Wednesday's TV tips

What should you watch tonight?

Wednesday's TV tips

HEALTH: Can You Cure My Cancer? (BBC1, 9pm)

It’s a sobering statistic, but it’s been estimated that more than one in three of us will develop cancer at some point in our lives.

However, the slightly better news is that advances in genetics are changing the way that we view the disease – and the ways that we fight it.

For this documentary, the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research have granted Fergus Walsh and the Panorama team unprecedented access to their pioneering trials of a new generation of drug treatments, as well as the chance to talk to patients of all ages, as well as their families and medical teams.

Some of the patients were given just months to live, but have managed to keep the disease at bay for years. It’s led to hopes that for some of them, a cure may be possible, but can medics really win the war against cancer?

DRAMA: Wolf Hall (BBC2, 9pm)

For those of us who were unfamiliar with Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels and whose knowledge of the reign of Henry VIII is based on the old ’divorced, beheaded, died...’ rhyme, it may have taken us a while to get up to speed on who all these Tudor gents conspiring by candlelight were.

But now we know, Wolf Hall is proving to be truly gripping viewing, and the intrigue increases this week as Anne disappoints the King by thoughtlessly giving birth to a daughter, Elizabeth, instead of his longed-for son.

That means the Tudor line of succession is still vulnerable, a situation that isn’t helped by the ’Holy Maid of Kent’ prophesising that Henry will be dead within a year and touting potential new monarchs.

Cromwell decides that the way to shore up the King’s position is to make everyone in public life to take an oath recognising the monarch’s supremacy as the head of the church and the legality of his marriage to Anne – and when Thomas More refuses, the consequences are severe.

MUSIC: The Ten Faces of Michael Jackson (Channel 5, 9pm)

Michael Jackson’s career spanned 45 years – all the more incredible when you consider that he was still only 50 when he died in 2009 – and no one enjoys that kind of longevity without being adaptable.

But it wasn’t just Jackson’s music that evolved over the years. During his time in the spotlight, he also underwent a physical transformation, and by the time of his death he was virtually unrecognisable as the angelic boy who first captured the public’s imagination with the Jackson 5.

During his lifetime, there was speculation about how many of these changes were down to cosmetic surgery, but the singer’s autopsy offered some answers as to the procedures he’d undergone.

Using this new evidence, this documentary takes a look at the ten different ’faces’ Jackson had during his career, asking what drove him to go under the knife, and what his appearance can tell us about his state of mind.

The programme also speculates on what Jackson might have looked like without surgery, and asks whether he would have needed further treatments had he lived.

FILM: Wanted (3e, 10pm)

(2008) Based upon Mark Millar's explosive graphic novel series and helmed by stunning visualist director Timur Bekmambetov, Wanted stars Academy Award-winners Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman as members of a secret fraternity of assassins.

James McAvoy portrays a slacker who is unexpectedly recruited to join the ranks of these elite fighters.

As his powers and skills increase under their tutelage, however, he begins to waver between heroism and vengeance, and discovers that there is more to his dangerous associates than meets the eye.

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy

FILM: Coyote Ugly (ITV2, 8pm)

(2000) In this slick teen drama, aspiring songwriter Violet leaves behind her overprotective father in New Jersey to seek fame and fortune in Manhattan.

After being rejected wherever she goes, she becomes a bartender at the notorious Coyote Ugly watering hole, where the staff often strip off and gyrate on the tables.

She finds herself seizing the spotlight from the other girls and discovering love with hunky chef Kevin – but will she ever realise her dreams?

Like many films from the Jerry Bruckheimer stable, this is cliched and implausible – but against all the odds it’s also entertaining. The dialogue is clever and the cast more than easy on the eye, while Piper Perabo is a revelation as the shy but talented central figure.

Starring: Piper Perabo, John Goodman, Adam Garica, Maria Bello

FILM: Byzantium (Film4, 9pm)

(2012) Two female vampires spend centuries on the run from an order of their own kind, who object to women becoming undead.

They hide out in a seaside town, where one uses a brothel as a means to find men to feed on, while the other forms a bond with a terminally ill boy – but their past soon catches up with them.

A glorious, gothic drama featuring standout performances from Gemma Arteron and Saoirse Ronan, who steals the film as a wide-eyed eternal 16-year-old.

The script is absorbing, the performances are well played, and writer/director Neil Jordan uses familiar touches that make us feel like we are watching his greatest hits, from Mona Lisa (the lift scene) to Interview with the Vampire.

Though many might disagree, Byzantium is everything that the Twilight saga wasn’t. Well acted, beautifully scripted and cleverly directed.

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Jonny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays

FILM: Greenberg (Channel 4, 12.55am)

(2010) Fortysomething former musician Roger Greenberg, who is recovering from a nervous breakdown, returns to Los Angeles for the first time in years to house-sit for his brother.

While in the city, he starts an awkward romance with his brother’s assistant, but he also has to face a few figures from his past, including a former bandmate who wants to know why Roger walked away from their group when they appeared to be on the brink of a breakthrough.

Forget Meet the Parents – this dark comedy sees Ben Stiller at his most cringe-inducing as a character who seems to have no idea how his behaviour impacts on other people.

However, his nuanced performance means Greenberg never becomes a caricature and keeps the film compellingly watchable. You might not like him, but you could end up caring about what happens to him.

Starring: Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson, Juno Temple.

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up