Monday's TV tips

Check out our guide to the best of tonight's TV.

Monday's TV tips

Beat the Brain (BBC2, 6.30pm)

Broadcasting legend John Craven has had a go at most things during his long career – including impersonating Mr Spock in a Swap Shop sketch – and now he’s adding another string to his bow.

John is the host of this new quiz, in which teams of four contestants attempt to tackle puzzles, problems, posers and conundrums designed to test every part of their mental fitness again The Brain - the show’s resident genius.

For ever correct answer they give, they will be awarded seconds which should give them the time they need to complete the final round and win the £3,000 jackpot.

Damned Designs: Don’t Demolish My Home (Channel 4, 8pm)

We all have grand plans for our homes – whether it be knocking down a wall, adding a room or two, or something much more extravagant. Sadly, the cost of the renovation is what usually puts people off, but some will spare no expense on their projects and instead face a different obstacle – the planning laws.

Damned Designs follows homeowners who’ve fallen foul of these laws, from the beauty parlour millionaire who turned his bungalow into a seven-bedroom mansion complete with a shark-tank, to the eco-warriors who built a ’Hobbit-house’ in the local woods.

Now some of these ill-fated, grand designers are fighting to save their homes from the council’s bulldozers, as they take their case to the last-chance court of the Planning Inspectorate. Among those featured tonight is Surrey farmer Robert Fidler, who decided to build a castle farmhouse under the cover of giant hay bails.

The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge (BBC2, 8pm)

New series. Six people are invited to compete in a garden-designing contest, with the winner being given a chance to plot and build a garden on Main Avenue at the Chelsea Flower Show 2015. For their first challenge, the designers have four days and £1,500 to build cottage gardens in the grounds of Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire.

They will need to impress RHS judge James Alexander-Smith and the gold medal-winning gardener, Ann-Marie Powell to avoid being sent home.

At the end of the competition, one person will win the career-changing opportunity to apply their horticultural flair to a patch on the Main Avenue at the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show. Presented by Joe Swift.

Life Stories: Dáil on the Dole (TV3, 9pm)

In episode four Independent T.D. John Halligan meets a number of men who had steady jobs all their lives until the economy collapsed and their jobs disappeared with it.

He meets men now working on Community Employment schemes who are glad to be back working but question the exploitative nature of doing so for an extra €1/hour.

He meets people who had a long history in construction who explain the trauma of losing your job and through that your identity.

He finds out what it's like being stuck in the house with nothing to do, no longer the breadwinner and with no money to socialise with friends.

These men ask of John Halligan what is being done to support them back into employment and more importantly why are they being ignored?

Benefits Street (Channel 4, 9pm)

New series. The controversial documentary following the lives of those heavily reliant on benefit payments returns for a second run.

This time, the residents of Kingston Road on Stockton-on-Tees Tilery Estate are the focus, including mother-of-six Julie and her friend Sue, who set the world to rights from the doorstep, as well unemployed Lee, who has been denied a crisis loan and is relying on a food bank and his neighbours to eat.

Meanwhile, the rebellious ’king of kids’, Maxwell, divides his time between exercising, taking drugs, and risking arrest by turning up late for his court appearance.

The American (Film4, 9.00pm)

(2010) Jack is a master assassin who, after a job in Sweden ends badly, decides his next assignment will be his last.

While awaiting the time to complete it, he takes up residence in a small Italian town, where he befriends the local priest and embarks on a romance with a local woman.

However, by letting his guard down, Jack may be making himself a target Despite its slow pace and emphasis on visuals rather than plot, this is a mesmerising film.

It’s helped that Jack is played by the effortlessly charming George Clooney. Just don’t expect an action adventure – this is a cerebral pleasure as much as it is a visual one.

Republic of Telly (RTE Two, 10pm)

Tonight, Lisa Cannon joins the Republic of Telly team as ‘Jen of the Week’

The Birds (Film4, 11.05pm)

(1963) Alfred Hitchcock made many memorable movies, but few stick in the mind quite as long as this chilling thriller, loosely based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier.

The Master of Suspense had already adapted her novels Jamaica Inn and Rebecca for the big screen, but this is undoubtedly the best of the lot. Tippi Hedren, in her first starring role, plays socialite Melanie Daniels, who follows San Francisco lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) back to his family home in Bodega Bay – and that’s when the trouble begins.

The local bird population starts attacking people, leading to terror and tragedy. But why do they strike? Hitchcock never explains, preferring instead to linger on the uncertainty of the situation and make viewers think about the terrible consequences if such an event really happened.

FILM: Dante’s Peak (3e, 12am)

(1997) An epic adventure Dante's Peak captures the cataclysmic power of a volcanic eruption and explores the ethical dilemma facing those who risk their lives in order to predict when the next big one will erupt.

In the constant struggle of man against nature, it is the most devastating adversary of all - a force equal to the power of a million atomic bombs which suddenly explodes to wreak havoc and destruction on an unsuspecting population.

It can turn day into night air into fire calm seas into 1,000 foot tsunamis; it can cause earthquakes and mudslides. And it can happen at any time, creating explosive rivers of hot, liquefied rock flowing downhill at speeds of up to 100 mph; expelling water, steam and fast moving clouds of incandescent gases, pumice and ash; leaving nothing but death and devastation in its wake.

The people of Dante's Peak an idyllic community of 8,000 nestled at the foot of a towering mountain in the Northern Cascades, don't believe it could ever happen to them.

But the danger is real; A sleeping giant is awakening, and the one man who can save them from nature's worst nightmare can't get anyone to heed his warnings.

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton.

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