Once in a while we encounter a documentary of astonishing strangeness. Enter New Zealand television journalist David Farrier. His round includes entertainment and the kind of vignettes on the lighter side of life that typically run at the end of news bulletins. In the course of doing research, he uncovers something online called competitive endurance tickling, which involves participants dressed in sporting apparel tickling restrained subjects. But when he contacts the American-based organisers, they presuppose that Farrier is a homosexual, refuse to answer questions, and threaten him with lawsuits should he report on their “sport”. Naturally he decides to make a documentary about them. An extraordinary tale turns follows — don’t miss it. There have been some Joanna Lumley hosted series in recent years with very tenuous conceits, such as Joanna Lumley’s Search for Noah’s Ark in 2012. It’s not that audiences aren’t fascinated to watch and listen to the Absolutely Fabulous star on any topic — they are. But it did prompt facetious thoughts of a franchise — Joanna Lumley and the Temple of Doom, and so on. Alas, this new three-part series is based on a more prosaic foundation: Lumley was born in India. Further, it was during the last days of the Raj, and she boasts both sides of her family calling the subcontinent home for generations. What follows is a deeply personal journey. Batman Friday, 6.35pm, SBS Viceland To reverse an aphorism, this is your grandfather’s Batman. Marking the recent death of Adam West, Viceland is screening the original television series that premiered in 1966. Here in season one, episode one, titled Hi Diddle Riddle, even for Batman those who grew up watching West’s Batman in re-runs, it is still quite a shock watching the caped crusader saunter across the dance floor of a 60s discotheque. The tech in the old Batmobile is risible and the camp performances hilarious. The Dark Knight this ain’t. Meanwhile, West had voiced a character loosely based on himself in The Family Guy, which recently paid tribute to him, with creator Seth MacFarlane saying, “West was a joy to work with, and the kind of guy you always wanted to be around.” If you happen to be celebrating Christmas in July, or simply enjoy the comedy stylings of Will Ferrell, check out Elf (Tonight, 7.45pm, GO), where he plays Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves. Directed by Jon Favreau ( Iron Man and Iron Man 2), it also stars James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage. There’s no telling how the ads on free-to-air will affect the viewing experience of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (Tonight, 9.25pm, Nine) — but one suspects, not positively. Very light on dialogue, the 2015 Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron-led action spectacular won six Oscars. For an even darker experience, see Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy (Monday, 8.30pm, SBS Viceland), which won the grand jury prize at Cannes in 2004 and was subject to a poorly received Spike Lee remake starring James Brolin in 2013. Min-sik Choi plays Seoul-based businessman Dae-su, who is abducted and imprisoned in a cell for 15 years without explanation. When he is suddenly released, he embarks on a mission of revenge. On previous occasions it screened on World Movies with an R18+ rating, though here it is AV15+. Suffice it to say, it is extremely bloody.
Adam West and Burt Ward in