Thursday’s TV tips

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

Thursday’s TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: David Beckham: Into the Unknown (RTE Two, 8pm)

Part one of a fascinating documentary following David Beckham on a journey through the Amazon rainforest on motorbikes, travelling with three of his closest friends. First stop is Rio, before the group fly to Manaus – the starting point of their journey deep into the Amazon.

They enjoy the freedom of the bikes on the open road but are out of their comfort zone and when night falls they have to bed down in hammocks. After 800 miles of travel, they reach a tiny airstrip that will take them deep into the jungle to meet the inhabitants of a remote territory.

FOOD: MasterChef: The Professionals (BBC2, 8pm)

The chefs who have made it through to this stage of the competition should feel very proud of themselves. However, having come so far, you can bet they will be determined to lift the title, and pulling out all the stops to do so.

Wednesday’s episode saw them preparing a dinner for 25 of the UK’s leading chefs – the kind of people they would like to count themselves among one day.

Now the remaining quartet have to come up with something special for judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace; the contestant who fails to impress them will be sent packing.

Just when it seemed as if the challenges couldn’t get more, well, challenging, the final three jet off to Errenteria in northern Spain, where they must create a nine-course tasting menu.

Then it’s back to the UK for the last programme in the series – and, sadly, we’ll have to wait until next week for that.

DRAMA: The Fall (BBC2, 9pm)

So, the final episode of the series is upon us at last – but will it end with serial killer Paul Spector safely behind bars and all loose ends neatly tied up?

Viewers were expecting that to happen in the first run, only to be shocked when he appeared to – literally – have gotten away with murder. While some were in uproar about the lack of ’closure’, others were pleased that Spector and his nemesis – DSI Stella Gibson – would be back to continue their game of cat and mouse.

At long last, she finds his lair, but is devastated that Rose Stagg isn’t being held there. However, Gibson won’t give up easily, and instructs her team to step up their interviews with Spector’s wife Sally Ann and family babysitter Katie.

But it’s when she finally comes face-to-face with Spector himself that it seems she may finally get some answers – but which of them will come out on top?

ENTERTAINMENT: Release the Hounds: Jingle Hell (ITV2, 9pm)

Will the acrobatic moves they’ve learned while being members of Diversity help Ashley Banjo, his brother Jordan and their friend Perri Kiely help them escape the perils they’re about to face in this special festive edition of the horrifying game show?

Presented by Reggie Yates and filmed in a remote forest from dusk to the dead of night, it will play on the boys’ greatest fears – viewers at home will certainly be thrilled they’re in the safety of their living rooms rather than tackling spooky challenges.

So, why are the lads putting themselves through such an ordeal?

It’s all in the name of charity, of course – the more successful they are, the more money they will raise for their chosen causes.

Will they ever be the same again after taking part? Well, let’s hope so – after all, it’s just a bit of fun really, isn’t it?

FILM: Hard Target (ITV4, 9pm)

(1993) It’s an explosive, violent thriller from John Woo (the director of Face/Off and Mission Impossible II), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. A young girl arrives in New York in search of her missing father. When she join forces with a passing martial arts expert (guess who?) the pair are drawn into the machinations of a sinister organisation, run by a ruthless Mr Big.

This is a decent offering, with a good cast, making it well worth a look. Lance Henriksen (from Millennium) gets some villainous mileage from his role in a good-looking-but-dumb action thriller. Van Damme, by the way, might want to re-think his pony-tail.

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Yancy Butler, Lance Henriksen, Wilford Brimley

DOCUMENTARY: Vogue Does the Afterlife (RTE Two, 10pm)

After losing her father in 2010 Vogue was forced to consider: is death really the end?

Four years on and with the question of life-after-death still playing on her mind, Vogue has become increasingly drawn to the idea of making contact with her father via a psychic medium…but it’s an urge so far curbed by uncertainty, indecision and trepidation.

Immersing herself in the emotive world of the ‘Afterlife Business’ Vogue sets out to investigate whether it is really possible to communicate with our loved ones on the other side.

Along the journey she meets Spiritualists, Mediums, Psychic Investigators, Ghost Hunters Past-Life Regression Experts and Exorcists.

And having sifted through all the facts and fiction Vogue is left with a decision to make – whether or not to go ahead and attempt contact her father?

DRAMA: Babylon (Channel 4, 10pm)

Two major dramas come to a close tonight – so thank goodness Christmas is just around the corner, otherwise we’d be at a loose end next Thursday night.

The Fall’s ending is still up in the air, and the same could be said of Babylon too – and being kept guessing the outcome of a story is probably the mark of quality for any programme.

Here, the ARV boys are back on the job, having had their suspension lifted. But not everybody is in a great mood – Sharon Franklin’s neck could be on the line after her response to Banjo’s footage going viral sparks unofficial industrial action among the rank and file.

It may also lose her the chance of landing the Commissioner’s post after the lack of police in the streets enables civil unrest to erupt.

Meanwhile, Liz’s hopes for transparency and openness within the force could backfire as explosive new revelations emerge about the Jeffries shooting.

FILM: Stop-Loss (Film4, 11.15pm)

(2008) Ryan Phillippe plays a decorated war hero who returns to his small Texas hometown after a tour of duty.

It’s hard going enough for him as he tries to resume the life he left behind, but his whole world is turned upside down when the army orders him back to Iraq.

This is thought-provoking drama at its best. Phillippe is fantastic in the lead role in a movie which succeeds in being particularly poignant. Okay, it’s not the most feel-good movie of the week, but it will definitely keep you thinking long after the end credits have rolled.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum give brilliantly moving performances and while it may be on a little late for a school night, there’s no harm in recording it.

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rob Brown, Channing Tatum

FILM: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Film4, 1.25am)

(2009) Fans of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won’t want to miss this fast-paced sequel, which sees troubled computer hacker Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) framed for three murders and forced to flee her life.

She turns to journalist friend Mikael (Michael Nyqvist), who searches for evidence of her innocence, and discovers links to a sex-trafficking ring and government corruption – but can he clear her name?

Fans of Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series (of which this is the second film) will fall into one of two camps, favouring either the original Swedish offerings, or the more recent Daniel Craig-centred piece (The Girl Who Played with Fire is said to be in production now).

As this story plays out, it’s intriguing to learn the secrets of Lisbeth’s past, a character who’s given little away before now. Of course, the two leads Rapace and Nyqvist are perfectly cast, but that won’t be a surprise to fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before it.

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson

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