Monday’s TV tips

Check out our spoiler-free guide to tonight's TV.

Monday’s TV tips

FILM: Dear John (Film4, 6.50pm)

(2010) Soldier John meets student Savannah while on a two-week leave of absence from the army, and embarks on a whirlwind romance.

They agree to keep in touch, with a view to starting a life together once his service is over. However, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John feels duty bound to re-enlist – just how long is Savannah prepared to wait for him?

It’s adapted from a novel by author Nicholas Sparks, the man who gave us The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, and A Walk to Remember, and this is very much in the same vein.

So, if you’re an old-fashioned romantic, it should definitely appeal, especially with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried playing the star-crossed lovers.

However, more cynical viewers may find it all a bit too syrupy for their liking.

Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, Henry Thomas, DJ Cotrona Rating: 28%

REAL-LIFE: Dogs: Their Secret Lives (Channel 4, 8pm)

Earlier this year, this insightful programme highlighted that we had a big problem – quite literally – or at least our dogs did.

Britain was facing an epidemic of dog obesity; as many as half of all dogs in the UK may be fat. But how have the dogs featured been getting on since vet and presenter Mark Evans last visited them and put on strict dieting plans?

Mark will be catching up with Chancer the scrounging spaniel to see if he’s shed the pounds, and Nash, the aggressive terrier, who, before, wouldn’t let his owner’s son and husband into the room with her.

Meanwhile, cameras also catch up with Roxy the staffie to see if she’s any less terrified of the great outdoors.

It’s quite interesting viewing, as, with the help of some of the world’s leading experts, these dogs embark on a mission to get back in shape.

MUSIC: Bett Midler: One Night Only (ITV, 9pm)

It’s been 42 years since Bette Midler released her debut album (yep, really), so she’s bound to have plenty of stories to share – and that’s a train of thought that ITV have obviously been down because they’ve pinched her for this One Night Only special, in which she will be chatting about her life and career, and hopefully parting with a few industry secrets too.

Midler’s CV is bursting with accolades that would make many performers green with envy.

The Hawaii-born singer’s career spans almost half a century, and she’s not wasted a minute of it; from recording the aforementioned hits, and making her film debut in The Rose in 1980, to a couple of years ago receiving the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

But it’s well-earned.

Her latest album, It’s the Girls!, of which we’ll get a sneak peak of tonight, is already making waves, proving that Midler can keep up with even the young whippersnappers of the music business (just don’t mention Ariana Grande).

Company doesn’t come much more iconic than this, so there are worse things you can do of a Monday night than tune into to this TV gem.

DOCUMENTARY: Wild Weather with Richard Hammond (BBC1, 9pm)

Top Gear’s Richard Hammond is quite something isn’t he?

Not content with reaching out to petrolheads everywhere with that headline-inducing series, he’s now making quite the name for himself in Brian Cox-esque territory, as he is more regularly found fronting series analysing the world’s weather and nature complexities.

He really is everywhere at the moment.

But tonight he concludes his look into the world’s most extreme weather with an investigation of the importance of heat – or lack of it – when it comes to weather.

Richard reveals that without temperature, clouds, rain, snow, dust storms thunder or lightning wouldn’t be able to form.

The presenter builds his own massive dust storm, discovering how sand from the Sahara is able to make its way to the UK, and also chats with a scientist who is working on creating lightning bolts in his lab.

TOPICAL: Russell Brand: End the Drugs War (BBC3, 9pm)

Comedian and actor Russell Brand is often making headlines for spouting off various opinions regarding, well, almost everything. And for the most part his sense of humour usually has us rolling around with laughter.

However, tonight, it’s time for something a little different, as gets vocal about something close to his heart – Britain’s policy on drugs.

Russell challenges the opinion that the drugs policy is working and tries to find out how other countries are tackling substance abuse.

Getting out and about, he witnesses first-hand the dangers of street addiction in Birmingham, and meets someone who has been in and out of prison since she began taking drugs at the age of 12.

Plus, Russell also comes into contact with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and puts some tough questions to him – but the PM surprises and shocks the comic with his opinions.

FILM: The Hurt Locker (Film4, 10.50pm)

(2009) A three-strong US Army bomb disposal squad risks life and (potentially severed) limb to defuse roadside devices in Iraq, while the gung-ho unit leader’s excessive bravado worries his subordinates.

This relatively low-budget film, based on writer Mark Boal’s experiences while accompanying a bomb squad in Iraq, it became a surprise Oscar frontrunner, with Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

The film also boosted lead actor Jeremy Renner’s career, turning him into a Hollywood A-lister.

But now the fuss has died down, we’re still left with a tense and very convincing look at life on the frontline.

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly, Christian Camargo, Ralph Fiennes Rating: 97%

FILM: High Hopes (Film4, 1.25am)

(1988) Motorbike messenger Cyril is facing problems with his family - his girlfriend Shirley wants to have children, but he’s not sure he fancies the responsibility.

Meanwhile, his elderly mother grows increasingly forgetful, and his sister doesn’t seem that interested in helping to care for her.

It’s not like Cyril can rely on the neighbours to pick up the slack either, as his mum is the last remaining council tenant in her newly gentrified street, and the yuppies next door don’t seem sure what to make of her...

What Mike Leigh’s comedy drama lacks in plot, it makes up for in sharp observations about the state of 1980s Britain, strong performances, and a surprising amount of charm.

Admittedly, the yuppie couple occasionally appears to have wandered in from a different, broader movie, but on the whole the film steers clear of making heavy handed political points.

Starring: Philip Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Dore, Philip Jackson, Lesley Manville, David Bamber, Heather Tobias Rating: 100%

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