Saturday’s TV tips

Saturday’s TV tips

FILM: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (ITV, 3.10pm)

(2001) In the first cinematic adaptation of JK Rowling’s wildly successful series of stories, we meet young Harry, an orphan whose life is made a misery by his aunt and uncle.

However, on his 11th birthday, everything changes – the boy discovers he’s a wizard and a place at Hogwarts magical boarding school awaits him.

There, he makes friends with fellow students Ron and Hermione, and learns more about his mysterious past – and dangerous future.

The series would get darker as it went along, but this is great all-round family entertainment and the perfect introduction to the saga.

The staff members are finely drawn – Alan Rickman in particular is a real stand-out as the sinister Professor Snape – and it made stars of the three child actors at the heart of the story. In fact, after watching them grow up in the roles, it’s a shock to be reminded just how young they were when it started.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith.


DANCE: Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 7pm)

Saturday’s TV tips

It’s been a while since we had a theme week on Strictly – unless you count Blackpool, you’d have to look all the way back to Halloween.

However, the ballroom bosses are about to correct that oversight as we are treated to the show’s first Around the World special.

Don’t worry though, the celebs aren’t being forced to abandon their usual Latin and ballroom routines in favour of folk dances from across the globe. On last week’s results show, Jake Wood revealed he would be dancing a Greek-themed Argentine tango, suggesting we’re in for something all together more weird and wonderful.

But how can Caroline, Frankie, Mark, Pixie and Simon compete with the prospect of EastEnders’ Max Branning smashing plates on the dancefloor? And can Sunetra avoid making it three weeks in a row in the dance-off?

We’re about to find out as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman (isn’t it nice to have her back?) welcome us to the ballroom.


MUSIC: The X Factor (TV3, 8pm)

Bob Geldof’s decision to release a new version of the Band Aid single has probably reduced the chances of this year’s X Factor winner following in Sam Bailey’s footsteps and bagging a Christmas number one – although ever since the great Rage Against the Machine incident of 2009, that hasn’t been a foregone conclusion for any of the victors.

However, the stakes are still high as the remaining contestants battle it out for a place in next week’s semi-final. They’d better not let the pressure show though, as Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh will be listening out for any cracks in their voices or forgotten lyrics.

Who will buckle under the strain, and who will come out on top?

Either way, at least they’re guaranteed a friendly word from host Dermot O’Leary.


FILM: The Inbetweeners Movie (Channel 4, 9pm)

(2011) Having turned 18, posh boy Will McKenzie and his mates Simon Cooper, Jay Cartwright and Neil Sutherland can escape the clutches of their school headmaster Mr Gilbert forever.

Determined to enjoy their freedom, they head off on a holiday to Crete, where Jay continues to spin ludicrous yarns about his sexual exploits.

The hormonally charged young men meet Alison, Jane, Lisa and Lucy, sparking romance and desire under the Mediterranean sun.

Like the TV series, this is often crude, rude, cringeworthy and laugh-out-loud funny. Writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris do a fine job, so little wonder they were also allowed to direct The Inbetweeners 2.

Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas, Anthony Head, Greg Davies


CULTURE: Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction (BBC2, 9.45pm)

In theory, science fiction is all about giving us a vision of the future, whether that involves us casually popping to other planets, or being enslaved by all-powerful computers.

But as Dominic Sandbrook points out in the second episode of this fascinating series, many iconic works of sci-fi also tell us a lot about the concerns and anxieties of the times they were created in, especially when it comes to the genre’s abiding obsession with alien invasion.

The presenter looks at what HG Wells’s War of the Worlds says about the challenges to Victorian imperial powers, as well as exploring the Cold War paranoia of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the concerns about racism and immigration raised by District 9.

And he’s got some experts on hand to help him, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind actor Richard Dreyfuss, Independence Day director Roland Emmerich and Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Steven Moffat, who will be celebrating the most fearsome invaders of them all, the Daleks.


FILM: The Sitter (Channel 4, 11pm)

(2012) A college student discovers that babysitting isn’t the breeze he thought it would be.

Noah lives with his mother at home, where he struggles to find purpose. He is forcibly persuaded to babysit for next-door neighbour Mrs Pedulla, leaving him in charge of her three dysfunctional kids: wild child Blithe, adopted son Rodrigo and the enigmatic Slater.

Soon after, Noah’s girlfriend Marisa telephones with the promise of a night to remember if he will agree to bring her some drugs to the party she is attending. So Noah bundles the children into Mrs Pedulla’s mini-van and heads into the night to buy a stash from dealer Karl.

A simple transaction escalates into a nightmare that Noah will never forget.

Jonah Hill has been on good form over the past couple of years, thanks to The Wolf of Wall Street, 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, and How To Train Your Dragon 2. Sadly this is a waste of his talents.

Worth one look, but then retire to a safe distance.

Starring: Jonah Hill, Landry Bender, Kevin Hernandez, Max Records, Erin Daniels, Sam Rockwell.

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