BOX SETS AND ON DEMAND
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