Friday 1 March
The Completely Made-Up Adventures of Dick Turpin
Before he cooked up quips about cakes, Noel Fielding made his name in the surreal sitcom The Mighty Boosh. He is older now, of course, but as this delightfully silly six-part return to his roots proves, no less mature. He plays Dick Turpin, the English highwayman whose adventures have passed into legend. Fielding’s version is less interested in robbing people, however, and more concerned with looking the part. He is the highwayman in the Adam Ant mould: a vain, dandy fashionista.
The first episode – which brings together Turpin’s gang and introduces us to Hugh Bonneville’s thief-catcher Jonathan Wilde – is a slow burner. Yet it is in the fantastical episode two, also available today, where Fielding’s penchant for absurd sight gags and whimsical wordplay click. A highlight is Turpin’s disapproving butcher father (Mark Heap) saying, “come back to the butcher’s and work for me–at”. There is also a tremendous guest turn from Greg Davies, whose cut-throat highwayman Leslie Duval tasks “foppy tit” Turpin with robbing “the unrobbable coach”. Its treasure is “an emerald the size of a monkey’s fist” and sits next to a cut-out of a monkey for scale. SK
Amazon Prime Video
This irresistibly twisty, if tonally uneven six-part UK thriller is by Fool Me Once co-writer Charlotte Coben (daughter of Harlan). Five years ago, the love of Elliot’s (Bilal Hasna) life went missing. But could he still be alive in Liverpool? And if so, why is he taunting twin sister Jess (Vivian Oparah)? The cast includes Penelope Wilton and Peter Serafinowicz.
Masters of the Air
The lavish Second World War drama goes from strength to strength. This week, Austin Butler’s imprisoned Buck builds
a radio from scratch under German noses. Meanwhile, Major Rosie (Nate Mann) and his men are assigned a series of suicidal missions to bomb Berlin, before finding themselves caught in the catch-22 of increasing mission quotas.
BBC One, 1.45pm
The cosy daytime drama is in an especially playful mood this week, as Mark Williams’s prying priest reluctantly finds himself investigating the existence of vampires. That, according to Bernard (Nicholas Woodeson), is the only explanation for his daughter’s empty grave. Ray Fearon is delightfully cartoonish as a famed vampire hunter.
Here We Go
BBC One, 8.30pm
Tonight’s episode of the family sitcom features a hilarious cameo from Jim Howick’s Ghosts co-star Simon Farnaby. He plays brother-in-law Boyd (or “Void”, as he’s known), the relentless show-off who is notorious for never asking a question in conversation. That is, until an exasperated Paul (Howick) makes it his mission to trick him into asking one.
Martin Compston’s Norwegian Fling
BBC Two, 10pm
The second week of Martin Compston’s journey across Scotland’s Nordic neighbour takes him to Bergen, where he meets the Scots who have made the Norwegian city their home. They even march in Norway’s National Day parade, bagpipes and all.
Eurovision 2024: Graham Meets Olly
BBC One, 10.40pm
This year’s UK Eurovision hopeful Olly Alexander sits down with chat-show king Graham Norton in this one-off special. The highlight for Eurovision fans will be the premiere of the music video for Alexander’s entry Dizzy. Stick around afterward too for The Big Eurovision Party: a celebration of the competition led by the likes of Conchita Wurst and Johnny Logan.
Napoleon (2023) ★★★★
Ridley Scott’s sumptuous and bonkers biopic is a magnificently hewn slab of dad cinema, with battlefield sequences so astonishing that you’ll forget all thoughts of historical inaccuracy – though you’ll likely still be irked by Joaquin Phoenix’s softly Californian accent, a slight smudge on an otherwise hugely charismatic performance. Vanessa Kirby is his equal as Joséphine, his shrewd and sultry first wife. A riot.
Spaceman (2024) ★★★
Nothing about Spaceman suggests “Adam Sandler vehicle”, but his attempt with Swedish director Johan Renck (Chernobyl) to make a Tarkovsky film in the outer reaches of our solar system is a worthy experiment. Sandler’s Jakub is a Czech cosmonaut investigating a dust cloud near Jupiter; Lenka (Carey Mulligan) is his abandoned spouse, ready to give up on him. How to win her back? Why, team up with a giant talking spider, of course.
Ferrari (2023) ★★★★
Sky Cinema Premiere, 8pm
Bloody car crashes, Adam Driver’s questionable Italian accent, co-star Shailene Woodley simply refusing to even try to do an Italian accent… Michael Mann’s biopic of Ferrari founder Enzo will delight petrolheads and action-lovers, and repulse anyone who enjoys understated drama. Don’t overthink it – the cars are beautifully remade, with permission from Ferrari itself, and Penélope Cruz is typically powerful in support.
Dune (1984) ★★
A fascinating folly from David Lynch, given a $50 m budget to render Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic on screen. Producer Dino De Laurentiis wanted to jump on the Star Wars bandwagon, but the film – which centres around an intergalactic spice war – was far too weird to pay off. Never mind: Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 version, with Timothée Chalamet, was a triumph; the equally grand second instalment is in cinemas now.
Saturday 2 March
The Brit Awards 2024
The Brit Awards have been criticised in recent years for its poor representation of female artists. In 2023, the nominees for Best Artist were all men: a bitter pill to swallow after the merging of the Best British Male and Female categories. This year, at least, there’s been some progress, with women making up more than half of the nominees. Singer-songwriter Raye has even made history as the first artist to receive seven Brit nominations in one year – beating the likes of Adele and Annie Lennox.
Gender parity is not the only thing new this year. Comedian Mo Gilligan has stepped down from hosting duties, meaning an earnest trio of Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, outgoing Capital Breakfast presenter Roman Kemp and Love Island host Maya Jama will guide the ceremony from London’s O2 Arena. There will be music too, of course. Raye will take to the stage along with Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris. The most anticipated performance, though, will surely be from Kylie Minogue, who is deservedly receiving the Global Icon Award. If that isn’t enough, then tune into ITV2 at 7.30pm, where DJs Yinka Bokinni and Jack Saunders will be bringing viewers all the action from the red carpet. SK
BBC One, 5.50pm
The last leg of the quarter-finals features a particularly pathetic display for the boys in the Duel round. Maybe these modern herculean Gladiators are simply too strong for mere mortals? Nonetheless, the show continues to be a Saturday highlight – despite the stilted charisma of co-host Barney Walsh.
Lost Temples of Cambodia
Channel 4, 6.50pm
Archaeologist Pauline Carroll concludes her travels with a look at how the ancient, once all-powerful Khmer Empire fell into ruin. She travels to Banteay Toap, formerly widely believed to be a “lost city”, and returns to the empire’s birthplace in the hills of Phnom Kulen to ponder its decline.
Queen Camilla: For King & Country
Channel 5, 7pm
This patchwork documentary, a newly updated version of two programmes that aired in 2021 and 2023, charts the colourful life of the Queen. Expect a potted history of her long relationship with the King, as well as more recent material about her duties since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Clarence House: A Royal Residence
Channel 5, 8.30pm
Located just minutes from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House is the Royal family’s secluded London retreat. This enjoyable feature-length documentary recruits the usual cast of royal experts (Jennie Bond et al) to talk us through its rich history. The late Queen, for instance, used it as an idyll during her early years of marriage. The Queen Mother, on the other hand? For partying.
BBC Four, 9pm & 10pm
Tonight’s double-bill of the tense Danish prison drama opens with a typically stressful scene, in which Sofie Gråbøl’s (The Killing) prison guard Miriam is coerced into smuggling drugs into work. A mass brawl takes centre-stage in the latter episode, which leads to Miriam’s colleague Gert (Charlotte Fich) having to broker an off-the-books deal between rival gangs.
Led Zeppelin: In the Light
Sky Arts, 10.45pm & midnight
This extensive docu-series is a must-watch for Led Zeppelin fans. It comes to a close tonight with a critical review of the band’s untitled fourth album, known as Led Zeppelin IV, generally regarded as their magnum opus. The finale tackles the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, which led to the band splitting up two months later.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) ★★★
Channel 4, 1.05pm
A slightly superior sequel to DreamWorks’ animated animal adventure, with the same four crazy characters returning. Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe (voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer) are now living on a nature reserve in Kenya, but need to find a way to return home to their zoo in New York City.
The Train (1964, b/w) ★★★★
BBC Two, 4pm
John Frankenheimer pitches French Resistance member Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster, as brilliant as ever) against German colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield), in a Second World War art-theft adventure that knocks spots off George Clooney’s similarly themed The Monuments Men. As the Germans retreat from Paris, Waldheim secures a train to bring back plundered masterpieces, but Labiche has other ideas.
Film of the Week: The Godfather (1972) ★★★★★
“Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes”. Endlessly quoted and copied, the first instalment of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic mob trilogy (written with Mario Puzo) is an all-time high watermark of American cinema that came to define the mob/gangster genre. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino (then a relative unknown) play American-Italian mafia boss Don Vito and his son and reluctant heir, Michael Corleone, caught up in the struggle for power among crime lords. Watching Michael’s transformation from academic golden boy to ruthless kingpin is in equal turns thrilling and heartbreaking. It is, of course, violent – Coppola made the entire world look differently at horse heads – but above all it’s a searing study of familial pressure and the immigrant experience in America. Deservedly, The Godfather won three Oscars – including Best Actor for Brando, which he declined to accept, sending actress Sacheen Littlefeather on his behalf in protest at Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans. Part II (somehow, arguably even more perfect) is on Sunday, and Part III (The Godfather: Coda) is on Monday. Settle in for a ride that never, ever grows old.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) ★★★
Channel 4, 10.20pm
This is a reprocessed version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), so half of the fun lies in spotting the abundant links to its predecessor. Heroes Kirk and Spock are back, and Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto fit the roles as cosily as their Lycra jumpsuits. This time they’re after villainous Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch), who’s fled to planet Kronos – leaving all kinds of chaos and mayhem in his wake.
Sicario (2015) ★★★
BBC One, 11.55pm
Dune director Denis Villeneuve’s drug-war thriller opens with a bang but loses its way in the world of the Mexican cartels. Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent recruited by a government official (Josh Brolin) to head up a kidnap-response team. She’s completely in charge of the role, but it’s Benicio del Toro’s twitchy former prosecutor who’s centre of attention, while British star Daniel Kaluuya injects vital humour.
Sunday 3 March
How the BBC Began
BBC Four, 9pm
Accusations of bias are frequently levelled at our national broadcaster; perhaps you too think that the BBC’s editorial standards veer too far to the Left – or the Right. But when the BBC was founded by Lord Reith in 1922, it was intended to be an impartial vessel, meant to educate and inform.
John Bridcut’s fascinating, impeccably thorough documentary, a follow-up to the first two episodes aired in 2022, traces the origins of the BBC’s battle with bias, from the General Strike of 1926 – when Reith decided that informing the public was more important than keeping the Government onside, to a controversial documentary about Harold Wilson, titled Yesterday’s Man, that was watched by millions and caused ruptures between Wilson’s office and the BBC’s top drawer. However, the furore over the broadcaster’s coverage of the Troubles leaves the most food for thought, considering its current conundrum over how to report fairly on the Israel-Hamas war. With contributions from the likes of David Dimbleby, Joan Bakewell, and David Attenborough, who all sing its praises, one can’t help but think that any talk of its imminent failure (and the end of the licence fee) is greatly overblown. PP
The Great Pottery Throw Down
Channel 4, 7.45pm
It’s semi-finals week and host Siobhán McSweeney and judges Keith Brymer Jones and Rich Miller must decide which talented amateur ceramist deserves to get flushed out after taking on the infamous toilet challenge.
Frankenstein: The Read with Alex Kingston
BBC Four, 7.55pm
How striking it is to imagine Mary Shelley, aged 18, writing Frankenstein while stuck on the holiday from hell on the wet and windy shores of Lake Geneva. Shelley’s masterpiece is read by Alex Kingston (Doctor Who); she manages to inject the well-trodden tale of scientist Victor’s monstrous Creation with searing feminist fury.
Secret World of Sound with Attenborough
Sky Nature, 8pm
David Attenborough has always enraptured us with the majestic sights of nature, but this latest series finds new wonders in sound, too. Tonight’s second episode focuses on the sounds used to mate, from the melodious songs of male gibbons, dippers and lyrebirds intent on finding a female partner to the strange hums of the lonely bull elk bugle.
Death in Paradise
BBC One, 9pm
Saint Marie’s typically low-stakes jinks are swapped for actual tension tonight, as one of the series’ most likeable new characters – officer Marlon (Tahj Miles) – is lured back into his criminal past following the death of a former boss. The only witness? A babbling parrot. The two suspects’ motives? Never-ending.
The Push: Murder on the Cliff
Channel 4, 9pm
Another heartbreaking true-crime series centred on a murdered woman at the hands of someone she loved and trusted. Lawyer Fawziyah Javed was just 31, and pregnant with her first child, when she fell from the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh; her husband of nine months was arrested for her murder. The Push follows Javed’s family’s tireless fight for justice; it concludes tomorrow.
World’s Most Dangerous Roads
Having worked in sports broadcasting for so long, Jeff Stelling and Chris Kamara are no strangers to pressure, but football proves no match for Sri Lanka’s chaotic roads as they travel through the “Devil’s Staircase” route and crash their jeep in the jungle.
Scott of the Antarctic (1948) ★★★
BBC Two, 2.45pm
This is one of Ealing Studios’ more lavish productions (directed by Charles Frend), telling the story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (played here with rugged charm by John Mills) and his doomed 1910-12 expedition to the South Pole. The fact that the denouement is already known does somewhat take away from the drama, but the hostile Antarctic environment ensures it is still gripping.
Mamma Mia! (2008) ★★★★
This musical comedy, set to Abba’s timeless hits, is a slice of pure escapism that has become a cultural juggernaut, spawning a sequel and themed shows. Stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Julie Walters put tongues firmly in cheeks to have a whole load of fun on a Greek island. Streep is The Winner (who) Takes It All as a boho mother whose daughter (Amanda Seyfried) wants to know who her father is before she gets married.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) ★★★★★
BBC One, 3.15pm
Shaun the Sheep has become a modern-day ambaa-ssador (sorry) for silent comedy: first in his ongoing television series, and now in this gloriously funny feature-length adventure that sees him and his flock getting into various scrapes in a beautifully detailed and unmistakably British city. Every frame is crammed with wit, as the individual jokes blow past like dandelion seeds.
The Hunger Games (2012) ★★★★
Sky Showcase, 5.30pm
Jennifer Lawrence is the ox-hearted Katniss, who volunteers to compete in the Hunger Games, in Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s best selling dystopian novel. It pulls together themes of celebrity, poverty and storytelling to compelling effect – no wonder it made Lawrence, who delivers every line with venom and performs every fight scene like a pro, a star. Whatever your age, it demands to be devoured.
Monday 4 March
Celebrity Big Brother: Live Launch
Last year’s much-heralded revival of the daddy of all reality shows, Big Brother, was not the unmitigated success ITV hoped for. Disappointing, dull and dated (it debuted on Channel 4 almost a quarter of a century ago and a Channel 5 revival was axed in 2018 due to falling ratings) were among the criticisms levelled at it; meanwhile, allegations of bullying featured large among the thousands of complaints submitted to Ofcom. Undeterred, ITV has now decided to revive the show’s celebrity variant, too. And it might have made more sense to run with this first, as celebrities tend to be more attuned to the headline-grabbing potential of being boxed up and hissing at each other 24 hours a day than your average wannabe.
Of course, everything depends on the line-up: nothing has yet been confirmed, but among the names rumoured to be taking part are former X Factor judges Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, Reggae Reggae Sauce entrepreneur Levi Roots and Gary Goldsmith – uncle to the Princess of Wales. We won’t know for certain until hosts AJ Odudu and Will Best march them through the shiny doors tonight. GO
BBC One, 10.45am
Presenters Rav Wilding and Michelle Ackerley return with another run of the daily magazine show appealing for information to assist the police with crime investigations up and down the country.
Alan Titchmarsh’s Gardening Club
With spring in the air, the veteran TV gardener invites us to join him and a team of hand-picked horticultural experts as they share tips, tricks, and insights for gardeners of every level. Among this week’s highlights are grow-your-own tips from Somerset, how to craft fabulous houseplant displays and how to get birds to visit your garden.
Panorama: Trump: The Sequel?
BBC One, 8pm; NI/Wales, 8.30pm; not Scot
Is Donald Trump really on course to win a second term as US President? Is anything, between now and November’s election, capable of stopping him? Justin Webb and Marianna Spring crisscross America, from the plains of Iowa to the peach orchards of Georgia, testing the political temperature and looking ahead to perhaps the most fraught election in US history.
BBC One, 9pm
Even as Wales goes up in flames, the soulless English will only ever be interested in wine-quaffing and wife-swapping… James Graham and Michael Sheen’s dystopian thriller follows its own logic through to the end as the Driscoll family seek refuge in Reading, before hatching a plan to escape across the Channel in a small boat.
Discovering the Music of Antiquity
BBC Four, 9pm
If abstruse musical history is your thing, you’ll love this rarefied documentary following the French academics attempting to recreate the music of ancient Greece and ancient Egypt, following the tantalising discovery of a piece of 2,000-year-old papyrus in the Louvre.
Victorian Britain on Film
PBS America, 9.10pm
The birth of photography coincided with Queen Victoria acceding to the throne, though it was not until late in her reign that the first moving pictures came along. Still, there’s a wealth of vividly colourised footage to enjoy of Victorian public events and ordinary Britons going about their daily lives in this captivating look back at a time before technology came to dominate our lives.
The Madness of King George (1994) ★★★★
Based on the play by Alan Bennett, Nicholas Hytner’s lively study of the decline into dementia of King George III is Nigel Hawthorne’s best role. His George is childlike, forgetful and abusive, and (more to the point) in danger of giving a good excuse for his removal from the throne to those who already blame him for the loss of the American colonies. Helen Mirren and Rupert Everett co-star.
Goldfinger (1964) ★★★★★
Sean Connery’s third outing with the Walther PPK is an unapologetically crowd-pleasing romp focusing on an entertaining plot to steal gold from Fort Knox. In Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), Oddjob (Harold Sakata) and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), the film has the very best of Bond villains, goons and girls. Excitingly, 25 Bond films are also now available on ITVX (for 30 days) – the first time they’ve been free to stream in the UK.
The Souvenir (2019) ★★★★★
BBC Two, 12.10am
If you’ve ever stood, head cocked, brow furrowed, in front of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s 1778 painting The Souvenir at London’s Wallace Collection, you’ll understand why director Joanna Hogg decided to place it at her film’s centre. Honor Swinton-Byrne plays Julie, an aspiring film-maker who starts a romance with civil servant Anthony (Tom Burke). What ensues is a thrilling, challenging love story, based in part on Hogg’s own life.
Tuesday 5 March
Mary & George
Sky Atlantic, 9pm
“Perhaps I should have left you on the floor to rot.” George Villiers’s (Nicholas Galitzine) arrival in the world is inauspicious, his mother Mary (Julianne Moore) bereft at having birthed a second son destined to inherit nothing. Some years later she has revised her opinion – her firstborn deemed “a hollow boy” by their vile father (Simon Russell Beale) and George’s expansive sexuality a useful tool for a woman intent on infiltrating the court of King James I (Tony Curran). Between her ambition and his beauty, they make a formidable team.
The fun really begins as mother and son conduct their machinations at the court, Mary locking horns with Nicola Walker’s Lady Hatton and George dealing with potential rivals in the King’s bedchamber, before illness further muddies the waters. DC Moore’s seven-part drama is a gripping illustration of survival in hard times for women and outsiders, as well as being blackly comic without ever tipping into the farce of, say, The Great. Perennially pristine dentals aside, the grubbiness of the era is evoked perfectly, and Moore is predictably excellent alongside the impressive Galitzine: ruthless, seductive and vulnerable. GT
Death and Other Details
The setting is timeless but the execution half-cocked in this whodunit. Mandy Patinkin plays Rufus Cotesworth, a disgraced detective reluctantly drawn into a murder investigation on a cruise ship, whose prime suspect (Violett Beane) is a young woman with whom he has a long, complicated history.
Angela Bassett narrates this glossy seven-part series (also on National Geographic next Sunday) focusing on the natural world through a female lens. Rather than rely upon strength and violence like their male counterparts, female animals (including tigers, bees, ants and elephants) use other techniques for survival and advancement.
The Hairy Bikers Go West
BBC Two, 7pm
Following the sad news of Dave Myers’s death, this latest edition of his and Si King’s west coast adventure has a special poignancy. As they sample local food and see the sights in Wales, we’re reminded of just how special a friendship this was.
Klimt and the Kiss
Sky Arts, 8pm
Another captivating Exhibition on Screen documentary, this delves into one of Gustav Klimt’s most enigmatic and oft-interpreted works, asking why its appeal endures and what it may tell us about its creator.
Sarah Everard: The Search for Justice
BBC One, 9pm
A personal tragedy with far-reaching, nationwide repercussions, the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving Met Police Officer exposed – once again – both the ever-present threat of violence against women and the rot at the heart of that institution – something subsequent revelations have only confirmed. Lottie Gammon’s documentary, made with Everard’s parents, talks to those involved in the case and traces its ongoing impact.
BBC Two, 9pm
First shown in 2022 on Gold, this is another of the channel’s warm-hearted sitcoms; rarely innovative but always on the side of the underdog. Written by Nathan Foad, it follows Morgana Robinson’s chip-shop manager dealing with the wholly expected coming out of her son (Jai Hollis) and trying to move on from her divorce from the terminally boring Terry (Mathew Horne).
Catch Me A Killer
The setting is as central to the appeal of this true-crime thriller as its solid characterisation and compelling narrative, which follows Micki Pistorius (Charlotte Hope), South Africa’s first profiler of serial killers, as she hunts for the man responsible for strangling 22 boys, all against the backdrop of a nation finally coming to terms with democracy.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) ★★★★★
Steven Spielberg directs this adventure about a disparate group of people who make contact with aliens. Richard Dreyfuss is memorable as a father who becomes obsessed by the image of a mountain which turns out to be a landing site. Even today, its sinewy storytelling and gorgeous, effects-driven imagery make for an eerie, spectacular film that should be remembered among the great director’s very best.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006) ★★★
Great! Movies, 9pm
Paul McGuigan creates a crime story à la Usual Suspects – hip and clever, with an ultra-twisty plot that unravels if you think about it too deeply. Josh Hartnett takes on leading man duties, but it’s the supporting players who dominate: Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman’s warring mobsters; Bruce Willis’s lurking, mysterious hit man. Stanley Tucci, meanwhile, is the cop trying to figure out what the hell’s going on.
Other People’s Children (2022) ★★★
Rebecca Zlotowski’s moving French-language drama centres on Rachel (Virginie Efira), a 30-something Parisian whose previous pressures in life – work, her intense family, religion – become minor details when she meets Ali (Roschdy Zem), a father, and realises her own dreams of motherhood are fading away. Anyone left hurt by ill-judged remarks about so-called “biological clocks” will empathise.
Wednesday 6 March
The Rise and Fall of Boris Johnson
Channel 4, 9pm
Whatever your view of the former Prime Minister, the fact is that he led this country during its darkest hour in modern times – a phrase that, for him, would be a welcome echo of one of his political heroes, Winston Churchill. As the title of this series suggests, however, his path to political greatness proved hazardous. There’s no doubt, however, that he is a fascinating character to many, and this illuminating series (all four episodes are available from today) – with some previously unseen archive footage – takes a deep dive into not just his political career, but also his personal life.
The first episode looks at how Johnson’s chaotic childhood, complete with womanising father and a mentally fragile mother, may have shaped his politics – one contributor, ex-lover Jennifer Arcuri, says “severe trauma” is to blame. She is among an array of talking heads which includes fellow former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Nigel Farage and Telegraph columnist Petronella Wyatt, another former girlfriend. Those closest to Johnson – friends and enemies alike – speak with candour about a man they variously call a “hero”, “fun” and “a liar”. VL
A second series of Emma Moran’s sparky British comedy finds Jen (Máiréad Tyers) still powerless in an alternative universe where everybody else has a superpower. So she starts working with therapist George (Julian Barratt) to unlock hers.
The ongoing rivalry between the regular PGA tour and the breakaway LIV tour promises to make this a thrilling second season of the acclaimed golf series. As more and more players are being tempted to join LIV, the series shines a light on exactly why they made their choice. Elsewhere, there’s gripping behind-the-scenes footage of the Ryder Cup.
The Bidding Room
BBC One, 3.45pm
Nigel Havers’s auction show returns for a new series. Among the items on offer are a bamboo recreation of The Bridge Over the River Kwai, and a double treat in the form of vintage chemistry and apothecary sets.
Why Planes Vanish: The Hunt for MH370
BBC One, 8pm
Ten years after the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board, This World takes a deep dive into new evidence about what could have caused the incident – and the aircraft’s possible location.
The Marlow Murder Club
The latest whodunit by Death in Paradise creator Robert Thorogood stars Samantha Bond as Judith Potts, a retired archeologist who starts digging around when her neighbour in a genteel Buckinghamshire town is murdered; she teams up with the vicar’s wife, Becks (Cara Horgan), and dog walker Suzie (Jo Martin) to form the sleuthing club. It’s often preposterous – “I’m going to perform a citizen’s arrest!” Judith cries when confronting a possible killer – but easy viewing nonetheless.
The Titan Sub Disaster: Minute by Minute
Channel 5, 9pm
This gripping two-parter investigates why the Titan submersible, diving 13,000 ft beneath the surface to view the wreck of the Titanic, imploded, killing all five aboard. Combining archive with analysis from experts, including Titanic director James Cameron, we hear how pilot Stockton Rush was a “self-confessed rule breaker” – was the tragedy down to hubris or sheer ambition? Concludes tomorrow.
Boy Erased (2018) ★★★★
BBC Three, 10pm
Joel Edgerton, writing and directing, adapts Garrard Conley’s agonised memoir about being sent to a Christian “gay conversion” camp into an equally pained, emotionally testing film. (Edgerton co-stars too, as the camp director.) Lucas Hedges is superb as Jared, whose sexuality is revealed to his mother (Nicole Kidman) and father (Russell Crowe); neither are forgiving. It’s a tough but bracing watch that rewards an open mind.
Cold Comfort Farm (1995) ★★★★
BBC Four, 10.15pm
A welcome, rare chance to catch John Schlesinger’s raucous aristocratic comedy (based on Stella Gibbons’s classic novel), which was first broadcast on – and made for – television. It’s a veritable feast of British comic talent – Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen and Rufus Sewell – and centres on Flora (Kate Beckinsale), who has no choice but to move in with her eccentric relatives in the countryside after the death of her parents.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) ★★★★★
David Lean’s Oscar-winning desert spectacular breathes life into the story of TE Lawrence, as well as setting the benchmark for the Epic Blockbuster with its stately visuals and thousands of extras. An impeccable, starry cast, the fantastic Peter O’Toole beating Albert Finney and Marlon Brando to the lead role, and intelligent – if historically patchy – treatment of its subject make this a stunning and immersive film to cherish.
Thursday 7 March
You really won’t need to have seen Guy Ritchie’s original 2019 film to enjoy his marginally more sophisticated – and certainly better acted – spin-off series. Theo James (The White Lotus) stars as Eddie Halstead, a quick-witted gentleman soldier who unexpectedly inherits a dukedom, a stately home and a 10,000-acre estate when it turns out that his late father had disinherited his loofah-brained older brother Freddie (a gloriously OTT Daniel Ings).
The problem is, he also inherits his father’s secret criminal arrangement with a London gang run by Bobby (Ray Winstone) and Susie Glass (Kaya Scodelario). And, even worse, he acquires responsibility for his brother’s £4 -million drug and gambling debt to a bunch of psychopath Liverpool scallies. Oh, and there’s a mysterious American (Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito) trying to muscle in on the action, too. That’s the set-up for a typically Ritchiean thriller, with the banter and blood balanced out by Eddie and Susie’s will-they-won’t-they romance. You will know within the first five minutes whether you’re going love or hate it; and if you make it to the end of the second episode, you’ll be in for all eight. GO
Channel 4, 3pm & 7.30pm; More4, 6.30pm
It is dog-lovers’ heaven for the next four days as the annual canine celebration that is Crufts returns. Clare Balding and Sophie Morgan present live from the NEC in Birmingham, covering everything from dog agility to the all-important Best in Show competition.
The One Show
BBC One, 7pm; not Scot
A special edition tonight, as the Queen invites the show to Buckingham Palace for the final of the 500 Words creative writing competition for five- to 11-year-olds. Alongside 50 young finalists, a scrum of famous faces (Romesh Ranganathan and Oti Mabuse among them) will be in attendance, as will illustrator Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo); he will illustrate one of the winning entries.
A Yorkshire Farm
Channel 5, 7pm
Tonight, Helen Skelton gets her hands dirty after getting roped in to help with sheep gathering, while Amanda Owen heads to Saltburn Valley Gardens for a masterclass in foraging. JB Gill, meanwhile, is in Dorset to meet two resourceful farmers who have found a way to turn the leftover foodstuffs from making cheese into – wait for it – delicious vodka.
Somerset: Wonder of the West Country
Channel 5, 8pm
After some “Cheddaring” at Cheddar Gorge, we visit the family-run Muchelney Pottery studio, where owner Ben Leach is attempting his first full kiln-firing in years. There’s also a trip to Dunster Castle and its local agricultural show, plus a wildlife safari by water across the scenic Somerset Levels.
BBC One, 9pm
It is invention-test week as the teams are challenged to design and manufacture a new breakfast cereal aimed at six- to eight-year-olds, and pitch it to industry buyers. A crunch decision proves the key to winning for one team – meaning it’s toast for one of the losers.
Darren McGarvey: The State We’re In
BBC Two, 9pm
The rapper and social commentator, who delivered one of the best 2022 Reith Lectures on Radio 4, turns his attention to education and, in particular, the attainment gap between state and fee-paying schools. The King’s alma mater Gordonstoun, a state school in Wales and a progressive school in Finland are among the institutions he visits, searching for ideas to level-up the system.
Green Book (2018) ★★★
BBC Four, 9pm
Peter Farrelly’s Civil Rights Era-drama is good fun without offering much meat – and proved a controversial Oscar-winner. It’s based on the true story of black pianist Don Shirley’s (a regal Mahershala Ali) tour of the American Deep South in 1962, told from the perspective of Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), his Italian-American chauffeur, whose racist prejudices are softened by his drive with Shirley.
The Third Man (1949, b/w) ★★★★★
BBC Four, 11pm
Carol Reed confirmed his position as one of Britain’s greatest directors with this film noir, written by Graham Greene, which oozes atmosphere and crackles with suspense. American writer Holly Martin (Joseph Cotten) is offered a new job in Vienna by his friend Harry (Orson Welles). But upon his arrival, Holly is told that Harry is dead. Refusing to accept this, he begins his own investigation. Also on Saturday, BBC Two, 2.15pm.
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (2023) ★★★★
Anna Hints’s documentary has been lauded by critics for its emotional depiction of female relationships and stories that don’t often find space to be told. Smoke Sauna Sisterhood is set in Estonia and follows the women who take part in an age-old tradition: the use of Unesco-listed smoke saunas, separated by gender. It may sound a dull subject, but the proximity to place, history and people makes it absorbing.
Friday 8 March
Lily and Lolly: The Forgotten Yeats Sisters
Sky Arts, 8pm
Just the sort of arts documentary that would have found a home on BBC Four in its pomp, Maggie Breathnach’s film is a valuable piece of historical reclamation for International Women’s Day. It tells the story of Elizabeth and Susan Yeats, known to family and friends as Lily and Lolly, and by far too few others as estimable artistic talents. The pair were overshadowed by their brothers, Jack and William.
Dublin-born singer Imelda May proves a thoughtful guide to their lives and works, leading us from a troubled childhood through to their remarkable adult exploits in printing and embroidery, and their founding (alongside their close friend Evelyn Gleeson) of a women-only craft guild, before exploring their final years that were sadly tinged with regret and neglect. Yet their creative legacy is perhaps even more significant in their support for other women at a time when misogyny was ingrained in Irish institutions, from the church to trade unions, and when it was mostly men who wrote the history. The film ends with May singing an affecting tribute, having restored both their gravestone and their reputations. GT
The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy
An ornery travelling companion par excellence, Schitt’s Creek’s Eugene Levy spends this wry second series on a Grand Tour of Europe covering the ancient worlds of the Mediterranean, the pagan delights of Sweden and sights of Scotland, land of his ancestors.
Monty Don’s Spanish Gardens
BBC Two, 8pm
Monty Don concludes his picturesque Iberian odyssey in the north of Spain, where he finds herbalists outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, an inspiring piece of conservation and renewal in Santander and horticultural art in Bilbao, and considers Barcelona’s turn away from its industrial past towards a more sustainable future.
The Motorway Map of Britain
Channel 5, 8pm
A six-part series dedicated to the nation’s motorways may at first feel like overkill, but this opening episode suggests otherwise, packed as it is with amusing anecdotes from regular users, an embrace of history dating back to Roman times and worthwhile diversions into service stations, “ghost motorways” and drone cars.
Martin Compston’s Norwegian Fling
BBC Two, 9pm
Martin Compston and Phil MacHugh arrive in Bergen on something of a busman’s holiday for the star of The Rig: undergoing emergency training for those working in the offshore oil and gas industries. Fjords and reluctant sampling of smoked sheep’s head follow in this amiable travelogue.
Great British Cities with Susan Calman
Channel 5, 9pm
Seemingly rarely off the road these days, Susan Calman begins her latest tour in Liverpool, where she visits the familiar (Royal Albert Hall, the city’s glorious cathedral, the haunts of The Beatles) and the lesser-known (the tunnel network of Edge Hill, for instance).
How To With John Wilson
BBC Two, 11.05pm & 11.35pm
Season three of this wonderfully oddball comedy will be its last – perhaps for the best before its indefinable magic dissipates, and an extra incentive to relish these perfectly formed half-hours. Wilson seeks solutions to the problem of New York’s dwindling public conveniences, before considering whether having his ears cleaned constitutes a mixed blessing.
Damsel (2024) ★★★
Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has gathered a starry cast for this new dark fantasy film: Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett, Emmy-winner Robin Wright and British favourite Ray Winstone. Shame about the muddy plot. It follows a damsel (Brown) who finds herself squarely in distress when she’s thrown into a dungeon with a dragon. Can her wits – and a few fights – get her out?
The Beekeeper (2024) ★★★★
Sky Cinema Premiere, 8pm
Leave your snobbery (and brain cells) at the door and you’ll inevitably enjoy this thrill-ride led by the master of the ludicrously-OTT (The Meg, anyone?) blockbuster, Jason Statham. Here he plays a former operative of the “Beekeeper” spy organisation; after years in retirement, his quest for vengeance lures him back. The fight scenes are deliciously bloody and the dialogue suitably silly. And Jeremy Irons is great fun as the baddie.
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) ★★★★
Following Rise of (2011) and Dawn of (2014), the series moved to War for, which was galling for those of us who’d hoped for Breakfast at. This mesmerising new chapter modulates between revenge Western and historical epic via Vietnam meltdown as Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into conflict with a human army led by a ruthless Woody Harrelson. Michael Giacchino penned a rousing score.
Lady Bird (2017) ★★★★★
BBC Three, 10.15pm
Barbie mastermind Greta Gerwig based her directorial debut on her memories of growing up in Sacramento as a Catholic schoolgirl. Saoirse Ronan plays Christine, or “Lady Bird”, fighting her meek and mild parents over her desire to escape to New York and hurl herself into the big wide world. Gerwig’s gorgeous, heartfelt film is about our domestic nests, and how difficult leaving them can be for both parents and child.
Stephen Kelly (SK), Veronica Lee (VL), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Poppie Platt (PP) and Gabriel Tate (GT)