Tonight's TV tips

Tune in to BBC 1 at 10.30pm as Graham Norton is joined on the sofa by Hollywood stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron and Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, plus Coldplay perform A Sky Full of Stars.

Tonight's TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: Ireland’s Animal A&E – Ballinasloe Special (TV3, 7.30pm)

Over the past three series of Animal A&E the team has worked closely with the ISPCA team who have rescued so many helpless animals across the country.

On our first visit to the Ballinasloe fair we witnessed countless cases of cruelty and neglect.

In this special, the A&E crew go back to the fair and spend another day with the hard working ISPCA, as they deal with a large array of rescues. Presented by Andea Hayes.

ART HISTORY: The Story of Women and Art (BBC2, 9pm)

Amanda Vickery is a woman on a mission.

The author of Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England is keen to explore the explosion of creative opportunities that opened up in the years spanning the mid-19th century to the 1950s. It was a time when Western women were demanding ever-increasing roles across society.

However, as filming in libraries can be a bit dull, she packs her bags and aside from reporting from London (naturally), she’s also off to Paris, the remote Swedish countryside and the bleak desert landscape of New Mexico.

Ms Vickery, a Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London, wants to examine how female artists found the strength to push the boundaries of art even further.

The award-winning writer and broadcaster will be underlining her findings with the help of work by Elizabeth Butler, Gertrude Jekyll, Karin Larsson, Madeleine Vionnet and Georgia O’Keeffe.

MUSIC DOCUMENTARY: Searching for Sugarman: Storyville (BBC4, 9pm)

Though this Oscar and Bafta-winning film was scheduled a while ago, a sad new chapter was revealed a few days ago when actor-turned journalist-turned-director Malik Bendjelloul, died, aged 36. “It is the best story I have ever heard in my life, and I think I ever will hear”, he remarked once.

It took five years to make, and when Bendjelloul ran out of cash, he shot the rest of the movie on his phone.

The hard work paid off as it went on to make £2.7million at the box office.

It tells the extraordinary story of the American rock icon who never was.

In the late 1960s, Detroit-based singer, Rodriguez, was briefly hailed as the finest recording artist of his generation. However, when his album flopped, he vanished into obscurity amid rumours of a gruesome on-stage suicide.

This film tells the story of how a bootleg recording became a phenomenon after finding its way into apartheid South Africa.

CHAT: The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10.35pm)

A few weeks after the star of Top Gun, Magnolia, the Mission: Impossible movies, and many other beloved films accepted an Empire award for being utterly fabulous at a posh London hotel, Tom Cruise is back in Blighty.

He’s plugging sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow; imagine a mix of Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers and last year’s Cruise offering Oblivion, and you get the idea behind director Doug (Bourne Identity) Liman’s latest movie.

This week, Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt pop into the studio to promote that multi-million sci-fi epic, partly shot in London and originally titled All You Need Is Kill.

Graham Norton also welcomes Oscar-winner Charlize Theron and actor-director Seth MacFarlane.

They’ll be talking about cowboy comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Coldplay will be performing A Sky Full of Stars.

A studio full of stars might be more on the money lads.

FILM: Black Swan (Film4, 11.10pm)

(2010) Nina is a repressed dancer who, egged on by her pushy mother, has dedicated her life to the ballet.

It looks like the hard work has paid off when she lands the coveted lead in a groundbreaking production of Swan Lake.

The problem is it’s a dual role, and while the director thinks she’s perfect for the pure, vulnerable White Swan, he’s not sure she has the necessary passion for the evil, seductive Black Swan.

And if she should fail to master the part, new arrival Lily seems to have all the qualities Nina supposedly lacks.

Determined to prove herself, Nina sets out to embrace her dark side, but in the process starts to lose her sanity.

Natalie Portman deservedly won an Oscar for her role as tortured Nina, while the supporting cast is impressive too.

But most of the credit should go to director Darren Aronofsky for making a potentially difficult subject so appealing.

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Benjamin Millepied

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 87%

Film: Casino Royale (UTV, 10.45pm)

(2006) James Bond got a new lease of life via this edgy, breathtaking entry in the franchise.

We are right back to the beginning of the superspy’s career, just as he’s first awarded his ’licence to kill’.

It couldn’t come at a better time – he’s on the trail of international criminal Le Chiffre, who is planning to use the winnings from a high-stakes poker game to fund international terrorism – but only if he can beat Bond.

Daniel Craig is terrific as 007, while director Martin Campbell, who also helmed GoldenEye, ensures there’s rarely a dull minute. David Arnold’s terrific score is an added bonus.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 95%

Valhalla Rising (BBC2, 12.10am)

(2009) The brilliant Mads Mikkelsen stars in this historical adventure about a mute warrior with superhuman strength.

He leads a life of slavery under a brutal tribal chieftain, but eventually manages to kill his master and get away. He joins a band of Vikings who have embraced Christianity, and is soon recruited into a mission to conquer Jerusalem.

Visually, the film offers a great deal, but it’s lead actor Mikkelsen who should be applauded.

He apparently took the role believing it would be easy given that his character has no dialogue – however, he wasn’t banking on coming up against the arduous physical demands of the Scottish locations.

His performance is nothing short of stunning. This may not be for everyone, but tuning in for the superb photography alone wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Jamie Sives

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 71%

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