What’s on TV tonight: Barrymore: The Body in the Pool, Edgar Wright: Life Cinematic and more

Telegraph Reporters
Barrymore: the Body in the Pool - Shutterstock

Thursday 5 February

Barrymore: The Body in the Pool

Channel 4, 9.00pm

It can be hard to recall how huge a star Michael Barrymore once was. Now generally only sighted on reality television (Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice), he was a fixture of prime-time TV to rank alongside Bruce Forsyth or Bob Monkhouse. Anchoring game shows and riding out tabloid tittle-tattle around his addiction issues and sexuality, he was venturing into edgier fare through Larry Sanders-esque comedy Bob Martin (presciently, about a fading light-ent star). Then, on March 31, 2001, the police were called to his property after the body of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock was found in his swimming pool following a party.

The exact sequence of events has remained a mystery, but Tom Barrow’s documentary gathers material that has never before been made public and talks to people involved in the investigation, including detectives and witnesses, to piece together exactly what happened. Lubbock’s family also discuss Stuart’s life and the impact of media intrusion into their lives. As for Barrymore, whose story is told without him making any direct contributions, it’s another grisly chapter in an ultimately sad life and moribund career. GT

Secrets of the Museum

BBC Two, 8.00pm

A stately, fascinating new series rummaging through the treasures of the Victoria and Albert Museum begins with a handmade children’s toy, the identity of a mysterious woman on an ornate 18th-century snuffbox and the pick of the items from special exhibitions devoted to Christian Dior and Kylie Minogue. GT  

Death in Paradise

BBC One, 9.00pm

An all-star cast assembles for the arrival of Ralf Little’s DI Neville Parker on Saint Marie, as a young woman (Chanel Creswell) is found electrocuted in her bathtub. Could her own father (Steve Pemberton) or his new wife (Samantha Bond) be responsible? GT  

Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls

BBC Two, 9.00pm

The former Shadow Chancellor crunches the numbers in tonight’s conclusion to his engaging travelogue, assessing the impact of the financial crash on poor and rich Italian and French people alike. GT

Inside the Crown: Secrets of the Royals

ITV, 9.00pm

The rather disappointing documentary series moves on to the many trials endured by the Queen in her long reign, from national tragedies (Aberfan, Grenfell) to more personal losses (the deaths of Lord Mountbatten, the Duke of Windsor and Diana, Princess of Wales). GT

Edgar Wright: Life Cinematic

BBC Four, 9.00pm

The Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver director talks to this newspaper’s film critic Robbie Collin about his filmic influences, which include Carrie, 1930s Dick Powell musical Dames and, more recently, George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. GT  

My Favourite Shapes

Sky Comedy/NOW TV, 9.00pm

This one-off special by Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres more or less defines “niche”, but it uses a show-and-tell format to make sharp observations about everything from Happy Meal toys and crystals to water filters and The Flintstones. GT  

Madam Secretary

Sky Witness/NOW TV, 10.00pm

Peter Frampton and the US women’s football team are among the guests assembling to see out Elizabeth McCord’s final term in office (and star Téa Leoni’s sixth and final season in the pedestrian political drama), as she launches one final initiative. GT

Yentl (1983) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 3.05pm

This musical by Broadway and Hollywood star Barbra Streisand was 15 years in the making and has a self-importance to match, which it just about earns. Yentl (Streisand) is an Ashkenazi Jewish girl living in Poland in 1904. Her father helps her to secretly study the Talmud, and after his death, she decides to disguise herself as a man and strike her own path. It’s a queer mixture of comedy and feminist provocation.

Creed (2015) ★★★★★

Channel 5, 10.00pm

Think of this as Rocky Rebooted. Michael B Jordan plays the downtrodden son of Sylvester Stallone’s original challenger, Apollo Creed, in this great-looking and invigorating return to the series, which pumps new blood into the whole formula. Oscar-nominated Stallone is on touching and redoubtable form, but it’s the knockout showmanship of director Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) that’ll get you whooping.

Poor Cow (1967) ★★★☆☆

Talking Pictures TV, 12.05am

Nobody goes to Ken Loach films for a pick-me-up, but Poor Cow is among the most gruelling of the lot. Carol White plays Joy, a mother in London whose aggressive husband is sent to jail; she sets up with his friend Dave (Terence Stamp), but things keep sliding. White gives the film a compassionate glow, while Loach provides non-judgmental empathy. The plot drifts a little, but never drags.

Friday 6 February

Rula Lenska, William Roache and Sally-Ann Matthews in Coronation Street

Coronation Street

ITV, 7.30pm

Blackpool has never been the happiest of places for Coronation Street stalwart Rita Fairclough (Barbara Knox), who infamously saw her relationship with the murderous Alan Bradley (Mark Eden) come to a shocking end when he was hit by a tram there in 1989. Bradley’s death marked the conclusion of one of the soap’s most celebrated plot lines, so it’s no surprise to see the current writers paying sly homage to it for this 10,000th episode. Rita learns that her most recent husband Dennis Tanner (black sheep son of Elsie) has died and asked that she scatter his ashes… in Blackpool.

Undaunted Jenny Connor (Sally Ann Matthews), who is, lest we forget, the daughter of the long-dead evil Alan, decides that it’s a great excuse for a day trip and assembles a motley crew of Corrie favourites including Ken Barlow (William Roache), his daughter Tracy (Kate Ford) and her daughter Amy (Elle Mulvaney), Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) and Carla Connor (Alison King) to join the ride. What happens next is strictly confidential but producer Iain Macleod has promised plenty of trademark wit and wisdom in a fitting celebration of why this soap above all others continues to thrive. SH

Locke & Key

Netflix, from today

Based on the cult graphic novel by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, Netflix’s latest drama is the atmospheric tale of the Locke family who relocate from Seattle to Massachusetts following their father’s murder. But the family mansion is no ordinary home and before long the Lockes are drawn into a promising story of magical keys, well-dwelling demons, disappearance and grief. SH  

Our Coast

BBC Two, 8.30pm; not Wales

The BBC’s latest travelogue, which begins in Merseyside, packs a lot in. Among the highlights are Emma D’Abiri’s potted history and Joe Lindsay’s emotional interview with a war veteran. The biggest question, however, is whether Adrian Chiles can resist singing Ferry Cross the Mersey. SH    


ITV, 9.00pm

The James Norton-led heyday may be in the past, but Grantchester remains an enjoyable mix of cosy and angst-ridden vicarage drama. Tonight, a boxing match at Vic’s (Ross Boatman) gym leads to a reckoning for Will (Tom Brittney). SH

Public Enemy

Sky Atlantic/NOW TV, 9.00pm and 10.10pm

The first series of this Belgian crime drama offered an intriguing tale of sin and redemption, centred around the arrival of convicted child killer Guy Béranger (Angelo Bison) in a close-knit community in the Ardennes. This second series, which promises to be just as addictive, is set two years later and sees local investigator Chloé Muller (Stéphanie Blanchoud) turning reluctantly to Béranger after a missing person’s case unearths links to her own sister’s disappearance. SH

King Gary

BBC One, 9.30pm; Wales, 11.25pm

Despite the warmth of leading man Tom Davis, this suburban sitcom is still struggling to find the right tone. Tonight, Gary Jnr (Davis) tries to organise the perfect day out for father Big Gary (Simon Day), with predictable results. SH

Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotland

BBC Two, 9.30pm

Comedian Frankie Boyle offers a coastal tour of a very different kind in this acerbic new series. He kicks off in Aberdeenshire, then travels to the hippy paradise of Findhorn, takes the ferry to Mull and delivers an inspired monologue linking Jimmy Savile to the Glencoe Massacre. Not for those who prefer their comedy clean. SH

Cricket: South Africa v England

Sky Sports Main Event/Cricket, 10.30am

The one-day series moves onto Durban, for the second game in the trio. In an odd quirk, both of the most recent ODIs between the sides at this ground (2005 and 2009) were abandoned due to incessant rain.

Golf: Victorian Open

Sky Sports Main Event/Golf, 4.00am

The European Open is as far from home as possible, arriving in south Australia for its latest tournament. David Law was victorious last year, with his first Tour win. Get up early to see the opening round, and stay tuned as the PGA Tour returns to California for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (4pm). Phil Mickelson won for the fifth time last year.

Robin and Marian (1976) ★★★★★

Film4, 1.15pm

Sean Connery gives one of the best performances of his career as a middle-aged Robin Hood, who heads home to Sherwood Forest after the death of Richard I. He finds that scaling a castle wall isn’t as easy as it used to be, Maid Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is still miffed at being left in the lurch, and the Sheriff (Robert Shaw) is up to his old tricks in Richard Lester’s good-natured romance. Look out for Ronnie Barker as Friar Tuck.

Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1955) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 3.35pm

American playwright John Patrick adapted Han Suyin’s autobiographical novel for this romantic drama. Set in 1949 Hong Kong, it sees an American reporter (William Holden) falling in love with widowed Eurasian doctor Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones). Suyin’s disapproving relatives and Hong Kong’s strict laws force the couple to carry on their affair in secret. It’s a tender film if a little schmaltzy.

Southside with You (2016) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 11.45pm

This clear-eyed and rather charming romantic comedy provides a semi-fictional account of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date in Chicago, 1989 (they went for ice cream and a movie). It begs you to unpick every line for echoes of the future, and it’s to writer-director Richard Tanne’s credit – and his leads, Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter – that the film still thrives (even if we know where it’s going).

Television previewers

Vicki Power (VP), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Gabriel Tate (GT), Sarah Hughes (SH), Toby Dantzic (TD)