Friday’s TV tips

The pick of the programmes from tonight's TV.

Friday’s TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: Nadia: Chasing the Dream (3e, 8pm)

Episode 1: London’s Calling

‘Nadia: Chasing the Dream’ follows Irish model, singer and actress Nadia Forde as she tours and experiences Ibiza, Miami, London and Dublin with international names and many laughs.

This documentary follows the hardships that are experienced while on the road, whilst also allowing the viewers to see the glamour of the industry through the promotion of Nadia’s first single and the recording of her new song.

DOCUMENTARY: Sex and the Church (BBC2, 9pm)

Is Christianity behind the times when it comes to attitudes towards sex?

It’s a question Diamaid MacCulloch, the Professor of the history of the Church at the University of Oxford, will aim to answer in this new, three-part series which explores how the religion’s complex and often divisive ideas about sex, marriage and gender were first planted 2,000 years ago.

However, as the world becomes increasingly liberal, Christianity has been accused of being slow to move with the times – MacCulloch himself refused to be ordained into the priesthood due to its attitudes towards his own homosexuality.

Here, he investigates such groups as Mormons, Methodists and missionaries, as well as the 16th century’s notorious witch-hunts, the drag queens who adorned London 200 years later and the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

It’s a fascinating journey, and one made – rather refreshingly – without condemning or embracing any strident opinion.

FILM: X Men: First Class (TV3, 9pm)

(2010) Following the classic Marvel mythology, X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time.

Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together with other mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.

Starring: Michael Fassbender, James Mcavoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne.

COMEDY: Have I Got News for You (BBC1, 9pm)

Daniel Radcliffe casts his spell over the current affairs quiz, which is back for its – believe it or not – 49th series this week.

Radcliffe is without a doubt a talented actor who has taken on a wide range of roles on both stage and screen in the likes of smash-hit horror The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, The Cripple of Inishmaan and Equus.

However, you get the feeling that no matter what he does in the future, he will always be regarded as Harry Potter. Not that Radcliffe is complaining – playing the boy wizard has opened up heaps of opportunities for him.

This is his second stint as guest presenter, but whether his prior experience at keeping captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton in check will help him this time around remains to be seen. As usual, they’ll be poking fun at the week’s headlines.

DOCUMENTARY: Biggest Band Break Ups and Make Ups (BBC4, 9pm)

Teenage fans everywhere went into meltdown when Zayn Malik announced he was leaving One Direction on March 25.

It didn’t come as a massive surprise to anyone who had followed the band’s fortunes in recent months, but the Beeb nevertheless deserves full marks for hurriedly throwing together this documentary, which takes a look at the highs and lows of being involved in the music industry – including the tensions that can sometimes arise between band members.

Malik is intent on living life as a “normal 22 year old,” but what other pressures can artists face that may cause them to walk away from fame and fortune? Mark Radcliffe is the man with the answers.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – the DJ also offers an intriguing explanation into why some groups stick together, no matter what.

Stay tuned because afterwards, there’s another chance to see More Dangerous Songs: And the Banned Played On, and Britain’s Most Dangerous Songs: Listen to the Banned.

ENTERTAINMENT: The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10.35pm)

It’s been such a short space of time since the last run of the ever-popular chat show that it hardly feels as if it’s been away.

Not that we’re complaining – Friday nights just don’t feel the same without Graham Norton’s programme to entertain us.

The only problem is, its broadcast time clashes with that of Alan Carr’s show over on Channel 4 – so who will celebrity-loving viewers choose to tune into? No doubt it will be the guests who swing it, so those in charge of booking famous faces for their bosses to talk to will probably be feeling the pressure about now.

Will Graham follow Alan’s lead by having a Grand National special, or will he plough his own furrow? Only time will tell, but one thing we can be assured of is an entertaining and hilarious 50 minutes of celebrity-packed fun.

FILM: The Crazies (Film4, 11.25pm)

(2010) The sheriff of a quiet little town investigates a series of unexpected murders, trying to work out what could have driven seemingly normal, well-adjusted people to kill.

He discovers that a toxic chemical has turned many of the residents into bloodthirsty maniacs, leaving those unaffected battling for survival.

While George Romero did a fine job with the original, director Breck Eisner helped turn this into one of the most engaging horror thrillers of recent years.

Timothy Olyphant, perhaps best remembered as the villain in Die Hard 4.0, is a solid leading man, while the always watchable Radha Mitchell lends a necessary degree of gravitas to the proceedings.

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker

FILM: The White Countess (BBC Two, 11.35pm)

(2005) Set in 1930s Shanghai, it stars Ralph Fiennes as a former American diplomat who is trying to come to terms with blindness.

He finds some comfort in his relationship with an exiled Russian countess (Natasha Richardson), who has been reduced to acting as hostess in a club – and it’s hinted she may be selling more than drinks and dances.

However, with the Japanese about to invade and the world on the brink of war, it’s clear the lovers can’t escape reality forever...

It may be a little too polite for some tastes, but for those who like their dramas to be subtle, classy and impeccably acted, there’s much to enjoy.

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave, Hiroyuki Sanada

FILM: Grave of the Fireflies (Film4, 1.30am)

(1988) Director Isao Takahata’s animated drama follows two Japanese children whose mother is killed in a firebombing raid on Kobe.

Their father is fighting overseas, so with nowhere else to turn they must move in with a distant aunt – however she is stern and strict, and openly resentful about having to feed them, so the pair run away.

Unfortunately, they are unprepared for the rigours of having to fend for themselves, and it’s not long before they’re worse off than ever.

This film is extraordinarily good, regularly topping polls of best animated films and best war films – definitely a must-see. However, be warned: this is a devastatingly sad movie.

It’s from Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, who are usually responsible for magical fantasies (and, more often than not, happy endings), so this is a break from the norm.

However, it’s every bit as beautifully drawn as the studio’s other works, and it perfectly depicts the world as seen through a child’s eyes in typical Ghibli style.

Starring: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi

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