Friday’s TV tips

Soap operas and game shows and thrillers, oh my!

Friday’s TV tips

LIVE SOAP: EastEnders (BBC1, 8pm)

It was five years ago when the cast of EastEnders last came together to create a live episode – that was when we found out the identity of Archie Mitchell’s killer.

This time around, to celebrate the soap’s 30th anniversary, they’re at it again – and in echoes of that previous telly triumph, it’s the murderer of Lucy Beale who’s pulling focus.

Mind you, we did find out whodunit last night, so you might not think there’s too much more to tell in this edition.

But the revelation will have come as quite a shock to the residents – not least Lauren, who started trying to crack the case single-handedly after finding a missing piece of evidence.

Ian, too, will be among those keen to see how it all plays out. However, as the full details come to light, secrets suddenly start tumbling out across the Square. Will Walford ever be the same again?

QUIZ SHOW: The Million Pound Drop (Channel 4, 8pm)

Everyone’s experienced that sinking feeling when the pub, club, train, restaurant or other such location you’re in is invaded by a raucous stag or hen party – it’s rarely fun to be on the outside of such a rowdy group, and the more fun they’re having the less it seems everyone else is.

However as Channel 4’s perennially popular big-money quiz show returns for an impressive 14th series, it does so with a bang – as a bride-to-be and her best friends take part in what has to be one of the most unique hen parties of all time.

The rules, as ever, are simple: put stacks of cash over trapdoors representing the answers to questions, and hope you chose wisely.

The best bit is, if they do well, they’ll be setting the happy couple up for life. This is one time we’re happy to have a bachelorette bash crash our evening. L-plates at the ready!

REALITY: Gogglebox (Channel 4, 8pm)

The TV show in which we watch people watching TV shows returns, for a welcome fifth series.

We can hardly believe that such a simple format has proved so successful, however its triumphs – which include winning a Bafta and a National Television Award – are warranted. In the end, such a show lives or dies by its stars, and Gogglebox has introduced us to some genuinely memorable individuals and families.

They include some whose fame has grown to the point where they can no longer take part as mere members of the public: one went on to appear in Celebrity Big Brother, while another used his status as a platform to launch a political career.

Posh couple Steph and Dom, meanwhile, are rumoured to have their own chat show on the horizon – but for the time being, at least, we’d rather focus on the show that made them all who they are, as we catch more off-the-cuff comments from real people watching the shows we love.

FILM: Don’t Say a Word (Film4, 9pm)

(2001) A psychiatrist’s daughter is kidnapped by criminals who hold her hostage in a bid to obtain information known only by one of his patients – a woman suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The distraught father must use his skills to delve into the troubled woman’s mind and retrieve the secret in order to save his child.

Michael Douglas is always good value for money and Sean Bean is the go-to guy for creepy and charismatic, so it has at least some of the right ingredients for a superior thriller.

At times it loses its way and there are some bizarre casting and set-piece choices, but overall it works well as an above average and vaguely Hitchcockian game of cat and mouse.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Brittany Murphy

MUSIC: Status Quo: Live And Acoustic (BBC4, 10.20pm)

Three-chord wonders Status Quo have long since been synonymous with the Fender Telecaster electric guitar, so it was quite surprising when they released their cleverly titled acoustic album Aquostic (Stripped Bare) last year; even more surprising was how well their electrified brand of boogie rock’n’roll translated into this new unplugged format.

The group comprehensively silenced any remaining doubters with a stripped-back performance at London’s Roundhouse where they belted out acoustic versions of their best-known hits, including Pictures of Matchstick Men, Rockin’ All Over the World, Whatever You Want, What You’re Proposing, Down Down, and Marguerita Time.

The performance, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 at the time, proved that great bands can perform outside of their comfort zone without losing any of their flair.

Now, for the first time, we can see the show from the comfort of our living rooms – followed by a host of other artists’ acoustic songs in Acoustic at the BBC.

FILM: The Guardian (BBC One, 11.55pm)

(2006) A distinguished coast guard is reassigned to a training facility following a tragic accident that left him the sole survivor of his team.

Tasked with preparing the next generation of wannabe search-and-rescue specialists, he soon clashes with a talented but troubled rookie.

However, the two men find common ground in the rigorous training regiment and soon form a solid friendship.

Banish the memory of Waterworld from your mind – this more recent sea-bound Kevin Costner adventure is more thrilling drama than damp squib.

He has clear chemistry with co-star Ashton Kutcher, and the two men’s rivalry and subsequent friendship rings true throughout.

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward, Melissa Sagemiller, Clancy Brown

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