Thursday’s TV tips

NATURE: The Zoo (RTE One, 7pm)

This season, this magical show captures the happenings of the Zoo over ten episodes during an incredibly exciting time for all involved there!

There’s great excitement for Gerry and the team at the elephant habitat as a calf is born to 17 year old female Asian elephant Yasmin.

The zookeepers are hopeful that Marlon, a recently arrived West African chimpanzee, will become the new alpha male and breed with the Zoo’s resident females. However, how will the current alpha male Austin take to the newest addition to the troop?

And the keepers step in to help hand rear some recently hatched flamingo chicks

COMEDY: The Big Bang Theory (E4, 8.30pm)

Eddie Redmayne recently won an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, but the genuine article is building up quite a respectable acting CV of his own.

As well as a recent appearance on Comic Relief and a classic cameo in The Simpsons, Hawking has also cropped up in America’s most successful physics-based sitcom, and he’s making a return visit this week, as Leonard and Sheldon publish a paper.

It’s generally well received, but there is one dissenting voice in the form of an online bully, who makes some very insulting comments. And regular viewers know how well Sheldon handles criticism...

Meanwhile, the girls are dwelling on past humiliations, as they confront some of their most embarrassing moments during a night in. It’s common knowledge that Penny starred in the low-budget horror movie, Serial Ape-ist, and the sequel Serial Ape-ist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill, but what dark secrets have Bernadette and Amy been hiding?

DOCUMENTARY: Gypsy Child Traicers (3e, 9pm)

Gypsy Child Traffickers investigates the large scale trafficking and exploitation of children by Romanian Gypsy gangs across Europe.

This new criminal phenomenon has shocked police forces across the continent and has led to the formation of the first police Joint Investigative Team (JIT) in the UK - a British-Romanian operation financed by the European Commission that specifically targets Gypsy organised crime.

Featuring interviews with politicians, social services, NGOs and law enforcement agencies, Panorama examines the difficulties and the implications of targeting a crime with specific cultural connotations for an ethnic group in a Europe where racism is on the rise and the fate of immigrant Romanian Gypsies has become a strong political card in the hands of right-wing politicians.

HEALTH: The Truth About Medicine (BBC1, 9pm)

Although there are some people who would try to struggle on without painkillers even if their arm was hanging off, for many of us, the first thing we do when we’re struck down by a minor ailment is to head for the local pharmacy.

In fact, the people of Britain spend £2.3billion a year on over-the-counter medicines. However, in this documentary, Chris van Tulleken sets out to find out whether we are wasting our money, and if we’d be better off just putting up with the sniffles or turning to a home remedy.

As well as seeing how well honey and lemon holds up against actual cough syrups, he’ll be looking at how popular medicines actually work and investigating some common health myths.

FILM: The Cabin in the Woods (5*, 9pm)

(2012) Bookish college student Dana is looking forward to a jaunt into the great outdoors with blonde friend Jules, her jock boyfriend Curt, and bong-smoking slacker Marty.

Curt invites along his shy, sensitive buddy Holden, principally as a date for Dana, and the five thrill-seekers head into the mountains to a remote log cabin.

Meanwhile, deep within an underground bunker, scientists Richard Sitterson and Steve Hadley stare at CCTV screens, which seem to be following the progress of the students towards a grisly fate.

This meta chiller attempts to reinvigorate the horror genre with a slick tale of college kids in peril that is three parts bonkers to one part twisted genius.

Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Brian White

COMEDY: Inside No 9 (BBC2, 10pm)

Like most things that have come from the League of Gentlemen stable, the darkly funny Inside No 9 should appeal almost as much to horror buffs as comedy fans.

Both groups are in for a treat with this instalment, which features an appearance by David Warner, whose impressive CV includes everything from The Omen to Steve Martin’s The Man With Two Brains.

He’s guest starring as Sir Andrew Pike, who summons two of England’s most notorious witchfinders to the aptly named village of Little Happens, where Elizabeth Gadge stands accused of consorting with the Devil.

As far as most of the locals are concerned, it’s the most exciting development since a cow got loose, but for the apparently defenceless Elizabeth, there’s a lot more at stake than just a chance for a gossip. If she’s found guilty, she could be burned alive.

Paul Kaye and Ruth Sheen are also joining in the grisly fun.

FILM: Soldier (ITV4, 10pm)

(1998) Todd is an ageing elite soldier who was raised to be a remorseless killing machine – but he’s about to replaced by a new generation of even more ruthless genetically engineered warriors.

After being left for dead by one of the new breed, Todd is dumped on a desolate planet, only to find that it is populated by a peaceful community who give him his first taste of something resembling a normal life.

So, when the new generation of super soldiers invade, Todd feels compelled to defend his new friends.

Although it includes plenty of action movie cliches, it’s still a fun sci-fi thriller with some decent setpieces.

It also has a great leading performance from Kurt Russell, who certainly looks the part – he spent 18 months getting into shape for the role – but also makes Todd oddly likeable.

Starring: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaacs, Connie Nielsen, Sean Pertwee, Gary Busey

FILM: 10 Little Indians (ITV3, 12.35am)

(1974) Ten strangers are summoned to a hotel in the middle of an Iranian desert, where they discover that despite their very different backgrounds, they have something in common – they all got away with murder.

However, it seems their mysterious host is determined to see justice is done, as the guests are picked off one by one.

The remaining members of the group search the hotel for the killer, but are eventually forced to face the possibility that the murderer is amongst them...

Agatha Christie’s novel (which is also known as And Then There Were None, as well as a title that would certainly not be used today) has a brilliantly simple premise, and this film makes the most of it.

It may be dated, but it’s also very efficient, and Oliver Reed, Richard Attenborough and Herbert Lom inject some personality into what could have been two-dimensional characters.

Starring: Oliver Reed, Richard Attenborough, Elke Sommer, Herbert Lom, Gert Frobe, Adolfo Celi, Stephane Audran, Charles Aznavour

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