ART COMPETITION: The Big Painting Challenge (BBC1, 6pm)
Ever since the Great British Bake Off, there’s been no shortage of programmes claiming to find Britain’s best amateur something-or-other, from chefs and sewers to interior designers and gardeners. We can hardly complain, though, as we love a good contest – and this latest such series, seeking out undiscovered artists, is proving to be properly entertaining.
In the second episode, nine budding Botticellis remain, and they face three tasks (a Signature, Technical and Showstopper perhaps?) on London’s Southbank before another is eliminated.
Their challenges this week are based around portraiture. First up, they must create a self-portrait using reflections, next they have to capture a stranger’s likeness in just 30 minutes, and finally they have a pair of Albert Square legends to portray, as EastEnders’ Rudolph Walker (Patrick Trueman) and Pam St Clement (Pat Butcher) sit for four hours.
But who will do enough to convince professional painters Daphne Todd and Lachlan Goudie that they deserve to remain for another week – and who will get the brush-off?
COMEDY: Pompidou (BBC2, 6.30pm)
Matt Lucas takes the lead in this oddball new sitcom series, which takes cues from the likes of Mr Bean – it’s almost a silent comedy, with its mumbled nonsensical dialogue, and is certainly somewhat slapstick in style.
Lucas plays the titular Pompidou, a penniless aristocrat living in a clapped-out caravan parked in the grounds of his large, tumbledown estate. In this week’s opening edition, Pompidou, along with his butler Hove and their Afghan hound Marion, is feeling hungry – but with no food and no money to spend on such things, they end up having to resort to desperate measures.
Despite his declining circumstances, it seems the impoverished posho still has no trouble exploiting his staff, and sure enough it’s Hove who ends up in a tight spot when the plan goes sideways.
Alex Macqueen and Roy Barraclough also star, but frankly it’s puppet pooch Marion who steals the show away from the live-action actors.
HIDDEN CAMERA COMEDY: Off Their Rockers (UTV, 7.30pm)
This series may revolve around ladies and gentlemen of a certain age, however the fact it’s back for a third prime-time series already suggests that the format is still in the first flushes of youth, even if its cast members aren’t. Mind you, their somewhat advancing age does belie a certain youthful spirit and a mischievous streak which is what makes the show so entertaining.
Tonight, the senior citizens begin their latest nine-part run by surprising more members of the public, as Seb tries his best to offload some cheap suits to some unsuspecting passers-by, while Mo blazes a trail on his mobility scooter - wreaking havoc as he goes – and Sonia tries to get some help with a crossword clue. But who knows what the younger generation will make of their antics.
If wisdom doesn’t come with age, then how come these silver-haired jokers are able to get one over the younger generation time and again?
PERIOD DRAMA: Call the Midwife (BBC1, 8pm)
Usually in the maternity home, the water breaking means only one thing – but this week it’s actually a plumbing-related type of issue which has lead to a water shortage, and as a consequence the midwives are busier than ever and everyone has their work cut out keeping up with the flow.
Among those who end up coming through the doors at Nonnatus House are two former school friends, but while one is intent on renewing their old friendship, the other is not so keen to let bygones be bygones. However, when they’re thrust together in the most unlikely of circumstances, even her frosty demeanour soon begins to thaw.
Meanwhile, Sister Mary Cynthia is struggling to treat the bedsores of her patient Tommy Mills, and Tommy’s wife Gert may be in even more dire need than he - so when Barbara comes up with a revolutionary solution, it has a big impact.
DARTS: Let’s Pay Darts Live (BBC2, 9pm)
There’s always been something comical about darts and some of the game’s players. That stereotype of beer-swilling, overweight blokes aiming for the bull’s eye has long been the polar opposite of ripped athletes.
Now the mix of comedy and arrows is intentional in fundraiser Let’s Play Darts for Comic Relief (BBC2, 9pm).
Gabby Logan hosts the contest in which big names from the darts world join forces with celebs in a knockout tournament held at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, home of the BDO World Championships.
The question is: how will the likes of Lee Mack, Bob Mortimer, Sean Lock, Liza Tarbuck, Richard Osman, Roisin Conaty, Tim Vine and Martin Offiah get on?
DRAMA: The Casual Vacancy (BBC1, 9pm)
The three-part drama based on the novel by JK Rowling draws to a close tonight, as tensions in Pagford begin to reach fever pitch with the parish council election looming ever closer.
Those on both sides are beginning to step up their campaigns, as each know that the stakes are high with the fate of Sweetlove House hanging in the balance.
Which is all well and good, but not everyone is caught up in election fever. Miles, for example, is merely longing for a quiet life, and promises Samantha that as soon as the vote is over and done with, things will begin to cool off. She remains unconvinced, however.
As matters come to a head, there still feels like there’s a lot to wrap up - and when Krystal returns home to find Terri reverting to old ways, and the Ghost reveals Howard’s dark secret, it seems certain things will never be the same again.
Then, news of a tragedy leaves the whole community reeling...
FILM: Justice (TV3, 9pm)
(2001) Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce and January Jones star in this edge of you seat action thriller.
After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score.
Then he discovers they want a 'favor' from him in return.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones
FILM: Total Recall (Channel 5, 9pm)
(2012) A man living in a bleak future years after a nuclear war has fake memories of being a secret agent implanted into his brain.
However, the procedure uncovers the fact that he really is a spy with his memory erased, and he is forced to become a fugitive from the totalitarian government.
This remake of a great 1990 movie has its moments, but the over reliance on computer-generated special effects, and seemingly endless chases feel like you’re watching cut scenes from a computer game.
Colin Farrell is okay as the hero, while Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are pretty forgettable as the glamorous supporting characters.
At least Bryan Cranston adds plenty of substance as the villain of the piece.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho
CHAT: The Meaning of Life, with Gay Byrne (RTE One, 10.30pm)
This Sunday – St David’s Day – Gay Byrne’s guest on The Meaning of Life is, appropriately enough, a Welshman, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Dr Rowan Williams.
Dr Rowan Williams talks about his controversial time as Archbishop of Canterbury, his infamy in the tabloids over views on Islam and his deep personal faith with Gay Byrne in this week’s Meaning of Life.
Recorded in the home of the satirist and former Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Jonathan Swift, it’s a very wide-ranging, candid, thoughtful and, at times, funny interview with the former leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
FILM: Twelve Monkeys (Channel 5, 11.20pm)
(1995) In a future ravaged by disease, prisoner James Cole is sent back to 20th-century Philadelphia to stop the plague which will eventually wipe out much of the world. However, his mission is fraught with problems.
This is one of Terry Gilliam’s best movies. Bruce Willis is terrific as the troubled time traveller; Brad Pitt gives an Oscar-nominated performance as the animal activist he gets mixed up with, and Madeleine Stowe is sublime as Cole’s helpful love interest.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer.