What's on TV tonight: new crime thriller Paula and Kat and Alfie: Redwater

Denise Gough and Tom Hughes in Paula
Denise Gough and Tom Hughes in Paula Credit: BBC

 

 

Thursday 25 May

Paula

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Can one moment of madness derail your life? That’s the central premise behind BBC Two’s tense crime thriller Paula, which sees a young chemistry teacher played by rising star Denise Gough dragged into an increasingly dangerous situation following one seemingly out-of-character decision.  As a premise it’s nothing new, but Paula is scripted by Conor McPherson, author of hit plays The Weir and The Seafarer and a man who enjoys taking risks with genre and throwing unusual, often supernatural elements into the mix.

While not as obviously a ghost story as some of his earlier work, Paula is still overlaid with menace from the start with even the most straight-forward interactions carrying a hint of something uneasy at their core. Paula herself is outwardly confident, competent and good at her job, yet her smooth exterior masks a growing number of problems from the secret affair she is unable to end to her difficult attitudes towards her family. Gough does a fine job of capturing her character’s increasingly off-kilter emotions and there is strong support from Tom Hughes as a dangerous drifter with an equally complicated family life and troubles of his own. Sarah Hughes

Tonight: The Leader Interviews: Theresa May

ITV, 7.30pm

Following her grilling by Andrew Neil on Monday, Theresa May now faces Julie Etchingham to talk about her vision for the UK. Before, on BBC One at 7pm (Wales, 7.30pm), Neil meets Nicola Sturgeon.

Kat and Alfie: Redwater

BBC One, 8.00pm

What more could you ask for, as EastEnders meets one of the Nineties’ best-loved musical comedy-dramas. As the villagers come to terms with the shock death in last week’s opener, Alfie (Shane Richie) tries to persuade Kathleen (Jessie Wallace) not to go to the wake. Elsewhere, feuding sisters Roisin and Eileen (The Commitments’ Angeline Ball and Maria Doyle Kennedy) are reunited after 20 years.

Joanna Lumleys Postcards

ITV, 8.30pm

For the penultimate episode of this easygoing travelogue series, Joanna Lumley reminiscences about milking horses with Mongolian nomads, and listening the Mongolian throat singers.

The Truth About HIV

BBC One, 9.00pm

It’s not easy to forget the government’s “Don’t Die of Ignorance” campaign of the Eighties and its tombstone with “AIDS” chiselled onto it. Dr Chris van Tulleken explores the latest treatments for the virus and wonders if HIV could ever be eradicated for ever. Meanwhile, Elton John discusses the initial stigma against gay men. Clive Morgan

Master of Photography

Sky Arts, 8.00pm

The search for Europe’s best photographer is back for a second series. In the first episode, the contestants go to Ragusa, Sicily, where they must capture the essence of the city in a single picture. 

Jago: A Life Underwater

BBC Four, 9.00pm

It’s amazing what people are able to do as they get older, but no one is quite like Rohani. As an 80-year-old, he shuffles around but, once he hits the water, the Indonesian hunter can dive to great depths on a single breath to catch his prey. This documentary tells his incredible story.

Mommy Dead and Dearest: The Story of Dee Dee

Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

In June 2015, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, then 23 and wheelchair-bound, was found guilty of her mother Dee Dee’s murder. The bizarre twist is that Gypsy Rose is not disabled, but was forced to pretend she was from childhood. With exclusive access to Gypsy Rose in prison, this documentary explores the stranger-than-fiction story. CM

Thursday About Time (2013)  ★★★☆☆

Film4, 6.40pm 

This likeable Richard Curtis comedy-drama takes its director’s usual nervy, British trappings and adds  a sci-fi spin. Domnhall Gleeson plays Tim, a time-traveller who uses his gifts to woo the girl of his dreams (Rachel McAdams). All of Curtis’s usual romantic beats are here, but the heart of the film lies in the relationship between Tim and his father (Bill Nighy).

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)  ★★★☆☆

Film4, 9.00pm 

Orlando Bloom proves a lumpen hero in this epic action film, but, even on a bad day, director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) does wars of the ancient world better than most. In among the big-budget battling, you can just about make out the tale of a French blacksmith (Bloom) sucked into the 12th-century Crusades to fight against the awesome Saladin.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)  ★★★☆☆

ITV4, 10.30pm 

Robert Rodriguez directs Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay, while Tarantino himself appears as criminal Seth Gecko in this black comedy horror thriller. Seth and his calculating sibling (George Clooney) kidnap a pastor (Harvey Keitel) and his children, but before they can make it to their safe-house, they find themselves in a bar filled with vampires.

 

Friday 26 May

Hampton Court Palace Credit: David Rose

Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Given a measured narration by actor Sam West and bearing the unmistakable bombast of a PBS documentary, this survey of Hampton Court and its tumultuous history inevitably spends plenty of time on the very familiar story of Henry VIII, the Reformation, his six wives, and so on. We begin with its construction as a home for Cardinal Wolsey that was hijacked by the monarch. The real interest lies in stories of the architecture (the woodwork holds an enduring, secret tribute to Anne Boleyn), the anecdotes (those working by Henry’s kitchen furnace were given an unlimited beer allowance) and, to a lesser degree, the enjoyably gossipy post-Tudor history of the palace.

Taken on by William III and Mary II, it was partially revamped by Christopher Wren, using Versailles as a template, with funds proving insufficient to finish the job. While its swansong as a royal residence had  a grubby Georgian postscript, its extravagant glory remains both accessible and undiminished. The chin-stroking reconstructions are kept to a minimum, and the contributors are top-notch, led by Suzannah Lipscomb, Lucy Worsley and historian Jonathan Foyle. Gabriel Tate

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

BBC Two, from 3.45pm

Play School alumna-turned-political peer Floella Benjamin talks about how to bring in the next generation of gardeners, and Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison explains how to encourage wildlife in gardens as the BBC’s coverage continues.

The Andrew Neil Interviews: Jeremy Corbyn

BBC One, 7.00pm; not Wales

The Labour leader is Neil’s final guest of the week: after a fairly chaotic campaign, this presents a much-needed opportunity for Corbyn to deliver his message sans spin or perceived sabotage.

Have I Got News for You

BBC One, 9.00pm

Comedian Henning Wehn and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter are the familiar faces on the panel, but the real draw for this edition is Ed Balls – with the election drawing near and his own career caught somewhere between politics and light-entertainment post-Strictly, the former Chancellor should prove a lively choice as host.

The Queen Mary: Our Royals at Sea

Channel 5, 9.00pm

Rob Bell explores how one ship – albeit one of the greatest ocean liners ever built – helped to lift a nation deep in an economic depression, and examines how it came to represent the peak of style and elegance in the Thirties. GT

Brian Johnson’s Life on the Road

Sky Arts, 9.00pm

Def Leppard went from humble beginnings to become one of the biggest acts in the world by the late Eighties. Frontman Joe Elliott talks to the AC/DC singer about the highs of the Pyromania and Hysteria albums, as well as alcoholism and the death of guitarist Steve Clark.

Jamestown

Sky1, 9.00pm

The community is thrown into disarray by rumours of a nearby gold mine, while Jocelyn’s (Naomi Battrick) shadowy past risks being exposed, as the evocative costume drama continues.

Sharon Osbourne Presents Rock ’N’ Roll’s Dodgiest Deals

BBC Four, 10.00pm

In this entertaining hour, Sharon Osbourne tells stories of how artists, exploited by unscrupulous managers and tight-fisted record companies, began to turn the tables. Among the tales is why her father, music manager Don Arden, dangled his rival Robert Stigwood out of a window. GT

War Machine (2017) 

Netflix, from today

This new comedy, debuting on Netflix, stars Brad Pitt as overly confident army general Glen McMahon, a fictional character based on the real-life General Stanley McChrystal, who charges into Afghanistan on a mission to win the war, as a journalist threatens to take him down. It’s directed by Animal Kingdom’s David Michôd, and co-stars Ben Kingsley, Will Poulter and Tilda Swinton.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)  ★★★☆☆

Sky Cinema Premiere, 8.00pm 

During its Nineties run, the fashion-industry satire was something weirder and spikier that belonged neither to the Thatcher years, nor Cool Britannia. Hapless fashion PR Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and her basilisk-like hanger-on Patsy (Joanna Lumley) make a strong comeback here, with help from their famous pals.

The Railway Man (2013)  ★★★☆☆

More4, 9.00pm

Colin Firth is beautifully cast as the late memoirist and former British Army officer Eric Lomax, who related his experiences as a PoW in his book of the same name. Jonathan Teplitzy’s fusty yet soulful adaptation sees Lomax’s best friend (Stellan Skarsgård) and future wife (Nicole Kidman) slowly  coax him into revisiting his wartime experiences, and his torture by the Japanese.

 

Television previewers

Catherine Gee, Sarah Hughes, Clive Morgan, Gerard O'Donovan, Patrick Smith, Gabriel Tate and Rachel Ward

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