Tonight’s TV tips

Your daily spoiler-free guide to what to look out for on the box.

Tonight’s TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: The Story of a Child Prodigy: I Am Not a Rockstar (BBC4, 8pm)

For eight years, photographer and filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart followed Julliard Music School-trained pianist Marika Bournaki as she toured the world, gaining ever-mounting recognition for her abilities.

The result is this award-winning film, which found favour at film festivals the world over in 2012.

What’s most remarkable about Marika, as one might guess from the film’s title, is her age – she was just 10 years old when she first performed at Carnegie Hall.

The performance, among others, helped her gain repute and also caught the attention of Hart, who ended up tracing the wee pianist’s career and life between the ages of 12 and 20 in what would become this revealing documentary.

Along the way we see how Marika copes with all manner of trials, including the divorce of her parents and finding her first love – as well as hearing some truly incredible music.

QUIZ SHOW: Celebrity Fifteen to One (Channel 4, 8pm)

Jimmy Carr’s in for a busy few hours this evening – not only is he fronting everyone’s favourite crossover show 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown at 9pm, but also, immediately beforehand, he’s a contestant on this other numerically-titled quiz show. But what are the chances of him earning a big wodge of cash for his chosen charity? Well, 15/1, actually, just like everyone else’s.

Comedian and Jimmy’s former 8 Out of 10 Cats cohort Jason Manford and feminist, writer and journalist Germaine Greer are also among the 15 well-known faces all competing to face quizmaster Adam Hills in the final round.

The questions are notoriously tough, and a correct answer gives the contestant the chance to nominate someone else to face the next one, while a wrong one leaves them in the spotlight. Three incorrect questions and it’s lights out, meaning they’re out of the game for good.

DOCUMENTARY: The Bat Man of Mexico: Natural World (BBC2, 9pm)

Everyone remembers their first childhood pet, be they cat, dog, hamster or goldfish. Then again, Rodrigo Medellin had an even more unforgettable set of animal companions when he was a youngster: he grew up keeping vampire bats in his bathroom. Ever since, he has been obsessed with all species of the flying mammals, and now he’s all grown up he’s made a career out of his unusual passion.

The Mexican biologist and ecologist has dedicated his life to the protection of the animals, and this documentary follows his work helping the endangered lesser long-nosed bat. This species is particularly crucial to the area, as it pollinates the plants from which tequila is made – without it, the drink would cease to exist.

David Attenborough describes how Medellin tracks the bats’ epic migration across Mexico, along the way braving hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs and seas of cockroaches.

Bats and roaches – not for the feint-hearted.

TALK SHOW: Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10pm)

Pharrell Williams, the multi-Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and producer, is such a tour de force in the music world that he somehow manages to be taken seriously while wearing an oversized scoutmaster’s hat. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that he has a platinum record collection that dwarfs most people’s regular ones.

It’s reasonably safe to say his latest release Marilyn Monroe will prove to be another feel-good hit of epic proportions, but is Pharrell ’Happy“ with the record? We’ll find out as he drops in to the Chatty Man studio to talk about it, and more, with Alan.

The host’s other guest this evening is another giant of the music and entertainment industry – singer, talent show judge, model and fashion designer Nichole Scherzinger. As an added bonus, she’ll be performing her latest track, Your Love, live.

The bad news is, this is the last in the current series, but what a line-up to go out on!

FILM: The Departed (More4, 9pm)

(2006) The nail biting tale of two moles on opposite sides of the law. While one is undercover as a Boston police officer, feeding information to a crime boss, the other is the real cop, posing as a gangster.

When the authorities and the gangsters realise they’ve got a canary in their respective cages, it falls to each man to uncover the other’s activities.

This film is complex and violent, but also brilliant and rewarding. On the Oscar front, Thelma Schoonmaker won for Best Editing; producer Graham King won Best Picture of the Year; William Monahan got Best Adapted Screenplay, and Martin Scorsese bagged Best Director.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone Rating: 92%

FILM: Twelve Monkeys (BBC2, Regions Vary)

(1995) In a future ravaged by disease, prisoner James Cole is sent back to 20th-century Philadelphia to stop the plague which will eventually wipe out much of the world.

However, his mission is fraught with problems – not least when he’s thrown into an asylum, and it becomes painfully uncertain whether he is, in fact, delusional.

A wonderful mind-bending fantasy from recent Bafta Fellowship winner Terry Gilliam.

Bruce Willis is terrific as the troubled time traveller; Brad Pitt gives an Oscar-nominated performance as the animal activist he gets mixed up with, and Madeleine Stowe is sublime as Cole’s helpful love interest.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer Rating: 88%

FILM: Airplane! (Channel 4, 12.30am)

(1980) If Star Wars is the ultimate sci-fi movie, this is easily the greatest spoof of all time.

The passengers on board an ill-fated airliner become increasingly nervous when the crazy flight crew are laid low by food poisoning. Meanwhile, the ground control team struggle to ensure the plane lands safely as a traumatised war veteran is forced to take the controls.

Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams’ comic masterpiece is ageless and the cast, which includes Robert Hays and Leslie Nielsen, have never been funnier.

It’s safe to say your sides will ache by the end of the film, for Zucker, Zucker and Abrahams barely give you more than a couple of seconds respite before unleashing the next hilarious gag.

Starring: Robert Hays, Leslie Nielsen, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Rating: 98%

NEW ON NETFLIX: This Is Not A Ball

Over the past nine months Vik Muniz has traveled the world to find the meaning of the ball and our passion and innate connection to it, asking himself questions like ‘Why do we play and why are we so drawn to the ball?’, ‘Why is playing with the ball so powerful?’ and ‘Why are humans so compelled to connect?‘

Follow him in his journey, which will be documented and will include monumental art pieces aimed to make a social impact in the lives of people that need it the most.

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