REALITY: From Burger Bar to Gourmet Star (Channel 4, 8pm)
Too many cooks spoil the broth, but that’s something Channel 4 are choosing to ignore entirely in this intriguing-sounding new series.
This programme pits a selection of fast food cooks with no formal training alongside some of the country’s most refined chefs. It provides them with the opportunity of a lifetime, as they will be fast-tracked through years of tough training in just weeks.
But here’s the catch – at the end of the process, they must pose as seasoned professionals, cooking in world-class kitchens.
In the first episode, burger-van owner Carl, who has a business on a lay-by off the A38, heads for the kitchen of perfectionist chef Daniel Clifford, at his two Michelin star restaurant Midsummer House.
Carl is put through his paces during 18-hour days, and with intense pressure and time away from his family, will he be able to pass himself off as one of Daniel’s best chefs at the renowned Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy?
DOCUMENTARY: My Big Fat Gypsy Fortune (TV3, 9pm)
Ever since the My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding phenomenon began, viewers have been asking: Where on earth does all the money come from?
With the focus on an extravagant wedding, this film reveals a community with its own unique customs and attitudes towards money.
We see how Travellers form some of the richest and poorest in society. At one end of the scale we meet 15 year-old Romany Gypsy Alfie Best, whose father is worth £100m+.
To make his own way in the world, Alfie has left school to sell paint door-to-door.
At the other end of the scale, George is a Romany Gypsy down on his luck.
We follow him as he goes ‘hawking’ as a travelling salesman. Dispelling common misconceptions, it shows how Travellers value hard work and financial self-sufficiency.
DRAMA: Ordinary Lies (BBC1, 9pm)
Men all over the country cried real tears at Tina McIntyre’s final fatal scenes in Coronation Street last year, devastated at the thought of not seeing Michelle Keegan in their living rooms three or four times a week.
But fear not, the actress pops up as the star of tonight’s Ordinary Lies, as party-loving receptionist Tracy.
She’s desperate to escape the mundane routine of her life – and it seems her prayers have been answered when she starts dating local DJ Jimmy, who offers to whisk her and workmate Viv away on an all-expenses paid trip to the Caribbean.
However, when the girls jump at the chance, it soon becomes clear there is more to the holiday than meets the eye.
Meanwhile, Beth becomes even more suspicious when she discovers the identity of her husband’s late-night caller.
Jo Joyner and Cherrelle Skeet co-star.
REAL-LIFE: Teens (Channel 4, 10pm)
Being a teenager has never been easy – all the homework, those tense arguments with siblings, and navigating the nerves of that very first relationship. It’s a tricky time.
So spare a thought then for the teens of today – throw in all the smartphones and round-the-clock social networking, and teenage life is now more complicated than ever.
This new series follows a group of friends over the course of a year as they turn the grand old age of 17 – we’re given an insight into how they live and relate to each other, both online and in the ’real’ world.
First up, we meet Jess and Harry D, who have both just joined school for sixth form. They have the same sense of humour and get on brilliantly – until their friendship is tested when Jess invites the No More Page 3 campaign to host a debate at school.
REALITY: Killer Magic (BBC3, 10pm)
These days, there are all kinds of reality efforts on the box pitting folk against each other in an attempt to see who’s the finest in any given profession, so quite frankly, nothing surprises us anymore.
When this offering popped up in the schedules for the first time last April, and saw magicians competing against each other, truth be told, it made for rather entertaining viewing – and tonight it returns for a second series.
Five magicians have been chosen to compete in themed challenges, with the least successful illusionist being nominated to try their hand at a ’killer trick’ – a death-defying challenge that has killed or injured past performers who have attempted it.
In the first episode, performers Dee Christopher, Chris Cox, Ben Hart, Damien O’Brien and Jasz Vegas combine magic with toys. And the loser faces being submerged in ice...
COMEDY DRAMA: Nurse (BBC2, 11.50pm)
In the penultimate episode of genius Paul Whitehouse’s latest effort, Graham’s mood has lifted somewhat, as he tells Liz all about his new girlfriend.
However, things begin to go missing, and this doesn’t help his mother’s disapproval of his new love.
Meanwhile, Liz tries to encourage introverted Billy to cook, before she’s treated to a musical masterclass by manic ex-rocker Ray, and heartbroken Herbert opens up to her about his inability to keep his libido going.
Both chameleonic Whitehouse and Esther Coles as Liz have handled the sensitive topic of mental health brilliantly in their own unique way – so much so that you’d be hard pushed to find anyone accusing the series of making light of a serious issue.
Here’s keeping everything crossed that it’s brought back for a second run.
FILM: The Vow (Channel 5, 11pm)
(2012) A couple of newlyweds face an abrupt end to their honeymoon period when they are involved in a serious car accident. While the husband is relatively unharmed, and in flashbacks recalls the past few years his relationship, his wife is rendered unconscious – and upon waking cannot remember her spouse.
As she begins to question aspects of their relationship and struggles to fill in the gaps in her memory, he must find out how to win her love all over again.
It’s well acted – particularly by leads Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum – and while the plot may at first sound corny, knowledge that it’s based on real-life events lend it a more convincing emotional impact.
Overall it’s a pleasant tear-jerker that, thankfully, avoids straying into the territory of mawkish melodrama.
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange, Sam Neill, Jessica McNamee, Wendy Crewson
FILM: Good Will Hunting (Film4, 11.10pm)
(1997) Based in Boston, this drama centres on Will Hunting, a gifted, troubled young cleaner who has the ability to solve absurdly difficult maths problems. When college professor Gerald Lambeau sets his students a task on the blackboard, he’s amazed when the cleaner solves his conundrum.
Hunting and his mates are often in trouble with the law, and in order to escape jail, Will agrees to be taken under the wing of a curious Lambeau.
The professor attempts to get to the root of Hunting’s psychological problems, and after being rejected by assorted shrinks, Will ends up at the offices of psychiatrist Sean Maguire.
An Oscar-winning screenplay by stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck helped make this one of the best films of the 1990s. If you only see five minutes, make sure it’s Robin Williams’s stunning speech to Damon by the Boston Common lake.
Little wonderWilliams also won an Oscar.
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgard, Minnie Driver
FILM: A Serious Man (BBC1, 11.35pm)
(2009) Set in the 1960s, it follows mild-mannered Jewish professor Lawrence Gopnik, whose life appears to be falling apart.
His wife leaves him for another man, his son is going off the rails and his daughter is stealing from him so she can undergo plastic surgery. Even his professional life is suffering as a failing student threatens legal action.
Can spiritual advice from three rabbis help turn Lawrence’s existence around?
The Coen Brothers seem to delight in wrong-footing their fans, and this low-key dark comedy is certainly very different from their two previous films, Oscar-winning thriller No Country for Old Men and the star-studded Burn After Reading.
However, it’s none the worse for that. The largely non-famous cast are excellent, and although the ending may leave some viewers feeling a little short-changed, it will certainly get them thinking.
Starring: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, Peter Breitmayer