DOCUMENTARY: Art of China (BBC4, 9pm)
No trip to China is complete without a visit to the Terracotta Army.
First discovered under a farmer’s field near Xi’an 40 years ago, and meticulously pieced back together by archaeologists, they are an extraordinary site, housed in aircraft hangar-sized spaces and each of them created to resemble a real-life soldier.
They are awe-inspiring, and many are moved to tears when they first come face-to-face with these monuments from a centuries-old age.
Andrew Graham-Dixon could make an entire series about them alone, but instead they form just part of this new, three-part documentary about – as the title gives away – art made in China.
The first edition sees Andrew investigate how recent discoveries of ancient pieces of art are now redefining how the country understands its origins – the alien-like bronze masks created almost four millennia ago are certainly a sight to see.
He also explores calligraphy, the tomb of a warrior princess and the arrival of Buddhism, but it’s those warriors who will live longest in the memory.
DOCUMENTARY: The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway (BBC2, 9pm)
For the past few weeks, this series has charted the building of Crossrail, London’s new high-frequency, high-capacity subterranean rail link.
It’s a massive project, the biggest civil engineering works in Europe, but won’t be finished for another four years – well, it’s not easy creating 73 miles of track and building 10 new stations.
What has been done so far looks impressive; the first episode focused on efforts to drive a 1,000 tonne boring machine through a small gap around Tottenham Court Road station, while the second charted how tunnels were being constructed underwater.
The final edition turns its attention to the area that will become the new, cathedral-sized Canary Wharf station. It has a roof made of 2,500 pieces and caverns caved out of rock, but it’s the discovery of grisly links to London’s past that make it a must-see – although they’re perhaps not for the faint-hearted.
DOCUMENTARY: One Born Every Minute (Channel 4, 9pm)
Three very different couples enter Bristol’s Southmead Hospital this week.
Sarah and Jonathan have known each other since they were eight years old and were best friends before they became romantically involved. They’re about to have their second child, but things aren’t going well – Sarah’s first labour was a difficult one, and now she’s feeling anxious about what lies ahead. It’s up to Jonathan to soothe her, but it’s no easy task as she begins suffering from panic attacks.
Meanwhile, Vikki and Jack are having their third child in three years – and they’re determined it won’t be their last. They’re planning on having a big family, perhaps to compensate for the troubled early lives they both endured.
Finally, there’s a chance to meet Naomi and Chris, who fell in love at first sight when their eyes met across the floor of a crowded Blackpool nightclub.
COMEDY: The Mimic (Channel 4, 10pm)
Showbusiness. It’s a notoriously difficult arena to break into, and even outstanding talent can’t guarantee you success.
Sometimes it’s a case of who you know, not what you know, that works – and that’s perhaps why Martin’s career hasn’t yet got off the ground.
When it comes to impersonating people he’s second to none, but having a newsagent manage him probably isn’t the best idea he’s ever had. Thankfully, Harriet is on hand to make some much-needed changes, and organises a meeting for Martin with a top agent who signs him up – much to the horror of a rival impressionist who is also on the agent’s books.
Meanwhile, Martin works as a maintenance man at a disused warehouse, where he finds an impressive antique ring in the drain.
Finally, Neil seeks help for his paranoia from a psychoanalyst – but does the medic realise what he’s letting himself in for?
FILM: The Outlaw Josey Wales (ITV4, 10.55pm)
(1976) After a Missouri farmer’s family is slaughtered by maverick soldiers during the American Civil War, he vows revenge. While tracking down those responsible, he becomes an outlaw, much-feared by those who’ve heard of his ruthless ways.
As time passes and the conflict ends, Josey becomes a wanted man, and despite his efforts to become a loner, he unwittingly creates a new family involving a bunch of mismatched, disenfranchised souls.
This is regarded by some Clint Eastwood fans as his best movie, despite being largely ignored on its initial release. It may be a tad overlong, but there’s little to criticise this classic Western about.
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Chief Dan George, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney