Friday's TV tips

Your spoiler free guide to tonight's telly.

Friday's TV tips

FOOD: Sweets Made Simple (BBC2, 8.30pm)

Kitty Hope and Mark Greenwood – the scourge of dentists everywhere, but the latest faces to inspire within us a renewed passion for baking – tie up their series this week, but not before leaving us with another menu of sweet treats we can’t wait to try.

The theme this week is sharing. The award-winning confectioners focus on recipes which are perfect to pass round and impress friends, including a sticky lemon and blueberry nougat which looks simply fantastic.

There’s a whole array of items we thought we’d never make, and could only buy in shops, so by giving us the knowledge to create our own Kitty and Mark leave us feeling like Willy Wonka. There’s a fudge which is packed with coffee and ginger cake; old-fashioned cinder toffee, and a take on chocolate coins which includes pear and ginger.

All we need now is an army of Oompa-Loompas.

TALENT COMETITION: America’s Got Talent (TV3, 9pm)

Nick Cannon hosts the search for the hottest variety and novelty acts from across the US. Acts range from the weird to the spectacular, with the quest to find the best talent on offer. Starring returning judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Mel B and Heidi Klum.

There are NO age limits... NO talent boundaries... and NO second chances!

Judgement week begins tonight as acts perform to become one of the 47 that will be selected to move on in the competition to Radio City Music Hall next week.

The 48th and final spot will be the act that was selected as the winner of the “Today’s Got Talent” contest.

The show will begin with the judges personally informing 8 acts that they were selected to go straight to the live performance shows.

COMEDY: Micky Flanagan: Back in the Game (Channel 4, 9pm)

Cockney comic Mickey Flanagan came to his stand-up career relatively late in life. After working variously as a porter at Billingsgate Fish Market, a dishwasher, a window cleaner and a furniture maker, he tried his hand at comedy aged 35.

It didn’t take him too long to find his feet, and now he’s one of the scene’s biggest names. In fact, last year’s Back in the Game tour was the biggest comedy event of 2013, playing to more than half a million people across the UK and Ireland.

The show featured his best material to date, and for anyone who’s only ever seen him on the myriad of panel shows that seemed to help launch his televisual career, this is a must-see. Especially since this recording sees him performing to his home crowd, at London’s Hackney Empire. Side-splitting stuff to start the weekend.

MUSIC DOCUMENTARY: Blondie’s New York and the Making of Parallel Lines (BBC4, 9pm)

When Blondie’s third album, Parallel Lines, came out in 1978, the band had already found a decent amount of success, particularly in the UK where they scored a Top 10 album earlier that same year with Plastic Letters; Denis, meanwhile, was a hit in singles charts throughout the world.

It seemed odd to rush another record out so soon after this success, but the move paid off – Parallel Lines was hailed by critics and consumers alike as their finest yet.

Those in the know claimed it distilled the very essence of 1970s New York City which at the time was a hotbed of poverty, crime and artistic endeavour.

Blondie certainly knew a thing or two about the latter. The record spawned six singles, including the excellent Heart of Glass and One Way or Another.

This documentary hears from the people involved in its creation, including lead singer Debbie Harry.

SITCOM: Josh (BBC3, 11pm)

The sitcom-set-around-a-flat format is a well-worn one, as is the stand-up playing a fictionalised version of themselves. So we can’t guarantee Josh, the new pilot from Josh Widdecombe and co-starring Jack Dee, will break much new ground. However, given the talent involved, it should at least be one of the stronger examples of an already popular bunch.

The show begins as Josh is dumped by his fiancee, so he ends up living with his old pals, romantic Welshman Owen (fellow stand-up Elis James) and budding photographer Kate (Beattie Edmondson, daughter of Jennifer Saunders and Ade Edmondson).

In this first taste, all Josh wants is a quiet night in with his friends, but Owen’s busy pursuing his latest love interest and Kate is wrapped up trying to impress a guy online by tailoring her social networking profiles. Will he get his wish?

FILM: Toys (Film4, 4.25pm)

(1992) Michael Gambon plays a deranged, power-hungry general who inherits a very twee and colourful toy factory, and decides to use it to produce an array of powerful weapons for use in war.

His zany nephew (the late Robin Williams), however, and his equally childlike sister decide to stand up for their father’s benign world-view.

Barry Levinson’s comedy was in development hell for 10 years, but when it eventually saw the light of day the finished result turned out to be a delightfully off-kilter spin on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, with an admirable pacifist streak.

The sub-plot about kids being used to fly model planes as offensive weapons is good, but a little predictable. There are fine contributions from the whole cast - especially Joan Cusack – and the film is a masterpiece of art direction.

Starring: Robin Williams, Michael Gambon, Joan Cusack, Donald O’Connor, LL Cool J, Robin Wright

FILM: Spy Game (ITV4, 11.40pm)

(2001) A veteran CIA agent puts off retiring to save the neck of his protege, who’s been captured by the Chinese.

Unfortunately, to do that, the older man must take on both the foreign authorities and the American top brass who are prepared to let the rebellious young agent rot.

As he sets about the rescue mission, the ageing spy reminisces about their relationship and the woman who threatened to destroy their friendship.

Heart-throbs Brad Pitt and Robert Redford were reunited here after working on A River Runs Through It. With A-list director Tony Scott on board, this movie looked like it couldn’t fail.

Alas, it met with a lukewarm response from the critics but despite its faults, it’s still worth a look.

Starring: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, Stephen Dillane, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, David Hemmings

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