The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off

Tuesday September 22

The Great British Bake Off

Channel 4, 8.00pm

“Familiar. Comforting. Lovely.” Prue Leith expresses her hopes for an 11th series of the bake-a-thon that many feared wouldn’t happen in the era of Covid. But thanks to Love Productions throwing money at the problem – quarantining cast and crew at an Essex hotel for six weeks – the sweet treat that is Bake Off was able to rise again. You won’t notice a difference – no need for distancing means consolatory hugs and “Hollywood handshakes” can be doled out with impunity. The only notable difference is actor Matt Lucas has joined the series as the new co-host in place of Sandi Toksvig. He is a warm, droll presence and is clearly enjoying himself alongside his old friend Noel Fielding.

Last year’s series came in for criticism for its impossible tasks, but we’re eased in gently with cake week – bakers must create a Battenburg, individual pineapple upside-down cakes and a cake bust of their hero. The results indicate strong talent among this year’s contestants, and there’s high drama from the off with an accident leading to dropped cakes and tears. Snappily edited with a light touch, this opener contains all the right ingredients. VP

The Sheriffs Are Coming

BBC One, 8.00pm

Cameras follow sheriffs as they enforce court orders for businesses to pay their creditors. We’re rooting for the heavies tonight when they seek a refund for a lemon of a car bought by a teenager who’d saved up for it.

Britain’s Biggest Dig

BBC Two, 9.00pm

三级成人视频One upside of HS2 are the archaeological digs mandated along the line. This fascinating series mixes in elements of Who Do You Think You Are? and explores the legacy of a forgotten British explorer, Matthew Flinders, as his bones are unearthed in London.

All Creatures Great and Small

Channel 5, 9.00pm

Although yet more plot is expended on the overfed dog of dowager Mrs Pumphrey (the late Diana Rigg), there’s drama more compelling between squabbling brothers Siegfried and Tristan (Samuel West and Callum Woodhouse) and for James (Nicholas Ralph), whose crush on Helen (Rachel Shenton) only grows. With a lush Yorkshire backdrop and some rose-coloured specs, this reboot makes for agreeable viewing.

Danny Dyer on Harold Pinter

Sky Arts/NOW TV, 9.00pm

Having shocked us with the revelation of his royal roots, Danny Dyer discloses his equally unlikely link to theatrical royalty. In this personal essay-cum-Pinter-biopic, Dyer describes how the playwright took him under his wing after casting him in No Man’s Land in 2001 and meets with Pinter alumni Ken Cranham and Keith Allen in this tender love letter to his mentor.

9-1-1: Lone Star

Sky Witness/NOW TV, 9.00pm

Rob Lowe consigns last year’s British flop Wild Bill to history as he tackles a new role in this solid 9-1-1 spin-off. He’s New York fireman Owen Strand, transferred to Texas to recruit a new firefighting team. The role uses Lowe’s charm in the same way Parks and Recreation did, while pathos comes from his cancer diagnosis. His team, including Liv Tyler, wrestle with demons, but the city-slicker-down-south vibe is livelier than a bull on the loose. 

The Write Offs

Channel 4, 9.30pm

三级成人视频Sandi Toksvig hosts an inspirational two-part crash course in reading for eight illiterate adults. She removes them from their comfort zones with navigation tasks and recipes, with help from Bake Off’s Prue Leith. VP  

The Last of the Mohicans (1992) ★★★★

AMC, 6.50pm

Michael Mann’s magnificent period epic, set in 18th-century North America and adapted from the 1826 novel by James Fenimore Cooper, was Daniel Day-Lewis’s first prominent role. He plays Hawkeye, a white European adopted by Chingachgook (Russell Means) of the Mohican tribe; the pair band together and battle to save a British party from massacre at the hands of the bloodthirsty Hurons.

Bugsy (1991) ★★★

Sky Movies Classic, 9.00pm

三级成人视频The period frocks, sets and motor cars all look jolly, as do stars Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, but we’re left wanting a little more from this tale of how “Bugsy” Siegel, an unhinged mafioso, set out to build Las Vegas. It’s slick and watchable but violence and family values have made other Mafia movies far more compelling. Director Barry Levinson too often veers to the picturesque and frothy. 

Planet of the Apes (2001) ★★★

ITV4, 10.05pm

An alarmingly ordinary movie, and as such a crushing disappointment from Tim Burton. His “reimagining” of the 1968 classic, with Mark Wahlberg sullenly crash-landing in the original Charlton Heston role, allows all its fascinating conceits to be melted down into a bland, gelatinous mass. On the plus side, it’s visually splendid: Ape City is a magnificent hilltop habitat of vine-entangled buildings

Wednesday September 23

Grayson Perry's Big American Road Trip

Grayson Perry’s Big American Road Trip

Grayson Perry’s travels around the British psyche are always thought-provoking affairs, and the same proves the case with his newest three-part film which sees him heading across the Atlantic Ocean to attempt to make sense of America. Naturally, this being Perry, he does so on a custom-made Harley Davidson and wearing a fantastically lurid motorcycle suit.

His first stop is Atlanta, Georgia, where he tries to understand America’s problematic relationship with race. Perry meets black Americans of all ages and backgrounds to try to see whether the creation of “a new America is taking place”. Attending a dinner party in Atlanta he learns the nuances of code switching, with one guest explaining that he was told to wear a grey suit when meeting with white people, meanwhile in Washington DC he spends time with “the black elite”, upper middle-class black families whose achievements stretch back generations. The evening’s most interesting event, however, comes when Perry meets a young performance poet and her two friends. Their frank and thoughtful dissection of race has Perry reconsidering his own attitudes – as it should for all those who tune in. SH

Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts

BBC Two, 8.00pm

The redoubtable Mary Berry is in Ireland this week where she delivers a trio of genuine comfort meals including an easy salmon recipe, a slow-cooked pork with traditional colcannon and a tasty looking lamb stew.

ENO’s La Bohéme: Live At The Drive-In

Sky Arts/NOW TV, 8.00pm

The arts industry continues to come up with interesting ways to attempt to return to normality in the age of Covid-19. Tonight sees the advent of Drive Through Opera, an innovative idea in which the English National Opera will perform Puccini’s La bohème in front of an audience seated in their cars.

Nadiya Bakes

BBC Two, 8.30pm

三级成人视频The great conundrum at the heart of Nadiya Hussain’s shows is that she is a wonderful, engaging presenter, but leaves something to be desired with her over-complicated food. The recipes in this episode include a pink pepper pithivier, pepperoni bread and, most strangely of all, baked noodles.  

Ambulance

BBC One, 9.00pm

三级成人视频The fly-on-the-wall documentary series really should come with a warning for easily upset viewers. This hard-to-watch episode includes a harrowing injury to a child and an emotional moment when a desperate man tries to get a van to move for the sake of his dying father.

Harlots

BBC Two, 9.00pm and 9.50pm

The second series of the period drama reaches a satisfyingly dark finale as Lucy (Eloise Smyth) finally realises that Lord Fallon (Ben Lambert) can’t be trusted. Meanwhile her sister Charlotte (Jessica Brown Findlay) pulls out all the stops to save their mother (Samantha Morton) from the gallows. SH

Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020: Album of the Year

BBC Four, 10.00pm

Ahead of tomorrow’s Mercury Music Prize announcement, this programme looks over the 12 nominees and attempts to assess which album has the best chance of winning. The bookmakers’ favourite is three-time nominated Michael Kiwanuka, with four-time nominated folk singer Laura Marling a close second. However, given that the list lacks any major surprises, grime star Kano’s inventive and soulful Hoodies All Summer might just be worth a punt. SH

Enola Holmes (2020) 

Netflix

Netflix is angling for a slice of the Sherlock pie with this adaptation of Nancy Springer’s young adult series about Sherlock Holmes’s equally sharp younger sister, Enola, played by Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, who sets out to solve a mystery of her own when their mother disappears. It’s directed by Fleabag veteran Harry Bradbeer, with a script from His Dark Materials’s Jack Thorne and star turns from Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter. 

Get Carter (2000) ★★★

Sony Movies, 9.00pm

三级成人视频If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, goes the old and useful saying. This has never been truer than with Michael Caine’s classic revenge drama which gets an inferior modern remake from director Stephen Kay (who went on to direct the TV series Covert Affairs and Sons of Anarchy) and relocates the action from Tyneside to America. That said, Sylvester Stallone is rather likeable as he takes on the lead role of mob boss Jack Carter.

Robin Hood (2010) ★★★

Channel 5, 10.55pm

It’s not surprising that Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, aiming to decant the machismo of Gladiator into a medieval flagon, take Robin Hood seriously. Crowe’s Robin, portrayed as an ahead-of-his-time Republican, is clapped in the stocks for criticising the savage King (Danny Huston, whose curly wig is more Cowardly Lion than Richard the Lionheart). What makes the movie is its majestic feel for the English landscape.

Thursday September 24

London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year

London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year

ITV, 9.00pm

三级成人视频Stephen Fry narrating, animals being cute and occasionally brutal, the keepers smitten with their charges. To all intents and purposes, London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year follows a very familiar script, right down to the alliteration and Je t’aime… moi non plus soundtracking an otherwise unappetising scene of mating spiders. But there are points of insight and interest to distinguish it from the many zoo documentaries doing the rounds: the troubles of social distancing from certain vulnerable animals and an ultrasound via videocall for Oni, a heavily pregnant okapi, are fascinating to watch, while the deteriorating appetite of Sumatran tiger Indy sounds a note of genuine alarm.

Covid-19 even brings some unexpected good news for Alex, who is dreading the imminent departure of Dominic the sea lion to another zoo, and the story of the team in the insect house – and their pioneering work with near-extinct species, – feels like it could have done with more time. It’s charming enough, but it feels as if the real story – the psychological and economic impact of the pandemic and crippling absence of customers – is being saved for next week’s second and final episode. GT

The One Show

BBC One, 7.00pm

It might not be how they would have chosen to celebrate, but the winner of the Mercury Music Prize will, incongruously enough, be announced on tonight’s edition of The One Show, which offers the intriguing prospect of Stormzy, Kano or Sports Team being interviewed by Alex Jones.

Inside Culture with Mary Beard

BBC Two, 7.30pm

三级成人视频While Sky Arts beds in on Freeview, Mary Beard returns for a new series of what used to be known as Front Row Late. She begins by visiting Stonehenge with Turner Prize-winning artist James Deller.

The Grand Party Hotel

BBC One, 8.00pm

三级成人视频At its outset a grimly chirpy “one big happy family” docusoap, this behind-the-scenes peek at Liverpool’s unapologetically garish hotel The Shankly improves tenfold with the arrival of its sceptical, steely new general manager Lyndon Barrett-Scott. “It’s like a pirate ship,” he comments on arrival. “It will grow on me.” Time will tell over the next four weeks.

Discovering: Harrison Ford

Sky Arts/NOW TV, 7.00pm

Within five years, Harrison Ford played Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Rick Deckard; he later returned to the roles only reluctantly, but still managed to be the best thing in each of the revived franchises. This episode looks at the roles that made him famous.

World War II & Cinema

Sky Arts/NOW TV, 8.00pm

This three-parter explores why audiences risked their lives to attend cinemas and examines how film-makers continue to bring war stories to the big screen.

She the People: Votes for Women

Smithsonian Channel, 9.00pm

三级成人视频The Smithsonian vaults have been opened for this film celebrating the lives of America’s suffragettes, telling the inspiring stories behind a table and a trading card photo, and exploring the links between the movements of both sides of the Atlantic.

Lodgers for Codgers

Channel 4, 10.00pm

This charming series joins another pair of mismatched houseshares: Ché moves in with a multi-millionaire after a lifetime in temporary accommodation, and a 19-year-old must contend with their landlord’s late-night parties. GT

A Beautiful Mind (2001) ★★★

Film4, 6.20pm

三级成人视频More Russell Crowe and this time he’s piling on the mannerisms as John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who contended with schizophrenia. Ron Howard’s biopic won the Best Picture Oscar, though it underestimates the audience’s intelligence by suggesting that a good wife (Jennifer Connelly) is better than medication. Still, it’s entertaining fare, and with a dynamite twist as well.

Chicago (2002) ★★★★

5STAR, 10.00pm

As usual with Hollywood versions of stage musicals, this film doesn’t have half the pizzazz of its stage sibling. It’s still a corker, though. Director Rob Marshall includes Bob Fosse’s dance routines inthis daft but winning tale of two 1920s killers (Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones) who try to charm their way to the top – and away from Death Row – by making themselves into vaudeville stars.

Funny Cow (2017) ★★★

Film4, 11.15pm

Maxine Peake produces and stars as a fictional comedian in that least welcoming of environments, the 1970s Yorkshire stand-up circuit, in this strange, glum film. Funny Cow, as she calls herself, draws her material from her abusive family life, which is so violent and unredeemed that it makes the film exceedingly bleak viewing, at times. TV veteran Adrian Shergold also indulges in some odd directorial choices.

Friday 25 September 

Utopia

Utopia

Amazon Prime

Gillian Flynn, the bestselling author of Gone Girl who also penned Netflix’s terrific Sharp Objects, clearly has an extraordinary feel for the zeitgeist – teeing up this US reboot of the British cult TV classic about the hunt for a deadly virus/vaccine, well before the pandemic axe fell. Made for Channel 4, writer Dennis Kelly’s stylish and hugely influential original was one of the best dramas aired in 2013, although its fresh-faced cast and wilfully geeky subject matter – a graphic novel from the past holding the key to a dark scientific conspiracy of the future – more or less guaranteed the show a level of obscurity over its acclaimed two series.

Flynn’s US-based adaptation remains surprisingly faithful to Kelly’s original, and while the switch to America makes the comic-book background seem more immediately credible (much of the opening episode unfolds at a huge Comic-Con style convention), it also oddly notches down the weirdness factor. As such, fans of the original are unlikely to disapprove too much, and the ramped-up pandemic relevance seem only likely to win legions of new fans for what could be Amazon’s first big hit of the season. GO

Tehran

Apple TV+

三级成人视频Gripping right from the outset, this Israeli-made Homeland-style spy thriller has a nail-biting premise: a Mossad agent (Niv Sultan) on the run in Tehran with Iranian intelligence in hot pursuit. Fauda-writer Moshe Zonder skilfully juggles the politics to ensure all sides get superb characterisation.

The Gadget Show

Channel 5, 7.00pm

This is still mainstream TV’s only show devoted to gadgetry. Craig Charles and his team of pro-geeks are back after a short summer break to check out the best of the latest gizmos and visit Berlin, to see one of 2020’s few surviving trade shows.

Secret Scotland with Susan Calman

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Continuing her amiably entertaining jaunt, Calman hits the Trossachs to enjoy a tour of Inveraray Castle with the charming Duke of Argyll, discovers that bog myrtle is a natural midge-repellent, and gets hands-on with Rob Roy’s claymore sword.

The Romantics and Us With Simon Schama

BBC Two, 9.00pm

三级成人视频In seeking the roots of modern nationalism look no further than 18th-century Switzerland and the diagnosis of nostalgia as a debilitating medical condition. So says Simon Schama in this concluding part, which explores Romanticism’s often problematic blending of culture and politics, via Rabbie Burns, Chopin, Nazism and even the Last Night of the Proms.

Tread

Sky Documentaries/NOW TV, 9.00pm

A small story with a sharp edge, this absorbing true-crime documentary explores how small-town corruption and business bitterness came to a head in Granby, Colorado, in 2004, when Marvin Heemeyer went on a rampage in his armour-plated, gunned-up three-ton bulldozer.

Later: with Jools Holland: Mercury Prize 2020

BBC Two, 10.00pm

Ahead of the new series, a special edition in which Holland meets this year’s winner (announced yesterday) to hear about the creative journey behind the victorious album. 

I Want My MTV

Sky Arts/NOW TV, 10.00pm

Mixing pop nostalgia and keen cultural analysis, a fabulously atmospheric rerun of the music, stars and heady early days of the TV channel that pioneered the pop video way back in 1981. GO

Judy (2019) ★★★★

Sky Cinema Premiere/NOW TV, 8.00pm

Rupert Goold’s film focuses on the final months of Judy Garland’s life in 1968, when she was ravaged, rake-thin, bankrupt and adrift in an alcoholic haze. Renée Zellweger brilliantly embodies her, if “embodies” is quite the word for this spectral, rasping, self-pitying figure. The script aims for compassion but its tabloidy zoom in on the car-crash years is faintly unseemly.

John Wick (2014) ★★★

Channel 5, 10.00pm

三级成人视频Fifteen years after The Matrix, Keanu Reeves fans rejoiced at this sharply tailored thriller, in which a former hitman comes out of retirement to seek revenge. Reeves’s best film in a while works well because of its sleek, artisanal dovetailing of sincerity and style. Co-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch show respect, too, for the need for stealth and stillness between the action. Willem Dafoe co-stars.

The Midwife (2017) ★★★

BBC Two, 12.45am

From French film-maker Martin Provost, this is the story of an emotional collision between an older and younger woman. Tightly wound midwife Claire (played by Catherine Frot) is furious when her father’s former mistress Béatrice (an enjoyably lascivious Catherine Deneuve) returns to her life, needing help. The inevitable but unlikely friendship follows in a touching, if sentimental, relationship drama.

Television previewers

Chris Bennion (CB), Catherine Gee (CG), Michael Hogan (MH), Sarah Hughes (SH), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Gabriel Tate (GT) and Rachel Ward (RW)