Thursday’s TV tips

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

Thursday’s TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9pm)

It’s 10 years since this series debuted on British TV, and it shows no sign of slowing down just yet.

Believe it or not, tonight’s famous face, Billy Connolly, is the 99th celebrity to take part – next week, in the last of the current run, Twiggy will be the 100th star to delve into their family’s past.

Unlike some shows that rely on famous faces, Who Do You Think You Are? doesn’t seem to be running out of subjects, with both the Big Yin and Twiggy two of the biggest names yet – both are internationally known.

Billy famously hails from Glasgow, where he was born in 1942, but is convinced his mother’s family were originally from Ireland – until conflicting information about his great-grandmother Mary Doyle fails to clear up the mystery, making it more complicated and mysterious instead.

He then journeys to India to delve into the past of ancestors who were caught up in 1857’s Great Rebellion and the Siege of Lucknow.

DOCUMENTARY: Blenheim Palace: Great War House (UTV, 9pm)

Blenheim Palace is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill and as the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough.

But as this documentary, presented by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, reveals, the effect the First World War had on the place should be far better known – and is arguably more fascinating than any other aspect of its history.

Like many great houses, Blenheim had its rules and rituals – all of which were ripped apart by the advent of the conflict in 1914. Life would never be the same there again.

Fellowes takes us on a tour of the property, revealing how the palace became a hospital for wounded soldiers, with one of its finest rooms, the Long Library, being turned into a medical ward.

Workers from the estate volunteered for military service alongside the aristocrats who lived there, and while some returned home physically unscathed, others were not so fortunate.

REALITY: Meet the McDonagh’s (RTE Two, 9.30pm)

In the second installment of the series, the McDonagh sisters go to see celebrity model agent Celia Holman Lee to try their hand at modelling.

Kelly and her mother go on a holy pilgrimage to Medjugorje - where it isn’t all peace and quiet as young Gerald misbehaves! And as 17-year-old Antoinette begins her leaving certificate, Kelly kicks starts her busy week of gigging around the country for Traveller Pride Week.

COMEDY: Scrotal Recall (Channel 4, 10pm)

It’s probably fair to say that not everybody who’s been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease has regarded it as a positive thing, which is what makes this new sitcom so intriguing.

It focuses on twentysomething romantic Dylan (Johnny Flynn), who has just discovered he has one such disease, and now has to find every girl he’s ever slept with to warn them that they may have it too.

Each episode follows him on his quest, and flashes back to show us a defining moment in their relationship that he’d rather forget.

Dylan begins by telling his friend Luke (Daniel Ings) that he plans on viewing his diagnosis as an opportunity to go on a journey of self-discovery.

First on his list of conquests is Abigail, who he met at a wedding three years ago. We get to see how Dylan’s over-romantic overtures not only threatened his chance of getting a date, but also drove a wedge between the previously happy couple.

COMEDY: Detectorists (BBC4, 10pm)

For many, Mackenzie Crook is still best known for playing the delusional Gareth from The Office. But that could change once this new sitcom, which he wrote, directed and stars in, reaches our screens.

Crook plays Andy, a metal detector enthusiast who, along with his friend Lance (Toby Jones) spends as much spare time as possible hunting for valuable items across England’s green and pleasant lands.

“Mackenzie’s scripts take us into a charming world that many of us haven’t seen before,” says executive producer Kristian Smith. “They are smart, funny and beautifully observed.”

The first episode follows Andy and Lance after they’ve received a tip-off about a stash of long-lost treasure from a young history student.

The problem is it’s believed to be buried in a field belonging to a local landowner with a reputation for being somewhat unhinged – and may even have murdered his wife.

FILM: The Game (ITV4, 12.35am)

(1997) Michael Douglas plays the rich businessman who has everything - except happiness.

When his brother gives him a game for his birthday, you would think these two are a little grown-up for such gifts. However, our rich, well-manicured hero is soon up to his starched collar in trouble as the game seems to get out of control.

It may not have caused as much of an impact as his previous hit Seven, or be as controversial as Fight Club, but David Fincher’s clever thriller is certainly not a film to be easily written off.

He stretches the premise to breaking point, delivering one of the best films of the week.

One of those films where you have to keep watching until the closing titles – and even after they arrive, you’re not quite sure if the eponymous puzzle is over.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger

FILM: If (Film4, 1.50am)

(1968) Before finding fame in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell starred in Lindsay Anderson’s memorable allegory about rebellion and the state of Sixties Britain set at a boys’ public school.

The lads express their contempt for the institution with small acts of rebellion, which are met with harsh punishment – so they adopt much more extreme methods of getting their point across.

Dreamlike, funny and shocking, this is one of a trilogy of films featuring McDowell’s Mick Travis character – O Lucky Man and Britannia Hospital being the latter two.

Needless to say, he is the best thing about the trilogy, and his performance will leave viewers in awe. While the ending will leave many people divided, it’s well worth a look.

Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Arthur Lowe, Graham Crowden.

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