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some­one’s like­able, view­ers aren’t go­ing to want to watch them.

“I think re­cently we’ve found that that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the case. That doesn’t mean the per­son has to be a vil­lain, just sim­ply that they’re hon­est, and you’ll see through­out the show Laz is very hon­est and trans­par­ent in the way she con­ducts her busi­ness and her­self. There’s some­thing quite re­fresh­ing about that.”

McEl­hone has been out­spo­ken about be­ing anti-Brexit. She was one of a hand­ful of pub­lic fig­ures who con­trib­uted to the cost of coach travel for peo­ple head­ing to a march call­ing for a ref­er­en­dum on the fi­nal deal ear­lier this month.

“It’s so strange to me, po­lit­i­cally, at the mo­ment – ob­vi­ously I’m talk­ing about Brexit – this idea that we can’t re­visit and re-ex­am­ine some­thing, and that there’s some­thing un­demo­cratic about that.

“It’s so pe­cu­liar to me that, at the high­est level of ad­min­is­tra­tion and of pol­icy-mak­ing – and I’m as­sum­ing in big, big com­pa­nies like Laz’s – there’s this fash­ion and trend to just use smoke and mir­rors and not be trans­par­ent, and be right, what­ever the cost, even if you know you’re not right.

“So I like the fact Laz isn’t re­ally in­ter­ested in toe­ing that line. She’s ex­pe­di­ent and she will go and say what needs to be said to a bunch of peo­ple, who she’s go­ing to be reliant upon to make sure she gets her fund­ing through, but she is happy to be wrong and to be un­pop­u­lar.”

It’s easy to talk to McEl­hone: she gives long, con­sid­ered an­swers about her work but is equally happy talk­ing about life at home with her sons, aged nine, 15 and 18. Asked if her boys find her job cool, she laughs: “They’re pretty dis­in­ter­ested in what I do, to be hon­est”.

The First, Thurs­days, Chan­nel 4, 9pm

for a se­cret meet­ing be­tween an English­man, a French­man and a Ger­man, who had been given the huge task of bring­ing peace to Europe. But while they may have suc­ceeded in end­ing a bru­tal war, this doc­u­men­tary dis­cov­ers that the Ar­mistice ne­go­ti­a­tions would have long-last­ing reper­cus­sions that would be felt through­out the 20th cen­tury and set the stage for the Se­cond World War. The film ex­plores the talks from the per­spec­tives of three key play­ers – Ad­mi­ral Ross­lyn We­myss, who was out to en­sure that Bri­tain con­tin­ued to rule the waves, what­ever the cost, Mar­shal Fer­di­nand Foch, who had seen his beloved France dec­i­mated by a land war, and Ger­man politi­cian Matthias Erzberger, who was faced with terms that were harsher than he had ever ex­pected.

Rich House, Poor House Changed My Life (C5, 9pm)

A chance to catch up with some of the fam­i­lies from series two and three, re­veal­ing what hap­pened when the cam­eras stopped rolling. For all three pairs, it turns out the ex­per­i­ment has drawn them closer to­gether – most now see each other al­most ev­ery day and are the clos­est of friends, in­clud­ing some of the chil­dren. This doc­u­men­tary looks back at the most mov­ing and amus­ing mo­ments of their life swaps.

FRI­DAY Alone at Home (C4, 8pm)

With stud­ies show­ing that Bri­tish par­ents are among the most anx­ious in Europe, this new fac­tual en­ter­tain­ment series ques­tions to what de­gree mod­ern par­ent­ing styles ad­e­quately prepare our chil­dren for adult­hood. Across four episodes, fea­tur­ing a dif­fer­ent fam­ily each week, par­ents leave their chil­dren alone at home. Tonight we meet Na­talie, from Sur­rey, who has had enough of do­ing ev­ery­thing for her two daughters, 16-year-old Mil­lie and Lau­rel, 13. Na­talie’s part­ner Dan, a for­mer sol­dier, thinks Na­talie’s a soft touch and wants the girls to help more. With the house to them­selves and com­plete free­dom to do what­ever they want, will the teenagers do the right thing? Or will the par­ents come home to com­plete chaos?

The Great Model Rail­way Chal­lenge: The Fi­nal (C5, 8pm)

The last day at Faw­ley Hill sees the five win­ning teams from the heats take on their tough­est chal­lenge to date – a jour­ney through time. The mod­ellers are tasked to take view­ers and reg­u­lar judges Steve Flint and Kathy Mil­lat on a voy­age through the Cold War, the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, 1950s West Coun­try rail­ways and the 2012 Olympics, plus a glimpse into a po­ten­tial fu­ture. Pre­sen­ters James Richard­son and Tim Shaw over­see pro­ceed­ings, of­fer words of wis­dom to the con­tes­tants and see the series win­ners an­nounced.

Por­tillo’s Hid­den His­tory of Bri­tain (C5, 9pm)

In Manch­ester, Michael Por­tillo ven­tures in­side the London Road fire sta­tion, which was de­com­mis­sioned in 1986 af­ter 80 years’ ser­vice. The for­mer politi­cian dons a vin­tage uni­form and rides a fire en­gine, learn­ing about the tools the fire­fight­ers had avail­able to save the city from the Luft­waffe’s in­cen­di­ary bombs. Michael learns how the dev­as­tat­ing loss of life suf­fered by the brigade dur­ing wartime led to a trans­for­ma­tion of the pro­fes­sion and the foun­da­tion of the coun­try’s pre­miere fire­fight­ing school. He also con­sid­ers the his­tory of London Road’s po­lice sta­tion.

The Gra­ham Nor­ton Show (BBC1, 10.35pm)

Twice Os­car-nom­i­nated ac­tor Sir Ian McK­ellen talks about his 50-year ca­reer, in par­tic­u­lar his re­cent role in Jonathan Munby’s ex­plo­sive re­vival of Shake­speare’s epic tragedy King Lear at the Duke of York’s The­atre in London, and his one-man stage show, Ian McK­ellen with Shake­speare, Tolkien, Oth­ers & You at the Park The­atre. Join­ing him on the sofa are Carey Mul­li­gan, who is pro­mot­ing 1960s-set US drama Wildlife, which is based on the 1990 novel by Richard Ford, and Taron Eger­ton, who is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of stars such as Rus­sell Crowe and Kevin Cost­ner to play the ti­tle role in the new Robin Hood movie. Cana­dian crooner Michael Bu­ble per­forms from his new al­bum, Love.

love­birds, while Maria Doyle Kennedy and Ed Speleers join the cast.

Out­law King (Net­flix, from Fri)

If you were cast­ing a film about one of Scot­land’s great­est his­tor­i­cal he­roes, who would you choose? Prob­a­bly not Los An­ge­les-born Chris Pine, who’s bet­ter known for play­ing James T Kirk in the Star Trek fran­chise re­boot than he is for clam­ber­ing across the High­lands armed with a clay­more. Nev­er­the­less Pine tack­les the role and, to be fair, he makes a de­cent stab at it in a film that re­unites him with his Hell or High Wa­ter di­rec­tor David Macken­zie. The plot fo­cuses on Robert the Bruce’s ef­fort to end the op­pres­sive oc­cu­pa­tion of Scot­land by Ed­ward I of Eng­land. Against the odds, he seizes the Scot­tish crown and, backed by an im­pas­sioned group of his coun­try­men, fights back against the tyrant Ed­ward and his volatile son.

Medal of Hon­our (Net­flix, from Fri)

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by For­rest Gump di­rec­tor Robert Ze­meckis, this eight parter tells the re­mark­able true sto­ries be­hind some of the re­cip­i­ents of the US mil­i­tary’s high­est award for val­our, the Medal of Hon­our. Around 3,500 peo­ple have re­ceived it for dis­play­ing out­stand­ing courage above and be­yond the call of duty since it was in­au­gu­rated by Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln in 1861. Archival footage is ac­com­pa­nied by commentary from his­to­ri­ans, mil­i­tary lead­ers, fam­ily mem­bers and col­leagues.

Chris Pine stars in Out­law King on Net­flix, Fri­day

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