Channel 5, 9pm
In recent years Channel 5 has built a formidable reputation for schlocky-but-slick, instantly gripping domestic-noir thrillers. This four-parter, starring Céline Buckens as a young woman drawn into a downward spiral of anxiety and violence by the unwanted attentions of her husband’s former spouse, continues the trend. All the genre essentials are here: innocent young woman, wealthy older man, sceptical best friend, unhinged ex, a family with vested interests determined to derail the marriage, and so on.
Buckens, who was Bafta-nominated last year for her blistering performance in the BBC’s Showtrial, is terrific in the role of Tasha, a student seduced by the sophistication (he has a house to die – possibly – for) of mysteriously wealthy hipster Jack (Tom Mison). But her dreams of happiness are soured from the outset by Jack’s ex-wife, Jen (Janet Montgomery), who cannot accept that they’re no longer married, and begins to stalk Tasha. Adding to an already adhesive premise is a clever opening sequence that will leave you questioning who, exactly, is the baddie here. Once in, you’ll want to stay the course. GO
Fletcher’s Family Farm
When 2019 Strictly champion Kelvin Fletcher and his family swapped the mean streets of Oldham for pastures new on a Peak District farm in 2021, BBC One followed their first year in Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure. Now they’re back, but on ITV daytime, negotiating the ups and downs of their new life on the land.
Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico
BBC Two, 7.20pm
“This is the land of meat. Mountains of meat. But I don’t mind. I love meat,” says Hollywood actress and director Longoria as she arrives in the region of Nuevo León for the second leg of her Mexican food journey. Thus it’s sizzling flesh all the way as we learn of the region’s love affair with all things barbecued.
BBC One, 8pm
Beatles memorabilia, designer clobber, antique dolls, Sir Winston’s cigar, diamond jewellery and even a Lego portrait of the late Queen. The quality, and variety, of the finds is high as the roadshow pitches its tent at Crystal Palace Park in London.
Big Little Journeys
BBC Two, 8pm
The series featuring tiny animals making epic journeys takes us to Taiwan to see the lengths to which a frisky two-year-old pangolin, in its first breeding season, will go to find a mate. On the opposite side of the world, meanwhile, a family of golden-headed lion tamarins set out for a new home on Brazil’s Atlantic coast. It’s an enjoyable way to pass an hour, hampered only slightly by the blurring between fact and fiction.
BBC One, 9pm
The relentless pace of Philip Barantini’s scorching drama drops off momentarily this week, as new sous chef Nick (Steven Ogg) takes the pressure off Carly (Vinette Robinson) in the kitchen. But there’s an extensive menu of other troubles ready to ambush the restaurant staff – to nerve-shredding effect – and newly sober Andy (Stephen Graham) isn’t the only one to find cold turkey hard to swallow.
Russell T Davies Remembers…
BBC Four, 10pm & 10.15pm
The screenwriter and producer (Doctor Who, It’s a Sin) recalls how a long-held ambition of bringing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to BBC One was realised in 2016; followed by the wonderful production, starring Maxine Peake, Nonso Anozie, John Hannah, Matt Lucas and Elaine Paige.
Richard III (1955) ★★★★
BBC Two, noon
“So wise so young, they say, do never live long,” utters Richard III (Laurence Olivier) in Shakespeare’s great tale of power’s ability to corrupt. Olivier directed and starred as the malicious monarch, who plots to steal the throne from his brother, Edward VI (Cedric Hardwicke). Although still critically acclaimed, Richard III was the only one of three Shakespeare plays directed by Olivier not to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010) ★★★★
Channel 4, 2pm
Instead of doing battle with the dragons that besiege the clifftop village where he lives, weedy Viking teenager Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) befriends one of the most fearsome. So begins the sweetest human-dragon bond in the history of Norse civilisation. This DreamWorks animation, based on Cressida Cowell’s children’s book, is funny, engaging and features some terrific flying sequences.
Film of the week: Us (2019) ★★★★★
BBC Two, 9pm
Few directors have had quite as strong a few years as Jordan Peele, and especially not in the horror sphere; his run of excellent, terrifying films (Get Out, Candyman, Nope) have established him as the genre’s preeminent modern auteur, following in the footsteps of the late, great William Friedkin (The Exorcist). In Us, Peele unveils a spine-jangling allegory about the selfish victim mentalities that have begun to permeate global politics, but especially in the US. One summer night, the middle-class Wilson family – mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), father Gabe (Winston Duke), and children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) – are happily driving to their lake house, ready to meet up with their (slightly wealthier) white friends, the Tylers (Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss). Their idyllic trip is quickly torn apart, however, by the arrival of the Wilsons’s hellish doppelgängers, in a sort of Jekyll and Hyde nod to the darkness that every human contains within. All of the cast are stellar, but this is undeniably Nyong’o’s film – the 12 Years a Slave actress embodies every emotion in its purest form, switching from tender family woman to manic villain.
The Beach (2000) ★★★
BBC One, 10.30pm
Leonard DiCaprio plays second fiddle to a beach – Thailand’s idyllic Maya Bay, which was closed to tourists for years because of the negative eco impact of visitors – in Danny Boyle’s film. The story follows backpackers Richard (DiCaprio), Étienne (Guillaume Canet) and Françoise (Virginie Ledoyen) as they explore paradise – but they soon realise it’s less than perfect. Also on BBC Three on Friday at 9pm.
Little Richard: I Am Everything (2023) ★★★★
Channel 4, 11.05pm
If Little Richard’s brilliance was underappreciated in his lifetime, his status as the true King of Rock ’n’ Roll (Elvis who?) has been highlighted since his death in 2020. Lisa Cortés’s film, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, tells an almost unbelievable story: a “deformed” child’s path from singing in gospel choirs to atop some of the Deep South’s most famous stages. All together: “Awop-bop a loo bop a lop bam boom!”