Aladdin, Shrek 2, Fast Girls: films on TV today

Robin Williams wisecracks to perfection as the Genie of the Lamp, the not-so-jolly green ogre visits his in-laws, and an all-girl sprint team goes for championship glory: the Radio Times team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY

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Aladdin ★★★★★
5.30-7.10pm C5 

I was no great fan of Robin Williams. In Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, fine. But in almost everything else — notably What Dreams May Come — he trailed too much sickly sentimentality. Nevertheless, as the genie of the lamp he is quite the best thing in Disney’s Aladdin. Perhaps that’s because you only hear his voice and don’t actually see the tortured, mournful face that looms out of most of his films. Whatever, the genie — impersonating all manner of characters from Elvis to a Scottish terrier — positively enlivens what is otherwise a conventional, but enjoyable, fairy tale. Jasmine (Linda Larkin), daughter of the Sultan, is told she must marry within three days and runs away. She meets street urchin Aladdin (Scott Weinger) and falls for him. But the wicked vizier (Jonathan Freeman) wants to marry her and pursues them. You can pretty well fill in the rest while giving thanks for the genie.


Shrek 2 ★★★★
4.10-5.30pm BBC1 

Shrek is finding it even less easy being green in this smart sequel that sees him clash with his in-laws. Antonio Banderas joins the cast as the voice of the dashing Puss in Boots.


Fast Girls ★★★
7.15-9.00pm Film Four 

Members of a female sprint relay team not only have to overcome their rivals but personal rivalries differences, too. Being Human’s Lenora Crichlow and Downton’s Lily James are the girls on either side of the class divide.


Shaun of the Dead ★★★★
9.00-11.05pm ITV2 

It’s gore and guffaw as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost find themselves at the centre of a zombie uprising in Edgar Wright’s entertaining homage. Get yourselves a drink, boys.


Apocalypse Now ★★★★★
9.00pm-12.05am ITV4 

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Martin Sheen’s US Army captain is sent to assassinate Marlon Brando’s rogue colonel in Francis Ford Coppola’s riveting Vietnam War drama. There was chaos on and off the set — Sheen had a heart attack, Brando didn’t know his lines (and had eaten all the pies) — but somehow a masterpiece was born.