Sunday’s TV tips

Read on for our spolier-free guide to today's TV

Sunday’s TV tips

FILM: ET: The Extra-Terrestrial – 20th Anniversary Edition (UTV, 3.20pm)

(1982) Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi blockbuster tells the tale of Elliot, a lonely boy who discovers and befriends an alien stranded on Earth.

After enlisting the help of his teenage brother, younger sister and their friends, Elliot attempts to return the creature home before the authorities get wind of their out-of-this-world visitor.

This is a special, delightful adventure, in which Spielberg manages not only to entertain young children but also reach out to the child in all of us. And John Williams’ score is one of the best of his career.

Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore, Robert MacNaughton, Peter Coyote

FILM: Raiders of the Lost Ark (BBC1, 3.45pm)

(1981) All-action archaeologist Indiana Jones embarks on a hunt for the legendary Lost Ark of the Covenant against insurmountable odds and a battalion of Nazis.

Along the way he meets up with an old flame, risks life and limb and makes a number of wise-cracks even James Bond would be proud of.

Quite simply one of the best action adventures ever made thanks to Lawrence Kasdan’s witty but enthralling screenplay. The perfect cast helps too.

Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, Denholm Elliott

FILM: John Carter (BBC2, 6pm)

(2012) Young Edgar Rice Burroughs is summoned to the home of his beloved uncle and former Confederate soldier John Carter, who has perished in mysterious circumstances.

Leafing through Carter’s cherished journal, Burroughs learns that his uncle sought sanctuary from Apaches in a cave and was magically transported to the Red Planet.

There, Carter was captured by the Tharks – a savage race of 15-feet-tall green warriors with tusks protruding from their mouths, who live in the deserts of Barsoom (the alien word for Mars).

On paper this should have been a solid-gold smash. After all, director Andrew Stanton was the king of animated offerings such as Finding Nemo and Wall E, and the planet-hopping story sounded like the next Star Wars.

Alas, Taylor Kitsch is devoid of charisma as the eponymous time-travelling soldier; Mark Strong and Dominic West are pantomime villains, and although Edgar Rice Burroughs had penned the story a century earlier, superior offerings such as Star Wars and Avatar left it looking rather old.

However, undiscerning kids should love it, especially the slobbering dog creature and colourful aliens.

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Dominic West, Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara

GAME SHOW: All Star Family Fortunes Christmas Special

(TV3, 8pm)

In a festive special, Team Coronation Street - headed by Jimi Mistry along with his soap “family members” Shelley King, Marc Anwar, Sair Khan and Qasim Akhtar - battle it out against Team Emmerdale - headed by Natalie J Robb along with her soap “clan” Adam Thomas, Anthony Quinlan, Joe Gill and Bill Ward - for the chance to win thousands of pounds for charity.

£30,000 is up for grabs, but which team will second guess the British public best and make it through to Big Money?

DOCUMENTARY: The Hotel (Channel 4, 8pm)

Admittedly, it can’t be easy running a hotel; having the ability to keep everybody happy all the time and doing it through those stubbornly gritted teeth with a pseudo-friendly grin plastered across your face.

But if Basil Fawlty can do it, Mark Jenkins wanted to make damn sure he could.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out as planned, and last we saw, Mark had made the decision to sell his hotel, The Grosvenor, in Torquay.

But as we check back in with him in this latest series, he’s in a new role of entertainments manager at the struggling family-run 90-bedroom Cavendish Hotel, alongside former colleague Alison.

It’s the start of the summer season, so there’s plenty to be done, and with the hotel’s leaking roof and struggling finances, owners Vicky and Andy are pinning their hopes on Mark. But how will he fare working for somebody else after years of being his own boss?

QUIZ SHOW: Hey Ho Let’s Go (RTE Two, 9pm)

A one-off music comedy panel quiz show presented by comedy impresario and air guitar fanatic Dermot Whelan. Dermot is joined by team leaders; funny man and forgotten rockstar, John Colleary, and frustrated frontman and comic genius Colin Murphy (their words not ours). The show is packed full of gags and music trivia.

Joining the three funnymen will be well know faces from the worlds of comedy and music for the perfect marriage of soundtrack and silliness as they go head to head to win the quiz – Hey Ho let’s Go!

A full series is currently in production for the New Year.

DRAMA: Homeland (Channel 4, 9pm)

When this series began, some viewers may have wondered how it would work without Damian Lewis’s Brody at the heart of the action (although he did still manage to make a cameo appearance, despite being dead).

Luckily, it turned out that Carrie is a compelling enough character to carry the series on her own, even if fans spend as much time shouting at her in frustration – and wondering why the CIA ever puts her in positions of responsibility – as rooting for her. So, expect a nail-biting conclusion as series four reaches its finale.

Saul and Carrie are back in America, which makes it sound like we should be breathing a sigh of relief, but Homeland is rarely that simple. For a start, there’s still the little matter of what Carrie witnessed in Islamabad to investigate.

BIOGRAPHY: Racing Legends: Barry Sheene (BBC2, 9pm)

British World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle racer Barry Sheene made such an impact on the sport – and indeed in the sporting industry in general – that the Beeb has decided it’s about time a documentary was devoted to paying tribute to his career.

And so his story kicks off a three-part series in which high-profile enthusiasts pay tribute to British motorsport greats.

Step forward Jim Moir – also known as Vic Reeves – to tell the story of Sheene, as he reveals how the sportsman became the king of his sport, and not only that, but a hugely popular public figure.

The comedian takes to the track himself on some of Sheene’s bikes as well as meeting some of the star’s family, close friends and fierce rivals.

Plus, there’s a look at archive and home-movie footage of the racer, who sadly died aged 53 in 2002.

COMEDY: House of Fools Christmas Special (BBC2, 10pm)

At the start of the year, Reeves and Mortimer unveiled their living-room-based farce.

At times the latest Reeves and Mortimer product was very, very funny.

In a set reminiscent of classic sitcom Sykes, we found the old mates providing a platform for sexy neighbour Julie (Morgana Robinson), flamboyant, salacious Beefy (Matt Berry) and Geordie Bosh (Dan Skinner).

Now, in the obligatory festive special, the lads are in their Christmas party suits (007 impressionist Vic has a musical shirt), reflecting on their school days. Of course Reeves and Mortimer’s Christmas tree is bound to be a little out of the ordinary, and the fact Vic has used sponges and jump leads as decorations is certainly original. And just wait until you see the lights.

Reese Shearsmith guest stars as Santa, Julie hopes for a kiss with Vic, and Beefy is made an offer he can’t refuse. At times it’s gloriously shambolic, and while some of the gags fall flat, it’s hard not to revel in the sheer absurdity.

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