Thursday’s TV Tips

Here’s our spoiler-free guide to what you should watch on the box tonight.

Thursday’s TV Tips

FILM: Planet of the Apes (Film4, 6.45pm)

An American astronaut crash-lands on a mysterious planet ruled by intelligent apes.

The simian overlords are horrified to discover that, unlike their human slaves, the new arrival can speak, and plan to have him killed.

It appears his only hope of survival lies with two kindly chimpanzee scientists.

It’s a sci-fi classic – and head and shoulders above the 2001 Tim Burton remake.

The movie is justly famed for its clever twist, but even if you know it’s coming, there’s still plenty to enjoy including a quotable script, atmospheric score, great performances and the impressive make-up. Rating: 89%

NATURE: Talk to the Animals (BBC1, 8pm)

Last night, zoologist Lucy Cooke began her exploration into the way animals communicate, beginning by assessing how they get on in their own social groups.

Tonight, she concludes her studies with a look at how animals talk to their friends, enemies and even their neighbours.

Lucy discovers just how useful the spotted hyena’s call can be, tricks some vervet monkeys into warning each other of danger, and meets the only bat in the world that can eavesdrop on frogs.

Plus, there’s a look how dolphins greet each other, and Lucy explains all about their unique signatures or names.

PROPERTY: George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (Channel 4, 8pm)

Architect George Clarke must have the most interesting job in telly with this little gem in which he takes a nosey at property transformations that have turned teeny tiny spaces into des-res living that would make even Linda Barker jealous.

Alas, like all good things, the series must come to an end, and in this final episode George’s garden build is finally revealed, after he’s spent the past few weeks transforming the unloved narrow garden strip in to a creative family space.

Meanwhile, in Cambridgeshire, he meets a DIY perfectionist who is attempting to create the smallest ever campervan, and in Somerset, the presenter hears the plans of a young cheese salesman – he’s going to turn a horse trailer into the ultimate mobile cheese stall.

DOCUMENTARY: The Shelbourne (RTÉ One, 8.30pm)

For the first time, exclusive 190 year-old Dublin institution the Shelbourne Hotel has allowed cameras access to the front and back of house.

The six-part observational documentary captures what it takes to deliver five-star service to some of the world’s most demanding clientele.

Staff at all levels – including VIP managers, concierges, doormen, executive chefs, florists and cleaning staff – are followed by RTÉ cameras as they deal with crises, prepare for grand events and gear up for the arrival of celebrity guests and world leaders.

In the first episode, staff receive training in etiquette and grooming, there’s a celebrity arrival and the kitchen prepare a fine dining banquet for 120 food experts.

DRAMA: Under the Dome (RTÉ Two, 8.30pm)

This massive US drama is based on the bestselling novel from Stephen King (who makes a cameo appearance) about a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a massive transparent dome.

In this second-series episode, when tensions in Chester’s Mill continue to rise as resources dwindle, Big Jim holds a census in order to forecast how long the town can continue to exist under the dire conditions.

FILM: Die Hard 2 (Film4, 9pm)

Nothing’s ever easy for tough cop John McClane, is it?

A simple Christmas Eve trip to the airport to meet his wife turns into a perilous adventure when he finds himself in the midst of struggle with terrorists.

Like its predecessor, this film is a thrilling piece of action and adventure.

Willis plays a character we can all identify with, who gets himself into situations we couldn’t even dream of. But most of all, it’s just a great bit of fun, with some really exciting shots and fight scenes.

In the original Die Hard, many of Bruce Willis’s one-liners were not actually written into the script, but were ad-libbed. They proved so popular with audiences that many more were included in the script to this sequel. Rating: 66%

DOCUMENTARY: Stacey Dooley in the USA: Kids in the Crossfire (BBC3, 9pm)

Stacey Dooley is out and about once more, keen to uncover what goes on behind the scenes of another taboo topic, this time travelling to Chicago, the ‘murder capital of America’.

Brace yourself, because this isn’t easy viewing.

Last year, almost half of people killed in Chicago were under 25, and in this one-off documentary, Stacey meets the families who have been affected by gun crime.

She meets the Hardmons. They are grieving for their 19-year-old daughter Ashley, who was murdered after getting caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting.

The presenter also travels to a prison boot camp for young offenders, and meets a teenager who got his hands on his first gun at the age of 14 – and has already been jailed four times.

FILM: First Blood (ITV4, 10pm)

Traumatised Vietnam veteran John Rambo is unfairly jailed and grossly mistreated by a small-town sheriff.

However, the prejudiced law enforcer gets more than he bargained for when Rambo turns out to be a one-man army who turns his town into a war zone.

Unlike the comic books sequels which followed this sleeper hit, First Blood is a compelling action thriller with Sylvester Stallone on top form as the troubled hero.

Despite some OTT sounds effects, and now rather cliched dialogue, this provided the template for many straight-to-video thrillers that followed. Rating: 87%

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