Friday’s TV tips

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

Friday’s TV tips

SPORT: Golf: The Ryder Cup (BBC2, 8.30pm)

The Ryder Cup got under way this morning at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, and this is a chance to see the pick of the day’s action, with Europe and the USA facing each other in the opening fourballs and foursomes.

The competition has become arguably the most eagerly anticipated contest in golf in recent years, with the intensity seemingly increasing with every occasion.

Remarkably this is only the second time the Ryder Cup has taken place on Scottish soil, and the first time since Muirfield in 1973, and the local supporters will have been hoping to see Stephen Gallacher today, one of three rookies for Europe, whom Paul McGinley aims to captain to success for a third successive occasion.

The last two meetings have been tense affairs at Celtic Manor Resort and Medinah Country Club, with Europe winning 14.5-13.5 on both occasions to maintain their recent dominance of the competition.

With the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter among their ranks, Europe started as favourites to win, with the Americans looking to prevail despite the absence of the injured Tiger Woods.

MUSIC: The X Factor (UTV, 9pm)

The competition is definitely hotting up – and we’re not talking about the battle to become the next X Factor winner.

No, the real contest tonight is between the singing contest and its ratings rival Strictly Come Dancing, which in a break with TV tradition, are going head to head on a Friday as well as a Saturday.

However, the wannabe warblers probably aren’t too concerned about whether this show proves more popular than the prospect of seeing Judy Murray tripping the light fantastic – they’re more concerned with the ’six chair’ challenge.

If you missed it last year, this involves each act performing individually in front of an audience, as their potential mentor decides whether to let them take one of six seats on the stage, which represent a place at their judge’s house.

But even if they are asked to take the weight off their feet, they can’t breathe a sigh of relief until their last rival has sung, as the acts can be swapped at any time.

So, who will be jetting off to stay with either Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Mel B or Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, and whose dream ends this weekend during a special Boot Camp triple bill?

COMEDY: Gogglebox (Channel 4, 9pm)

Let’s be honest, when this series was first announced a lot of us thought it sounded like Channel 4 had officially run out of ideas.

But instead of being an exercise in barrel scraping, Gogglebox’s deceptively simple format of watching other people watching TV has turned out to be hugely entertaining.

In fact, it seems the main threat to the show’s future might be the fact that some of the contributors are becoming more famous than the ’stars’ they are commenting on – one former participant, George Gilbey, even made it on to Celebrity Big Brother.

Luckily, it seems loveable Leon and June, Steph and Dom the posh couple who like a tipple, hairdressers Christopher and Stephen, and Brixton’s own Sandy and Sandra haven’t been lured away by rival reality programmes, as they are all present and correct for the new series, along with a few new additions.

And with Strictly, Doctor Who and The X Factor all back on our screens, along with a few less high-profile gems, they should all have plenty to talk about.

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

We hope Alan Carr enjoyed having the Friday night chat slot to himself for a couple of weeks, because now he’s got serious competition – Graham’s back.

And judging by the line-up on his first show, he clearly means business. The host is joined by none other than the Doctor himself, Peter Capaldi.

As a life-long fan of the Time Lord, he’ll be talking about how it feels to finally get his hands on the key to the Tardis, but will he anything to say about reports that American viewers are struggling to understand his accent?

Speaking of starring in a new version of a popular TV show, Graham will be joined by Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, who is starring in a movie version of the 1980s favourite The Equalizer.

Actress Gemma Arterton is also on hand to talk about starring in a West End musical version of the 2010 film Made in Dagenham, and singer-songwriter George Ezra drops by to perform Blame It on Me.

COMEDY: Vodka Diaries (BBC3, 11pm)

With the axe hovering over BBC Three, many of the channels’ supporters have been quick to point out that it’s not just a place to watch old episodes of Family Guy and repeats of Snog, Marry, Avoid – it’s also home to a lot of promising new British comedy.

The ’Comedy Feeds’ strand has been demonstrating that, as it’s brought us some intriguing pilots over the past few weeks – and Vodka Diaries is arguably the most promising of the lot.

It follows four female flatmates who have very different outlooks on life, but a shared love of drinking, and a desire to pay the smallest amount of rent as possible.

But just how long can our foursome go on having fun before responsibility finally comes calling?

Stand-up and 8 Out of 10 Cats regular Aisling Bea heads the cast alongside Cariad Lloyd, Rosamund Hanson and Gwyneth Keyworth.

FILM: The Losers (TV3, 10.30pm)

(2010) A team of mercenaries wage war on the CIA after they're double-crossed in the field and left to die.

Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short), and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) were on a black-ops mission in the Bolivian jungle when rogue CIA agent Max (Jason Patric) hung them out to dry.

After beating the odds and surviving their ordeal, the team decides to strike back against Max even if it means sacrificing their own lives to do so.

Aiding them on their treacherous suicide mission is sexy operative Aisha (Zoe Saldana), who has her own reasons for wanting to see Max get his just desserts.

But getting to Max won't be easy, because in addition to having the CIA on his side, he's about to spark a war that could plunge the entire globe into chaos.

FILM: 28 Days Later (Film4, 10.50pm)

(2002) Set in a post-apocalyptic, quasi-futuristic Britain, this chiller pits the human race in a blood thirsty battle for survival.

After monkeys carrying a deadly contagion are released by animal rights activists, almost the entire British population are transformed into slavering, blood-spewing zombies.

A fateful 28 days after the initial outbreak, coma patient Jim awakes in a London hospital, to find a city deserted of all human life, before meeting two uninfected survivors, Mark and Selena, who guide him to safety.

Pulling few punches in terms of violence, audiences of a nervous disposition will find some scenes hard to stomach. But if you can cope with the blood and gore, this is one of the best horror films of modern times, full of invention and innovation.

It certainly helped revive the zombie genre in a similar way that George A Romero’s cult zombie flick, Night Of The Living Dead, did 35 years earlier.

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Noah Huntley

FILM: Into the Wild (Channel 4, 12.10am)

(2007) Sean Penn directs this fact-based drama that packs quite a punch.

It’s based on the true story of Chris McCandless, who decided to give away his life savings and possessions, before abandoning all the trappings of modern life in favour of living in the wilderness.

He started out on a journey across America, planning to settle in the wilds of Alaska. However, he soon realised he was far from prepared for the dramas that lay ahead of him.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad review of this film. Having written and directed the offering, Penn excels himself in a role behind he camera, while Emile Hirsch gives a fantastic performance which leaps off the screen.

With stunning backdrops and cinematography, and a brilliant supporting cast of Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden and William Hurt, there’s simply nothing to not like here.

If it’s on a little late for your liking, be sure to set the recorder.

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt

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