Wednesday’s TV tips

Wednesday’s TV tips

ASTRONOMY: Stargazing Live (BBC2, 8pm)

It might be later than its usual January launch, but Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain have finally returned with a new series of the ever-popular astronomy show.

This is one of several programmes in the run up to and during the solar eclipse which takes place on Friday March 20 across the UK.

Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire is the home to the rather special shows. There’s also a live remote outside broadcast from the Faroe Islands, one of only two sites in the world where a total eclipse will occur, lasting for two minutes, 46 seconds.

Our hosts and special guests explain why the phenomenon happens and the best way to safely watch the event.

The team try to catch the total eclipse live on camera from a plane at 30,000 feet above the Faroe Islands.

Hopefully it should be a lot more fun than the 1999 televised eclipse, which was like watching paint dry.


REALITY: Three in a Bed (Channel 4, 8pm)

Wednesday’s TV tips

What links Norfolk House B&B in Newmarket, Suffolk, the home of Brent Noble and his wife, WI president Lynne; the Cromwell Arms Pub with Rooms in Romsey, Hampshire, part-owned by Annalise Hughes; and Full Circle Yurts in the Lake District, run by Ben Atkinson – a man who never wears shoes because he’s so at one with nature?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. They all feature in a new run of this engaging series in which three sets of B&B owners take turns to stay with one another and pay what they consider a fair price.

There’s no shortage of eclectic elements in this inaugural episode, including poetry writing, a lapse of bathroom hygiene, air-conditioning controversy, pee buckets and an encounter with a razor.

After five years on air, it’s clear this series, unlike some of those B&B guests we’ve all encountered over the years, has not outstayed its welcome.


DOCUMENTARY: The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop (BBC1, 9pm)

Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the world’s most successful fast food franchises, a brand better known in these health conscious, acronym obsessed days as KFC.

If you ever wondered how the UK version of the operation is run, then this three-part documentary series promises to lift the lid on all aspects of the business.

From the big cheeses in the boardroom to its kitchen workers, the strand features those responsible for the daily running of this globally recognised food brand.

This first episode reveals how the huge machine that is ’fast food chicken’ works on a mass scale.

Among the key characters are Managing Director Martin, who hopes to expand his empire of 850 stores nationwide, while keeping his largely young workforce motivated.

We also follow Beth, a spirited 17 year old who has just joined the fast food chain in Manchester, and has a hard time finding her way in her new job.


FOOD: Eat to Live Forever with Giles Coren (BBC2, 9.30pm)

We barely go a week without some new scientific report claiming a certain food will take years off your life while another will give you the lifespan of the Highlander. But what is the truth beyond the fiction and hearsay?

In this show the eponymous food critic adopts a trio of extreme regimens in the hope of pushing the limits of life expectancy.

Giles Coren also meets people from around the world obsessed with longevity; undertakes the calorie restriction diet; tries one that consists only of foods hunted, fished or gathered by humankind’s Paleolithic ancestors, and another fruit-centric diet.

Coren’s health will be assessed, Super Size Me-style, by his doctor, who reveals the effect these dietary habits are having on him.

In the past Delia Smith shows have generated a wave of sudden ingredients buying, so there’s a possibility this could do the same as viewers attempt to live that little bit longer.


FILM: The 40 Year Old Virgin (3e, 10pm)

(2005) Golden Globe winner Steve Carell stars in this hilarious comedy.

The stock supervisor of Smart Tech store Andy is a nice guy and good colleague.

One night, his colleagues David, Jay and Cal invite him for a poker game, and by the end of the night, they find that Andy is a 40-year-old virgin so they decide to help him to score.

When he meets the divorced Trish, the owner of "We Sell Your Stuff on eBay" store, they agree to have no sex before their 20th date. Andy gets into many troubling scenarios over the course of this classic!

Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd.


COMEDY: In and Out of the Kitchen (BBC4, 10pm)

Miles Jupp has long been one of the most engaging funnymen of his generation, whether you’ve seen him as a panellist on Mock the Week, or in acclaimed sitcoms like Rev and Spy.

This TV version of his self-penned Radio 4 comedy does little to dilute his reputation.

Originally broadcast in 2011, it attracted enthusiastic reviews, and ran for three series, so little wonder a TV version was eventually given a green light.

It charts the life of cookery writer Damien Trench, and in this second episode he is desperate to find out what partner Anthony is preparing for their Valentine’s meal, despite being banned from the kitchen for the day.

However, when the future of his documentary series about the culinary habits of the great poets is thrown into jeopardy, he soon has bigger fish to fry.

Justin Edwards, who also featured in the radio version, adds able support.


FILM: Hollywood Homicide (BBC1, 12.15am)

(2003) Sgt Joe Gavilan is a veteran cop moonlighting as an estate agent, while his young partner KC Calden dreams of becoming an actor like his hero, Marlon Brando.

When members of a rap group are killed in a nightclub, Gavilan and Calden are called in to find the culprits, and begin by investigating the music industry.

However, they also keep a close eye on making contacts they hope will boost their alternative careers.

Sadly, Hollywood Homicide wasn’t the big success many predicted it would be, despite its solid premise and excellent cast.

However, it’s worth a look, if only to see Harrison Ford deliver another in a long line of impressive performances. Josh Hartnett is on fine form too as his sidekick.

Starring: Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Keith David


FILM: The Gauntlet (ITV4, 12.15am)

(1977) A cop agrees to take on the seemingly simple job of escorting a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix so she can testify in a high-profile Mob trial.

However, it soon becomes clear that it’s not just the gangsters who have a vested interest in making sure the witness keeps her mouth shut – there’s quite a few corrupt officials out to stop them too. By the time they get to Phoenix, will either of them be in a fit state to make it to the courtroom?

It may not be one of Clint Eastwood’s better-known films, but this action-adventure is still hugely entertaining.

He has a believable chemistry with his then real-life partner and frequent co-star Sondra Locke, and if the plot now seems a bit cliched, it moves along at a quick enough pace to keep you interested.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Bill McKinney, Pat Hingle, William Prince


FILM: Control (Channel 4, 12.55am)

(2007) It’s an exploration of singer Ian Curtis’ short but memorable life, career and untimely death.

It reveals how, with his band, Joy Division, Curtis found fame in the post-punk era, but the pressures of celebrity, his struggling marriage and inability to cope with epilepsy led to the singer committing suicide at the age of 23.

Director Anton Corbijn paints a picture of a young man full of promise, leaving fans and newcomers to his music with an altogether broader picture of the man.

As tributes go, it’s not a bad one. Samantha Morton offers sterling support as Curtis’ wife Deborah, upon whose book this film is based, but it’s Sam Riley as Curtis who is the film’s driving force.

Starring: Sam Riley, Samantha Morton, Alexandra Maria Lara

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