Tonight's TV tips

Our pick on what to look out for on the box tonight.

Tonight's TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: Paddy & Sally’s Excellent Gypsy Adventure (3e, 9pm)


This week, Paddy and Sally's excellent adventure takes them to Borneo, home of the Bajau, known as Sea Gypsies. In Sabah, they travel to the coastal town of Semporna and then out by boat to meet them.

These nomadic people travel with the seasons along the coast of Borneo and the Philippines. Many live just in their boats, but some build semi-permanent stilt houses out on the reefs.

They live a life of extreme poverty, relying on subsistence fishing to live.

Paddy and Sally are shocked but try their hand at harvesting clams, sea urchins and fish from the shallow reefs that surround the Bajau village.

Sally stands on a sea urchin and is surprised when the Bajau ladies treat her injury with urine - it works!

In a few of the virgin forests along the rivers and coastal reserves, orang-utan, the original men of the forest, still survive. Paddy and Sally visit an orang-utan rescue and rehabilitation centre at Sepilok to see how babies are brought up and eventually released into the wild.

DOCUMENTARY: How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears (BBC4, 9pm)

It’s always nice to see Ray Mears gracing our screens, but if he looks a little smug in this latest series, it’s because he’s got reason to be.

This year sees the bushcraft expert celebrate 20 years in the business (yep, it all started back in 1994 on the BBC’s Tracks), and although in that time, there have been plenty more survival specialists cashing in on their niche skills, Mears is still the one they all look up to.

As his latest series continues, the adventurer explores how the Great Plains (500,000-square miles of flat, treeless grassland) became the backdrop for some of the Wild West’s most dramatic events.

Ray meets the Blackfest Indian tribe, as they demonstrate bare-back riding skills, before taking part in a ritual buffalo hunt and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, in Dodge City, Kansas, a cattle auction gets under way, and Ray reveals all about the railways and cow-towns, before experiencing the life of a cowboy.

DOCUMENTARY: Burning Desire: The Seduction of Smoking (BBC2, 9.30pm)

Cigarettes are lethal and these days, you can’t move for health warnings related to smoking plastered all over billboards, bus shelters and television adverts.

But while the non-smokers among probably don’t bat eyelid, it seems it might not be having all that much of an impact on the smokers either.

Even after decades of ever-increasing government regulation, the burning desire for tobacco is actually as strong as ever. And despite a growing number of people trying to quit with latest trending aids, cigarettes are still big business.

Given that, Peter Tayler is a man on a mission. In this new series, the journalist and documentary-maker (travels to Australia to look at the industry’s last-ditch attempt to prevent plain packaging.

He is allowed rare access to the world’s second biggest tobacco company, and explores the reason behind the fact that on a daily basis, thousands of young people around the world are still being seduced by the allure of smoking.

REAL-LIFE: My Granny the Escort (Channel 4, 10pm)

Now there’s a topic that wouldn’t often come up around the dinner table over a Sunday roast with all the family round.

But as you’ll soon see, thanks to award-winning filmmaker Charlie Russell, mature escorts are big business among a, erm, niche market.

He’s put together this frank and revealing portrait of three of Britain’s older escorts, who sell sex from hotel rooms as well as their homes – and completely legally.

Mind you, for these women, it doesn’t simply seem to be about topping up their pensions – they’re enjoying themselves in their chosen profession.

However, the film explores how this lifestyle is able to co-exist with their family lives and roles as mothers and grandparents.

The programme also looks at the motivation behind some men’s desire to have sex with older women – their clients are men of all ages, some as young as 20.

DOCUMENTARY: Titanic – Belfast. City of a thousand launches (RTE One, 10.15pm)

Documentary about the city of Belfast’s relationship with the Titanic, it’s grief, it’s legacy and subsiquent comemoration and development of The Titanic Quater.

FILM: Mona Lisa Smile (Film4, 6.40pm)

(2003) It is 1953 and stuffy Wellesley College for girls is shaken up by the arrival idealistic young teacher Katherine Watson.

Unlike other staff, Katherine encourages her students to follow their hearts, inspiring her most talented girls like Joan and Giselle to pursue their ambitions.

However, upper-crust Betty Warren, dislikes the newcomer and – because her mother is a powerful school governor – thinks she can pull her strings.

Think Dead Poetess Society and you’ll get the idea for this by-the-numbers drama. Worth a look anyway, particularly if you happen to be a fan of Julia Roberts and/or Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Starring: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dominic West, Juliet Stevenson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Topher Grace Rating: 35%

FILM: The Crossing Guard (BBC1, 12.10am)

(1995) Jack Nicholson stars as an alcoholic who plans to murder the man responsible for his daughter’s death in a drink-driving incident six years previously – unaware of the similarities between their lives.

There’s just something about Jack Nicholson which makes his movies impossible to ignore. Whether it’s playing the demonic Jack Torrance in The Shining or the cackling Joker in Batman, the thesp with the wolf-like looks is unforgettable.

This drama of loss, retribution and redemption is sensitively and subtly handled by director Sean Penn, and quite rightly earned acclaim on its release.

Worthy of particular praise is Anjelica Huston, whose turn as Nicholson’s ex-wife earned her Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

Starring: Jack Nicholson, David Morse, Anjelica Huston, Robin Wright, Piper Laurie Rating: 75%

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