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What's on TV tonight: King Lear, Westworld and Peter Kay's Car Share

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 28/05/2018 By Telegraph Reporters

Monday 28 May

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Telegraph

King Lear

BBC Two, 9.30pm

Talk about event TV: After making movie magic in Howards End and The Remains of the Day, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, are reunited in Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, under the direction of Richard Eyre. Plus they have a stellar supporting cast, that includes Jim Broadbent, Emily Watson and Andrew Scott. Eyre sets this version in a fictional modern-day and moves the action between castles and modern locales, such as a rundown shopping precinct, to keep it contemporary. Hopkins is on great form as Lear – his old king seems to be suffering from dementia from the start, making sense of his rashness in disinheriting youngest daughter Cordelia (Florence Pugh), of him kissing another, Regan (Watson), full on the lips, and of failing to recognise other loved ones. Eyre has cut the play judiciously and brings an interesting take on Lear – that it’s about flawed parenting – that offers some insight into the behaviour of his children. Ultimately, however, it’s about Lear’s tragedy, not theirs, and Hopkins delivers a barnstorming central performance. Having played the role more than 30 years ago at the National Theatre, he’s truly grown into it. VP

Richard Osman’s House of Games

BBC Two, 6.00pm

Pointless’s scene-stealing sidekick Richard Osman gets his moment to shine as quizmaster of this trivia contest, returning for a five-night run with BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty among those competing. It’s followed by a new series of game show Curious Creatures, hosted by Kate Humble. VP

Britain’s Got Talent

ITV, 7.30pm

Declan Donnelly flies solo as host of the semi-finals, airing nightly up to next weekend’s final. Each evening, eight of the 40 acts will perform again in the hope of becoming one of two promoted to the final by the voting public. The results are at 9.30pm. VP

Springwatch 2018

BBC Two, 8.00pm

Cute footage of hatchlings and deft presenting by Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan provide a winning formula for this three-week wildlife extravaganza. Gillian Burke returns, this time as a roving reporter, with Steve Backshall the first of the guests replacing the much-missed Martin Hughes-Games. VP

Peter Kay’s Car Share: The Finale

BBC One, 10.00pm

Bowing to fan pressure, Peter Kay offers closure with this finale to his charming comedy about supermarket employees sharing the journey to and from work. Laughs and surprises abound on John and Kayleigh’s (Kay and Sian Gibson) last jaunt, but will romance ensue? VP

The Vicar of Dibley

Gold, 7.40pm

Here’s a chance to revisit the last-ever episode of Richard Curtis’s sitcom, which delivers a fairy-tale finale for Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) when she marries Harry (Richard Armitage). Hugh Bonneville makes an amusing cameo as a lovesick vicar in the episode that also showcases French’s chemistry with the late Emma Chambers, who played daft Alice Tinker. VP

Nigel Kennedy at the Biggest Weekend

BBC Four, 8.30pm

The BBC’s music festival welcomes maverick violinist Nigel Kennedy to Coventry’s War Memorial Park. Suzy Klein and Lloyd Coleman present as Kennedy performs his inimitable renditions of Vivaldi and Jimi Hendrix with the BBC Concert Orchestra. VP


Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

As part of her master plan, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) appears to be taking control over Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) in this episode of the futuristic drama and his confusion grows. VP

Over the Hedge (2006) ★★★☆☆

BBC Two, 11.25am

An endearing animated adventure about a group of forest creatures that, on waking after their winter hibernation, discover humans have moved in next door to them. Apprehension gives way to curiosity and excitement as they discover what the humans have to offer. Featuring the voices of Bruce Willis, Steve Carell and Avril Lavigne, among others, it’s an enjoyable movie with a message – but avoids getting too preachy.

Sing Street (2016) ★★★★☆

Film4, 9.00pm

Young love is set to an Eighties beat in this delightful coming-of-age tale. As with all of John Carney’s films (i.e. 2006 hit Once), the message is clear: where there is music, there is hope. The film rattles along to a cracking soundtrack – The Jam, Motörhead, The Cure – as young Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) chaotically tries to put together a band to impress a girl at school.

Brideshead Revisited (2008) ★★★☆☆

Jason Bateman standing in a room © Provided by The Telegraph

BBC Two, 11.25pm

In the light of the 1981 TV version of Evelyn Waugh’s novel, you do have to admire the chutzpah of anyone else giving Brideshead a go. Julian Jarrold’s attempt suffers from a desire to force modern conventions upon a story defined by the mores of upper-class interwar Britain. Hayley Atwell and Ben Whishaw are the Flyte siblings, but Catholicism, the tale’s engine, is only pernicious, never seductive.

Tuesday 29 May

Grammar Schools: Who Will Get In?

BBC Two, 9.00pm; Scotland, 11.15pm 

Few education issues are as contentious in this country as that of grammar schools, with Prime Minister Theresa May among those supporting their return. This thought-provoking three-part documentary focusing on the London borough of Bexley, where each year over 5,000 children sit the selective exam for one of the area’s four grammar schools, could not, therefore, have come at a better time. We hear from both sides of the debate and are shown both the benefits and drawbacks of attending either a grammar or secondary modern school – although, as always, it’s the parents and children who make the most notable contributions. “If you want your child to become better in their future life, it’s good to go to a grammar school,” says one mother, who works long hours for minimum wage and pays £300 a month for a tutor for her daughter. Meanwhile, another, herself the product of a grammar school, despairs of the increasing parental competitiveness. And, for all the film-makers’ admirably even-handed approach, it’s the stress felt by the children that makes the biggest mark, with one youngster noting: “I don’t think grammar school is fair because people are far too young to feel they’ve failed.” SH


ITV, 7.00pm

Emmerdale confronts the difficult subject of child abuse when Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) opens up about her past in this special flashback episode. Last November a similar technique was used, to great effect, to shed light on her cousin Cain’s experiences. Mica Proctor, in another triumph of casting, plays the young Charity. SH

The Split

BBC One, 9.00pm

Abi Morgan’s enjoyable family saga comes to a climax with scores settled, decisions made and reconciliations all over the place. It works not least because Morgan never forgets that one person’s happy ending is another’s poisoned chalice, meaning there’s pain amid the laughter. SH

The Battle for Britain’s Heroes

Channel 4, 9.00pm 

“Our heroes often have a toxic past,” says Afua Hirsch at the start of this captivating and provocative film. She pulls no punches in her look at the darker side of our history, exploring slavery, racism and colonialism, in a film certain to enrage as many people as it informs. SH

4 Men, 175 Babies: Britain’s Super Sperm Donors

Channel 4, 10.00pm

This film follows men who donate their sperm for free, via unregulated websites. But why? “Being a sperm donor is like being a Samaritan,” says 61-year-old Clive, who began donating once he retired. SH

a group of people standing in front of a building © Provided by The Telegraph

Arrested Development

Netflix, from today

For anyone who didn’t watch the patchy fourth series of this popular Emmy-winning comedy about a rich family who lose their wealth, the good news is that you can pick up this new series with no problem. The bad news for those that did watch it is that this opening episode spends ages rehashing past events. Thankfully things do settle down – and become very funny – as we find out what happened after the infamous punch that George Michael (Michael Cera) landed on his father Michael (Jason Bateman). A proper return to form. SH

Master of Photography

Sky Arts, 8.00pm

The international photography contest returns for a third series, with Oliviero Toscani joined on the judging panel by curator Mark Sealy and the New Yorker’s Elisabeth Biondi. Here’s hoping that this series avoids the problems of last year, which saw contestant Souvid Datta accused of plagiarism. SH

All Creatures Great and Small (1975) ★★★☆☆

BBC Two, 12.45pm

Simon Ward and a pre-Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins star as Yorkshire vets James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon in this gentle drama set in the Thirties and based on the first two books of British vet Alf Wight (who wrote under the pseudonym of Herriot). The TV series that followed remains most memorable, but there’s warm-hearted performances here too.

Jane Krakowski et al. standing in front of a building © Provided by The Telegraph

Operation Petticoat (1959) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 1.25pm

A beguiling Second World War comedy directed by Blake Edwards and starring Cary Grant as a submarine captain with a strict sense of order and a rule-breaking hustler of a first officer (Tony Curtis). The vessel is bombed by the Japanese, but that’s the least of its worries. Five nurses in distress, a goat and a coating of pink paint all pose challenges for the effortlessly funny crew.

The Enforcer (1976) ★★★☆☆

ITV4, 11.00pm

Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan is teamed up with rookie female partner Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) in this entertaining but ultimately disappointing third chapter of the Dirty Harry series. Together they battle violent eco-terrorists who have kidnapped the mayor of San Francisco (John Crawford) while, between the gun battles, cynical Callahan attempts to come to terms with his own male chauvinism.

Wednesday 30 May

The Big Crash Diet Experiment

BBC One, 8.00pm

Is it time to rethink our attitude to crash dieting? That’s the question posed by tonight’s revealing documentary, which assesses the health impact of this extreme approach to weight loss. Our guide is Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, who along with a raft of health professionals, aims to challenge orthodox beliefs about what some see as nutritionally inadequate eating regimes with only short-term benefits. Abdelmoneim persuades four obese volunteers to give up the food that they love and opt for a scary-sounding liquid-only intake of soups and shakes, using scans and blood tests to monitor them over nine weeks. Each of the group has their fair share of weight-related issues. Portly Catholic priest Paul, for example, has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, takeaway fan Rebecca believes that she’s in the grip of a fast-food addiction, and secret binge-eater Yolande already has fatty liver disease. Watching them tackle the programme and shed the pounds is admirable enough, but even more striking is the positive effect that the diet has on their health. In fact, the implications of the results could be a huge money saver for the NHS. TD

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs 

BBC One, 9.00pm; Scotland, 10.45pm 

Dr Chris van Tulleken continues his crusade against the over-medication of children. Tonight, he explores why so many young people are prescribed anti-depressants, and becomes suspicious over the rise in babies diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy. TD

Love in the Countryside 

BBC Two, 9.00pm 

“The nearest gay scene for me is Belfast,” says cattle farmer Richard, a problem seeing as he lives a three-hour ferry ride away in remote Dumfries and Galloway. Not to be defeated, Richard invites three potential partners to his farm. TD

Carry On Brussels 

Channel 4, 10.00pm 

More shenanigans from behind the doors of the European Parliament. We meet lone Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, whose staunch pro-Europe stance lands her in trouble with Brexit minister David Davis. TD

Miranda Barbour: Serial Killer or Liar? 

BBC One, 10.45pm; Northern Ireland, 11.40pm; Scotland, 11.45pm; Wales, 11.05pm

This gripping true crime documentary charts the case of teenage murderer Miranda Barbour. The young mother admitted killing internet date Troy La Ferarra but later confessed to a further 22 murders as part of a Satanic cult. TD

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Netflix, from today

This snappy sitcom about a cult escapee in the big city has proved a delight. A shame, then, that this fourth season is to be its last, with the first six episodes launching today and the remainder to come later this year. Kimmy’s (Ellie Kemper) new job at a tech start-up proves ripe for nerd-baiting satire. TD

Big Sky, Big Dreams, Big Art: Made in the USA 

BBC Four, 9.00pm 

Presenter Waldemar Januszczak swaps the vastness of the Wild West featured in last week’s episode for the “pulsing, futuristic excitement of the American city”, as his fascinating series on American art continues. He starts out amid the skyscrapers of New York, explaining how the vaulting architecture of the Chrysler Building exemplified the hope and ambition of the burgeoning metropolis. We then move on to the Great Depression, presaged by artists such as Thomas Hart Benton in his restless murals of urban life. TD

Great Expectations (1946, b/w) ★★★★★

BBC Two, 12.35pm

David Lean’s peerless version of Dickens’s novel is packed with memorable moments, from its opening scenes on the marshes, where Pip first meets the escaped convict Magwitch, to the enduring images of Miss Havisham’s house… not forgetting Pip’s boxing match with Herbert Pocket. John Mills is twice the age of the book’s Pip, but there’s a subtle ingenuousness in his performance.

Rebecca (1940, b/w) ★★★★★

Talking Pictures TV, 9.00pm

One of Hitchcock’s most disconcerting and finest films was adapted from a Daphne du Maurier story, though he departed from the text in many ways. A bride (Joan Fontaine) is haunted by the memory of her husband’s (Laurence Olivier) dead first wife. The excellent cast (Judith Anderson as formidable housekeeper Mrs Danvers is a particular highlight) adds class to this eerily suspenseful treat.

Inglourious Basterds (2009) ★★★★☆

Channel 5, 10.00pm

It wasn’t quite the masterpiece we were told to expect, but Quentin Tarantino’s pastiche of war films and spaghetti westerns is still rollicking good fun and has all the ingredients of a classic Tarantino film. A celebration of vengeance, it’s an audacious take on the Second World War. Christoph Waltz deservedly won an Oscar for his incendiary turn as the “Jew Hunter”. Brad Pitt also stars.

Thursday 31 May


Channel 4, 9.00pm

This third series of the thoughtful British science-fiction drama continues to benefit from a narrowing of focus; the big-name American actors and slightly strained global perspective have gone, but the thematic ambition has been retained. Less wilfully obscure than Sky Atlantic’s Westworld and considerably more affecting, Humans instead keeps a tight focus on emotion and relationships, whether the characters concerned are flesh and blood or gears and circuits. It can be heavy-handed with the allegories, certainly, but it’s never chilling or humourless – and leading synth performers Gemma Chan, Ivanno Jeremiah and Emily Berrington are as uncanny as ever. Mark Bonnar, too, is proving a handy addition to the cast as Neil, Laura’s (a brilliant Katherine Parkinson) professional antagonist and love interest – Bonnar’s history of playing characters with shifting loyalties comes in handy as Neil first opens his heart and then hardens his stance on the Dryden Commission. Mia (Chan), meanwhile, is on a one-synth mission to demonstrate coexistence is possible by moving into a hostile housing estate, and Leo (Colin Morgan) struggles with the realities of being human. GT

Britain’s Best Home Cook

BBC One, 8.00pm

This week begins with chocolate puddings, which means the contestants are challenged to rustle up black forest gateaux and a dessert integrating a root vegetable, then aubergines and tofu take centre stage before the elimination round and an oriental classic. GT

Million Pound Menu

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Hollings and their “British chophouse classics” square up to an Italian-influenced brand serving fresh pasta from a cheese wheel, as Fred Sireix and a group of high-street investors gauge their potential. GT


BBC One, 9.00pm

Now with a Bafta award under its belt, this fine series follows the West Midlands Ambulance Service over the last Saturday night before Christmas. An inevitably busy period is made harder by a major traffic accident in central Birmingham – an incident which puts tremendous mental and physical demands on the crews, documented here with the clarity and honesty we’ve come to expect from the series. GT

Great Art

ITV, 10.50pm; not STV

Tim Marlow takes a tour of the Royal Academy’s sell-out exhibition of the Parisian artist’s portraits, in the process assessing the man’s life, work, and reputation as “the father of modern art”. GT

Urban Myths: Sex Pistols vs Bill Grundy

a man wearing a uniform © Provided by The Telegraph

Sky Arts, 9.00pm

This pop cultural landmark, in which punk pioneers Sex Pistols grumbled, swore and generally misbehaved on Bill Grundy’s sleepily complacent regional chat-show, creating a national storm of outrage in the process, arguably received its definitive tribute from Kevin Eldon in 2013. The comedian’s loving reconstruction of the event imagined the Pistols as Amish people and bordered on performance art. Still, this gleefully silly take on the infamous encounter between the jobbing broadcaster (Steve Pemberton) and the Sex Pistols (played by members of the National Youth Theatre) is a lot of fun. GT


Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm

The eponymous depressed hitman (Bill Hader) tries to go it alone, only to be thwarted by his reckless partner Taylor (Dale Pavinski) and ructions among members of his acting class. GT

Billion Dollar Brain (1967) ★★★★☆

Film4, 5.00pm

Michael Caine returns as the reluctant secret agent Harry Palmer (The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin) in this film from Ken Russell, based on the novels by Len Deighton. Having left the British Secret Service to pursue a career as a private investigator, Palmer stumbles into a plot to overthrow Communism with the help of a supercomputer. But who is working for whom? It’s far-fetched but fun.

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) ★★☆☆☆

Horror Channel, 9.00pm

Fresh from the rubber-burning success of Speed and four short years before The Matrix, Keanu Reeves starred in this high-concept dystopian adventure as the eponymous anti-hero – a 21st-century courier whose augmented brain is used to transport illicit data – that very nearly ruined his career. It’s adapted by cyberpunk godfather William Gibson from his own story.

Munich (2005) ★★★☆☆

AMC, 12.50am

Eric Bana stars in Steven Spielberg’s audacious, if lengthy, examination of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Set in 1972, it adroitly tackles the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes at the Munich Olympics. Bana plays a Mossad agent charged with hunting down the extremists who planned the Munich attack. Some of the rhetoric is clumsy, but the film-makers strive to be politically even-handed.

Friday 1 June

Tracey Breaks the News

BBC One, 9.30pm

After losing her to the USA for 30 years, Tracey Ullman’s return to our shores two years ago has reminded us of her unparalleled talents as an impressionist. She captures the physicality of her famous subjects – Angela Merkel and Judi Dench are standouts – as well as their voices, and hats off to Ullman’s prosthetics teams for her remarkable transformations. After an acting stint in last year’s Howards End, Ullman returns to her comfort zone tonight with a second series of the topical sketch comedy show in which she skewers politicians, mostly – although we’ll also be treated to more of Ben Miller’s scene-stealing Rupert Murdoch, with Ullman as Jerry Hall. Although no preview tape was available due to last-minute filming, Ullman was pictured as Michael Gove in promotional material and has also promised impressions of Jeremy Corbyn and Jacob Rees-Mogg. The previous series attracted criticism for weak writing, and some skits do lack bite, but slack should be cut – it’s a notoriously difficult format to pull off. Ullman’s gift for mimicry means she hits the mark often enough for the show to be a welcome bit of light satire to wind up the week. VP

Extreme Wales with Richard Parks

BBC Two, 7.30pm

Tonight’s final episode of Richard Parks’s adventure programme combines extreme sports with lush panoramas of the Welsh landscape. Daredevil Parks takes to the skies on a paramotor – nothing more than a parachute connected to a fan-like motor – to propel him the length of the country. VP

The Bridge

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Fugitive immigrant Taariq Shirazi (Alexander Behrang Keshtkar) makes a desperate bid to flee as the Scandi-noir crime series continues. When Saga (Sofia Helin) and Henrik (Thure Lindhardt) track him down, however, Saga’s inability to tell a lie has serious consequences. VP

Friday Night Dinner

Channel 4, 10.00pm

This sitcom’s family squabbles are more uncomfortably familiar than laugh-out-loud funny in tonight’s penultimate visit to the Goodmans’ home. Writer Robert Popper capitalises on Simon Bird’s musical skills by having his character, Adam, reluctantly play the violin to cheer up Grandma. VP

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One, 10.35pm; NI, 11.05pm; 

Ethan Hawke, Toni Collette, Jo Brand and Aidan Turner offer their funniest anecdotes tonight. Plus, Liam Payne continues his post-One Direction solo career with a performance his new single, Familiar. VP

The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven

BBC Four, 9.00pm

Art Garfunkel, Keith Richards and Graham Nash are among the luminaries paying tribute to Don and Phil Everly in this 2016 documentary, all of them claiming the brothers as an influence. Surviving sibling Don Everly returns to Iowa to recount the brothers’ first appearances, their pivotal move to Nashville and stardom in the late Fifties.  

Africa: A Journey into Music

BBC Four, 10.00pm

So much of the music we listen to has its roots in African music. In this new three-part documentary series, London DJ Rita Ray sets off to explore the continent’s influence. Kicking off her journey in Nigeria, Ray stumbles across impromptu drumming ceremonies in the streets as she explores the importance of rhythm in the country’s music and meets its major players. Future episodes take her to Mali and South Africa. VP

Crocodile Dundee (1986) ★★★★☆

Film4, 7.10pm

Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (Paul Hogan), a bushman from northern Australia, is a dab hand at surviving in the Outback. But when he is invited to New York City by Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski), a high-class reporter, in this Oscar-nominated comedy drama, he finds life far tougher in the urban jungle. He’s a survivor though: muggers who accost Dundee discover that he has a bigger knife than they do.

American Made (2017) ★★★☆☆

Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm

Doug Liman directs Tom Cruise in this lively, madcap real-life tale of pilot, drug smuggler and CIA gun-runner Barry Seal, whose supersonic, if lawless, career path began, according to this script, when he was a bored TWA pilot in 1978 and was approached out of the blue by a CIA handler (Domhnall Gleeson, all greasy persuasion) to conduct reconnaissance flights across the Caribbean.

GoodFellas (1990) ★★★★★

ITV4, 10.00pm

Martin Scorsese’s Mafia masterpiece, adapted from a non-fiction book, has all the qualities of great cinema: it’s thrilling, it’s provocative, it’s stylish, and it’s got a young Robert De Niro in it. Ray Liotta plays the youngster who longs to be a gangster; De Niro and Joe Pesci are in the Mob. Pesci’s mother, meanwhile, reportedly asked him if he had to swear quite so much – the f-word is used 300 times.

Television previewers

Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O'Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate  


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