama remains a guilty pleasure as it hurtles toward next week’s grand finale. The spring put in Faith’s (Eve Myles) step by Steve (Mark Lewis Jones) is lost once her ex, Evan (Bradley Freegard), gets wind of their burgeoning relationship. Meanwhile, Celia Imrie’s Rose enacts a plan to win back her daughter’s affections.
Tupac Shakur: A Life in Ten Pictures
BBC Two, 9pm; NI, 9.30pm
Rescheduled due to the channel shake-ups following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, this documentary revisits photographs taken at pivotal moments in the rapper’s short life. The first is the most affecting, of an infant Shakur in the arms of his mother, Afeni, a former Black Panther. As Shakur’s friends tell his story, it becomes clear that that relationship, for good and ill, defined him. Hurtling through the decades, Hip Hop at the BBC follows.
Edward VII: The Merry Monarch
Channel 5, 9pm
This thoughtful documentary attempts to rehabilitate Edward VII, whom history has remembered as a playboy and a disappointment to his mother, Queen Victoria. In fact, argues the raft of talking heads, “Bertie” achieved much in his nine-year reign, reinstating lustre to the monarchy, making sound judgments and presiding over a period of progress in the arts and technology.
Roy Orbison Night
Sky Arts, from 9pm
Two programmes celebrate what would have been Orbison’s 85th birthday yesterday. The first dissects his final, album, Mystery Girl, while the second, at 10.20pm, sees Orbison share the stage with k.d. lang and Bruce Springsteen.
Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story
Sky Documentaries, 9pm
A blow-by-blow account of the life of Britain’s greatest heavyweight boxer, with contributions from Lewis, his mother, Mike Tyson and more. Unusually introspective for a pugilist, Lewis’s cool head helped him to turn around a troubled childhood to, eventually, defeat every man he ever faced in the ring.
UFC 261: Kamaru Usman v Jorge Masvidal
BT Sport 1, 1am
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman puts his belt on the line for the second time against Jorge Masvidal, famous for the fastest knockout in UFC history. The main card should get going around 3am overnight on Saturday. VP
All Creatures Great and Small (1975) ★★★☆☆
Channel 5, 3.15pm
Simon Ward and a pre-Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins star as Yorkshire vets in this gentle, fluffy film set in the Thirties and based on the first two novels in the bucolic series by James Herriot (actually written by veterinary surgeon Alf Wight). Herriot (Ward) begins working for Siegfried (Hopkins) but must win the trust of the Darrowby locals and the heart of a farmer’s daughter, all while dealing with animal shenanigans.
Grease (1978) ★★★★★
Britain was on the verge of the winter of discontent when the sunny optimism of Grease – a film version of the Broadway hit – lit up our cinemas. Shy teenage newcomer Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is pursued by high school Casanova Danny (John Travolta). It is, of course, brilliant fun (dubious message about abandoning personality for love aside) and the catchy song-and-dance numbers remain captivating. Go, Greased Lightnin’!
We’re the Millers (2013) ★★★★☆
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s comedy is a minor coup de gross-out about four low-lifes who smuggle a motorhome-load of cannabis from Mexico to the US. The catch is, to fool the cops, they pretend to be a squeaky-clean family. Jason Sudeikis is the man-child patriarch, and Jennifer Aniston, gleefully playing against type, is a debt-strapped stripper recruited to be his wife. Emma Roberts and Will Poulter fill out the gang.
Sunday 25 April
After the Storm: America’s Enemy Within?
Having reported from the heart of the Capitol as it was stormed on January 6, ITV’s Robert Moore attempts here to track down some of the rioters he encountered that day and make sense of their motivations and grievances. Among those he talks to, there is a member of the Proud Boys whose conversation is littered with denial, equivocation and vague jibes at the “mainstream media”, a Cuban émigré and rioter who compares himself to Rosa Parks and wants to work for the FBI, and the mother of the so-called “QAnon Shaman”, Jacob Chansley. Whatever slivers of justified frustrations may be lurking are generally smothered by a vaguely defined narrative of victimhood.
There is of course a danger in amplifying the worrying conspiracies that are espoused here, but Moore generally walks the tightrope carefully enough and, in the interests of balance, also interviews sheriffs and lawmakers. If he isn’t able to answer his question of whether the attack was the peak of American anti-democratic extremism or just the beginning, he does make it abundantly clear that the ugliness and division harnessed by Donald Trump will likely fester for many years. GT
Just as insightful as her stand-up if rather less frenetic, Rose Matafeo’s charming, sharply observed six-part sitcom is a spin on the Notting Hill formula as Matafeo’s listless millennial Jessie accidentally sleeps with a major film star (Nikesh Patel); a situation not without its complications as the paps take an interest and Jessie begins to suspect all is not as it seems. A crack comic cast includes Sindhu Vee and Minnie Driver. It also airs tomorrow on BBC One at 10.45pm.
Eurosport 2, 10.20am
The last of the spring classics departs from Liège for Bastogne and back. The women’s race is first, before the men set off at 12.25pm. Taking in a series of punishing climbs over a 250 km route, it’s a bit of a beast.
Points of View
BBC Two, 1pm
Bearing a rather quaint charm in the era of Twitter and vituperative online petitions, the feedback show returns for with the usual mix of pithy correspondence and behind-the-scenes reports.
Football: EFL Cup Final: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Sky Main Event, 4pm (kick off 4.30pm)
Ah yes, football. Now, where were we? As the most unpopular idea in the history of the sport crashes and burns, let’s all try and enjoy a springtime Wembley cup final (with fans!). Amid the chaos of last week, you might have missed that José Mourinho was sacked as Spurs manager. Head coach Ryan Mason will helm the side against a faltering Man City, who were knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend. On Wednesday, City play Paris Saint Germain in the semi-finals of the Champions League, with Chelsea facing Real Madrid on Tuesday (both BT Sport 2, 7.30pm). Meanwhile, Arsenal visit Villarreal (BT Sport 3, 7.15pm) and Manchester United host Roma (BT Sport 2, 7.15pm) in their Europa League semi-final first legs on Thursday. In the Women’s Champions League, Chelsea take on German champions Bayern Munich in Sunday’s semi-final (BT Sport 2, 3.30pm).
Call the Midwife
BBC One, 8pm
Tonight’s second episode of the venerable wimples and midwifery show begins gloomily, with headlines of the Moors Murders, before moving on to encompass abortion, adoption and cancer, each storyline woven together with affecting skill before Vanessa Redgrave’s final thoughts bring some measure of hope.
Line of Duty
BBC One, 9pm
“I haven’t the foggiest idea what’s going on,” gripes one character early in tonight’s penultimate episode, but fear not; the fog is clearing fast in the aftermath of Ryan and Kate’s showdown, while Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) makes one last effort to nail his quarries before the axe falls and Anna Maxwell Martin unveils yet more variations on her supercilious smirk as DCS Patricia Carmichael.
Guy Martin’s Battle of Britain
Channel 4, 9pm
After all the build-up and the hard yards, Guy Martin finally sits behind the joystick of a Hawker Hurricane to engage in a mock dogfight with a Messerschmitt 109. It’s Boy’s Own stuff, certainly, but enlightening and stirring with it, and Martin has infectious enthusiasm and charm.
The 93rd Annual Academy Awards
Sky Cinema Select, 12.30am
For nightowls who cannot wait for the highlights at 9pm tomorrow on Sky One, the Oscars air live and in their entirety tonight. Gary Oldman and Mank lead the nominations with 10, while there is plenty of British interest elsewhere (Carey Mulligan, Daniel Kaluuya and Emerald Fennell) among a roster of nominees of unprecedented and lively diversity. GT
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) ★★★☆☆
Channel 4, 6.45pm
Did the world need a reboot of Jumanji, itself based on Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book? Well, yes. Jake Kasdan updates the original’s formula by having his high-school pupils sucked into an old video game console, not a board game. But the zesty premise is still there: character-swap comedy mixed with rollicking jungle-based adventuring. Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson star.
Baby Done (2020)
Sky Cinema Premiere, 9pm
Directed by Curtis Vowell and produced by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), this quirky New Zealand comedy looks set to straddle pathos and laughs. Rose Matafeo stars as a wannabe-adventurer whose plans for a wild and dangerous 30s are curtailed by a sudden pregnancy with her weepy partner, played by Matthew Lewis. So she vows to cram as much living as she can into her remaining baby-free months. Imagine Knocked-Up, but with gentle Antipodean charm.
Dangerous Liaisons (1988) ★★★★☆
BBC Two, 10pm
A baby-faced Keanu Reeves plays the Chevalier Raphael Danceny in Stephen Frears’s adaptation of the bodice-ripping French novel of love and intrigue by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. The film, nominated for seven Oscars and winner of three, catapulted a 24-year-old Reeves into the limelight. Its frankly stellar cast also includes the stately presence of Glenn Close, John Malkovich, all vampiric charm, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Monday 26 April
Transmitting over five nights this week as a TV event, this drama starts off promisingly. Borrowing heavily from Hitchcock’s Rear Window, it stars Bulletproof’s Noel Clarke as a police surveillance operator who finds his objectivity tested when he investigates a complicated case. When a schoolteacher goes missing from a tight-knit street in central Manchester, Clarke’s DC Martin Young is assigned to observe her home from the flat opposite. The apartment belongs to chatty single mother Zoe (Alexandra Roach), who already has a secret penchant for spying on her neighbours. Manhunt scriptwriter Ed Whitmore (who co-created alongside Fleabag director Harry Bradbeer) introduces us to other local characters – the teacher’s controlling boyfriend, the yummy mummy who rules the street – revealing enough about each one to make them possible suspects.
Clarke is excellent, delivering a nuanced performance of a man looking for redemption – we learn that he was busted down to surveillance ops after a CID operation went wrong. Clarke’s chemistry with Roach as the lonely outsiders thrown together brings heart to the first episode, and strong support comes from Phil Davis and Bronagh Waugh. VP
Great British Railway Journeys
BBC Two, 6.30pm
The 12th series of peregrinations, airing daily over 15 episodes and packing a lot into the half-hour jaunts, sees the spry Michael Portillo explore Britain in the interwar years. Here he celebrates forward-thinking women – in Oxford he learns about trailblazing chemist Dorothy Hodgkin and the bohemian salons of Lady Ottoline Morrell.
BBC Two, 8pm
He’s started; now he’ll finish. John Humphrys ends his 18-year stint as host of this evergreen quiz before Clive Myrie takes over. In the final of the 47th series, Humphrys fires questions at contestants about subjects from Cole Porter to Jimmy Carter.
How to Save a Grand in 24 Hours
Channel 4, 8pm
Like the BBC’s Shop Well for Less and its many iterations, this series aims to overhaul a family’s spending habits in a flash. Host Anna Richardson meets the Kofis, Londoners with four children who live rent-free but have no savings. A DIY ace, decluttering expert and chef show them how to curb their extravagant spending and spruce up their flat in a format packed with money-saving tips.
Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World
BBC One/BBC Two NI, 9pm
The final instalment of this compelling documentary series captures young Greta Thunberg’s fragility and grit. The former is evident when she visits stables in Stockholm where children on the autistic spectrum, like her, groom horses; the latter when Thunberg meets Angela Merkel and accuses her and other leaders of merely paying lip service to green policies.
Baby Surgeons: Delivering Miracles
Channel 4, 9pm
This series meets the medics and mums-to-be at St George’s Fetal Medicine Unit in London. As cameras follow three patients, all under the care of the avuncular Prof Basky Thilaganathan, we discover that while he can do amazing things, he can’t always work wonders. Dreaming Whilst Black BBC One, 11.10pm; Wales, 11.45pm; Scot, midnight Based on a cult hit online comedy about the film industry, and loosely inspired by real-life events, this pilot centres on “a black man in a white world”. VP
In space, no one can hear you mope – gloomy, minor-key movies about space travel are all the rage, with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar kicking off the trend. Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette are the pull in Joe Penna’s film about an engineer (Daniel Dae Kim) who finds himself trapped on a two-year mission to Mars. The catch? There’s not enough oxygen for him and the crew. Cue weightless, Gravity-esque space suit action and long bouts of staring into the void.
Bullitt (1968) ★★★★★
This film made Steve McQueen a superstar, and revolutionised car chases with its 10-minute split-screen, edge-of-your-seat race through San Francisco. McQueen plays hard-nosed cop Frank Bullitt, assigned to protect Mafia informant Johnny Ross (Pat Renella) – until two hitmen ruin his plans. The final, pulse-pounding pursuit at the airport inspired a similar sequence in Michael Mann’s Heat. Peter Yates directs with rocketing verve.
Ray & Liz (2018) ★★★★☆
Photographer Richard Billington’s directorial debut feels like a portrait of a Britain that shouldn’t exist. His photographs captured the goings on in his parents’ putrefying West Midlands tenement flat. This autobiographical comedy-drama ploughs the same vein as he recounts loosely connected episodes from his childhood. The camerawork is superb, detailing a mythological eeriness beneath the crust of suburbia.
Tuesday 27 April
Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms with Mark Millar
Channel 5, 7pm
We all love a good home-improvement show, especially one that works with crazy budgets, big and small. In this new series, Mark Millar (the amiable Northern Irish builder from DIY SOS) drops in on homeowners embarking on kitchen and bathroom refurbishments to offer support, emotional and hands-on, and practical tips on their redesigning plans.
In tonight’s opener, he turns up first in Glasgow to gape at a couple who have decided to splurge £50,000 on remodelling the kitchen in their new-ish build home (it does feel a mite excessive), then travels on to Sutton Coalfield to meet a more creative pair with a fraction of that budget to spend on a bathroom. What marks this show out is the complete lack of gimmickry (no virtual-reality previews to drool over here) and the practical builder’s sense Millar brings to his observations (none of Kevin McCloud’s flights of architectural self-gratification either). As a result, the show has a hands on, accessible feel to it with Millar staying out of design decisions and offering advice, tips and tricks of the trade; and, refreshingly, prices that seem to accord with what people have to pay in the real world. GO
All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star
BBC Two, 8pm
Lots of fun and frustration tonight as the jewellery-makers must use “alternative materials” (paper, seashells, stone, leather and, in one case, beetle wings) rather than the usual gold, silver and gems to create, for the bestseller round, a flamboyant cocktail ring and, in the bespoke round, an in-your-face necklace for a drag queen.
Secrets of the Transport Museum
This idiosyncratic series about the wonders of the collection at Brooklands Museum in Surrey is proving a worthy addition to the channel’s slate of engine-oriented viewing. Tonight, the museum’s most-prized vehicle, a 1933 Napier-Railton, gets its annual outing.
BBC One, 9pm
It gets more ludicrous with every episode but Kay Mellor’s lottery-theft storyline has a strong – and entertaining – backbone, so it’s easy to stick with. In this penultimate episode, the youngsters finally force shopkeeper Frank (Neil Morrissey) to negotiate, only for Keeley (Katherine Rose Morley) to risk everything that they’ve gained so far.
Makeup: A Glamorous History
BBC Two, 9pm
Another dive into the history of make-up with Lisa Eldridge, who reveals the degree of cosmetic enhancement that the Victorians indulged in, even though it was considered immoral to do so. It’s amazing how much work goes into creating a look that is “make-up’s magic trick – concealing its own existence.”
Channel 4, 9pm
A snacking giant brings this amiable and hunger-making series to a close: the mighty Snickers, the world’s bestselling chocolate bar. As ever, host Fred Sirieix challenges fine dining chefs (tonight two rising stars of the culinary world, Tom Brown and Sabrina Gidda) to create a perfect replica; and, as ever, it drives them to distraction.
ITV, 10.45pm; Scotland, 11.05pm; Wales, 11.10pm
Another stash of foreign dispatches, beginning with a report from Mali where Rageh Omaar explores the economics of the popular Hippodrome horse races and the country’s deep historical and cultural links to the horse. And, in Bosnia, Lucy Watson meets a survivor of the Srebrenica genocide who has made it his mission to identify victims’ remains. GO
City Slickers (1991) ★★★☆☆
A cattle-driving holiday is meant to be a bonding exercise for stressed out Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern in Ron Underwood’s amiable comedy-Western, which made a lot of money at the box office. Jack Palance chews the scenery as Curly – a send-up of his many roles in the likes of Shane – which bagged him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. It’s a light-hearted and entertaining blend of sight gags and sincerity.
Road House (1989) ★★★☆☆
Inspiring an interminable Family Guy sketch and many a high-kicking parody since, the aptly named Rowdy Herrington directs this entertaining slice of mugger’s cinema. Patrick Swayze plays a super-bouncer with a philosophy degree who must defend his titular dive bar. It’s a Western in all but name, and the dialogue is studded with clichés, but connoisseurs of cowboy culture will find much to amuse.
Straight Outta Compton (2015) ★★★★
Director F Gary Gray’s fire-breathing biopic charting the rise and fall of the gangsta rap supergroup NWA is so hot on the power of their music that its more clichéd moments are forgiven. The talented cast are led by Corey Hawkins as Dr Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and O’Shea Jackson Jnr, who plays his real-life father, Ice Cube. Paul Giamatti also stars as music manager Jerry Heller. The soundtrack swaggers.
Wednesday 28 April
Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty
BBC Two, 9pm
Todd Austin’s excellent documentary series reaches conclusions considerably more decisive and profound than those of Operation Countryman, the corruption inquiry forming the backbone of this final episode. Launched in 1978 in response to three armed robberies – of a Securicor van outside a Square Mile bank and the payrolls at the offices of the Daily Express and Daily Mirror – strongly rumoured to have been enabled, to some degree, by police malfeasance, it was led by Dorset Police (hence the operation’s name) and encountered relentless obstruction from both the Metropolitan and City of London forces. Journalists and retired officers spin a gripping yarn, sleazily compelling and horrifying in equal measure as they relate countless examples of police officers “having a drink” almost all the way up the chain of command. Countryman’s eventual findings were as underwhelming as they were grimly inevitable.
If the roll-call of cops and crooks occasionally becomes dizzying, veteran investigative reporter Duncan Campbell’s presence as consultant ensures it never feels less than credible, while the score drips with squelchy atmosphere. GT
BBC One, 7.30pm; not NI/Scot/Wales
Charlie Dimmock and David and Harry Rich offer up their designs for the Shrewsbury garden of an opera singer and a comic-book artist who hope to modernise their outside spaces and add a fairy glen for the daughter on the not insignificant budget of £5,000.
The Repair Shop
BBC One, 8pm
Now absolutely at home in prime time, this endlessly rewarding series keeps digging up intriguing objects with powerful stories behind them. Tonight, Jay Blades and the team are confronted with a roundabout, a broken mechanical teddy bear and a set of dominoes believed to have been played during the 1914 Christmas truce in the trenches.
Great British Menu
BBC Two, 8pm
The cream of Northern Irish chefs, Paul Cunningham, Phelim O’Hagan, Gemma Austin and Andy Scollick are in Belfast, where they are challenged to rustle up canapés, starters and fish dishes inspired by British invention and innovation.
PBS America, 8.40pm
Where Britain had Alan Turing, the US had the scarcely less extraordinary figure of Elizabeth Smith Friedman. Her crucial role in decrypting the codes used in communications with the Nazi wolf packs that were causing havoc among the Atlantic convoys has only come into focus in recent years, although her endeavours before the war were almost equally meritorious: she trained her country’s first military codebreakers in the First World War and cracked several criminal rings during Prohibition. This is an authoritative entry in the reliable American Experience documentary strand.
The Great British Sewing Bee
BBC One, 9pm
Even in these early stages, the standard has been impressively high this year; witness gentlemen’s classics week, where Peaky Blinders-inspired baker boy caps, jackets and blazers rejuvenated and reworked for women, and a casual utility jacket are the order of the day.
Is Uni Racist?
BBC Three/BBC One, 10.45pm; Wales, 11.10pm
Linda Adey paints a depressing picture of yet another British institution responding with desperate inadequacy to accusations of racism on its watch; from Manchester to Oxford, evidence abounds of a failure to take concerns seriously and a worrying sense of complacency. GT
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) ★★★★☆
For the fourth instalment in the Pink Panther series, Blake Edwards lured Peter Sellers back to reprise his role as Inspector Clouseau; it was a hit which revivified Sellers’s career. Once again, the plot turns on the theft of the Pink Panther diamond; the mysterious robber has left a white glove embroidered with the letter “P”. Christopher Plummer takes on the mantle of Sir Charles Lytton, “the notorious Phantom”.
The Fugitive (1993) ★★★★☆
Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones make a dynamic team in this taut action thriller, based on the television series of the same name. Ford plays Richard Kimble, a doctor who is wrongly accused of his wife’s murder. When the bus taking him to prison crashes, he goes on the run, intent on tracking down the criminal he holds responsible for the murder. But, of course, Deputy US Marshal Gerard (Jones) is hot on his heels.
The Admirable Crichton (1957) ★★★☆☆
Sony Movies Classic, 9pm
Based on JM Barrie’s stage farce, this romping adventure comedy is untaxing but good company. Director Lewis Gilbert was panned by some critics for his featherweight plotting, but this shows a light-touch is no bad thing: a South Seas yarn, starring Kenneth More and Diane Cilento, it follows a Jeeves-like Butler, Crichton, proving his worth when his wealthy employees are shipwrecked. Charming.
Thursday 29 April
Saved By a Stranger
BBC Two, 9pm
Anyone who listens to Radio 4’s Saturday Live will be familiar with the “Thank You” slot, an often affecting three-minute strand in which people express gratitude publicly in the hope it will be heard by strangers they omitted to thank for help given in a moment of crisis. This new series, presented by Anita Rani, is that concept on steroids – with the add-on that the programme-makers set out to track down the stranger involved, so that an emotional face-to-face reunion can be facilitated in TV moments which are, by turns, heartfelt, rug-pulling and often difficult to watch.
In this opening episode, a man who has carried a burden of severe survivor guilt for 15 years, since being caught up in the 7/7 terror attacks in London, asks Rani to find a fellow passenger who held his hand consolingly at the moment he thought he was going to die. In the programme’s second strand, a woman whose family was trapped in wartorn Sarajevo at the height of the war in Bosnia in 1994 wants to thank the paediatrician who saved their lives by putting them on a medical evacuation list that enabled them to escape and resettle, eventually, in Birmingham. The stories are harrowing; be sure to bring a hankie. GO
Rugby League: Wigan Warriors v Hull FC
Sky Main Event, 7pm (kick off 7.45pm)
From one Super League to another, as Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC at the DW Stadium.
Gardening with Carol Klein
Channel 5, 7pm
It was a real pleasure to see Klein working from her much-loved Glebe Cottage garden in Devon in the first series in February. Now, with the coming of spring, she’s back for six more editions, cheerfully dispensing knowledge, inspiration and tips on how to make the most of your patch right from the start of the growing season.
The Dog House
Channel 4, 8pm
There’s a frisson of excitement at the rescue centre as Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton visits, hoping to find a dog she can co-adopt with her mother. But will Leilo the ridgeback, with a list of long-term medical needs, fit the bill? And can Zoe the beagle appeal equally to every member of her prospective family?
Escape to the Farm with Kate Humble
Channel 5, 8pm
As if lambing season’s not busy enough on her Monmouthshire farm, this week Kate Humble finds time to take Teg for a yomp up to the Devil’s Pulpit before whipping up a feast of Welsh mussels and Wye Valley beer. After which, she’s out with a friend to forage gorse flowers and blackberry buds for a gorse-chocolate mousse with a tropical cocktail side. It’s a tough life.
This Is My House
BBC One, 9pm; not Wales
Another four contestants – all Ericas this week – vie to win £1,000 by convincing celebrity judges that they are the true homeowner of a chic London property. But even after being tested on jobs, dress sense, spousal adoration, wedding day gaffs, pet names and more, the judges seem to be none the wiser. They must be the only ones. It’s an undemanding watch, but, even so, it’s hard not to feel the programme format could do with some sprucing.
Frank of Ireland
Channel 4, 10pm
More man-baby comedy with a Celtic twist in this gleefully immature sitcom from the Gleeson brothers. Tonight, Doofus (Domhnall Gleeson) begins to worry that Frank (Brian Gleeson) has defected to the dark side after falling under his love rival Peter-Brian’s (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) cage-fighter spell.
Bridesmaids’ Secrets and Lies
Georgina Haig, Abbie Cornish and Katie McGrath star in this lightweight Australian thriller as three best friends who are tested to the limit when a malign stalker begins uncovering secrets about each of them that threaten to shake their lives to the core. GO
The Blue Dahlia (1946, b/w) ★★★★★
George Marshall’s thrilling film noir stars Alan Ladd in his penultimate pairing with Veronica Lake. Raymond Chandler won an Oscar nomination for his first original screenplay, though he relapsed into drink while working out how to finish off its fiendish plot. Johnny Morrison (Ladd) is the main suspect after his wife is murdered; his discharged Navy buddies are swept up in all the intrigue as well. It cracks along at a marvellous pace.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ★★★★☆
Another Lewis Gilbert humdinger, this was Roger Moore’s third outing as Bond. From the opening ski chase sequence to its climatic underwater battle, this was Bond as big, splashy box-office fun. Moore has Daniel Craig’s cool self-possession as he glides through a plot which involves KGB double agents, nuclear weapons and megalomaniac fish lovers. Moonraker is on Friday at 8pm.
Being Ap (2015) ★★★★☆
BBC Four, 10pm
Anthony Wonke’s absorbing documentary about Anthony Peter McCoy follows the great jockey during the last season of his career, which was to have been another one of supremacy, but was marred by injury as time got the better of him. A stroke of fortune for the film-makers, which they capitalise upon with a sure touch. And, boy, does McCoy deliver as he says, “I was an addict for winning”. Going cold turkey will sure be tough.
Friday 30 April
This Time with Alan Partridge
BBC One, 9.30pm
Is Alan Partridge the most fertile character in the history of British comedy? Truly, his offspring are legion, straddling radio and television, cinema and webisodes, podcasts and books, each one advancing our understanding of Steve Coogan’s infinitely rewarding comic invention. Following last year’s From the Oasthouse lockdown podcast, he’s back alongside co-host Jennie Gresham (the excellent Susannah Fielding) for a second series of teatime magazine show This Time.
Alan has a growing unease over his future with a new producer at large, fresh from E4; tigerish PA Lynn (Felicity Montagu) has a new hip; perennially inept “Sidekick” Simon Denton rather implausibly has a more prominent role; and Jennie has some big news. Segments on body language and Alan’s weekend with a silent order of monks (“they keep a lid on it because they think God likes it”) prove fruitful, while the climax, in which Alan reunites two twin brothers separated at birth, is a moment of “live” television horror to rank alongside Alan’s Irish doppelganger singing Come Out, Ye Black and Tans or ventriloquist Joe Beazley and Cheeky Monkey tanking in Knowing Me, Knowing You. GT
The Mosquito Coast
If Peter Weir’s 1986 adaptation suggested Paul Theroux’s award-winning novel might be unfilmable, Neil Cross’s seven-part version could be a confirmation. Cross modernises the story of inventor Allie Fox (Justin Theroux, Paul’s nephew) and his family, pursuing a better life in Central America, for better (explicitly addressing issues of dystopian ideals and mental illness) and worse (an imposition of thriller tropes).
Netflix expands its portfolio of Spanish thrillers and its partnership with Harlan Coben in this adaptation of one of the latter’s page-turners, in which a man breaking up a fight may have accidentally killed someone.
BBC Young Musician 2020
BBC Four, 7pm
Delayed due to Covid, the competition returns and there are three grand final places available in tonight’s semi, with violinist Coco Tomita, oboe player Ewan Millar, percussionist Fang Zhang, pianist Thomas Luke and Annemarie Federle on the French horn competing for a spot.
Royal Wedding: a Day to Remember
BBC One, 7.30pm
A few weeks on from ITV’s similar venture, the BBC looks back at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a ceremony attended by around 1,900 people and perhaps the high watermark of the monarchy in the post-Diana age.
Churchill: Curtain Call
Channel 5, 9pm
Just like the opening episode, this final edition of a fine documentary series benefits from covering the declining, least scrutinised years of the great man’s life, riddled with frustration and frailty after he became conscious his Riviera lifestyle in retirement might damage his legacy. Poignant, unpatronising and, in its way, definitive.
Sky One, 9pm
Julie Gearey’s new 2143-set science-fiction thriller occasionally prompts the suspicion that the decent effects and dystopian trappings are surface gloss for a pretty routine genre workout, but it’s executed with confidence. Commonworld cop Ash Harper (Savannah Steyn) is framed for a robbery and exiled to a prison planet; en route, her fellow convicts hijack the ship and go on the run. Parminder Nagra and Eleanor Tomlinson lend game support. GT
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (2021)
Amazon Prime Video
Stefano Sollima (Gomorrah, Sicario: Day of the Soldado) has talked about wanting to update Tom Clancy’s thriller making it about “human beings, not superheroes”. There’s lots to be excited about with this grounded actioner about a Navy Seal, played by Michael B Jordan, who becomes entangled in an international conspiracy between Russia and America after his wife is murdered. Without another Bourne film, it’s one way of scratching that itch.
Nomadland (2020) ★★★★★
Sure to receive recognition at this week’s Oscars, Chloé Zhao’s haunting road movie is a poetic paean to outsiderdom, family and freedom. Frances McDormand is Fran, a middle-aged woman working in a succession of mind-numbing jobs. She has been on the road, living in a van, since the death of her husband; but when she encounters a band of fellow nomads, things begin to change.
The Mitchells Vs The Machines (2021)
The Incredibles meets Terminator in this caper from Sony Pictures Animation as a lovable family, the Mitchells, come together when – you guessed it – the world’s tech rises up. The cast, which includes Olivia Colman as a malovent AI, is pretty stellar; and the zonky visuals, comic book-riffing style and heady sense of fun, are likely to draw everyone around the sofa. Just remember to put those phones down.
Sarah Hughes (SH), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Vicki Power (VP) and Gabriel Tate (GT)