What to watch on TV this weekend

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Doctor Who


6.45pm Saturday, BBC1


Heads up! You really do not want to miss the start of this penultimate episode. By which I mean the pre-title sequence set-up. It’s a Big Moment. Say no more.

World Enough and Time marks the start of Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi’s farewell to Doctor Who, leading into next week’s finale and on to the Christmas special. It’s a deliciously macabre instalment, with several shocking incidents and a tone of despair that may disturb older viewers. You might need a young family member to comfort you. 

The Tardis arrives on a mighty colony ship 400 miles long and 100 miles wide, which is trying to reverse away from a black hole. The gravitational pull means that time is running faster at the top of the vessel than the bottom. As part of her rehabilitation, Missy is answering the ship’s distress call. With Bill and Nardole as her “plucky assistants”, she delights in posing as “Doctor Whhooo!” (the fab Michelle Gomez giving the name some Glaswegian welly). 

Moffat warned RT readers that the Doctor “witnesses the death of someone he is pledged to protect”. Who will it be? Who are the hospital patients wailing in pain? And how does it all fit in with Missy’s earlier incarnation (John Simm returning as the Master after seven years) and the original 1960s cloth-faced Cybermen? In short, riveting. 

Glastonbury 2017


See our full guide of the coverage here.

Saturday 5.30pm, 8pm, 9pm BBC2/from 7pm BBC4

A chaotic, eclectic day at Worthy Farm. BBC2’s 5.30pm broadcast, for instance, brings us both Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and UK garage preener Craig David; tune in to BBC4 at 7pm if you like both Liam Gallagher and Toots & the Maytals. BBC4’s coverage continues with sensitive country-indie heroes the National (8pm), tricksy hipster songwriter Father John Misty (9pm) and a headliner that could be amazing or terrible: the Jacksons (10pm).

Back on BBC2, Katy Perry (8pm) gees us up before the act that was meant to own Glasto in 2015, until frontman Dave Grohl fell off a stage in Gothenburg a week before and broke his leg: Foo Fighters. If you can’t immediately name any of their songs, check them out anyway. They’re a bear hug of a rock band, producing as much energy and diem-carping positivity as they do sheer volume.

Sunday from 6pm BBC2/7pm BBC4

The Sunday “legends” slot is well established now at Glastonbury. On the final afternoon, festival-goers are ready to soothe their sunburn/trenchfoot/comedown by seeking solace in an ageing megastar with their own jukebox full of hits. Following stormers from Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and ELO in recent years, surviving Bee Gees brother Barry Gibb is here this year, to play 60s pop gems and 70s dance classics. He’s followed on the main stage by perhaps the only active performer with a better claim to being disco’s biggest name: Nile Rodgers. 

And then the grand finale for 2017: Ed Sheeran, whose complete dominance of the charts earlier this year made him the only feasible choice to bring the whole event to a close. Stick around after he’s left the stage, however, for a round-up of Glastonbury 2017’s best moments.


9pm Sunday, BBC1


That poltroon George Warleggan is keen to become a “burgess of the borough”, which I suppose is better than being a pillock of the parish. It’s another sign of Warleggan’s overweening social ambitions – he’s become a magistrate (in his tremendous judicial wig he looks a bit like Joan Crawford) and is keen to become a full-on member of Cornish high society.

Jack Farthing as Warleggan is so good at a certain kind of slab-faced villainy, his dead eyes glinting with malice as he condemns ill-used and starving peasants to transportation and lashings for piffling “offences”.

His unhappy wife Elizabeth is hitting the sherry schooner as she tries to blot out the horror of being married to such a slug. But surely she is secretly pining for the absent Ross, who’s a busy man, popping across to Revolution-torn France, anxious for news of the imprisoned Dwight Enys. These are bloody times….

The Handmaid’s Tale

9pm Sunday, C4


Don’t be fooled by the glum pic: this is a blazing torch of an episode, full of love, sex and bombshells. As Offred/June flirts darkly with the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) over one of their Scrabble games, we flash back to the pre-Gilead days of freedom when she first met partner Luke (played by OT Fagbenle – yes, from BBC1’s The Interceptor, but infinitely better here). 

The remembered scenes of their hesitant, laughing courtship are beautifully drawn, and set against the grim, mechanical mating rituals of her new life as a Handmaid. To drive the point home, we gather that the Commander doesn’t believe in love: “It was never anything more than lust with a good marketing campaign,” he sneers, pointing out the joyless truth that “Every love story is a tragedy if you wait long enough.” 

Casino Royale

9pm Saturday, ITV


Daniel Craig effortlessly makes James Bond his own as the 21st movie in the series goes back to basics for a resoundingly entertaining spy adventure.GoldenEye director Martin Campbell injects some Bourne-style grit into the proceedings, upping the violence content (the opening sequence, shot in grainy black and white, is particularly brutal). He also strips Bond of much of the slightly camp humour – thus no appearance from gadget-man Q.

The plot is essentially an origins story, as a rough-around-the-edges Bond gains his two zeros (the two authorised kills he needs for his infamous licence) before tackling villain Le Chiffre (a splendidly thin-lipped Mads Mikkelsen) in a game of high-stakes poker. Craig’s humanised, more flawed interpretation of the role balances Campbell’s physical direction and co-writer Paul Haggis’s sparing wit, while Eva Green provides an alluring love interest. Apart from a chaotic and overlong last act, this is a triumphant new beginning.


BBC iPlayer


An absolute thriller of a documentary, packed with all the tension and jeopardy of the best space-exploration movies. The stories told by surviving ex-cosmonauts are as gripping as any of the Apollo missions, but because they happened to the other side they’re ones we’ve rarely heard.