Wednesday’s TV tips

Check out our spoiler-free guide to what’s good to watch on the box tonight.

Wednesday’s TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: The Long Shadow (BBC2, 8pm)

Historian and writer David Reynolds presents this new series examining the legacy of the First World War.

The three-part documentary focuses in particular on the ways in which people’s perception of the conflict has evolved over the past 100 years.

He kicks things off by comparing the British and German sense of what it signified to each nation at the time immediately following its conclusion, including how the British felt it was ’the war to end all wars’.

However, he argues that the eventual outbreak of World War Two changed perceptions of its forerunner once again – suddenly it seemed as though the expensive conflict was ineffective, and simply laid the groundwork for a second round of hostilities.

“In this series I want to get out of the trenches and look afresh at the meaning of the conflict,” explains David. “Its meaning on the survivors, on the living, not the dead.”

COOKERY: Rachel Allen: All Things Sweet (RTE One, 8.30pm

In this new series Rachel Allen is at home in Ireland to indulge her passion, and ours, for sweet things.

Programme One: Classic Twists

In the first programme in her new series Rachel makes delicious Salted caramel crème brûlée, Meringues with pink grapefruit curd and cream and Apricot fool with cardamom shortbread fingers.

DRAMA: Scott & Bailey (UTV, 9pm)

Blighty’s answer to Cagney and Lacey face more domestic and professional problems.

Rachel thought the chaos of her personal life was all behind her, but not a bit of it.

She’s torn when she discovers her mum’s new beau is a violent domestic abuser. Meanwhile, Janet’s pending first date leaves her with cold feet; she’s petrified at the idea of selling herself to a stranger.

Murder of the week is Rich Hutchings. He is found dead in the flat he shares with his husband Adam, mostly naked apart from a towel speckled with what looks like bits of broken TV.

Prime suspect is Barry, their outspoken and violent homophobic neighbour. However, as Adam’s mate Tim attempts to recall events of their night out, it appears Barry might be in the clear.

Maybe a pair of size nine trainers are the key to cracking the case.

Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp and Danny Miller head the cast.

DOCUMENTARY: The Men with Many Wives (Channel 4, 10pm)

Viewers of recent BBC One drama strand The Secrets will have seen an initially intriguing, but ultimately annoying drama about a two-timing spouse.

In The Lie, Joanne Froggatt discovered screen husband Ben Chaplin had a secret family with Emilia Fox, while some viewers wondered if the camera operator knew what they were doing with some awful shots.

Thankfully this documentary examining the world of polygamous marriages among British Muslims proves more on the money.

Permitted under Sharia Law, it is estimated there are as many as 20,000 relationships of this kind in the UK today.

The film examines the daily challenges of polygamous life and the motivation of those who are looking for another wife, as well as the issues of duty, love and betrayal in these unconventional families.

We also meet those who are attempting to make polygamy acceptable in mainstream UK society.

Thankfully, unlike The Lie, this doesn’t feature seasick-style photography.

SITCOM: The Job Lot (ITV2, 10pm)

When it debuted in spring 2013, back-to-back with Ian McKellen comedy Vicious, The Job Lot looked like just another clone of The Office.

However, thanks to a great cast and scripts, it turned out to be a slow burner, whose closing episode featured some of the biggest belly laughs of the year.

The good news is that the staff have been re-hired for a second run, albeit in an ITV2 slot.

Not to worry; there are plenty of giggles in this first episode, and superb turns from Sarah Hadland and Jo Enwright.

With snappy new opening titles (think The It Crowd meets The Lego Movie), Karl (Russell Tovey) wakes up with a hangover and a woman’s underwear scattered around. Just wait until he sees who’s frying breakfast.

Before long he’s smitten with new deputy manager Natalie (Laura Aikan) but, as ever with sitcoms – and life – the course of true love runs about as smoothly as sandpaper.

FILM: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Film4, 6.40pm)

(1986) With the Enterprise destroyed, Admiral James T Kirk heads back to Earth in a captured Klingon craft. However, an alien ship is wreaking havoc with the planet, desperate to communicate with long extinct whales.

So Kirk and company go back in time and attempt to transport a couple of the creatures and take them back to the future to help save the planet.

There’s a reason this was the most financially successful of the films until the 2009 reboot came along.

Not only is it a lot of fun, it’s also the movie that’s most accessible to ’non-Trekkies’ – you really don’t have to know your Enterprise from your elbow to follow the plot.

The veteran crew are all on fine form, although special praise is due to Leonard ’Mr Spock’ Nimoy, who also directed.

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Catherine Hicks, George Takei, James Doohan Rating: 81%.

FILM: Adam & Paul (Channel 4, 12.30am)

(2004) Childhood friends Adam and Paul have grown up to become hopeless heroin addicts.

The film follows a day in their life as they wander around Dublin, hoping to beg or steal enough money for their next fix.

But along the way, they encounter some old ’friends’, and a get involved in a series of misadventures.

This is a dark comedy, which has been compared to Samuel Beckett and even Laurel and Hardy, although some viewers may struggle to find much to laugh at.

But while it can be bleak – and won’t do a lot for Dublin’s tourist industry - it is very well acted, and marked out director Leonard Abrahamson, who has recently been picking up rave reviews for Frank, as a talent to watch.

Starring: Tom Murphy, Mark O’Halloran, Gary Egan, Dylan Grimes, Deirdre Molloy, Mary Murray Rating: N/A

FILM: State of Play (UTV, 2.30am)

(2009) When US Congressman Stephen Collins breaks down while relating the death of his staff assistant, the media swarms.

Gossipmongers seize on the possibility of an extra-marital affair between the congressman and his beautiful aide.

As speculation intensifies, hard-nosed Washington Globe editor Cameron Lynne assigns veteran reporter Cal McAffrey to cover the story – and he discovers a connection between the aide’s death and the demise of a petty crook on the same evening.

Adapted from Paul Abbott’s six-part 2003 BBC mini-series, State of Play is a slickly-orchestrated distillation of far superior, small-screen source material.

But so long as you don’t get too hung up on comparing it to the original, Russell Crowe is as watchable as ever as Cal, and British director Kevin McDonald does a great job of cranking up the tension.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Jason Bateman Rating: 84%.

NEW ON NETFLIX: Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful)

Written and directed by François Ozon, Jeune & Jolie (or Young & Beautiful) is a unique look at adolescent development into maturity. Whilst on holiday with her family, 17-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) experiences her first sexual relationship with an attractive young man named Felix (Lucas Prisor).

A few days later, and for no apparent reason, Isabelle casts him aside and cuts off all contact with him, behaving as if their encounter never happened.

When she returns home to Paris, Isabelle begins a dangerous new career; she sets up a profile on an escort website and lies about her age in order to make appointments with older, wealthy clients in chic, expensive hotel rooms.

On the one hand she is a cool professional, catering to the sexual whims of the various men she encounters; on the other she is maintaining the illusion of being a regular school student for her parents and friends.

Her double life spirals out of control, however, when the unthinkable happens with one of her regular clients and she is forced to deal with the consequences of what she has been doing. Rating:73%

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