The best TV to watch tonight

Your indispensable guide to the best things on the box...

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Excluded at Seven

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9pm, Channel 4

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Harvey likes to thump things. Doors, walls, noticeboards – he kicks and bashes them, sometimes swearing as he does so. This presents problems as he arrives at the Rosebery School in Kings Lynn, which provides short-term places for children like him who have been excluded – often repeatedly º from their original primary schools.

As Harvey prepares to join Rosebery full-time he has a one-to-one with his teacher. The cameras capture his anger as he recalls how kids at his last school called him “dumb”. “I want to punch stuff and break stuff,” he says, roaring like a lion and thwacking the desk. Then, after kicking the door for a bit, he terminates the interview with a curt, “Leave. Me A. Lone.”

The teachers respond with patience (mostly – even they get tested) and faith in the kids’ ability to change. But repeated cutaways of a tortoise crawling on the classroom carpet suggest, subliminally, that progress is bound to be slow. And as the number of primary pupils being excluded continues to rise, the programme makes us wonder about all the Harveys who won’t get this much help.

Inside the Factory

8pm, BBC2

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“I love this!” whoops Gregg Wallace as a cunning machine folds up little parcels of tortellini. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey uses a sort of jet-pack device to lift an entire grana padano cheese into an industrial grater. “It’s like a really odd video game!” she yells. The two of them are having a molto bene time learning how pasta and pasta sauce are made at enormous factories in Italy. 

Wallace’s main mission is watching the spaghetti production line, which has just the two ingredients – wheat and water – and a dazzling network of shiny tubes to carry stuff around. It’s another fact-tastic edition of Inside the Factory, with a surprising detour to a recipe for cheesy lasagne… from Richard II’s England.

Look out, too, for a train that delivers 1,200 tons of wheat to the Barilla spaghetti factory in one go. It’s big.

In the Dark

9pm, BBC1

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Detective Helen Weeks, clutching her baby bump, is trying to make a go of a life with the man who might or might not be the father of her child. He wasn’t very happy about this confusion when we left him, but he seems to have come around. 

Their fragile happiness is short-lived after a chain reaction of events that leads Helen (MyAnna Buring) to start her own investigation into her boyfriend’s dealings with the kind of TV Mr Big who runs his ops from an empty warehouse. 

Everyone around Helen continues to try to arrange her life for her, which must be so irritating, while a gangland turf war explodes on the streets.

Professor Green: Is It Time to Legalise Weed?

BBC3

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Another authored, personal documentary by rapper Stephen Manderson, who draws on his past as a dealer and smoker to assess he arguments for and against making cannabis legal.

The Hangover 

9pm, ITV2

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In a surprisingly inventive comedy that doesn’t rely on cheap, gross-out laughs, a stag do in Las Vegas for about-to-be-wed Doug (Justin Bartha) takes a turn for the unusual. This terrific romp from Old School director Todd Phillips sees Doug’s three friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis) wake up after the excessive night before with no sign of the prospective groom and no memory of the evening’s events. What they do have is a wrecked hotel suite occupied by a baby and, more worryingly, a tiger. As the befuddled buddies go back over the trail of their wild night (which includes encounters with Heather Graham’s stripper and Mike Tyson, playing himself), they soon discover how extreme their escapades have been. It’s cleverly plotted and packed with believable dialogue and hilarious situations, which effectively blend the deadpan with the hysterical. If Superbad and Knocked Up were the comedies of 2008, then The Hangover is surely one of the funniest of 2009, if not the last decade.