Thursday’s TV tips

Here's what to watch on the TV tonight.

Thursday’s TV tips

FILM: Top Gun (Film4, 6.50pm)

(1986) This wildly successful action movie established Tom Cruise as a megastar sex symbol, long before he started jumping on sofas and raising eyebrows.

He plays a grinning, hunky fighter pilot who falls in love with his trainer, a civilian aviations expert, when he wins a place in an elite US Navy squadron.

Things get tricky for the hot-shot rookie when he falls foul of his superiors and comes into conflict with his contemporaries. However when an international incident leads to mid-air conflict, redemption may be on the cards...

The entire film seems to be built around the aerial photography, and it’s little wonder, as these scenes are truly spectacular.

Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Meg Ryan

DOCUMENTARY: Ireland’s Oyster Clan (TV3, 8pm)

Set in the stunning Cooley Peninsula of Ireland, Ireland’s Oyster Clan follows Ireland’s very own Duck Dynasty, the colourful Louet-Feisser family, along with their friends and employees, as they strive to make their company the most successful oyster business in Ireland.

4. Ghostbuster: Will You Marry Me

Darren decides it's time to finally ask partner (and mother of his three children) Jolene to marry him but he needs to pluck up the courage and decide when and how to pop the question.

In desperation he calls on Mary to come up with the right idea. She takes up the challenge with relish.

The venue is set, the flash mob choir is ready, the only question is will Jolene say "yes"?

St Michaels, Kian's disused local school on the estuary, has long had a reputation of being haunted.

Brian, believing himself gifted with sensitivity to "the other side", decides to check out the eerie edifice with his special ghost-busting apparatus - but he is in for a nasty surprise.

CONSUMER: Eat Well for Less (BBC1, 8pm)

You can run but you can’t hide from Gregg Wallace at the moment.

MasterChef isn’t currently gracing our telly boxes, but its presenter has made a nice little sideline for himself simply turning up on all things foodie – this offering being his latest effort for the Beeb.

He’s joined by greengrocer Chris Bavin, and the pair will be attempting to help families cut costs on their shopping bill in simple and effective moves.

We meet the Booth family from Lancashire, and while mum Jenny claims she’s always cautious on their trips to the supermarket, keeping an eye out for the best deals, it’s dad Howerd’s impulse spending that takes them way over their budget for the shop.

The pair want to save £40 a week on their shop so that they can build a home extension, so Gregg and Chris spy on the couple during their weekly shop – and are left surprised by some of the things they see.

DRAMA: Scorpian (RTE Two, 8.05pm)

SCORPION, inspired by a true story, is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O’Brien, who was born and raised in Ireland, and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age.

As Homeland Security’s new think tank, O’Brien’s “Scorpion” team includes Toby Curtis, an expert behaviorist who can read anyone; Happy Quinn, a mechanical prodigy; and Sylvester Dodd, a statistics guru.

Pooling their extensive technological knowledge to solve mind-boggling predicaments amazes federal agent Cabe Gallo, who shares a harrowing history with O’Brien.

However, while this socially awkward group is comfortable with each other’s humor and quirks, life outside their circle confounds them, so they rely on Paige Dineen, who has a young, gifted son, to translate the world for them.

DRAMA: Red Rock (TV3, 8.30pm)

Episode 8

Paudge finally comes face to face with his tenant Tony who owes him money, but when it transpires that Paudge sold his debt to some dodgy outfit leading to Tony receiving a beating, Superintendent McKay is less than impressed.

Michael Hennessy puts pressure on his brother David to end his relationship with Katie. David reluctantly agrees and promises to end their love affair. But, will David be able to stay away?

Sharon confronts Brian with the CCTV footage of him kissing a schoolgirl but he denies everything and has an explanation for what she has seen.

Sharon accepts his explanation but something still doesn’t sit right with her. Later that day, having had some time to mull it over, Brian has a question for Sharon which catches her off guard.

Meanwhile a frustrated Paudge is forced to buy back his tenant Tony’s debt.

DRAMA: Cucumber (Channel 4, 9pm)

Julie Hesmondhalgh won over so many fans in the years she portrayed Hayley Cropper on the cobbles of Coronation Street that it was difficult for many of us to accept that she’d ever play any other character (poor Roy).

But she’s brilliant in this new drama from Queer as Folk creator Russell T Davis – although to be fair, it was a great move by the award-winning writer to cast her alongside the likes of Vincent Franklin and Freddie Fox.

As the series continues, Henry is keen to begin his new life, but it seems Freddie might ruin any chance of friendship, or anything more, before it’s even begun.

Lance is confused by Henry’s disappearance and enlists the help of Cleo, but it’s Cliff who’s devious enough to work out the truth, and Henry’s workplace soon becomes a battleground so the stakes are raised higher than ever.

DOCUMENTARY: Modern Times: The Vikings Are Coming (BBC2, 9pm)

Whether you’ve noticed or not, the world is in the grip of a sperm donor revolution, and as this documentary points out, Denmark is at centre of it, supplying to 70 countries worldwide.

Filmmaker Sue Bourne has set out on a mission to get the stories of four British women who have decided to use Viking sperm in the hope of creating their dream family.

These women have decided on Danish sperm, because unlike in the UK, donors remain anonymous.

This film explores how the biggest demand comes from single women in their 30s and 40s and gay female couples, and reveals how there are many options for insemination, with women flying themselves out to the clinic in Denmark, or choosing their donor online from home, and having the desired sperm shipped in frozen canisters to their local clinic.

This makes for very interesting viewing indeed...

LEGAL DRAMA: The Good Wife (More4, 9pm)

Women may have a lot to thank Julianna Margulies for – all of a sudden when she came on the scene, killer heels, shoulder pads and bolshy attitudes made a comeback.

Alicia Florrick oozes sex appeal as well as that means-business persona – the nineties’ Ally McBeal has nothing on her.

And the good news is that tonight she returns for the sixth series, although there’s no talk of a seventh just yet, so we’d better make the most of this superb drama while it’s still around.

In this first instalment, Alicia remains adamant that she won’t run for the position of State’s Attorney, but Eli is determined to change her mind, and against her wishes, conducts polling, learning she has a good chance of winning.

Meanwhile, Diane’s offer to join Florrick/Agos is on the condition that she gets an equal vote with Alicia and Cary.

Margulies puts in a sterling performance, while Michael J Fox guest stars.

FILM: Planet of the Apes (5*, 9pm)

(2001) An astronaut crash-lands on a strange planet and is captured and enslaved by the ruling race of highly intelligent apes. Luckily, he is helped by a sympathetic chimpanzee – but then discovers a shocking secret.

Tim Burton’s multi-million dollar re-working of the Pierre Boulle novel and the classic 1968 movie promised much, but was beset by stupid touches.

Among them is a bonkers scene with Paul Giamatti as an Orang-Utan; an ancient space ship whose door opens first time, and a crash landing in Washington DC’s Reflecting Pool; it looks like the emerging pilot is stepping off a bus.

On the plus side, some of the effects and photography are great, Tim Roth is a superb villain, and Danny Elfman’s score is a treat.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth

REAL LIFE: The Mega Brothel (Channel 4, 10pm)

We can always rely on Channel 4 to serve up debate-inducing fodder, and The Mega Brothel is no exception. Brace yourselves.

This one-off programme takes a look inside one of Europe’s biggest brothels (part of the Paradise brothel chain in Germany) to find out what life is like for the women, clients and management under some of the most liberal prostitution laws in the world.

Jurgen Rudloff owns Stuttgart’s Paradise club, one of Germany’s most famous high-end brothels, and markets the business as a spa for the ’wellness of a man’ - steam room and saunas are offered alongside sex.

With the girls entertaining up to 50,000 clients every year, Jurgen and Michael Beretin, head of marketing, aim to exploit the country’s growing sex tourism trade and expand the business to new frontiers.

But what is life really like for the girls who work here?

FILM: The Godfather: Part III (Film4, 12.40am)

(1990) The concluding part of Francis Ford Coppola’s gripping film trilogy, set 20 years after Michael Corleone ordered the murder of his brother.

Now the ageing don attempts to draw the family away from the seedy world of organised crime.

But fate conspires against him, and the rash activities of trigger-happy nephew Andy Garcia soon drag him back down into the underworld.

Mario Puzo’s gritty writing, teamed with Coppola’s always excellent direction results in a truly stunning film – a worthy addition to the highly acclaimed series. And, of course, it features a masterful performance by Al Pacino.

Starring: Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, Talia Shire, Bridget Fonda, Sofia Coppola, Joe Mantegna, Eli Wallach, George Hamilton

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