Curfew, Endeavour, Gogglebox - what to watch on TV tonight, Saturday, and Sunday
Pat Stacey has trawled the weekend schedules to find the best of what's on TV so you don't have to...
Someone will eventually write a futuristic drama in which the world hasn’t turned into a hellish dystopia. In the meantime, there’s Curfew (Sky 1, 9pm), set in an authoritarian London riven by a zombie-style virus, where nightly lockdowns are the norm.
The only means of escape is competing in an illegal street race, which could lead to a new life on a private island owned by a mysterious billionaire.
Among those risking their lives are Sean Bean’s mechanic, Adrian Lester’s family man and Phoebe Fox’s ambulance driver. The cast also includes Miranda Richardson and Billy Zane in what sounds like a cross between Death Race 2000, The Fast and the Furious, and 28 Days Later.
Friday night usually guarantees a good music-related documentary. Tonight, we’re spoiled by having two. First up is the feature-length Score (BBC4, 9pm), Matt Schrader’s wonderful look a the history of the movie music score and its greatest exponents, including Max Steiner (King Kong, Casablanca and many more) and Bernard Herrmann, whose first film score was Citizen Kane, and last, the alternately gorgeous and menacing Taxi Driver. In between, he did the scores for some of Hitchcock’s finest, including Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.
A glittering array of contributors includes Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, John Williams, Quincy Jones, Trent Reznor and James Cameron.
On the same channel, immediately after, there’s the final two instalments of The Defiant Ones (10.30pm and 11.10pm), which brings the story of Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s remarkable partnership up to date with their £3bn deal with Apple.
What’s kept Gogglebox (Channel 4, 9pm) fresh and entertaining is the willingness of the producers to shake up the roster of armchair critics. There are departures and new arrivals for this 13th season; luckily, favourites like the Siddiquis and Giles and Mary are still in situ.
Stand-up comedy shows are far cheaper to produce than sitcoms, so it’s no surprise to find ITV, which recently announced it was giving up producing sitcoms altogether, getting in on the act.
The supposed twist with Out There (UTV/ITV, 10.25pm) is that it features comics including Milton Jones, Kerry Godliman and Tom Allen getting away from the stage and cracking jokes in places like pubs and parks. Different setting, same old shtick.
New documentary The Golden Pharaoh (National Geographic, 8pm) is the centrepiece of the channel’s Egypt-themed night. For a change, it doesn’t ruin the fascinating story of Howard Carter’s extraordinary excavation of over 5,000 items from Tutankhamun’s intact tomb with cheesy reconstructions.
Experts move Tut’s treasures to a museum near the pyramids and use the latest technology to forensically examine them. There are genuine revelations, not least that the long-held notion that Tut was a weak boy king is far from the truth.
Peter Jackson’s magnificent They Shall Not Grow Old seems to have sparked a renewed craze for colourising old footage. Edwardian Britain in Colour (Channel 5, 8pm) focuses on working-class Britons and reveals that their lives weren’t as drab as the old black-and-white footage we’re used to seeing suggests.
The snippets are accompanied by the testimony of people whose forbears bequeathed their stories of working in the factories, markets, mines and mills of the era.
It would be unfair to describe the pace of Icelandic crime drama Trapped (BBC4, 9pm and 9.50pm) as glacial. It’s much slower.
Lumbering detective Andri Olafsson is roused out of his lethargy tonight, however, when far-right group, Hammer of Thor, step up their activities from spraying racist graffiti to abduction.
Has Sunday night ever been stronger on drama? If you haven’t been following Endeavour (UTV/ITV, 9pm) — which, by the way, Virgin Media 1 shows on Wednesdays — you’ve been denying yourself the best season so far. Morse (Shaun Evans) has to contend with five murders. Riskily, he dates one of the suspects.
The final (head) shot of last week’s Baptiste (BBC1, 9pm) was a real gobsmacker, showing that Stratton (Tom Hollander) is very much not an uncle searching for his missing niece. Ah, but what is he? With writers the Williams brothers, you can never be sure until the end.
Traitors (Channel 4, 9pm) hasn’t yet hit the heights of BBC2’s under-appreciated The Game. But the period trappings are rich and I’m a sucker for vintage espionage thrillers, so it’s worth sticking with novice spy Feef’s (Emma Appleton) mission to root out communists in post-war Whitehall.
The final part of Africa with Ade Adepitan (BBC2, 9pm) is a distressing one for the presenter, who’s a wheelchair user. In Mozambique, Ade discovers many superstitious locals fear disability, believing it to be contagious.
There’s a lot of love on Twitter for Dermot Bannon’s Incredible Homes (RTE1, 9.30pm). Dear fellow licence payers... what the hell is WRONG with you?