The Sunday Telegraph

The very best of the week ahead


Today Midsomer Murders

ITV1, 8pm

Series 23 begins with the end of the world. A paranoid doomsday prepper called Warren (Aran Bell) receives the radio transmissi­on that he has been waiting for: the nuclear weapons have launched, armageddon is upon us. He rushes to his bomb proof bunker, leaving his long-suffering wife behind. However, what he finds there is not salvation, but an elaborate hoax perpetrate­d by a killer – one who suffocates Warren by sucking all of the air out of the room. It is the kind of bombastic plot that the detective drama does so well: with a knowing nod and a playful wink. “He could have opened a fortune cookie and believed it,” says Warren’s wife, Clodagh (Sonita Henry), referencin­g her husband’s penchant for conspiracy theories. What intrigues Neil Dudgeon’s DCI John Barnaby, however, is why none of Warren’s fellow survivalis­ts responded to his panicked calls for help. Stephen Kelly

The Olivier Awards 2024

ITV1, 10.15pm

Hannah Waddingham once again hosts this year’s prestigiou­s theatre awards (shown here as highlights). Up for honours are David Tennant for Macbeth, Sarah Snook and Andrew Scott for The Picture of Dorian Gray and Vanya, respective­ly, and Joseph Fiennes for his take on Gareth Southgate in Dear England. The cast of Guys & Dolls also perform. SK

Monday Blue Lights BBC One, 9pm

It takes only minutes PICK of this second run to be OF THE reminded why the BBC WEEK has renewed Blue Lights

for not one but three more series: rookie Northern Irish police officers Grace (Sian Brooke), Tommy (Nathan Braniff) and Annie (Katherine Devlin) are besieged by a mob in their RV, facing bricks and petrol bombs. It is but a taster of what awaits. One year after the murder of veteran cop Gerry (Richard Dormer), the gang responsibl­e has been largely neutered while loyalist factions battle over filling the vacuum in the Belfast drugs trade. As crime rates soar, Frank Blake’s constable is drafted in to assist. A still-fragile Jen (Hannah McClean), meanwhile, is now a trainee solicitor taking on the historic case which has so traumatise­d Happy (Paddy Jenkins) and brings her into contact with a retired army special branch officer (Derek Thompson in his first post-Casualty gig) with his own agenda. Gabriel Tate

Pompeii: The New Dig BBC Two, 9pm

Balancing its awe at the expertise of archaeolog­ists with wonder at their discoverie­s, this fascinatin­g three-parter follows a major new excavation of the ancient city through its participan­ts and some rather nifty animations inspired by Roman frescos. Among their discoverie­s are further bodies (the diligent work to fill in their life stories is riveting) and a bakery that, it is believed, contains the earliest Roman image of a pizza. GT

Tuesday Michael Palin in Nigeria Channel 5, 9pm Python

The former turned travelogue master makes a welcome return to our screens with this engaging three-part series about Africa’s most economical­ly powerful country, where 60 per cent of the population are under 25. It’s his first time in Nigeria, a country which has long fascinated him, and he’s keen to “understand how it all works”. Palin starts in the capital of Lagos, and it’s a baptism of fire as soon as he steps off the plane – all noise and chaotic traffic. “It’s like having a few thousand volts put through you,” he says. He describes a land of contrasts: visiting Makoko, often described as the continent’s largest slum, before later crossing Lagos to sip cocktails in the luxury bars of Lekki. He doesn’t shy away from addressing Nigeria’s political problems, nor its colonial history; the latter is explored when he travels to the coastal town of Badagry, which was once a slave port. Veronica Lee

Danny Dyer: How to Be a Man

Channel 4, 10pm

Uber-geezer Danny Dyer takes on modern masculinit­y, meeting “ordinary blokes” with different insights on gender. The most moving exchange comes from his younger brother Tony, as the pair reflect on the impact of their absent father. VL

Wednesday Feud: Capote vs the Swans


The star power and directoria­l punch of Feud’s second outing knocks its catty opening season (about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford) out of the water. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the subject of this extraordin­ary entry into the anthology series is writer Truman Capote’s (In Cold Blood) betrayal of the circle of ultra-wealthy New York women (he called them his “swans”) who adopted him and propelled him into American high society. Tom Hollander puts in a typical powerhouse performanc­e as Capote, sidesteppi­ng previous incarnatio­ns by Toby Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman to build up a richly layered portrait of the writer that balances his effusive charm with the icy knowingnes­s of the shrewd observer and self destructiv­eness of a burnt-out talent. Even so, it is the jaw-dropping supporting line-up – Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny, Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore and Molly Ringwald as the swans (not to mention Treat Williams and Russell Tovey)

– and the glorious cinematic opulence of the direction, that really make this sing. Gerard O’Donovan

Shoulder to Shoulder

BBC Four, from 10pm

A rare, 50th-anniversar­y airing for this brilliant but little-remembered 1974 drama series, telling the story of the role of the Pankhurst family – led by matriarch Emmeline (Siân Phillips) – in the women’s suffrage movement. Phillips and directors Waris Hussein and Moira Armstrong look back on the series beforehand. GO

Thursday The Apprentice BBC One, 9pm

While its glory days are now distant, Alan Sugar’s reality show concludes its eighteenth series in decent health, even as its host’s proclamati­ons that it is a serious business programme ring ever more hollow. The final pits Phil, the perennial loser (or great survivor, depending on your perspectiv­e), against briskly efficient Rachel. The former hopes to continue in the family business and expand his small chain of pie shops, both physically and through a mail-order service. The latter hopes to open more gyms (sorry, “social fitness hangouts”). To earn Sugar’s expertise and £250,000 investment, each must rebrand their business alongside creating a digital billboard and television advert, before pitching to experts. Offering questionab­le assistance are some of their former rivals, with Virdi and Raj wasting no time in locking horns, while Rachel’s own team are bewildered by her business name: Studio Build. Their endeavours leave them well matched for the climactic boardroom, after which Tom Allen will be on hand for the customary debrief in You’re Hired (at 10pm). GT Bottom: Exposed

Gold, 9pm

For all their individual endeavours, it was as a pair that Adrian Edmondson and the late Rik Mayall did their finest work. Bottom was one of the most gleefully anarchic shows ever to grace a major broadcaste­r, running for only 18 episodes but leaving an almighty legacy. Edmondson, co-stars Helen Lederer and Kevin McNally and fan Chris McCausland pay tribute. GT

Friday Michael Portillo’s Long Weekends

Channel 5, 9pm

After another week of train-based travelogue­s over on BBC Two (6.30pm), Michael Portillo is on the move again for Channel 5. In this absorbing three-part travelogue, he takes us on a trio of long weekends to some of his favourite European cities. The first stop is the Spanish capital of Madrid: “A place that has set my heart racing since I was a boy.” Portillo revels in Madrid’s rich history and culture, sampling the restaurant­s, bars and landmarks it has to offer. The show’s charm, however, lies in its accessibil­ity – filled with practical tips, this is a trip that anyone could do. Take Sobrino de Botín, officially the oldest restaurant in the world, which specialise­s in traditiona­l suckling pigs; or the opulent Royal Palace of Madrid, home to almost 3,500 rooms, which is open to the public 360 days of the year. What is not easily attainable however is Portillo’s emotional connection with Spain. He becomes visibly moved when he talks about how the Spanish Civil War tore his family apart. SK

Unreported World Channel 4, 7.30pm

Reporter Kiran Moodley travels to Columbia University, New York, to find out how the war in Gaza has created a freedom of speech crisis in America’s universiti­es. Pro-Palestinia­n students argue that Columbia banning protests means it is shutting down criticism of Israel. Those in charge, meanwhile, insist that they have a responsibi­lity to all who study and teach on campus.

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 ?? ?? Feud’s Chloë Sevigny, Diane Lane, Molly Ringwald and Naomi Watts; Martin McCann and Sian Brooke in Blue Lights (below, left)
Feud’s Chloë Sevigny, Diane Lane, Molly Ringwald and Naomi Watts; Martin McCann and Sian Brooke in Blue Lights (below, left)
 ?? ?? Bottom: Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson
Bottom: Rik Mayall & Adrian Edmondson
 ?? ?? Michael Portillo visits Spain
Michael Portillo visits Spain

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