FILM: Planet of the Apes (Channel 5, 6.50pm)
(2001) An astronaut crash-lands on a strange planet and is captured and enslaved by the ruling race of highly intelligent apes. Luckily, he is helped by a sympathetic chimpanzee – but then discovers a shocking secret.
Tim Burton’s multi-million dollar re-working of the Pierre Boulle novel and the classic 1968 movie promised much, but was beset by stupid touches.
Among them is a bonkers scene with Paul Giamatti as an Orang-Utan; an ancient space ship whose door opens first time, and a crash landing in Washington DC’s Reflecting Pool; it looks like the emerging pilot is stepping off a bus.
On the plus side, some of the effects and photography are great; Tim Roth is a superb villain, and Danny Elfman’s score is a treat.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth
SPORT: Live Darts (ITV4, 6.45pm)
The seventh staging of the Players Championship reaches a conclusion this evening at the Butlins Minehead Resort in Somerset, with the semi-finals and final.
This PDC event features the leading 32 players on the Order of Merit, and has, not surprisingly, been won by Phil Taylor on three occasions, although ’The Power’ had to settle for second place last year, as he lost in the final to Michael van Gerwen.
The 25-year-old from the Netherlands has established himself as Taylor’s leading challenger in recent seasons, and ’Mighty Mike’ was expected to be among the favourites this week.
Should both players have reached the final again, they will have some way to go to reproduce the quality of last year.
The format sees the semi-finals contested over the best of 19 legs, while the final will take place over the best of 21, as this year’s champion is crowned after three days of action.
GAME SHOW: Keep It in the Family (ITV, 7pm)
Bradley Walsh has become the go-to man for simple game-show fun. Telly’s leading lights know that he’s a safe, well-liked option, full of good clean humour, which is why this latest series has gone down a storm.
Alas, tonight it comes to an end, but the show is going out with the bang, as the Campbells go up against the Watkins family, with the help of familiar faces of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
There’s guaranteed to be plenty of laughs generated as Helen Flanagan, Katie Price, Joe Swash, Sinitta, Joe Pasquale and Kim Woodburn each hold a clue to a prize, with the family deciding whether to keep what’s hidden in their chosen box, or drop the star.
As usual, there’s just one catch – all the decisions will be left to the children, from deciding which family member plays each game, to choosing which prizes they will compete for.
Here’s hoping ITV are already on with planning another series...
DOCUMENTARY: The Great Wall of China: The Hidden Story – Secret History
(Channel 4, 8pm)
There’s a lot more to the Great Wall of China than bricks and mortar, and if you didn’t know all that much about it other than its got a rather iconic status in the world, you’re about to get a heck of a lot more clued up.
This one-off documentary reveals that the wall has guarded its secrets for over 2,800 years – because nobody knows exactly how long it is, how it was built or why it evolved. But this programme has access to the first nationwide survey and state-of-the-art drones to reveal the wall’s magnitude, and decodes its complex signals system.
Plus, the programme also reveals – which might shock some people – what exactly has kept the wall standing for so long: a simple cooking ingredient that can actually be found in most kitchens all over the world.
DOCUMENTARY: The Mekong River with Sue Perkins (BBC2, 8pm)
Ms Perkins is wrapping up the series, as she reaches her final destination - China, home to the source of the river.
It’s fair to say, this journey has been life-changing for the comedian/presenter, but it seems those behind this stunning series have saved the most scenic and awe-inspiring until last, as she follows the river through country’s wildest valleys. Sue also meets its indigenous people, including the Dai, whose traditional homes and water-splashing festival have become a ’Disneyfield’ attraction park for tourists. Sue then reaches the town of Baisha, which under the shadow of the Himalayas, is famous for its botanists and herbalists.
But Sue’s first taste of Tibetan life comes when she reaches the village of Cizhong, where she is immersed in the lives of a Tibetan family, and joins a group of nuns as they make an offering to the water gods for their protection.
FILM: The Expendables 2 (Channel 5, 9pm)
(2012) Barney Ross and his team – Lee Christmas, Yin Yang, Gunnar Jensen and expert marksman Bill The Kid – accept a new assignment from Mr Church.
What begins as a routine mission in “hostile territory” descends into bloodshed when rival mercenary Jean Vilain murders a member of the Expendables.
Grief turns to rage and the team recruits Maggie and old-timer Trench to boost its chances against Vilain and his thugs, who are in the process of selling five tonnes of abandoned plutonium to the highest bidder.
With heavy hearts and even heavier artillery, Barney and co venture behind enemy lines, determined to honour the memory of their fallen comrade.
Director Simon West’s explosive sequel makes little sense and offers no apologies for the flimsy plot, bombarding the screen with a succession of rip-snorting action set pieces.
Fans of 1980s action cinema will like it, but after a while it’s clear this all-star weapon of mass distraction is firing blanks in the script department.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger
COMEDY: Jimmy Carr: Laughing & Joking (Channel 4, 10pm)
Filmed in November 2013 at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, the award-winning funnyman performs his eighth live show, Laughing and Joking.
Carr has come a long way since some of his first television gigs for Channel 4, including Distraction and Your Face or Mine. He’s now on of the channel’s go-to guys for hosting duties and belly laughs a plenty.
These days, Jimmy Carr is so busy it’s a wonder he can even keep track of what day it is.
Between filming his many television projects (and being in demand for appearances on many other comedy panel shows), and performing live almost nightly all year long, Carr is definitely one of the most hard-working comics in the business.
It might not be for everyone, as he says, but the ratings don’t lie, and Carr certainly knows how to rake those viewers in time and time again – well, there’s a reason why Channel 4 favours so many episodes of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown – it never grows old.
So if people are worried about a television-less Carr over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, which is sure to pop up in the schedules soon enough.