What’s on TV tonight: Giri/Haji, Charlotte Church: My Family & Me, and more

Telegraph Reporters
Kelly Macdonald and Takehiro Hira in Giri/Haji - BBC

Thursday 17 October


BBC Two, 9.00pm

This gripping new eight-part drama has an opening unlike any other: 25 minutes of bravura direction and fine performances from an all-Japanese cast you may not have seen before, with not a word of English spoken. We meet Kenzo (Takehiro Hira), a world-weary Tokyo police detective living in a small flat with his ageing parents, distant wife and rebellious daughter. When a murder in London threatens the fragile truce between Yakuza gangs, Kenzo is sent to Britain to follow a trail that could implicate his missing brother (Yosuke Kubozuka) and envelops solitary copper Sarah (Kelly Macdonald), vulnerable rent-boy Rodney (Will Sharpe) and assorted other criminal elements.

Giri/Haji (translated as Duty/Shame) is at once instantly arresting – the opening scenes border on virtuosic – and a slow-burner, but Hira has an appealingly subdued decency that holds the attention, while the shifts in form (impressionistic animation, chiaroscuro flashbacks, split screens) and narrative ensure it rewards close attention. By the time Kenzo lands in London, we’re in what appears to be familiar gumshoe noir territory, until a late twist throws everything up in the air once more. Original and intriguing. GT

Golf: CJ Cup

Sky Sports Main Event/Golf, 3.00am

Set an early alarm to see reigning champion Brooks Koepka, joined by Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland and Justin Thomas, on Jeju Island in South Korea for the PGA Tour’s only trip to the Korean Peninsula. Later, the European Tour is in Guyancourt near Paris, for the Open de France (same channels, 11am), where Alex Norén was victorious last year. Jon Rahm sits atop the Race to Dubai standings, with Open champion Shane Lowry, Bernd Wiesberger and Matt Wallace giving chase.

The Wonderful World of Crafting

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Three hobbyists  – a glassmaker, a weaver and a metal-crafter – visit Brancepeth Castle Craft Fair in Durham for tutorials and advice that could change their lives and see pastimes turn into careers. GT

Steam Train Britain

Yesterday, 8.00pm

Television’s ongoing locomotive love affair continues with this new 10-part docusoap following life on the nation’s many heritage railways. This opener begins with one of the most famous and beautiful – the Ffestinog & Welsh Highland Railway in Snowdonia, where 22-year-old sports scientist Megan Smith starts her training to become a fireman. The Great Central Railway in Loughborough also hosts its annual Goods Galore Gala, and there is a closer look at signal boxes and new sleeper technology. GT

The Met: Policing London

BBC One, 9.00pm; not Scotland

The force’s finest focus their attentions on moped crime and crowd-management at last year’s Notting Hill carnival as the insightful documentary series continues. GT

Charlotte Church: My Family & Me Credit: Channel 4

Charlotte Church: My Family & Me

Channel 4, 9.00pm

There’s soul-baring aplenty in this moving and intimate documentary, in which the one-time Voice of an Angel spends a week alone with her parents in Devon and long-buried issues from the past surface. A revealing, thoughtful film about fame and families. GT

Own the Sky: Jet Pack Dreamers

BBC Four, 9.00pm

As any millennial ironist knows, we should all have them by now, but for now the jetpack is the preserve of the few. One of them is David Mayman, an Australian whose obsession with jetpacks drove him to build and fly his own, with near-fatal consequences. He is engagingly followed over 10 years, during which his dream of flight became a reality. GT  

Later… with Jools Holland

BBC Two, 10.00pm; N Ireland, 11.15pm

The venerable live music show returns with a typically eclectic line-up and superfluous boogie-woogie adornments. Joining headliner Mark Ronson is Cate Le Bon, who debuts music from her fine fifth album Reward, the soul singer PP Arnold performing songs from her first new album in over five decades, and the rapper Sampa the Great. GT

Friday Night Lights (2004) ★★★★☆

TCM, 9.00pm

This picture has an epic quality that belies its subject: based on H G Bissinger’s non-fiction bestseller, it’s about a single high-school championship season in the depressed blue-collar town of Odessa, Texas. The bleached cinematography of Tobias Schliessler elevates the saga of the Permian High Panthers to near-mythic dimensions. Billy Bob Thornton and Derek Luke lead a very able cast.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) ★★★★★

5Spike, 10.00pm

In this reboot by director George Miller, Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson as the “road warrior”. In the desert of a dystopian future, Max is captured by a warlord and imprisoned until he and mutinous soldier Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) seize a chance to flee. And so the chase begins... Hardy is brooding; Theron crackles with rage; Miller’s film is a breathless, wild treat. It also airs on Channel 5 at 10pm on Friday.

The Handmaiden (2016) ★★★★☆

Film4, 11.00pm

The perverse Korean stylist Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) has taken on Fingersmith, Sarah Waters’s saga about scheming and seduction in Victorian London – which is to say, he’s converted it into a twisty, heartless sliver of a film, transposed to early 20th-century Korea with a huge costume budget too. The plot revolves around the ever-mutating relationship between a poor maid (Kim Tae-ri) and her hysterical mistress (Kim Min-hee).


Friday 18 October

Maggie Ollerenshaw and David Jason open Arkwright's once more Credit: Peter Edwards/BBC

Still Open All Hours

BBC One, 8.00pm

David Jason reopens Arkwright’s corner shop for a sixth series of this Marmite sitcom. To many, it’s a reheated soufflé that can’t recapture the taste of the original comedy that starred Ronnie Barker; to roughly four million others, it’s a televisual cosy duvet of nostalgia. Its half hour of hijinks offers a safe haven, in which the worst that can happen is shopkeeper Granville (Jason) getting his fingers caught in the temperamental till. The new series features more of the same, with penny-pincher Granville trying to find a new use for an old mangle. 

There’s something to be said for gentle comedy that eases you seamlessly into the weekend, especially with a cast of veterans who make the most of Roy Clarke’s scripts. Though a bit slower than in his Del Boy days, David Jason retains the spot-on comic timing we all remember from Only Fools and Horses, while Tim Healy’s Gastric gets an amusing set-piece stunt tonight that feels like a warm homage to Last of the Summer Wine. But it’s Stephanie Cole who steals every scene as the man-eating Mrs Featherstone, whose clinch with Granville tonight won a belly-laugh from this corner. As long as she stays a customer, Arkwright’s deserves to stay open. VP

Modern Love

Amazon Prime, from today

The high-calibre cast of this anthology series – Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andrew Scott – is a good reason to watch. Each episode is a half-hour mini-play about relationships, kicking off with the friendship of a New Yorker (Cristin Milioti) and her doorman (Laurentiu Possa). VP

Living with Yourself

Netflix, from today

In this eight-part comedy, Paul Rudd plays Miles, a miserable ad-man seeking help at the same spa that worked for his colleague. The high-concept set-up sees the cack-handed spa guys clone another, happier Miles, but leave the old Miles alive for chaos to ensue at home. VP

Tell Me Who I Am

Netflix, from today

This documentary tells the true story of how identical twins Alex and Marcus Lewis dealt with Alex’s amnesia after a crash when he was 18. All that Alex remembers is that Marcus is his twin; he needs help with “meeting” relatives and recreating memories. VP

The Name of the Rose

BBC Two, 9.00pm; N Ireland, 11.05pm

John Turturro’s William of Baskerville is an ace sleuth in robes, chasing wrongdoing in 14th-century Italy. In episode two, he scandalises the brethren by conducting an autopsy on Venanzio. VP

Caravanning with Shane Richie

Channel 5, 9.00pm

The former EastEnders actor seems to relish a caravan holiday in this new series. Richie is on an evangelical mission to convince us that soggy coastal holidays in close quarters are the way forward, and tonight he drags his reluctant wife to north Wales. VP

Would I Lie to You?

BBC One, 9.30pm

Newly-minted Bafta-winning team captain Lee Mack returns to his spot alongside David Mitchell and host Rob Brydon, as TV’s funniest comedy panel show returns. Among tonight’s delights are a rare appearance by actor John Simm, and a hilarious story from Chris McCausland, who’s blind, about his deaf neighbour. VP

Live: The Circle Final

Channel 4, 10.00pm

The tweaking of this reality show’s format for series two, and the hiring of Emma Willis as host, has captured the young demographic Channel 4 craves. Others may ask how watching strangers text out loud constitutes entertainment. In the climax tonight, the remaining players come face to face in the final and one walks off with the £100,000 prize. VP

The Laundromat (2019)

Netflix, from today

One reliable rule of thumb, in the year of our Lord 2019, might be: don’t mess with Meryl Streep. Still, if anyone were slippery enough to get away with trying, it would be Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman. The latter duo play two lawyers in Panama City, who look after the financial affairs of the super-rich. Streep’s wealthy widow is having a dream holiday when things go amiss; her investigation leads her to their door, and the world of the Panama Papers scandal.

The Expendables (2010) ★★★☆☆

Dave, 9.00pm

Director Sylvester Stallone gathers together some of Hollywood’s most shirt-splitting muscle – including himself, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Jason Statham, as well as cameos from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, trading insults in a church – for an all-guns-blazing romp to remove the corrupt leader of a fictitious island. Nothing surprising happens, and it’s utterly awash with blood and gore, but it’s a fun watch anyway. nonetheless.

Vanilla Sky (2001) ★★★☆☆

Sony Movies, 9.00pm

Cameron Crowe’s film may not be a patch on Alejandro Amenábar’s original Spanish version, Abre los ojos, but Tom Cruise puts in a pretty impressive turn as David Aames, a wealthy ladies’ man who’s disfigured in a car accident caused by his jealous ex-girlfriend Julie (Cameron Diaz). He’s forced to wear a mask to hide his deformed face, and begins to have vivid hallucinations that drive him into rages. Penélope Cruz co-stars.


Saturday 19 October

Alfonso Ribeiro returns as a Strictly guest judge Credit: FilmMagic

Strictly Come Dancing

BBC One, 6.40pm

A hit with viewers when he stood in for Bruno Tonioli last year, the American actor, comedian and television host Alfonso Ribeiro returns once more as a guest judge tonight while Bruno flies to America to fulfil his “professional commitments” to the Strictly’s US version, Dancing with the Stars (which Ribeiro won back in 2014). Meanwhile, with the idea that “no-one is safe” rammed home once again by last week’s shock elimination of Radio 1’s Dev “The Genie” Griffin and his professional partner Dianne Buswell, few of the 12 remaining couples are likely to be overly confident as they take to the dance floor tonight – a key moment, given that none of the celebrities will want to be knocked out before the annual extravaganza that is next week’s Hallowe’en special, always a huge crowd-pleaser for its ghoulish costumes and big-number productions. 

For now, though, the highlights to which we can look forward tonight include Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden dancing a Salsa, Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice tackling a Rhumba, and Will Bayley and Janette Manrara taking on a Contemporary Couple’s Choice to the tune of Lukas Graham’s 7 Years. GO

Rugby World Cup: England v Australia

ITV, 7.30am (kick-off 8.15pm)

As the tournament moves on in Japan, Eddie Jones’s side aim to book a semi-final against the winners of New Zealand versus Ireland (ITV, 10.45am; kick-off 11.15am). On Sunday, the slate is filled by Wales versus France (ITV, 7.30pm; kick-off 8.15am), then Japan against South Africa (ITV, 10.45am; kick-off 11.15am).

Looking for Alaska

BBC Three, from today

It’s an eight-part adaptation for John Green’s bestseller about idealistic Miles (Charlie Plummer) whose efforts to emulate Rabelais’ last words (“I go in search of the Great Perhaps”) pay off when he changes school, meets new friends and his first love, Alaska (Kristine Froseth). GO  

Snooker: English Open

Eurosport 1, 12.45pm

The action at Crawley’s K2 Leisure Centre concludes with the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday (same channel/time). Whose name will be engraved beneath that of Stuart Bingham?

Horse Racing: British Champions Day

ITV, from 2pm

The highlight at Ascot is the £1.3 million Champion Stakes (4pm), won twice on the trot in 2017 and 2018 by Cracksman. Look out too for the Long Distance Cup (2.10pm); Stradivarius will defend his crown. 

Great British Car Journeys

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Burgh Island in Devon is the destination tonight as Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison embark on the second leg of their old-style motoring tour, along the Jurassic Coast road. They camp Thirties-style, attempt a historic hill climb and drive some rather lovely old cars. GO

The X Factor: Celebrity

ITV, 8.30pm

It’s round two of the Malibu-based auditions as the remaining celebrities perform for judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh, who must decide who goes on to the live finals in London. Dermot O’Leary presents. GO

The Endeavour: Great British Ships

Channel 5, 8.30pm

Rob Bell presents a second series about the ships that made Britain great with one of our most iconic: HMS Endeavour – a former collier that, once refitted, carried Captain James Cook and his crew on their extraordinary 1770s voyage of discovery into the South Pacific. GO


BBC Four, 9.00pm & 10.00pm

The seventh run of the Parisian policier is shaping up well. This double bill sees the investigation into the murder of their former boss get murkier for Laure (Caroline Proust) and Gilou (Thierry Godard), while troubled lawyer Joséphine’s (Audrey Fleurot) prison experience spirals downwards. GO

Chuck Berry: The King of Rock ’n’ Roll

Sky Arts/Now TV, 9.00pm

Jon Brewer’s deep dive into the troubled life of one of rock music’s founders is packed with material featuring, among others, John Lennon, Keith Richards and Alice Cooper. GO  

The Jonathan Ross Show

ITV, 10.00pm

You can anticipate some fun when superannuated wild child and rock legend Iggy Pop takes to Ross’s sofa, alongside Breaking Bad and El Camino star Aaron Paul, comedian Jack Whitehall and Radio 1 presenter Maya Jama, while Bafta-winner Sam Fender provides the music. GO

The Pink Panther (1963) ★★★★☆

ITV4, 2.30pm 

This is the first of a number of cinematic adventures to feature bumbling French detective Jacques Clouseau, played by a terrific Peter Sellers. Funnily enough, in this he’s not even the main attraction – the show is stolen by David Niven as the Phantom, a jewel thief in pursuit of the fabulously valuable “Pink Panther” diamond. It’s still a great comedy after more than 55 years – and far better than the 2006 remake, too.

Get Out (2017) ★★★★★ 

Channel 4, 9.00pm

The most potent mix of horror and social comment in years, Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a racial nightmare cunningly wrapped in the coldly paranoid suburban trappings of something like The Stepford Wives. British actor Daniel Kaluuya plays a black photographer who visits his white girlfriend’s parents, and gradually realises that something is off. He really has no idea… It’s a fine balance of gripping and thought-provoking.

Fences (2016) ★★★★★

Channel 4, 11.05pm

This magnificent human drama is led by Denzel Washington (who also produces and directs) and Viola Davis; they make for a sensational double act in an adaptation of August Wilson’s prize-winning play about a struggling family in Fifties Pittsburgh. It tells the story of a former baseball player who blames pre-Civil Rights era racism for his failed career.


Sunday 20 October

Tom Bradby talks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Credit: ITN

Harry & Meghan: An African Journey

ITV, 9.00pm

In recent months, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been plagued by negative stories. These include everything from their decision to keep the public away from baby Archie’s christening to taking private jets while campaigning against climate change. But their official Royal tour as a family, to Africa, offered the big-hearted Harry and Meghan a chance to remember who and what is important to them. 

“Ever since I came to this continent as a young boy, trying to cope with something I can never possibly describe, Africa has held me in an embrace that I will never forget,” says the Duke. On the tour, the Royal couple saw the legacy left behind by Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, with regards to landmines and the promotion of women’s education. But it’s what happened behind the scenes is where this documentary comes in, and the presenter, ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby, says “it will explain a lot”. The programme has been kept under wraps, but we are expected to hear the Sussexes discuss their personal approach to being modern Royals, their personal happiness plus the challenges they face trying to balance their public duties and private life while under constant media scrutiny. CM

Premier League Football: Manchester United v Liverpool

Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League, 3pm (kick-off 4.30pm)

Fresh from losing one nostalgic fixture against Newcastle, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s misfiring men face another, against Jürgen Klopp’s side. 

The Hundred Draft – Live

Sky One/Sky Sports Cricket/Sky Sports Main Event/Now TV, 7.00pm

Having been criticised for its sponsorship with KP Snacks, the new family-oriented cricket series selects the players for its teams. The draft sees who will play with England heroes Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Joe Root, so expect Australia’s Steve Smith to receive a call-up. CM

Great Canal Journeys

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Timothy West and Prunella Scales’s watery wanderings see the couple return to the Oxford Canal, the place where they fell in love with boating 40 years ago. Travelling from Banbury to Branston, they recall their favourite trips, while contending with a deterioration in Scales’s dementia. CM

World on Fire

BBC One, 9.00pm

Peter Bowker’s excellent Second World War drama continues with talented English translator Harry (Jonah Hauer-King) having his courage tested when the Allied forces become outnumbered by Germans in the Belgian town of Louvain. CM

Who Killed Garrett Phillips?  

Sky Crime/Now TV, 9.00pm

Garrett Phillips was 12 years old when he was murdered in 2011. Eight years later, his mother Tandy Cyrus is still searching for the truth about what happened to her son. The first episode of this heart-wrenching two-part documentary focuses on Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man who dated Tandy. Director Liz Garbus explores issues surrounding racial bias and the criminal justice system as she takes in everything from the police investigation, Hillary’s arrest, the legal twists and then the trial that gripped the US. CM  

Tom Allen Absolutely Live 

Channel 4, 10.00pm

In this stand-up show, recorded at the London Palladium, acerbic comedian Tom Allen shares his experiences of suburbia, status, class and the eccentricities of modern life in his camp and riotous way. CM

Night and Day: Walter Presents

Channel 4, 11.00pm

The Spanish affairs-and-autopsies thriller returns for a second series. This time, forensic pathologist Sara Grau (Clara Segura) is called into action when a judge is found dead after meeting a witness willing to give evidence against politicians and businessmen involved in corruption. The full series will be available on All 4 after this episode airs. CM

Splash (1984) ★★★☆☆

Channel 4, 3.20pm

Tom Hanks first made his mark in this fable about a man who falls in love with a mermaid. She’s played by a vacant-looking Daryl Hannah, who conveniently sprouts legs when she comes above sea level to find him. Unfortunately, whenever she touches water, her tail comes back. Despite some tasteful nudity, and naughty John Candy as Hanks’s brother, director Ron Howard somehow treats it all with fairy-tale innocence.

The Old Man & The Gun (2018) ★★★★☆

Sky Cinema Premiere/NOW TV, 9.45pm

Robert Redford, in his final role before retiring from the big screen, plays the ageing career criminal Forrest Tucker in a film loosely based on a New Yorker article of the same name. Tucker has been evading the police for years, but he can’t stop robbing banks – even if he’s doing it for the love of a woman he meets on the highway. Casey Affleck is the detective hunting him down.

99 Homes (2014) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 11.30pm

Ramin Bahrani’s film is a terrifically acted moral nail-biter revolving around two men, a corrupter and a corruptee. Michael Shannon plays a hard-faced estate agent in Orlando, Florida; the excellent Andrew Garfield’s hardworking builder is one of his victims. What makes it so thrilling isn’t the corruption so much as the speed with which it happens. Laura Dern and Noah Lomax are among the very good supporting cast.


Monday 21 October

The late sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein Credit: AP

The Prince & the Paedophile

Channel 4, 10.00pm

The tale of the billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has turned into one of the biggest scandals of current times: he courted the rich and powerful, invited them to his parties and flew with them around the world, while flaunting his sexual abuse of women well below the age of consent. Its shocking nature isn’t solely due to the status and acts of Epstein himself – who was found dead in his prison cell before he could go to trial – but because of the sheer number of other famous names allegedly involved. From the former US president Bill Clinton, who regularly flew with Epstein on the private jet nicknamed “The Lolita Express”, to the current one, Donald Trump, who called Epstein “a lot of fun to be with” (and said, “He likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side”), the rich and well-known were queuing up to hang out with him. 

This Channel 4 documentary, presented by Cathy Newman, looks in particular at Epstein’s relationship with the Duke of York. The film promises to dig deep into their friendship and the alleged abuse of a minor that occurred during it, while also examining in depth the role of Epstein’s former girlfriend, and alleged “fixer”, Ghislaine Maxwell. SH


Sky Atlantic/Now TV, 2.00am/9.00pm

This ambitious take on Alan Moore’s cult comic by Damon Lindelof (Lost) kicks off with a brutal opening that references the (real-life) 1921 race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It then moves onto the present day and a world in which Robert Redford is president, white supremacy is on the rise and Regina King is the no-nonsense queen of viewers’ hearts. SH  

Golf: The Challenge – Japan Skins

Eurosport 2, 5.00am

A quartet of stars – Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama – go head-to-head in Chiba, Japan, in what promises to be an odd but engrossing mini-event. 

Travel Man: 48 Hours in Dubrovnik

Channel 4, 8.30pm

Richard Ayoade returns for his final season on TV’s most sarcastic travel show. The first stop is Dubrovnik, where he and today’s guest Stephen Merchant find themselves charmed by a Game of Thrones tour, despite their never having seen the show. SH

Dublin Murders

BBC One, 9.00pm

Sarah Phelps’s adaptation of Tana French’s novel series is claustrophobic and taut. Tonight it ups the ante as Rob (Killian Scott) desperately tries to keep his past hidden, even as Cassie’s (Sarah Greene) secrets bubble to the surface. Beware the killer twist at the end. SH

The Day California Burned

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Last November, fires swept through northern California, leading to the deaths of more than 80 people and the loss of homes for 30,000 more. This film features interviews with local residents, firefighters and police officers, looking at why the fire occurred. SH

Long Lost Family Special: The Unknown Soldiers

ITV, 9.00pm

Tonight’s is a particularly emotional episode of the series: Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall help people to track down family members who died during the First World War. They’re helped by the “war detectives”, an all-female team from the Ministry of Defence. SH

The PM, The Playboy and the Wolf of Wall Street: Storyville

BBC Four, 9.00pm

The latest film from the Storyville strand looks at how a Malaysian playboy hoodwinked Hollywood while being involved in the biggest government corruption scandal his country has known. SH

Dave Gorman: Terms and Conditions Apply

Dave, 10.00pm

Dave excels in offbeat quiz shows hosted by likeable comedians. This new Dave Gorman series fits the bill perfectly, as fellow jokers Sarah Barron, Phil Wang and Richard Osman compete in surreal games. SH

Copycat (1995) ★★★☆☆

Paramount Network, 9.00pm

This thriller is taut in no small part because of the chemistry between its two heroines, Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. When a psychopath begins to copy the crimes of well-known serial killers, the detective (Hunter) enlists the help of a forensic psychologist (Weaver). However, there’s a hitch: Weaver’s character is agoraphobic, and it’s only a matter of time before the killer wises up to this fact.

Timecop (1994) ★★★☆☆

Syfy, 9.00pm

Ludicrous it may be, but this sci-fi thriller is a thoroughly entertaining romp. Set in 2004 – didn’t it date well? – the story follows the time-travelling exploits of a policeman (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who, haunted by the death of his wife, zips back to 1994 to discover the truth about her murder while also trying to unravel the tangled web of mystery surrounding the rise of a ruthless presidential candidate.

Scream 2 (1997) ★★☆☆☆

5STAR, 10.00pm

Like the original, this teenage horror is pacy and amusing, but it’s also smugly self-referential: for example, a man is murdered at a screening of a film called Stab, whose logo and plot are strikingly similar to those of Scream. Student Sidney (Neve Campbell) has switched colleges – but once again she finds herself pursued by a masked killer. Courteney Cox and David Arquette (who later married and divorced) co-star.


Tuesday 22 October

Scarlett Moffatt and family move to Namibia Credit: David Bloomer

The British Tribe Next Door

Channel 4, 9.15pm

“This is the most bonkers, bizarre and amazing thing we are ever going to do in our lives,” says reality TV star Scarlett Moffatt at the outset of an undoubtedly strange new four-part series in which she and her family – familiar faces from Channel 4’s Gogglebox – prepare to up sticks from their comfortable home in Bishop Auckland and move to a village of a hundred or so Himbu tribespeople in northern Namibia. 

The gimmick is that they arrive complete with a perfect replica of their own family home, a typical English urban terraced house, built on the edge of this remote African village – complete with electricity, running water and all mod cons – even Wi-Fi – few of which the villagers have ever experienced before. Some viewers will find the crude, materialistic, culture-clash imposition of British bricks, mortar and cultural mores on these proud African people offensive beyond belief. On the other hand, the all too obvious delight, fascination and straight-talking of the Himbu are a joy to behold, and it doesn’t take long before the Moffatts are forced to rethink their lives and values – something viewers might be tempted to do, too. GO

Golf: WTA Elite Trophy

BT Sport 1, 7.00am

The women’s tennis season is almost over; this week they’re in Zhuhai, China, for a 12-player tournament won last year by Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, currently French Open champion and world number one.

Football: Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade

BT Sport 3, 7.15pm (kick-off 8.00pm)

Given their current position of vulnerability (bottom of Group B from two opening games), Spurs need to avoid any more slip-ups and recapture last season’s Champions League form. Manchester City kick off at the same time against Atalanta (BT Sport 2, 7pm). 

The Great British Bake Off

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Following the sad departure of Henry, the four remaining bakers grab their rolling pins for a patisserie-based battle to win a place in next week’s final. Ahead of them: a delicately domed Signature, a saintly Technical and a display-case Showstopper. GO

Landscape Artist of the Year 2019

Sky Arts/Now TV, 8.00pm

Buildings in landscapes always inspire some of the best paintings in the competition. In this second heat, the copper-clad cupolas of the Observatory Science Centre in East Sussex, prove challenging. Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell present. GO

Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History

BBC Four, 8.30pm

Concluding the series is the inside story of the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, uncovering new information about the internal battles on both sides during the most delicate days of the negotiations. GO  

Love in the Countryside

BBC Two, 9.00pm

This week in the rural matchmaking reality series, a work crisis threatens shepherd Ioan’s shot at romance, vet George and equine dentist Victoria are in the teeth of a dating dilemma, and sheepdog trainer Katy leaves the fells to see if she can whistle up a relationship. GO 

The Affair

Sky Atlantic/Now TV, 9.00pm

The award-winning drama has kept us guessing for its fifth series. In the final episode, controversy swirls around Noah (Dominic West), and Joanie (Anna Paquin) continues to try to understand her mother’s death. GO 

Defending the Guilty

BBC Two, 10.00pm

A suitably downbeat ending for Kieron Quirke’s entertaining legal sitcom as, following the break-up of his relationship and a disastrous first solo encounter with a drug-addict client, disillusion sets in for pupil barrister Will (Will Packham). GO

The Sex Business: Spank Me Harder

Channel 5, 10.00pm

The show that takes a frank look at the buying and selling of sex returns for another three-part series, starting with a delve into the hidden world of female “submissives” and following four sex-workers trying to make a living on this outer-edge of the sex industry. GO

The Spiral Staircase (1945, b/w) ★★★★☆

Talking Pictures TV, 6.10pm

It’s 1916 in New England and a serial killer is on the loose, targeting women with disabilities. Helen (Dorothy McGuire), a mute girl who looks after a wealthy invalid (Ethel Barrymore), is en route home when she spots the silhouette of a man. This film is a masterclass in brooding menace, and it more than holds its own against modern thrillers in the psychological stakes.

Johnny English (2003) ★★★☆☆

E4, 8.30pm

This spy spoof has produced two sequels to date, but even the original instalment is only made bearable by Rowan Atkinson’s natural comic timing. He plays the eponymous secret agent whose job it is to track down the crown jewels, which he suspects have been stolen by John Malkovich’s sly entrepreneur. Atkinson alone, however, is not in himself enough to make us laugh, and the film resorts to repeating the same gags.

Stir of Echoes (1999) ★★★☆☆

Horror Channel, 9.00pm

David Koepp’s smooth and stylish supernatural horror is adapted from Richard Matheson’s 1958 novel. Family man Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) has the ability to see dead people and so, at a party one night, he agrees to be hypnotised. He sees images of a screaming girl which refuse to subside once he’s awake, leading to some creepy goings-on. Ileana Douglas and Kathryn Erbe provide able support.


Wednesday 23 October

Lupita Nyong'o visits what used to be the kingdom of Dahomey Credit: Sandstone/Channel 4

Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong’o

Channel 4, 10.00pm

The high profile of the presenter makes a striking contrast with the relative obscurity of the material in this one-off documentary, but that is not to gainsay Lupita Nyong’o’s absolute absorption in the subject matter, nor its considerable interest. Having discovered that her character in the film Black Panther was inspired by genuine historical figures, the Oscar-winning star of 12 Years a Slave travels to the former kingdom of Dahomey in west Africa (now modern-day Benin) to learn the true story of the Agoji, a 4,000-strong army of female soldiers who guarded both king and kingdom for three centuries until a crushing defeat by the French.

Nyong’o is carefully respectful throughout, occasionally loudly amused and eventually deeply affected as she meets descendants of both the Agoji and those they conquered, discovering that the history of the women fetishised by European visitors as exotic “Amazons” is a complex one of martial ferocity, cultural sensitivity, economic pragmatism and “hard, brutal truth”. It serves both as a tribute to the enduring power of forgiveness and a reminder that historical reality seldom conforms to preconceived narratives. GT

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Netflix, from today

Chrissy Teigen, Seth Rogan and Kate McKinnon are among the celebrities joining restaurateur David Chang as he explores cities and their cuisines. This first series includes trips to Phnom Penh, Marrakesh and Vancouver. GT

Dancing with the Birds

Netflix, from today

From the team behind the excellent Our Planet, this ravishing one-off film follows birds-of-paradise as they search for mates. Stephen Fry narrates. GT

Football: Ajax v Chelsea

BT Sport 2, 5.15pm; kick-off 5.55pm

Frank Lampard’s side travel to Amsterdam to face last season’s Champions League surprise package. Don’t change the channel: immediately afterwards, Liverpool pay a visit to Genk (7pm; kick-off 8pm).

Your Home Made Perfect

BBC Two, 8.00pm

The series concludes with architects Laura Jane Clark and Robert Jamison squaring off to win a commission to transform a garden room in a three-bed Victorian terrace: will separate spaces win the day over a more all-encompassing approach? GT

Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs

ITV, 8.00pm

The comedian returns to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for another run of heartstring-tugging encounters, beginning with seven rejected Staffie puppies and a Jack Russell with small-dog syndrome. GT

Catching Britain’s Killers: the Crimes that Changed Us

BBC Two, 9.00pm

The final edition of a superb and illuminating series goes back to 1972, when three teenage boys were convicted of arson and murder after the death of a man in Catford, south London, in spite of retracting their confessions. The campaign to free them led to an overhaul of the law and police practices as evidence was given priority over confessions. GT

Grand Designs: House of the Year

Channel 4, 9.00pm

Kevin McCloud hosts his fifth annual competition. Five experimental homes feature tonight, including a stone cottage in Derbyshire, a “micro-home” in London and a low-energy house in Buckinghamshire. GT

Korea: the Never-Ending War

BBC Four, 9.00pm

This PBS-produced film offers an engaging and sometimes moving survey of the Korean conflict, which has often been overshadowed by the Vietnam War in the following decade. Yet the first major Cold War clash of superpowers was a pivotal moment in global politics, and soldiers, citizens and politicians alike here recall the impact. GT

Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 11.00am

George Roy Hill directed two of the most popular films ever: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973). But this indifferent Julie Andrews musical about the flapper era was first. There’s much to enjoy in the story of a naive woman who leaves her rural roots behind to seek fortune and love in Twenties New York. James Fox as a spiffy salesman is a particular highlight.

Firewall (2006) ★★☆☆☆

TCM, 9.00pm

Harrison Ford reprises his usual latter-day role of the paterfamilias who turns into Action Man when his family is threatened by villains. His wife, children and Rusty the dog are taken hostage by armed home invaders, thanks to his job as the security chief for a Seattle bank. But Ford appears to be exhausted from the get-go, and he hardly looks like a computer expert – nor like someone up to fighting Paul Bettany, a man half his age.

The Age of Shadows (2016) ★★★★★

BBC Four, 10.30pm

We’re amid the Japanese occupation of Korea, in which Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-ho) is a Korean policeman who has been tasked with infiltrating his countrymen’s resistance movement. He makes his way towards Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo), a leading figure in the cause – but Lee finds his heart rebelling, and an elaborate shadow-dance begins. Don’t miss this beautiful period piece.


Thursday 24 October

Sarah Lancashire and Joanna Scanlan in The Accident Credit: Channel 4

The Accident

Channel 4, 9.00pm

If the opening episode of Jack Thorne’s newest drama, the final part of his “blame trilogy” (after 2016’s National Treasure and 2018’s Kiri), is a hard watch, it’s largely because it’s so believable. Thorne, who’s half-Welsh, has said that he wanted to set a drama in the sort of Welsh town that has been largely abandoned by one government after the next. The result is a carefully drawn portrait of Glyngolau, a struggling but close-knit community that’s desperate for signs of regeneration. The Light, a building project, offers, as local politician Iwan Bevan (Mark Lewis Jones) puts it, a future for the area. That is, of course, until the accident of the title happens – an explosion that seemingly comes out of nowhere, leading to a number of deaths and ripping the heart out of the town. 

Powered by a strong central performance from Sarah Lancashire as local hairdresser Polly, and backed with strong support from Joanna Scanlan, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Genevieve Barr, the opening episode carefully sets up the traumas to come. As the long-held secrets of the town begin to bubble to the surface, Thorne offers us a harrowing picture of a community that struggles to remain together even as it’s being torn apart at the seams. SH


Netflix, from today

What if the apocalypse arrived and all adults became zombies? That’s the premise behind this teen-focused take on the end of the world, in which Colin Ford’s Josh and his misfit gang traverse a world that’s The Warriors crossed with Mad Max. SH

Golf: Zozo Championship

Sky Sports Main Event/Golf, 4.00am

After Monday’s Japan Skins competition, get up early to see the US Tour, still in Chiba, embark on the Zozo Championship. Stay tuned for the European Tour’s latest tournament, the Portugal Masters (11.30am).

The Dog House

Channel 4, 8.00pm

The most heart-warming show on television comes, alas, to an end. Luckily, we bow out with a cracking episode in which the team search for a home for a lurcher with a broken tail. SH


BBC Two, 9.00pm

It’s impossible to watch this thriller without wondering how it ever got made. The gangster bits are ridiculous, the great Takehiro Hira is wasted and Will Sharpe’s rent boy is the only interesting character. It’s a complete misfire that clearly wanted to be Eastern Promises but feels far closer to Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla. SH

Prince Charles: Inside the Duchy of Cornwall

ITV, 9.00pm

Given the unprecedented access granted to the makers of this new series, it’s no surprise that it’s a bit of a puff-piece. That said, despite the soft touch, it’s an interesting portrait of both the hands-on Prince of Wales (and Duke of Cornwall) and those who work on the Duchy’s lands. SH

Catherine the Great

Sky Atlantic/Now TV, 9.00pm

The tone of this four-part mini-series has occasionally wandered, but tonight’s conclusion helps to rectify the issues. As the elderly Catherine, desperately trying to retain power, Helen Mirren is superb, and the ending provides a gravitas that makes the journey worthwhile. SH  

Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive

Channel 4, 10.00pm

This documentary by the BBC presenter Bill Turnbull about his incurable prostate cancer is one of the most moving things on television this week. The 63-year-old clearly explains what his diagnosis means and is frank in his discussion of how he tackles his plight. SH

On the President’s Orders: Storyville

BBC Four, 10.00pm

It feels closer to fictional thrillers such as City of God, but James Jones and Oliver Sarbil’s film about Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” is compulsive viewing. Shot largely on the streets, the level of access is as impressive as the tale is harrowing. SH

The Go-Between (1971) ★★★★☆

London Live, 1.00pm

Harold Pinter’s adaptation of L P Hartley’s novel reflects tidily on the impact of class divisions. Young Leo (Dominic Guard) spends his summer at a country house, and ends up as a messenger in a “go-between” involving Marian (Julie Christie), who loves a farmer (Alan Bates), but is already engaged to another. Pinter’s dialogue is whip-smart, and a raft of terrific performances from the whole cast heighten the poignancy of the tale.

A Taste of Honey (1961, b/w) ★★★★☆

Talking Pictures TV, 6.00pm

Shelagh Delaney adapted her own 1958 play for the silver screen, and in doing so she produced one of the finest examples of cinematic kitchen-sink realism. Jo (Rita Tushingham) is the 17-year-old daughter of Helen (Dora Bryan), living in run-down Salford. When she meets a young black sailor (Paul Danquah), she soon becomes pregnant. It’s stirring stuff, honest without being too facile or “on-message”.

Old Boys (2018) ★★★★☆

Sky Cinema Premiere/NOW TV, 9.40pm

Which 18-year-old boy wouldn’t want to impress a worldly (and gorgeous) French girl his age? Alas for poor Amberson (Alex Lawther), he’s only the messenger, helping big, dumb Winchester (Jonah Hauer-King) to win the heart of Agnes (Pauline Etienne) with sweet nothings that his friend could never invent. It’s a high-school version of Cyrano de Bergerac: cute and simple.


Friday 25 October

The hitherto underappreciated weasel Credit: Robert E Fuller

Weasels: Feisty and Fearless

BBC Two, 8.00pm

Weasels have a bad reputation, as befits their status as shorthand for slippery, devious wrong-doing. Narrated by Julie Walters, this documentary attempts to rehabilitate them by demonstrating the remarkable capabilities and resourcefulness of weasels and their fellow mustelidae – ferrets, stoats and wolverines among them. The focal point is a Yorkshire garden in which owner and wildlife photographer Robert E Fuller has built a habitat for stoats and weasels, and rigged it with nearly 50 cameras. When first-time mother Bandita gives birth to four kits, the dangers they face while hunting and foraging are made clear, whether it’s ever-present predators or the familiar problem of trying to deal with four recalcitrant children.

Elsewhere, experts test out the ingenuity of a South African honey badger whose escape bids went viral, a wolverine with an extraordinary sense of smell and a ferret that can bend its body 180 degrees both vertically and horizontally. This edition of Natural World treats the science with a typically light touch; it’s fascinating and also, when Fuller rescues an abandoned kit, very cute. Don’t underestimate these much-maligned but truly intriguing creatures. GT

The Kominsky Method

Netflix, from today

The cast outshine the material once again in the second series of the sitcom that pairs Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as an actor-turned-acting coach and his agent. Jane Seymour and Paul Resier guest-star in this new eight-episode run. GT


Starzplay, from today

The DC Comics universe expands with a prequel that tells the origin story of Batman’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), as he and billionaire Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) battle a Right-wing cabal in Sixties London, led by Paloma Faith’s fearsome Bet Sykes. GT

World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Bill Nighy narrates another of Channel 5’s forays into the world of beautiful railways: this is the first of a six-part series that looks at trains crossing Canada. GT

The Name of the Rose

BBC Two, 9.00pm

William of Baskerville (John Turturro) gets closer to the heart of the mystery, but he may need to hasten his progress: the papal delegation is still advancing, and with deadly force as well. GT

Gogglebox Celebrity Special for SU2C/The Last Leg: SU2C Special

Channel 4, 9.00pm/10.00pm

This is a double-header of one-off charity shows. We start in front of the box, with celebrities including Nick Grimshaw and his mum, Emilia and Laurence Fox, Gyles Brandreth and Sheila Hancock, and Chris Eubank père et fils, as they watch and critique the week’s television. Then comes a Last Leg special featuring guest comedians Kathy Burke and Harry Hill. GT

K-Pop Idols: Inside the Hit Factory

BBC Four, 9.30pm

It may still seem fairly unfathomable to those who aren’t in the know, but the phenomenon of Korean bubblegum pop has been global for some years, with boy band BTS selling out Wembley Stadium for two nights this year. Journalist James Ballardie takes a closer look. GT  

Harry Hill’s Clubnite

Channel 4, 11.05pm

From Tea Time to Alien Fun Capsule, Harry Hill has yet to find a post-TV Burp vehicle that wins both ratings and critical acclaim. His second TV appearance tonight may do it, as he introduces his favourite stand-up acts – which this week include Bridget Christie and Spencer Jones – alongside the usual music, sketches and general silliness. GT

Dolemite is My Name (2019)

Netflix, from today

Plenty of biopic dramas claim to be “larger than life”, “stranger than fiction” and so on, but this Eddie Murphy vehicle has a real claim to those taglines. Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, the actor, comedian and cultural hand-grenade whose most famous character, Dolemite, was a pimp in the blaxploitation movie of the same name. As we see Moore struggling to make that film, it’s hard not to be swept up in his camply hilarious madcap energy.

Spy (2015) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 9.00pm

Melissa McCarthy’s bid to be 008 is a feminist action-comedy spoof of the least feminist genre in film. She plays a CIA analyst, who’s given a mission of her own – and all of a sudden, wouldn’t you know, her inner secret agent is out. Without ever reaching the heights of Bridesmaids, this McCarthy vehicle chugs along entertainingly thanks to her killer comic timing and the witty use of Jason Statham as a meathead.

The Woman in Black (2012) ★★★★☆

Horror Channel, 9.00pm

Thanks to its hyper-Edwardian setting and some canny plot alterations, this feels less like a remake of Susan Hill’s ghost story than a new reading of an old tale that trembles with freshly terrifying resonances. Daniel Radcliffe gives a memorable performance in his first film post-Potter, while director James Watkins uses shadows and empty spaces to create a percolating sense of dread.

Television previewers

Vicki Power (VP), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Gabriel Tate (GT), Sarah Hughes (SH), Toby Dantzic (TD), Clair Woodward (CW), Catherine Gee (CG)