What’s on TV tonight: Taskmaster, Queen and more

What’s on TV tonight: Taskmaster, Queen and more

Greg Davies and Alex Horne – Channel 4

Thursday 23 June

Taskmaster: Champion of Champions 2022
Channel 4, 9pm 
A week after the end of its 13th series, this peerlessly silly game show delves back into its past on Dave, wrangling the winners of series six to nine (alongside the series 10 champion from its first Channel 4 run) for a standalone explosion of surreal creativity and open-hearted hilarity, punctuated as ever by the aggressive interventions of the ever grumpy Taskmaster Greg Davies.

The secrets of the show’s success are twofold. Firstly, there is a chemistry between the competitors that, even for this ad hoc one-off, is as finely balanced and effective as ever: Richard Herring brings self-deprecation and a big chequebook, Lou Sanders roller skates and has an obsession with pulleys, Ed Gamble essays a trip into space and an unusual costume, Kerry Godliman supplies bottled fury and James Acaster, while Liza Tarbuck, quite frankly, steals the show. Secondly there are the tasks themselves, concocted and often participated in by Alex Horne: tonight features a duck and a pond, “the greatest thing”, some sleight of hand with bricks and balloons, and elaborate consumption of grapes. There remains nothing else like it on television, nor anything as consistently funny and inventive. GT

Cricket: England v New Zealand
Sky Cricket, 10am
Well, blimey, the Stokes/ McCullum era is fun, isn’t it? Two weeks ago, England were the laughing stock of Test cricket. Now, they lie 2-0 up against the world Test champions and can look forward to a rapturous reception at Headingley for the third and final Test match of the series. New Zealand won the last time they faced England at Headingley, in 2015. GT
Conceived by the late Icelandic director Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson, this charming, low-key tearjerker of culture clashes and reckoning with the past follows the return of Sylwester (Andrzej Seweryn), a tailor-turned-drag queen, to his Polish hometown after 50 years in Paris, where he hopes to donate a kidney to his long-estranged daughter. GT

Sarah Beeny’s Little House, Big Plans
Channel 4, 8pm
Sarah Beeny comes to the rescue of Marie, whose plans to convert a flat were stymied by the pandemic and, with grim predictability, a shortage of both supplies and tradespeople. Architect Damion Burrows, meanwhile, meets a man hoping to make a home from a two-car garage. GT

Britain’s Airport Chaos
Channel 5, 8pm
A quick turnaround documentary addressing the reasons behind the recent trend for last-minute flight cancellations among the major airlines, and the impact that this has had on passengers stranded at home and abroad. Vital viewing in the run-up to the summer holidays. GT

Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC One, 9pm
Anna Maxwell Martin proves as dogged and curious as Line of Duty’s Patricia Carmichael as she digs into unarguably tragic stories on both branches of her family tree. On her father’s side there is premature death, on her mother’s, an appalling history of abuse, neglect and separation redeemed by a communal determination not to let the past dictate the future. Harrowing, but ultimately uplifting. GT

More4, 9pm
A second series for this passable Canadian procedural, which grips tighter as it burrows more deeply into the lives of its protagonists. This opener finds Dr Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan) juggling her ailing father, teenage son and troubled boyfriend, when a fire in a high-rise sets up a bleakly compelling new case. GT

The Lazarus Project
Sky Max, 9pm
The moral maze gets ever more labyrinthine for poor old George (Paapa Essiedu) in Joe Barton’s fine sci-fi thriller as disgruntled Shiv (Rudi Dharmalingam) offers him a release for his grief. Flashbacks also reveal George’s first meetings with girlfriend Sarah (Charly Clive) and the conflicted emotions of Archie (Anjli Mohindra), rooted in her politically murky manoeuvres with fellow Lazarus operative Ross (Brian Gleeson). GT

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021) ★★★★ 
Sky Cinema Premiere, 6pm
A heady dose of British period-drama whimsy, this biopic of the eccentric artist Louis Wain, famous for his increasingly hallucinogenic portraits of cats, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. Toby Jones plays a supporting role and Olivia Colman lends her voice as the narrator. Wain’s struggle with poor mental health towards the end of his life is terribly sad, but this is a sincere appreciation of the power of his artwork.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) ★★★★
Film4, 6.40pm
Nora Ephron’s schmaltzy romantic comedy, inspired by the 1957 Cary Grant film An Affair to Remember, stars Tom Hanks as a bereaved architect, who attracts the interest of recently engaged newspaper writer Annie (Meg Ryan) after his son goes on the radio to discuss how much his dad misses his wife. It’s affecting stuff, and the fact that the two love interests don’t actually meet one another until the film’s final scene is a hook that works strangely well.

Kinky Boots (2005) ★★★
5STAR, 10pm
Inspired by the true story of a failing Midlands shoe factory, this feel-good but often twee comedy centres around Charlie, played by Joel Edgerton, who is struggling to save the family business, and one of his employees, transvestite cabaret star Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who inspires him to make high-heeled boots that  are designed to carry a grown man’s weight. It’s a lively modern fairy tale fronting ideas of social and economic progress for all.

Friday 24 June

What’s on TV tonight: Taskmaster, Queen and more

Presenters: Lauren Laverne, Jack Saunders, Jo Whiley, and Clara Amfo – BBC

Glastonbury 2022
BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four, from 7pm     
Worthy Farm, the unassuming Somerset site of the greatest music festival in the world, has lain dormant for three pandemic-blighted years. But in a glorious return for humanity, and a devastating reality check for local livestock, Glastonbury 2022 is on. The BBC’s festival broadcasting is a thing of beauty – and a welcome reminder of what the embattled corporation does best. We’re set for an exhaustive 35 hours of coverage over the next three days, beginning on BBC Three at 7pm tonight with set highlights from popstar Sigrid and the Brit Award-winning Griff.

Jo Whiley, Lauren Laverne and Clara Amfo lead live coverage of the first day on BBC Two, continuing from 9pm, introducing live performances from Wet Leg, Wolf Alice and TLC. At 10pm, the sultry queen of pop Billie Eilish crowns her rise to superstardom with a headline set on the Pyramid Stage – the youngest solo headliner in Glastonbury history at the tender age of 20. Highlights of the other headline acts follow, among them British rapper Little Simz on the West Holts Stage and indie rock darlings Foals on the Other Stage. BBC Four has coverage from 8pm with Crowded House, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Idles and Arlo Parks. JT

Apple TV+
America’s billionaire class get their own TV show in this surprisingly tame workplace comedy. Maya Rudolph stars as a rich narcissist who discovers the redemptive power of philanthropy after being betrayed by her husband of 20 years (Adam Scott). JT

Man VS Bee
Rowan Atkinson returns to the slapstick-comedy well to star as a bumbling oaf who’s outsmarted by a bee. It hardly breaks new ground, but any vehicle which allows Atkinson to make stupid facial expressions is worth the pretence. He plays Trevor, a luckless chap who housesits at a modern mega-mansion, filled with priceless things he really, really mustn’t break… The supporting cast includes Julian Rhind-Tutt. JT

Sarah the Lumberjill: Our Lives
BBC One, 7.30pm; NI/Wales, 8pm
The majority of Britain’s sustainable timber comes from the vast forests of Scotland. Sarah the lumberjill is the fourth generation of her family to “take up the saw”, working the Central Highlands under the tutelage of her ailing lumberjack father. This instalment finds her busier than ever after some of the worst storms in Scotland’s history, and juggling the pressures of single motherhood. JT

One Question
Channel 4, 8pm
Claudia Winkleman hosts this new gameshow in which a pair of contestants must answer a single question correctly to win £100,000. That’s the headline anyway. In reality, it’s an arduous, chat-show style slog through 20 possible answers that ends up being neither interesting nor gripping. JT

Rig 45: Murder at Sea
More4, 9pm
Damage inspector Andrea (Catherine Walker) is sent out to a North Sea oil rig to investigate a fatal accident, but there’s an air of paranoia among the seven remaining skeleton crew. This Swedish thriller is well worth its sea salt, ratcheting up the tension with typical Scandi noir restraint. JT

Scouting For Girls: Fashion’s Darkest Secret
Sky Documentaries, 9pm
A harrowing film which tells the depressingly familiar story of powerful men who manipulate women with the promise of stardom, before sexually abusing them. This time, it’s the modelling industry and the seedy agents who groomed girls as young as 15 with impunity. This first episode explains what makes the industry so appealing, and so dangerous, to ambitious young women. JT

Trevor: The Musical (2022) 
This adaptation of Peggy Rajski’s 1994 Oscar-winning short film about a 13-year old boy who develops a crush on his male classmate has travelled via an off-Broadway musical to our screens just in time for Pride Month. It follows the story of Trevor (Holden William Hagelberger) who, after embarrassing himself at school, embarks on a coming-of-age journey of self-discovery. The original film inspired an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention non-profit organisation.

Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021) ★★★
Sky Cinema Premiere, 6pm
This entertaining adaptation of the Norman Bridwell books is an origin story, explaining how Clifford the red puppy grew to be 10-feet-tall while under the care of young Emily (Darby Camp) and her clumsy uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall). But danger lurks when the owner of a genetics company wants to capture the crimson canine and pass him off as a gene-splicing project to bolster his struggling biotech firm.

When Harry Met Sally ★★★★★
BBC One, 10.40pm
Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner’s ageless romcom about two old friends (Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal) who fall slowly in love over the course of decade, in a gorgeous, seemingly perpetually autumnal Manhattan, redefined the genre and asked resonant questions about the nature of male-female friendship. It’s full of wise asides and dry one-liners, and contains, of course, the most famous diner scene in film history.

Television previewers

Jack Taylor (JT), Veronica Lee (VL), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Vicki Power (VP), Gabriel Tate (GT) and Chris Bennion (CB)

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