Thursday's TV tips

Check out our spoiler-free guide to what to watch on TV tonight.

Thursday's TV tips

FILM: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (Film4, 6.35pm)

(1992) Following on from the wildly successful original, this time the action takes place on the mean streets of the Big Apple. Kevin McCallister is again hot on the heels of notorious crooks Harry and Marv, after learning that they plan to rob Duncan’s Toy Chest on Christmas Eve.

Admittedly, this second instalment doesn’t hold a torch to the first, but for guaranteed laughs a-plenty and comic-book violence, it’s definitely worth a watch. As you’d expect, Macaulay Culkin is the shining star of the film (by this point, he was enjoying worldwide fame, after the original lucrative effort catapulted him to stardom).

Okay, so it’s all very familiar, and it might be a little early in the year to be thinking about Christmas just yet, but this is a heartwarming classic that never loses its magic, no matter when or how many times you watch it.

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Brenda Fricker, Tim Curry Rating: 24%

FOOD: The Great British Bake Off Masterclass (BBC2, 7pm)

The winner of this year’s Bake Off may have been announced, but there’s no reason to pack away your mixing bowl just yet.

Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry are staying put in the tent for a little while longer, as they show us what they would have done if they’d been faced by some of the signature, technical and showstopper challenges from this series (and judging by Paul’s face when Nancy explained her proving method during advanced dough week, it wouldn’t have involved putting their bread in a microwave to speed things up a bit.)

To begin with, they’re revisiting the early weeks of the competition, as Paul makes a blackcurrant and liquorice Swiss roll and two types of savoury biscuits.

Meanwhile, Mary is tackling a cherry cake with lemon icing, Florentines and miniature classic coffee and walnut cakes.

If it all looks a little too easy, maybe you should think about applying for next year’s Bake Off.

DRAMA: Peaky Blinders (BBC2, 9pm)

It may not have returned with quite as much fanfare as Downton Abbey, but this period drama still has plenty to shout about – including an A-list cast.

Peaky Blinders already boasts Cillian Murphy and Sam O’Neill, but in this second episode, another movie star drops by in the shape of Tom Hardy.

Maybe he wanted to get involved because he knew he’d be among friends – he appeared alongside Murphy in The Dark Knight Rises and Inception, and previously collaborated with writer Steven Knight on the movie Locke.

Or perhaps it was just the role he found irresistible as he’s been cast as charismatic gang leader Alfie Solomons.

Tommy encounters him while searching for Polly’s children in London, but it’s a meeting that comes with plenty of risks attached.

Meanwhile, Arthur is still haunted by the effects of the Great War.

DOCUMENTARY: Educating the East End (Channel 4, 9pm)

The GCSEs are looming, but for some of the kids in Year 11, revision is way down their list of priorities, lurking somewhere below the prom, their mates and members of the opposite sex.

On the face of it, Paige seems to be able to cope with balancing exam pressure with an active social life. Not only is she predicted to get good grades, she’s also one of the most popular pupils in school – her and friends Georgia and Yasmine are the Year 11 students that the younger girls look up to and the boys fancy.

But in what may or may not be a comforting development for anyone who wasn’t part of the in-crowd during their own school days, even popular kids aren’t immune from the pressure of GCSEs.

The strain starts to take its toll on the trio’s friendship, leading to fears that everything they’ve been working towards is about to be derailed.

DOCUMENTARY: Meet the McDonaghs (RTE Two, 9.30pm)

A new reality series, Meet the McDonaghs, will lay bare the lives of The Voice of Ireland runner up, Kelly McDonagh Mongan and her family. Cameras get up close and personal with the McDonaghs as they reveal the highs, lows, triumphs and disasters of traveller family life.

The series follows teen bride Kathleen McDonagh’s wedding, Kelly’s attempt to get her career back on track and 17-year-old Antoinette’s determination to do things her way. Packed with light-hearted humour, fashion and family life, Meet The McDonaghs is not to be missed.

The final episode of the series marks the summer holidays for the McDonaghs. There’s the annual day out to Cahirmee horse fair, a visit by the family to Kelly in Galway and Kelly performs her biggest gig ever. Then as the summer draws to a close Antoinette gets to go where none of her siblings have – as she heads for a night out to the debs.

FILM: 8 Mile (ITV4, 10pm)

(2002) Eminem stars as Rabbit, a down-on-his-luck rapper who’s determined to drag himself out of the gutter and make a name for himself. However, his deprived homelife on a Detroit trailer park and a complicated love life put a damper on things, as he tries to win the respect of his peers.

Eminem was hot stuff when this surprisingly good drama loosely based on his life was released to audiences in 2002. The rapper has been rather quiet of late, except for the odd release here and there, but this movie in which he stars hasn’t dated in the least and remains well worth a look.

Dark at times, this probably isn’t for the faint-hearted, however Eminem and Brittany Murphy’s performances alone are worth tuning in for. Kim Basinger is also pretty special in her role as Rabbit’s alcoholic mother.

Starring: Eminem, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy Rating: 76%

REALITY: Who Do You Think You Are? (RTÉ One, 10.15pm)

Fifty years after Jamaica gained independence from Britain, former footballer and sports pundit John Barnes sets out to investigate the extraordinary role his grandfather, Frank Hill, played in the island’s struggle for self-rule.

John discovers how his grandfather became the subject of secret telegrams, and why he was interned by the British during World War Two. John also uncovers how, from being at the heart of Jamaican politics, Frank fell from grace among his political allies.

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