Sunday’s TV tips

Sunday’s TV tips

ART: The Big Painting Challenge (BBC1, 6pm)

Sunday’s TV tips

Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon are not the first duo you’d think of to host such a show; they may lack the dynamic of old mates Mel and Sue on The Great British Bake Off for example, but they certainly don’t detract from this rather similar strand.

The GBBO format may have been adhered to slavishly, but for those of us who love sketching and painting, it still makes for perfect teatime viewing.

Now it’s the grand final, and the four surviving artists set up their easels at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

They are asked to capture a sense of Britain’s seafaring heritage. They also need to deliver a quick sketch of a platoon of naval cadets marching on the parade ground, and then the final painting of the competition, in which they have to capture the atmosphere of Dartmouth harbour, will help judges Daphne Todd and Lachlan Goudie decide the winner.

DRAMA: Poldark (BBC1, 9pm)

We’re not saying that this sexed-up version of the classic novels has stuck to a few well-worn cliches over the past few weeks, but it’s easy to tick off a checklist of reliable tropes in each episode.

There’s plenty of shots of horses galloping along cliff tops, lingering looks from the eponymous hero, and inevitably a sense of poignancy over the much missed Warren Clarke.

In the latest offering, the locals are stunned by news of Ross and Demelza’s marriage.

However, Charles’s reaction is the most unexpected of all as his amusement at the situation brings on another heart attack.

Meanwhile, Verity befriends her cousin’s new bride and begins training her in the art of being a lady – essential skills when the couple are invited to spend Christmas with the Trenwith Poldarks.

As ever, Aidan Turner makes a few hearts beat faster as the smouldering hero, while good support comes from Eleanor Tomlinson, Phil Davis and Beatie Edney.

DOCUMENTARY: Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity (BBC2, 9pm)

In the second of his two-part strand, the eponymous reporter meets more NGRI (Not guilty by reason of Insanity) patients in Cincinnati, Ohio, who have been detained for treatment rather than punishment.

“This week I’d be going deeper inside the forensic world, getting to know patients whose personalities are so intertwined with their illness, it makes them more difficult to treat,” explains Louis. “I’d be meeting clinicians grappling with the grey area between criminal actions and medical symptoms”.

Theroux will also be exploring the ’blurred line’ that defines what we consider insanity. In the first few minutes Louis oversees Brian, a patient having his monthly meeting with his treatment team.

He tends to get pre-occupied with religion, with poor sleep and eating patterns. At first sight he seems like just another troubled inmate, until Louis tells us Brian had first been admitted to prison 20 years earlier after killing his mother.

MAGIC: Troy (E4, 9pm)

In these days of hi-tech jiggery pokery, when every imaginable visual feat seems capable with a few clicks of a mouse, it’s remarkable that the humble magician still carries so much clout.

But when you have charismatic folks like Britain’s Got Talent contestant Darcy Oake, and the eponymous star of this show performing in-your-face magic, it’s often hard not to be slack of jaw.

Sadly this is the last in the current series, but Troy has no shortage of sights to amaze.

Aside from leaving two unsuspecting music lovers in a London vinyl record store dazzled, he displays more skills during a holiday break in Barcelona with friends.

At Park Guell he becomes a conjuring currency converter, and also astounds holidaymakers on the beach.

And if that’s not enough to amaze and delight, he finishes off by wowing football fans with his ultimate prediction at Barcelona FC’s legendary stadium, the Nou Camp.

DRAMA: Indian Summers (Channel 4, 9pm)

Given the fact Channel 4 produces so little drama, there’s little wonder that when they do have a lavish new series like this, they plug it like there’s no tomorrow.

And let’s face it, any TV drama with Julie Walters usually lives up to the hype.

In the latest offering, there’s a frisson in the air as Simla prepares for the annual amateur dramatic performance.

However, things soon turn a little Midsomer Murders.

The production of The Importance of Being Earnest is overshadowed by the news that the body of a murder victim has been discovered in the river.

When Gandhi announces a hunger strike, Ralph (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) comes under increasing pressure, and Ian (Alexander Cobb) accidentally points the finger of blame for the murder at a close friend.

Meanwhile, Aafrin (Nikesh Patel) is stunned when Sergeant Singh (Sudarshan Chandra Kumar) asks him about the missing evidence.

FILM: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Channel 5, 9pm)

(2013) The fairytale brother and sister are all grown up and are now renowned witch hunters, equipped with advanced weaponry to battle the supernatural.

It’s their latest case that’s proving a problem, as they face a powerful sorceress stealing children for an arcane ritual, and they soon make a discovery about their own past.

With a cast including Gemma Arterton, Jeremy Renner and the brilliant Famke Janssen, how could it not be?

This grown-up version of the fairytale scores points for a brilliant script, some superbly done fight scenes and great direction from Tommy Wirkola. It’s not the most intelligent offering of the week, but perfect for sitting back and adjusting the brain in to neutral.

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Jeremy Renner, Famke Janssen.

FILM: Perrier’s Bounty (TV3, 10pm)

(2009) Brendan Gleeson leads an all-star Irish cast including Cillian Murphy, Gabriel Byrne and Liam Cunningham in this Irish Crime Comedy.

An ordinary guy gets himself in an extraordinary amount of trouble in this blend of comedy and action from director Ian Fitzgibbon. Michael McCrea (Murphy) is a regular guy who isn't especially good with money, which leads him to borrow some money from Perrier (Gleeson), a local loan shark and strong-arm man.

Unfortunately, Michael isn't able to pay back the money on schedule, and he quickly learns that Perrier is one man you don't want angry; now there's a price on Michael's head and he needs to pay his debt quickly if he wants to live.

Michael accepts a proposal from a small-time hood to do a quick breaking-and-entering job in exchange for part of the loot, but things go very wrong and somehow the neighbour girl Michael is sweet on, Brenda (Jodie Whittaker), ends up shooting someone.

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Gabriel Byrne, Liam Cunningham.

DOCUMENTARY: Would you Believe? (RTE One, 10.35pm)

Sunday’s TV tips

None of us knows how we would react to a diagnosis of terminal illness in a child but Tony and Mary Heffernan were not only faced with that nightmare once but twice, when by some cruel twist of fate, both of their children were found to have an extremely rare congenital neurological disease called Batten’s.

Since then, the Heffernan’s have been tireless in their efforts to help other parents and children who have found themselves in the same dreadful situation.

They have founded three organisations: Bee for Battens, Bumbleance and Liam’s Lodge, now all under the banner of The Saoirse Foundation. Their work in this area was recognised last year when they were given a prestigious People of the Year award.

In this episode of WYB, this remarkable couple talk frankly about how they are trying to steer through the pain and loss they are experiencing. Tony continues to work diligently in the charities they have founded in their children’s honour and they are both now also involved in forming government policy for the national rare disease plan for Ireland.

FILM: Step Brothers (Channel 5, 10.50pm)

(2008) A pair of fortysomethings (Will Ferrell and John C Reilly) who possess the mental age of adolescents are forced to live together in this comedy of escalating sibling rivalry.

These two idiot savants bicker incessantly, threatening physical violence until unexpectedly discovering common ground: favourite dinosaurs, a shared hatred of younger brother Derek, and musical talent.

The pairing of Ferrell and Reilly is a genius one – and will have you rolling about your living room in no time.

Of course, they do have form, having previously worked together on Talladega Nights, and it’s a credit to their acting skills that watching them feels like being in the presence of two best mates mucking about.

Kudos must also go to Adam Scott, who steals the show as their over-achieving younger brother. One of the better comedies of the week.

Starring: Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Adam Scott, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins

FILM: The French Connection (Channel 4, 1.20am)

(1971) Two tough New York cops try to bust an international drugs ring after learning that heroin is being shipped in from France.

Their investigation leads them to a sweet shop that’s been selling more than candy, but for one of the officers in particular the case is becoming an obsession, and he doesn’t care how many rules he has to bend to get results.

Viewers seeing The French Connection for the first time might think the plot is rather cliched, but that’s because it inspired so many other TV shows and films.

Although most people remember the iconic car chase, the gritty drama also boasts an extraordinary performance by Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle, and an impressive supporting cast. No wonder it picked up five Oscars.

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frederic De Pasquale, Bill Hickman

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