Tuesday 15 May
The Windsors Royal Wedding Special
Channel 4, 9.00pm
It would take a particularly thin-skinned member of the Windsor clan to take offence at this gleefully idiotic comedy. Back for a one-off episode after two excellent series, this special sprinkles just enough grains of truth (or plausibility, at least) to give it a satirical pungency that is reminiscent of peak-era Spitting Image.
Here, Prince Harry (Richard Goulding) seems more excited about his stag do than his wedding to Meghan Markle (Kathryn Drysdale); the Duchess of Cambridge (Louise Ford) is battling both the machinations of her jealous sibling Pippa (Morgana Robinson) to retake centre-stage, and her husband the Duke of Cambridge’s (Hugh Skinner) attempts to dodge a vasectomy. Meanwhile, Beatrice (Ellie White, the pick of a magnificently game cast) takes time away from her fashion vlog to have a political awakening after a chance encounter with Jeremy Corbyn (Tom Basden); while her mother Fergie (Katy Wix) is offered a TV reporting gig for the wedding, forcing her to choose between family loyalty and filthy lucre…
From dance routines and dream sequences to Windsor council’s Trampcatcher (Paul Kaye), this is daft and shrewd, but never mean-spirited. Gabriel Tate
Netflix, from 12.01am
Vaguely reminiscent of a Woody Allen film with its preoccupation with one city (Johannesberg, rather than New York), a neurotic lead and the lives and loves of its well-heeled citizens, Kagiso Lediga’s romantic comedy stars Lediga himself as an author whose happy marriage comes unstuck under the influence of his hedonistic tutor.
Pangolins: The World’s Most Wanted Animal
BBC Two, 8.00pm
The pangolin, the most poached animal in the world, risks becoming endangered. Here, conservationist Maria Diekmann travels to China to raise awareness of the impact that the nation’s extravagant demand for pangolin products is having.
BBC One, 9.00pm
An extramarital dating website is hacked, which means that business picks up at both Defoes and Noble & Hale, as Abi Morgan’s fun melodrama continues. But as the wedding of Rose (Fiona Button) draws near, it becomes clear that the repercussions of the hack are close to home.
Nigeria’s Stolen Daughters
BBC Two, 9.00pm; Scotland, 11.15pm
In this deeply moving documentary from the This World team, some of the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 speak for the first time about their experiences and their efforts to return to normal life.
Sky One, 9.00pm
The shadow of buddy movie landmarks Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys – the loose cannon and the straight arrow cops, the quick-fire banter, the spectacular stunts and bursts of gratuitous violence – enrobes this new comedy thriller written by and starring Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters. The pair play maverick cops prepared to bend a few rules. In the opening episode, they attempt to bring down the killers of an informant with an infant son. What Bulletproof lacks in identity, it makes up for in verve and swagger, making it a worthwhile addition to a crowded field. GT
Meet the Markles
Channel 4, 10.00pm
Channel 4’s pleasingly iconoclastic approach to the royal wedding continues with Amelia Dimoldenberg, latterly of hit YouTube series Chicken Shop Date, heading in search of Meghan Markle’s family, the first boy she kissed and the sort of life she once lived. GT
Night Mail (1936, b/w) ★★★★★
Talking Pictures TV, 7.35pm
This inspired film, about a London-to-Glasgow postal train, was made as a promotional piece by the General Post Office Film Unit during the British documentary film movement and represented a creative peak for the genre. Its most celebrated sequence features music by Benjamin Britten and the narration of WH Auden’s poem Night Mail over rhythmic montage images of racing train wheels.
Tootsie (1982) ★★★★☆
When actor Michael Dorsey transforms himself into Dorothy Michaels in a desperate attempt to get work, complications arise as he falls for a female friend (Jessica Lange) and her father (Charles Durning) falls for him. Although you never quite believe that Dustin Hoffman in drag would convince everyone that he’s a woman, it doesn’t matter: Tootsie is lots of fun – and it’s a sharply observed social satire, too.
Hot Shots! (1991) ★★★☆☆
Comedy Central, 9.00pm
Reinventing Charlie Sheen as a deadpan comic actor, this cult satire, from director Jim Abrahams, is a spoof of over-the-top Eighties action dramas. It focuses on Topper Harley (Sheen), a handsome fighter pilot assigned to the navy on a mission to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear plants. First, however, he must overcome his personal demons. It’s puerile, but nevertheless very entertaining.
Wednesday 16 May
What Makes a Woman?
Channel 4, 10.00pm
Transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf burst into the spotlight last year when L’Oreal sacked her over controversial Facebook posts; then the Labour Party appointed her as an LGBT adviser, but she quit after protests ensued. In light of that, this documentary might be seen as an attempt by Bergdorf to rehabilitate her image; it’s a personal film focusing on the stages of her transition from male to female.
Cameras follow Bergdorf as she undergoes facial feminisation surgery and walks the runway at New York Fashion Week – all of which is very empowering – and as she discloses information about incidents of violence and online abuse that she’s suffered. A more sensationalist segment sends Bergdorf along to a meeting of radical feminists who are openly hostile to the notion of transgenderism – quite a niche faction, but the scenes allow Bergdorf to clarify her notions of gender: that it’s not a binary matter, but more fluid. Bergdorf has a warm message about acceptance, and showcasing her so sympathetically is likely to give her image a much-needed boost as well as educate viewers on the genderquake shaking up society. Vicki Power
Europa League Football: Atletico Madrid v Marseille
BT Sport 2, 7.45pm
So it wasn’t to be the fairy-tale finish for Arsène Wenger. Despite being the better team over the two legs, his Arsenal side were knocked out by Atletico Madrid – the Spaniards scored on the break through Diego Costa and defended, as ever, with ruthless efficiency. Their opponents are Marseille, who make the short journey to the Groupama Stadium in Lyon. The French side snatched a dramatic extra-time winner to reach the final after surrendering their two-goal first-leg advantage against Red Bull Salzburg.
Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport
ITV, 8.00pm; UTV, 11.45pm
This easily digested series delivers more tales from the terminals. This week, the airport staff struggle with a crush of Russian children heading home from British boarding schools, while a mobile crane driver disrupts airfield action by stopping in the wrong place.
The Secret Life of the Zoo
Channel 4, 8.00pm
Cute spider monkeys and an infant capybara provide the ahh factor in this trip to Chester Zoo. But not all of the new arrivals are welcomed into the bosom of their family – newborn naked mole rats get trampled during a vicious jostle for power to be queen.
Mystery of the Lost Paintings
Sky Arts, 8.00pm
Six Sunflowers, the second of Vincent Van Gogh’s seven sunflower paintings, was destroyed by US bombs during the Second World War. This captivating documentary explains the Japanese influences behind Van Gogh’s sunflower artworks and follows a team of Madrid-based artists and technicians as they attempt to recreate the painting in forensic detail based only on a poor quality 1921 reproduction.
Love in the Countryside
BBC Two, 9.00pm
In this third trip to the farm, the charming rural dating show sees dairy farmer Peter pick a partner, sheep farmer Christine overcome her nerves on two dates, and equine vet Heather make a surprising choice of suitor.
24 Hours in A&E
Channel 4, 9.00pm
It’s hard to watch this emergency room documentary without shedding a few tears. Its measured stories of love and loss always deliver a gut-punch of emotion. And so it proves in this first episode of a new series, when the husbands of two A&E patients share the stories of their spouses. VP
Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier
A self-confessed neurotic who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, Jon Richardson has formulated a chat show around analysing his fears – these feature on a big display board and include Bitcoin, inconsiderate sneezers and, inexplicably, Mary Berry. Basically, it’s an excuse for Richardson and guest comedians Suzi Raffell and Josh Widdecombe to rib each other and crack jokes about embarrassing subjects. VP
Paper Towns (2015) ★★★☆☆
Before fangirl phenomenon The Fault in Our Stars (showing on Film4 on Monday at 6.30pm), John Green wrote this minor Young Adult hit, which makes for a slightly awkward film. It has a narrator in the pubescent Quentin (Nat Wolff), whose obsession with his chicly rebellious, fast-disappearing neighbour (Cara Delevingne) has him following a trail of clues to track her down, aided by his prom-obsessed friends.
Fast & Furious 5 (2011) ★★★☆☆
Justin Lin gives the street-racing franchise legs with this series-high sweet spot, starting with a pretty spectacular prison break and subsequent chase, and peaking with a bank vault whipping around at crazy speeds through downtown Rio. Prepare to witness two bollards being clonked together, as Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson square off as Diesel’s crew must pull off “one last job”.
The Last Samurai (2003) ★★★☆☆
A shameless vanity project it may be, but nevertheless Edward Zwick’s period thriller is beautifully shot. Set in 19th-century Japan, it stars Tom Cruise as Algren, an embittered Civil War veteran recruited as a mercenary to help train a new infantry division and quell the threat of a samurai rebellion. But when he’s abducted by his enemy and educated in the bushido code, he decides to switch allegiances.
Thursday 17 May
Channel 4, 9.00pm
It may have half the budget of HBO’s Westworld but Humans has always been (forgive me) the more human show. This is particularly obvious with this third series, which like its US counterpart, follows the fallout from its synths gaining collective consciousness. Where Westworld chooses to couch that fallout in flashy scenes and tricksy games, Humans tells a more interesting story of distrust, betrayal and the price of slavery.
The story picks up a year after what is now being termed Year Zero, with memorials held for the thousands who died. Meanwhile, politicians are calling for the destruction of “green-eye” synths, and synthetics companies have already created a new army of compliant “orange-eyes”. As for our various protagonists, Laura (Katherine Parkinson) discovers that representing synths has severe drawbacks, while Anita (Gemma Chan) and Max (Ivanno Jeremiah) are struggling to convince their fellow synths that friendship holds the key.
It all makes for tense opening, although, as always, the series is at its best in its smallest moments – a talk about synth safety to class of primary schoolchildren is especially well observed. Sarah Hughes
Royal London One-Day Cup Cricket: Lancashire v Nottinghamshire
Thursday, Sky Sports Main Event, 1.30pm
Action from the one-dayer at the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
Britain’s Best Home Cook
BBC One, 8.00pm
It might seem like a mishmash of every other cooking show, but I’m increasingly taken with the BBC’s attempt to replace Bake Off. Claudia Winkleman does a great job as host, Mary Berry is Mary Berry and this week the gang have to cook pies. What’s not to love?
Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs: India
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, takes centre stage for this final episode of the heart-warming series. In this episode, Paul faces a difficult decision when he falls in love with an elderly black Labrador at one of Delhi’s oldest dog shelters.
BBC One, 9.00pm
Things are pretty dark from the off-set in the fourth episode of the fly-on-the-wall show, as there are a number of Category One emergency calls (calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries). Among the call-outs is an elderly lady who has stopped breathing, a man choking on his food and a possible suicide attempt.
Million Pound Menu
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Presented by First Dates’ Maître d’ Fred Sirieix, this new series is essentially Dragons’ Den for restaurants. Here, the hopefuls pitch their idea for a new pop-up restaurant in Manchester in the hope of making their dreams a reality. SH
BBC Four, 9.00pm and 9.25pm
Missions to Mars are big news on television with the big-budget drama The First, starring Sean Penn, arriving on Channel 4 later this year. This taut French thriller gets in there early with a creepy story about an independently financed mission to the red planet that goes terribly wrong.
Urban Myths: Agatha Christie
Sky Arts, 9.00pm
Anna Maxwell-Martin plays Agatha Christie in an entertainingly goofy take on what happened during her infamous 1926 disappearance. It’s worth catching for Bill Paterson’s version of Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Week That Wasn’t
Sky One, 10.00pm
Recorded close to transmission for topicality, Sky’s newest comedy show reunites Alistair McGowan and Ronni Ancona for the first time since The Big Impression in 2004. Here, they join others in providing voice-overs for footage of politicians and celebrities. SH
My Darling Clementine (1946, b/w) ★★★★★
John Ford’s wistful take on the story of Wyatt Earp is still the one against which all other versions of this western should be judged. Ford claimed to have known Earp, played here by Henry Fonda, and based the final shoot-out at the OK Corral on what he’d been told. But what stands out are the performances, the magnificent setting, and numerous inventive and exquisitely staged scenes.
A View to a Kill (1985) ★★★☆☆
When a microchip maker (Christopher Walken) comes up with a scheme to wipe out all his Silicon Valley competition, it’s up to 007 (Roger Moore) to end his evil plan, while also defeating his ruthless friend, May Day (Grace Jones). It’s absurd, and Moore looks more like an overfed stockbroker than a lean, mean spying machine, but it’s ridiculous fun, especially the fight to the death on the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Poltergeist (1982) ★★★★☆
Director Tobe Hooper, who made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, tones down the gut-churning horror but still ramps up the tension to nightmare levels in this Steven Spielberg-produced chiller. It has one of cinema’s most spine-tinglingly scary moments: “They’re here,” sing-songs a little girl kneeling before the TV. “They” are the spirits, at first playful then increasingly malevolent, who terrorisea suburban family.
Friday 18 May
The Royal Wedding: They’re Getting Married in the Morning
BBC One, 7.00pm
With less than 24 hours to go before the wedding, broadcasters are going into overdrive with an onslaught of royal-flavoured programming this evening. First comes They’re Getting Married in the Morning, the tone of which should be given away by its One Show timeslot. The unlikely trio of Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O’Leary will be reporting the latest news, including interviews both with those due to play key roles on the day and members of the public who have been getting as close as they can to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
For a different, more hard-nosed take on events, The Meghan Markle Effect (11.00pm on Channel 4) sees Fatima Manji wrangle a panel of experts and interested parties to assess the likely impact of Markle, the wedding itself and indeed what it tells us about the future of the monarchy.
Finally, for the fluffiest perspective possible, there’s Harry & Meghan: a Royal Romance (Lifetime, 10.00pm), with relative unknowns Murray Fraser and Parisa Fitz-Henley playing the happy couple in a magnificently cheesy and loose interpretation of what might have happened (but almost certainly didn’t). Gabriel Tate
Channel 4, 7.30pm
Reporter Sahar Zand and director Alicia Arce follow the progress of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood, where women have been speaking out over assault, harassment and rape in an often dangerously hostile environment.
Tap America: How a Nation Found Its Feet
BBC Four, 8.00pm
Clarke Peters, aka Lester Freamon from The Wire and, more pertinently, the creator and star of West End musical Five Guys Named Moe, fronts this excellent documentary on the history of tap dancing and its deep connections to African-American culture in the United States. To be a professional tap dancer, you need to be a historian,” says modern tap icon Michelle Dorrance, and Peters here demonstrates this in absorbing, passionate style.
BBC Two, 9.00pm
Saga (Sofia Helin) was last seen leaving a trail of blood on the prison floor as she walked to freedom. We now find her in hospital, but in what sort of condition? Henrik (Thure Lindhardt) and his unpleasant new colleague Jonas (Mikael Birkkjaer), meanwhile, are following their murder investigation into Red October when another body turns up in Sweden.
Sky Arts, 9.00pm
The whistlestop series profiling a decade ends with the music of the Nineties, in all its glory and dross. We won’t see much in the way of Boyzone or Britpop, as it’s an American series; instead, expect Nirvana, Tupac, Alanis Morissette and The Backstreet Boys. A surf over the shallows of American pop rather than a deep dive, but very entertaining, even so. GT
Frankie Boyle’s New World Order
BBC Two, 10.00pm
Not for the easily offended, Boyle’s often funny, witheringly astute assessment of the world returns for a new series of stand-up, discussion and audience interaction with regular panellists Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan and Mona Chalabi, plus special guests.
Young, Welsh and Pretty Minted
BBC One, 11.55pm; NI, 12.55am
Want to earn six figures? Meet YouTuber The Gonth, a “social influencer” who makes £900 for posting on Instagram, and a 19-year-old swimwear designer – and they’re by no means as objectionable as you might fear. GT
Netflix, from today
Martin Freeman stars in this Australian zombie movie (first shown at the Tribeca film festival) in which his character Andy has two days to find somebody to take care of his infant daughter and to protect her from his own changing nature after he is chomped on by his newly turned wife. It’s a strong entry from first-time feature film-makers (and co-directors) Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke, who eschew scares for survival-esque thrills.
Atomic Blonde (2017) ★★★☆☆
Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm
Charlize Theron’s ice-cold super-spy makes Bond look arthritic in this thriller. With her peroxide locks, flowing white trench coat and wholly unimpressed manner, she plays tough when sent to Berlin undercover just beforethe collapse of the Wall. A British operative has shown up dead, and there’s a web of intrigue to disentangle with the help of a scuzzy station chief (James McAvoy).
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) ★★★★☆
Matt Damon returns for another crunchingly violent instalment of the pulsating spy series. Jason Bourne (Damon), the amnesiac CIA agent, is trying to find out his true identity before double-crossing CIA executives assassinate him. Why? Well, once he recovers his memory, Bourne has access to secrets that would be their undoing. Paddy Considine and Julia Stiles co-star.
Toby Dantzic, Sarah Hughes, Gerard O’Donovan, Vicki Power and Gabriel Tate