Love on the box: your Valentine’s night viewing guide

Romcoms, yes, but also duets, a guide to kissing, Whitney Houston's film debut and even some sexy football...


Curling up in front of the TV tonight? There’s something vaguely Valentine’s related for almost everyone…


6:50pm Waitress, Film4

This alternative romcom sees small-town diner waitress Jenna (Keri Russell) distressed to find herself pregnant. Married to a violent lout, she bakes her famed pies (such as the “I Hate My Husband” pie) for comfort and dreams of escaping her stifling marriage. During a routine trip to the medical centre, Jenna meets new locum Dr Pomatter (Serenity’s charismatic Nathan Fillion) and they begin a torrid, if not entirely ethical, affair…

7:00pm Champions League Football: Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona, Sky Sports 2

You may not have scored this Valentine’s Day, but there’s a good chance Barcelona will, when they travel to Germany for a tussle with Bayer Leverkusen. The silky skills of the Catalans have always got football fans’ pulses racing, but the addition of creative midfielder Fabregas from Arsenal last year means they now have Cesc appeal, too…

7:30pm You’ve Got Mail, ITV2

A straight-down-the-line romcom, starring the mainstream dream team of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the owners of rival bookstores kicking off face to face while online, unbeknown to them, they’re confessing their innermost feelings to one another. Tom Hanks might not be everyone’s idea of sex on legs but judging by a comment left against our review, at least one user is very much looking forward to staring at his shiny pink face tonight…

8:00pm Duets at the BBC, BBC4

A nostalgic trawl through the BBC archives dredges up an array of crooning twosomes to make your heart sing. Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, Shirley Bassey and Neil Diamond, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Leonard Cohen and Julie Felix, Sonny and Cher – there’s something for everyone here. Unless you only like death metal.

9:00pm Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Channel 4

What could be more romantic than a real-life wedding on Valentine’s Day, even if the bride is dressed as a pineapple. Yes, it’s the return of cultural phenomenon Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – and the travellers’ larger-than-life nuptials are as extreme as ever…

Jo Brand on Kissing, BBC4

The comedian is not a fan of kissing – she prefers a Barnsley kiss (a headbutt) to the French variety – so she enlists experts to help her understand the value of snogging. This examination of the history and science of smooching takes in animal magnetism, the health benefits of kissing and finally provides a clue to Brand’s phobia, when we meet her mum.

Twilight, Film4

How about a bit of blood lust for Valentine’s Day? Well, perhaps that makes the first instalment in the Twilight series sound a bit raunchier than it is. The teen vampire saga is a huge phenomenon, though, and there’s no denying the on-screen chemistry between real-life couple Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as lovestruck Edward and Bella, whose relationship is fraught with dangerous thrills as well as those of a romantic nature.

11:00pm The Bodyguard, ITV2


The sad fate of Whitney Houston makes tonight’s chance to see her in this escapist romance (scheduled before the news of her death) particularly poignant. Houston plays a famous singer placed under the care of Kevin Costner’s bodyguard after she receives death threats. She makes a creditable acting debut and, of course, gets to sing that song – I Will Always Love You.