Tom Hiddleston’s had an interesting 2017 so far. The Night Manager himself picked up a Golden Globe for best actor, but his speech wasn’t quite as popular as the le Carré drama. He returns to Graham Norton’s friendly sofa for a third time tonight, ahead of the release of Kong: Skull Island. Yes, they’re really making another King Kong movie, but surely if anyone can sell it it’s the man who gave British TV viewers the unforgettable “Hiddlesbum”. He’ll have tough competition for the spotlight, though. Ruth Wilson, Ricky Gervais and Daniel Radcliffe are along for the ride, too.
Celebrity Carry On Barging
Channel 5, 8pm
The four celebs pootle on, from Bradford on Avon to Devizes. The casting masterstroke here is in forming two couples, each with a barge: while Nigel Havers and Debbie McGee have a lovely, relaxed break, a sitcom war rages between Simon Callow and Lorraine Chase.
He wants to brood on the history of the canal, fix some Moroccan food (“I’m going to go down to the prow, and husk my chickpeas”) and steer the craft in tranquil silence, none of which he can do satisfactorily with Lorraine gassing nineteen to the dozen.
Callow’s mute reproach as she insists on enjoying herself is increasingly hilarious, but she can’t stop him drinking in the majesty of the Caen Hill Flight, with its 29 consecutive locks: “It’s like a ziggurat!”
The Lake District: A Wild Year
There’s Slow TV and now Fast TV, as life in the Lake District is speeded up and condensed with time-lapse photography.
This can be effective and even funny, as when we’re shown the hundreds of amateur swimmers belting into Windermere, but it would be pleasant to linger over the skill of a drystone wall-builder.
If you ignore the gimmicky aspects, this is a dreamy trot through a year in the life of one of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of Britain. Incredibly, 17 million tourists amble through the Lake District annually, visiting Beatrix Potter’s house, yomping around the fells and taking pleasure-boat rides.
We see all of these things while also being given glimpses of the mass rounding-up and shearing of sheep. Though just as you think everything in A Wild Year is simply too lyrically beautiful, the stormiest-ever winter savagely intrudes.
The Full Monty
When the going gets tough, the tough get go-going, in director Peter Cattaneo’s highly engaging, genuinely poignant and hilarious full-frontal comedy drama. Robert Carlyle plays a divorced father trying to maintain joint custody of his son, who forms a strip act along with a group of other unemployed Sheffield steelworkers. Well endowed with side-splitting laughter and brilliantly performed by the superb ensemble cast, this is about men’s emotional shortcomings as much as their dirty dancing techniques, and is jam-packed with many wonderful moments – the would-be Chippendales of the North absent-mindedly gyrating to the radio in a dole queue is simply inspired.
Netflix, available now
If you love lingering shots of exquisitely-arranged food, and if you like to know the story of how it came to be on the plate, Chef’s Table is the documentary series for you. Each episode profiles a single talented chef, taking the cameras inside some of the best restaurants in the world. Series three has just dropped on Netflix and features six 50-minute-long episodes. There’s ramen in New York, experimental cuisine in Lima, and a Michelin-starred cook at the cutting edge of flavor in Berlin. But be warned: it may make you hungry.