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What’s on TV tonight: Top Gear, Gentleman Jack and more

Telegraph Reporters
Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff leads the Top Gear pack - 1

Sunday 16 June

Top Gear

BBC Two, 8.00pm

It’s all change once again in the Top Gear studio, as Matt LeBlanc hands over the presenting reins to Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness for the 27th series. While the duo demonstrate an instant talent for the “blokes-messing-around-in-moronic-glee” element that has become the show’s trademark in recent years, they do not – on first impression anyway – come across as serious petrolheads who know anything much about what’s going on under the bonnet.

Not that it matters; the fun factor is boosted by their enthusiasm and the series has retained the services of “serious” motoring journalist Chris Harris. His encyclopedic car knowledge and vast driving experience redresses the balance, and from the off, his ongoing role as series stooge feels a more natural fit with Flintoff and McGuinness than it ever did with LeBlanc.

In this getting-to-know-you opening episode, the new team are given the opportunity to revisit their motoring first loves, with a couple of thousand pounds to purchase an example of the first car they owned. The only problem is the location where they are to test them: Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, which is one of the hottest, bleakest places on Earth. GO

Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019

ITV, 6.30pm

Live from Stamford Bridge, Usain Bolt tops the list of athletes and entertainment stars taking to the pitch for this year’s charity match. Michael Owen, Mo Farah, Didier Drogba, Eric Cantona, Niall Horan and Rachel Yankey are among the celebrities participating to raise money for the UN children’s charity. GO

Live: Britain’s Next PM: The Channel 4 Debate

Channel 4, 6.30pm

Ahead of Tuesday night’s debate on BBC One, news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosts the first live TV leadership wrangle with the remaining contenders in the Conservative Party race to become the next prime minister. GO

Gentleman Jack

BBC One, 9.00pm

Clouds gather over Halifax as Reverend Ainsworth (Brendan Patricks) arrives, determined to woo Miss Walker (Sophie Rundle), and Anne’s (Suranne Jones) troubles mount when the Rawson brothers resort to violence and intimidation. GO

The Death & Destruction of Michael Jackson

Channel 5, 9.00pm

With Michael Jackson’s reputation beyond rescue for all but his diehard fans, this film talks to his friends, psychologists and journalists in an effort to cast light on the life crises that led Jackson to behave as he did. GO

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2019

BBC Four, 9.00pm

Such is the prestige and international recognition of this competition, now in its 36th year, that winning it tends to be a career-making experience for classical singers. The first of four rounds in the main prize competition sees the 20 finalists, selected from hundreds of rising stars in 15 countries, perform with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Welsh National Opera Orchestra in a bid to win a place in Saturday’s grand final. GO

Discovering Graal Theatre: Kaija Saariaho

BBC Four, 11.00pm

Tom Service unpicks contemporary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s haunting and explosive 1994 violin concerto Graal Théâtre. Before it is performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Service explores how the composer crafted the concerto to reflect her own tempestuous relationship with the violin. He then talks to soloist Peter Herresthal about its extreme technical challenges. GO

Pal Joey (1957) ★★★☆☆

BBC Two, 12.50pm

This film version of one of the most sardonic Broadway musicals can seem a little on the preachy side; its story of a devilish singer (Frank Sinatra) caught between two women (Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak) was lightly sanitised for public tastes. As such, hits such as Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered lost some of their original biting irony. Still, the spirited lead performances from Sinatra, Novak and Hayworth are impossible to resist.

Woman in Gold (2015) ★★★☆☆

BBC One, 10.30pm

In what is a fascinating true story, Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altmann, an Austrian Jewish woman who launches a legal campaign to claim the inheritance that had been confiscated by the Nazis: Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adèle Bloch-Bauer I. Unfortunately, an unusually mangled performance from Mirren, and some very cheesy dialogue, let that story down. Ryan Reynolds and Katie Holmes also star.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 11.15pm

If you have seen the BBC TV series, you can now see the inspiration behind it: this film of the same name from director Taika Waititi. Set in his native New Zealand, this comedy horror stars Waititi and Flight of the Conchords’s Jermaine Clement (who co-directs) as a pair of vampires who live together in Wellington and struggle to keep up with modern life in a society that is not exactly welcoming.


Monday 17 June

Margaret Thatcher listens to Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech in the Commons in 1990 Credit: PA

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution

BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm

The BBC’s in-depth look at the life and times of Margaret Thatcher has enthralled throughout. The final episode, which looks at the period after the 1987 election to her resignation in 1990, has a naturally valedictory air – yet also serves as a fascinating examination of how power can isolate. “She was so successful that hubris took over,” says Ken Clarke, who remains cheerfully adamant he did the right thing by advising Mrs Thatcher to step down: “It was the only sensible advice to give.” Her still-loyal chief press secretary Bernard Ingham disagrees.

“Who would be PM of a Tory government?” he sighs despairingly in one of several lines that will surely resonate today. Yet what stands out most are not the similarities with our current times but the differences: the way in which politicians, even the more flamboyant such as Michael Heseltine, understood that deeds had consequences and words carried weight; the importance that Mrs Thatcher placed on her role as Prime Minister, both here and in the wider world; the sense that, whether you agreed with them or not, these were people who took the great offices of power seriously. SH

Tennis: Queen’s/The Nature Valley Classic

BBC Two, 1.00pm /Eurosport 1, 11.30am

With Wimbledon fast approaching, the world’s finest players are warming up for the tournament at two separate events: Queen’s in London and the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. Queen’s boasts a strong entry, which includes defending champion Marin Cilic, British number one Kyle Edmund and Stefanos Tsitsipas. But fans will be waiting to see Andy Murray following his decision to play doubles with Feliciano Lopez as he makes his comeback following hip surgery. In Birmingham, newly crowned Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty vies for the Maud Watson Trophy against Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and in-form Brit Johanna Konta, among others.

Punjab United: Our Lives

BBC One, 7.30pm

Billing themselves as “Kent’s most successful Asian football team”, the semi-professional Punjab United were founded in 2003 by businessman Jugjit Singh Sian, aka Chipie, who doubles as manager. This lovely film follows them through a particularly turbulent season. SH

The Family Brain Games

BBC Two, 8.00pm; not Wales

Dara Ó Briain hosts a new game show pitting eight of Britain’s “cleverest families” against each other. Hannah Critchlow provides the scientific analysis, although the real fun comes from watching the meltdowns as the pressure increases. SH

How Safe Are Your Medicines?: Dispatches

Channel 4, 8.00pm

In 2014, millions of pounds worth of vital medicines were stolen from Italian hospitals by criminal gangs with Mafia links. Those stolen drugs were then sold on to the NHS in unsafe or corrupted form. Antony Barnett looks at what happened next. SH

War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita

BBC One, 9.00pm

The second episode of this informative series sees Anita Rani talking the volunteers in Bristol through the plastic in their bathroom products, while Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall meets the Environment Minister, Michael Gove. SH

Big Little Lies

Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

One of the more interesting things about this second series of Big Little Lies is the way that Andrea Arnold’s direction adds a melancholy, slightly off-kilter feeling to the high-end pulp of the main storyline. The growing sense of unease only intensifies this week as Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) continues to struggle with the aftermath of last season’s events, while Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline Martha Mackenzie discovers that some secrets just won’t stay hidden, no matter how hard you try. SH

My Wild Baby Animal

More4, 10.00pm

The opening episode of this new nature series tells the story of Canadian animal trainers, Mark and Dawn Dumas, who discover an abandoned polar bear cub and decide to raise it. The bear drinks from a bottle, goes for a walk on a lead and ambles happily around the couple’s ranch – which is an adorable thought when it’s young, and rather unnerving as the bear gets older. SH

Run Wild, Run Free (1969) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 4.55pm

Mark Lester, fresh from Oliver!, plays a 10-year-old who, as an elective mute, is a source of frustration to his parents (Sylvia Syms and Gordon Jackson). However, when he meets a Colonel (John Mills) on the moors, his fortunes change. The parallels between the boy and the wild mare he forms a bond with are crude but it’s a sweet, old-fashioned film, and Dartmoor looks majestic. Fiona Fullerton co-stars.

Wanted (2008) ★★★☆☆

ITV4, 10.05pm

This wham-bam piece of action is loosely based on the comic-book series of the same name. James McAvoy plays Gibson, an office worker who is recruited into a secret society of assassins after learning, through Fox (Angelina Jolie), that his father was an assassin who could make bullets curve as they flew. It’s ludicrous, fast and flashy, but McAvoy is endearing as the geek with a gun. Morgan Freeman also stars.

The Descendants (2011) ★★★★☆

Film4, 11.10pm

Set in Hawaii, Alexander Payne’s family drama saw George Clooney nominated for an Oscar for his turn as Matt, a father out of his depth. Clooney’s performance is excellent, but it’s the younger cast members Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller that really shine, offering touching and credible performances. This humane film feels lighter than Payne’s earlier work, but it uses happiness to hint at future trauma.


Tuesday 18 June

Head of state: Emma Thompson's Vivienne Rook becomes PM Credit: Guy Farrow/BBC

Years and Years

BBC One, 9.00pm

Russell T Davies’s exuberant near-future drama bows out in a blazing climax. It’s now 2029: scheming populist politician Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson) is prime minister, the BBC has lost its charter and monkey flu is sweeping Europe. Against this backdrop, the Lyons, who are caught up on opposite sides of the political divide, find their woes continuing. Having started his new job with shadowy company Erstwhile, Stephen (Rory Kinnear) is now implicated in their deadly policies. His crusading sister Edith (Jessica Hynes), meanwhile, is determined to expose Stephen’s employers and rescue Victor (Maxim Baldry) from one of Erstwhile’s immigrant camps.

As the action ramps up and darkness gathers, the increasingly feverish plot threatens to buckle under the strain of Davies’s ambition. It’s to his credit, however, that no matter how fervently he lays out his frighteningly prescient vision of our future, the Lyons family saga remains the compelling heart of the show. The acting is uniformly excellent too, anchored by the tremendous Anne Reid as formidable matriarch Muriel, movingly aghast at the deterioration of the world around her. TD

Cricket World Cup: England v Afghanistan

Sky Sports Main Event/Cricket World Cup, 10.00am

Eoin Morgan’s men head to Old Trafford in Manchester to face Afghanistan as the World Cup group matches continue. The last time these sides met, three weeks ago, England won by nine wickets. A similar outcome would set up England nicely to take on Sri Lanka on Friday at Headingley in Leeds. The women, meanwhile, go up against the West Indies in the first T20 in the three-match series (Sky Sports Main Event/Cricket World Cup, 6.45pm), at The County Ground in Northampton. Their second match is on Friday.

Racing: Royal Ascot

ITV, 1.30pm

Racing’s premier flat-racing festival gets under way with the Queen Anne Stakes, which is named after the founder of Ascot Racecourse. But it’s hats at the ready for Thursday, better known as “Ladies’ Day”, when the festival’s oldest surviving race, the Gold Cup, takes place.

Our Next Prime Minister

BBC One, 8.00pm

The fight to be prime minister continues with the BBC’s own televised debate, hosted by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. It comes just hours after the party’s second ballot, meaning that we won’t know who will still be in the running until the last minute. All those who are left will be invited to take part – but who will show up on the day? TD

Ackley Bridge

Channel 4, 8.00pm

The ballsy but heartfelt school-set drama returns for a third series. An excited Nas (Amy-Leigh Hickman) heads to Oxford University for an interview but soon has a crisis of confidence. TD

Secrets of the Railways

Yesterday, 8.00pm

This new series explores the hidden history behind some of the world’s most spectacular train lines. We start with the Trans-Pyrenees Railway, along which the Nazis transported gold from occupied France. TD

The Planets

BBC Two, 9.00pm

“There’s no more beautiful sight in the solar system than the ice rings of Saturn,” says Brian Cox as he explores how this distant planet’s unique structure came about. As ever, Cox does an excellent job of simplifying the science, as he talks us through Saturn’s dramatic history and the possibility of finding life there. TD

Force of Nature Natalia

Sky Arts, 10.00pm

Gerard Fox’s film offers a fascinating insight into Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, who’s currently a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. It’s followed by a chance to see Osipova in action, performing a contemporary dance at Sadler’s Wells in London. TD

The Late Late Show with James Corden: UK Specials

Sky One, 10.00pm

A double whammy of James Corden hits our screens: first, at 9pm, he’s joined by Celine Dion for a lusty edition of Carpool Karaoke, before beginning a four-night London residency of his hit US chat show. Guests across the run include Gillian Anderson and Tom Hanks. TD

Live From Abbey Road Classics

Channel 4, 12.05am

The late-night live music show comes to an end after 12 years on air – and here are some of the show’s best performances as a send-off. Among those featured are Ed Sheeran, Michael Bublé, Mary J Blige, Paul Simon and Sheryl Crow. TD

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) ★★★★☆

ITV4, 8.00pm

If you know someone who has never seen a Bond film, pick this one, the third to star Roger Moore. It has it all: the underwater car, Barbara Bach as Triple X, Carly Simon’s brilliant song, Nobody Does It Better, a sub-aquatic lair and the metal-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel). Plus Moore skiing down a mountain dispatching henchmen as he goes is surely the greatest opening Bond scene of all.

Lucky (2017) ★★★★☆

Sky Cinema Premiere, 10.00pm

This surreal, meandering comedy stars Harry Dean Stanton as an elderly resident of a desert town who spends much of his time strolling along dusty trails, with an awareness that his own life will soon come to an end. It also features an appealing supporting turn by arguably Stanton’s greatest collaborator, the director David Lynch, as a drinking buddy whose pet tortoise has, quote, “run off”.

The Garden (1990) ★★★★☆

Film4, 11.35pm

Filmed in and around avant-garde director Derek Jarman’s coastal home in Kent, this nearly wordless film puts a contemporary twist on parables of the Bible to explore Jarman’s own feelings towards the Church. These include a tale of a gay couple who are arrested, humiliated, tortured and killed, as well as the story of a woman (Tilda Swinton), perhaps as the Madonna, who is harassed by paparazzi in balaclavas.


Wednesday 19 June

Sweet stuff: Peter Mullan and Lesley Manville in the Mum finale Credit: Mark Johnson/BBC


BBC Two, 10.00pm; NI/Wales, 11.15pm

This final series of Stefan Golaszewski’s masterful comedy drama has perhaps been its best, so you should expect Bafta to remedy its continued snub. There is no great catharsis or redemption in the final episode, loose ends dangle and there is ample evidence to suggest that, while people may appear to evolve, they never really change. But in among the mansplaining, grieving, snobbery, insecurity and melancholy, there is a story that boils down to, in the words of Kelly (Lisa McGrillis), “kindness, and boring stuff like that”, as personified by the halting, ultimately successful courtship between Cathy (Lesley Manville) and Michael (Peter Mullan), and indeed by Golaszewski’s palpable affection for all his characters.

It is a show full of profundity in which, over 18 episodes, nothing much has happened. But there’s always room for lengthy, meandering chats on topics such as, this week, snacks, tolerance and racquet sports. (“Why does the net have to be high? Why is the ball made of air? You start to question badminton, you’ll never stop.”) As with Him and Her, Golaszewski has made, on its own terms, a near-perfect sitcom. What on Earth will he come up with next? GT

The Edge of Democracy

Netflix, from today

With the Brazilians turning against populist far-Right president Jair Bolsonaro only months after his election, here is the timely release of Petra Costa’s incisive documentary that weaves her family’s history of radicalism and privilege with her nation’s troubled political past and present. Bolsonaro’s deposed predecessor Dilma Rousseff is one of the contributors to a film whose partisanship doesn’t dent its insight into one of several major nations where democracy is in crisis. GT

The Supervet: Noel Fitzpatrick

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Breaking scientific ground as he goes, Noel Fitzpatrick launches his 14th series by treating a pug-and-beagle cross that was hit by a bus, a Labrador cross, and a basset hound with a bone deformity that impedes its ability to walk. GT

Summer of Rockets

BBC Two, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm

In the penultimate episode of Stephen Poliakoff’s Cold War drama, with Samuel (Toby Stephens) recuperating after the shoot-out at the airfield, his family disperses for their own safety. Meanwhile, Mr Field (Mark Bonnar) continues to arouse suspicion and a burglary at the office only increases his paranoia. GT

Wild Bill

ITV, 9.00pm

The odd but engaging culture-clash policier continues with Rob Lowe’s Bill Hixon, still suppressing his grief over his wife’s death, leading the investigation into the “Boston Bandit”, who’s responsible for a murder and a number of Post Office robberies. GT

The Restaurant that Makes Mistakes

Channel 4, 9.00pm

The Bristol restaurant staffed by people with dementia is now open to the public. But it’s still finding its feet when the appearance of a national newspaper food critic discombobulates a team only beginning to master its craft. GT


Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

Described by Ricky Gervais as “the best show in the world” (but don’t let that put you off), this superb Italian Mafia saga returns for a fourth series with Ciro’s demise leaving the Neapolitan gangs on the brink of open warfare. Crime boss Genny Savatano (Salvatore Esposito) is forced to bring in the Levante family to steady the ship in an explosively entertaining opening double-bill. GT

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) ★★★☆☆

Talking Pictures TV, 6.30pm

Peter Stenning (Edward Judd) is a depressed British reporter who gets by with the help of his friend, Bill Maguire (Leo McKern). Along with weather forecaster Jeannie Craig (Janet Munro), they discover that simultaneous US and Russian nuclear explosions have altered the Earth’s rotation. Chaos ensues as the survivors try to put the planet back on its axis.

Mr & Mrs Smith (2005) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 9.00pm

This daft comedy thriller is perhaps best remembered for being the film that introduced Brad Pitt to his ex-wife Angelina Jolie. They play a couple whose failing marriage is spiced up dramatically when each discovers that the other secretly works as an assassin, after being assigned to kill the other. Let down by a weak script, the film is held together by the chemistry between its two leads. Vince Vaughn co-stars.

Badlands (1973) ★★★★★

TCM, 11.10pm

Director Terrence Malick made his name with this masterful tale of star-crossed lovers on a killing spree, inspired by the real-life Starkweather-Fugate murders. Martin Sheen is the James Dean-obsessed dustman Kit; Sissy Spacek is at her ethereal best as his accomplice Holly. Visually the film is bewitching, as Malick swathes the horror in warm Dakotan light, and, 42 years on, it looks even more effortless.


Thursday 20 June

Combat fatigue: George Clooney (left) in Catch-22 Credit: Philipe Antonello


Channel 4, 9.00pm

George Clooney has picked a wonderful and often-overlooked book to lure him back to television. Joseph Heller’s classic war satire was an icon for the anti-Vietnam War generation and became a bible for successive waves of alienated youth, due to the simple question it asks in ever more absurd ways: how can a sane man stay sane in an insane society?

Set around the Allied invasion of Italy towards the end of the Second World War, it follows the efforts of a bombardier, Captain John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), to get through the conflict alive when his own forces seem to be the ones keenest to get him killed. The novel’s complex circular structure and horror-drenched climax has tended to not to be adapted for the screen (the 1970 film version starring Alan Arkin didn’t entirely hit the mark), but this six-part miniseries gets off to a good start. It has a lighter tone and tweaked narrative to make it simpler, beginning with Yossarian’s encounter with the irrational Colonel Scheisskopf (Clooney).

Beautifully made and featuring a high-calibre cast, such as Hugh Laurie, Kyle Chandler, Daniel David Stewart and Giancarlo Giannini, this is a treat. GO

George Clarke’s Old House, New Home

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Another series of value-minded home refurbishments from architect George Clarke, who begins by reconfiguring a tiny Edwardian cottage for a nurse with two young children. He begins by toning down the Italianate excesses of a house once owned by a homesick Sicilian ice-cream magnate. GO


BBC One, 9.00pm

More front-line stories from the North West Ambulance Service. This week, there’s pressure inside the control room and on the streets of Manchester as high call-out rates are putting lives at risk. GO

Death Row: Countdown to Execution

ITV, 9.00pm

On the second leg of her Texas death row tour, Susanna Reid interviews murderer Billie Wayne Coble in the hours before he is executed. GO

Discovering: Alain Delon

Sky Arts, 9.00pm

His receipt of an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last month only emphasised what an overlooked actor Alain Delon is these days outside France. Once the quintessence of Sixties male style and a god of the French nouvelle vague, Delon was beloved by the fashionable movie directors of his day – Godard, Visconti, Antonioni and Malle among others – and has many jewels among his extensive back catalogue for this overdue biopic to draw on. GO


Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

The Misery-style subplot involving Georgina’s (Julia Stiles) supposedly dead banker husband, Constantine, is about to bear fruit, at last. But after Georgina found a hoard of priceless stolen Nazi art in her cellar last week, Lady Cassandra (Juliet Stephenson) cannot afford to have another secret disclosed. Meanwhile, both Georgina and Constantine’s first wife Irina (Lena Olin) are in a confessional mood. GO

Philip Green & the Trouble with Topshop

Channel 5, 10.00pm

Philip Green’s Arcadia fashion empire – which includes Topshop and Miss Selfridge – was rescued from the brink of collapse after a crucial vote to rescue the struggling business was passed by its landlords. This report looks at the roots of the crisis and whether the scales have finally tipped between high street and online clothing retailers. GO

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) ★★★☆☆

ITV4, 9.00pm

The Griswold family have achieved cult status thanks to their Eighties incarnation, headed by hapless patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase). While the 2015 version is worth avoiding, the originals retain much of their charm. This sequel sees Clark drag his long-suffering family across Europe, causing merry chaos everywhere they go (including knocking over Stonehenge).

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) ★★★☆☆

Comedy Central, 10.00pm

A passable romcom in which a lovelorn loser (Jason Segel) jets to a luxurious Hawaiian resort to recover from being dumped by his TV star girlfriend (The Good Place’s Kristen Bell) – only to bump into her and her lewd new boyfriend (Russell Brand). What ensues is the kind of watchable but untaxing farce that’s ideal for a long-haul flight. Mila Kunis also stars.

Bhaji on the Beach (1993) ★★★★☆

London Live, 11.45pm

Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice), this delightful comedy drama is about a group of Punjabi-speaking women of Indian descent who take a day-trip together from their home in Birmingham to Blackpool. But they are then pursued and confronted by their men folk. Scripted by Meera Syal, the underlying aim of the film is to throw a light on the social issues facing Asian women.

Friday 21 June

Shop talk: Martin Compston (left) makes a cameo appearance Credit: Alan Peebles/BBC

Still Game

BBC One, 9.00pm; Wales, 9.30pm

How you feel about this popular Scottish sitcom, which returns for a ninth and final series, probably depends on your tolerance for broad jokes, creative swearing and pratfalls. Yet it takes a lot of skill to make this sort of one-liner-led comedy land – as recent high-profile failures could ruefully attest – and what marks out Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill’s tale of rowdy pensioners is a very tight script and the surprising strain of sweetness running underneath the jokes about “boaking”.

The opener, which features an all-too-brief cameo from Line of Duty’s Martin Compston, sees the irascible Winston (Paul Riley) granted his 15 minutes of fame after his novel way of stopping a mugger goes viral. With Methadone Mick (Scott Reid) as his would-be manager, he soon finds himself caught up in a heady whirlwind of free sausage rolls and supermarket openings. Meanwhile, Jack (Kiernan) and Victor (Hemphill) decide it’s time to move into the digital age… As always, Kiernan and Hemphill never forget that the show is really about lifelong friendship, allowing us to see both the joy that Victor and Jack take in each other’s company and their occasional loneliness too. SH


Netflix, from today

The first series of this creepy German thriller was a word-of-mouth hit in 2017, and things get even darker as it enters “the second cycle”. To say any more would spoil the spooky fun, but if you haven’t yet caught up, try to do so. SH

A Question of Sport

BBC One, 8.00pm; Wales, 9.00pm

Sue Barker begins a new series of the long-running sports quiz with golfer Matt Wallace, sprinter Imani-Lara Lansiquot, gymnast Ellie Downie and cricketer Sam Billings joining team captains Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson for the usual ribbing and mishaps. SH

Celebrity Crystal Maze

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Reality TV star Gemma Collins is on captain duties as the Celebrity Crystal Maze returns for a new series. Collins is joined here by her on-off boyfriend James “Arg” Argent, mathematician Carol Vorderman, comedian Ellie Taylor and TV presenter Rick Edwards to try to raise money for charity. SH

Celebrity Gogglebox

Channel 4, 9.00pm

The celebrity edition of the popular armchair critic show continues with Chris Eubank Jnr and Snr, Gyles Brandreth, Sheila Hancock and, best of all, Rylan Clark-Neal and his mother Linda analysing the past week’s television programmes. SH

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One, 10.35pm

Expect some slick Hollywood patter as Tom Hanks drops by to discuss Toy Story 4, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland talk about Spider-Man: Far from Home and Gwyneth Paltrow waxes lyrical on all things Goop. Grime artist Stormzy provides the music. SH

I Can Go for That: The Smooth World of Yacht Rock

BBC Four, 9.00pm

Katie Puckrik’s entertaining guide to the laid-back sounds of “yacht rock” concludes with spirited discussion of Kenny Loggins, Robbie Dupree and Toto. As journalist Dylan Jones sagely notes: “Music doesn’t have to be cool for you to like it.” SH

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

Sky Arts, 10.00pm

Eccentric is a term too often bestowed on people who are mildly diverting at best. The late Chris Sievey, aka Frank Sidebottom, was, however, a genuine one-off. This brilliant documentary, which has astute contributions and intriguing titbits, examines why. SH

Papillon (1973) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 11.05pm

Based on the autobiography of petty criminal Henri Charrière – nicknamed Papillon because of his butterfly tattoo – this powerful prison drama is set in the infamous French penal colony Devil’s Island. Steve McQueen is impressive as the title character who’s desperate to escape Devil’s Island’s gruesome brutality. Dustin Hoffman gives memorable support as his friend, the small-time fraudster Louis Dega.

Billy Elliot (2000) ★★★★☆

BBC One, 12.10am

Stephen Daldry made his film debut with this stirring British drama set during the 1984 miners’ strike. Combining realism with uplifting sentiment, the film follows young Billy (Jamie Bell), who is encouraged by a chain-smoking dance instructor (Julie Walters) to take up ballet. His father (Gary Lewis), struggling on the picket line, is less keen on the idea. If this showing is too late, you can watch it on Saturday (BBC One, 10.20pm).

Side Effects (2013) ★★★★☆

Channel 4, 12.10am

Steven Soderbergh’s disquieting thriller is set waist-deep in the murk of prescription-drug culture, with Jude Law as a well-meaning psychiatrist testing a new medication for depression, and Rooney Mara as his troubled young guinea pig. It begins as a sober psychological drama, and gradually ferments into a queasy Hitchcockian whodunit. It also co-stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, in a smoothly sinister turn.

Television previewers

Vicki Power (VP), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Gabriel Tate (GT), Sarah Hughes (SH), Toby Dantzic (TD)