50 Years of BBC2 Comedy, Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Wallander – best TV on tonight

Cook up some Saturday-night fever with the top picks for TV on Saturday 24 May

Radio 1’s Big Weekend – 7pm, BBC3


Europe’s largest free-ticketed event this year rolls into Glasgow in anticipation of July’s Commonwealth Games. The biggest date in Radio 1’s calendar, part of the festival’s charm lies in its ability to bring dazzling, global stars to places not usually associated with A-List stop-offs (past venues include Hackney Marshes and Ebrington Square, Derry).

Radio 1 stalwarts Greg James and Jen Long present highlights from tonight’s impressive line-up with One Direction, Pharrell, Calvin Harris and headliners Coldplay whipping fans into a poptastic frenzy on the main stage.

More eclectic tastes should head over to the BBC red button for performances from the BBC Introducing and In New Music We Trust stages.

50 Years of BBC2 Comedy – 9pm, BBC2

They’ve got everyone along, from the Goodies to Alan Alda to Vic ’n’ Bob to several Pythons, all the stars of BBC2 donating soundbites to celebrate themselves and each other. It makes for one mammoth clip show, with things you’ve probably never seen before (Graham Chapman’s post-Python sketch show Out of the Trees?) to things you wish you could un-see – (Tubbs breastfeeding a pig on The League of Gentlemen…) Plus, of course, a man beating a car bonnet with a branch.

It’s a comedy banquet, but a banquet of nibbles: we get only a tiny taste of each classic. How about a season where shows like The Day Today and Big Train get full-length repeats? Now that would be a party.

Wallander – 9pm, BBC4

When eight-year-old Ella vanishes on her way to school, suspicion falls upon her estranged parents (Swedish mother and Chilean father), who have been waging a custody battle for the girl. But as the investigation broadens, Kurt makes a link with a case ten years earlier, which he now realises he got horribly wrong.

Krister Henriksson is always a delight to watch, imbuing Kurt Wallander with shambolic charisma, but the writers miss a trick downplaying his daughter Linda’s role in the action (even if she’s the focus of the harrowing dénouement). Despite its uneven pace and easily guessable outcome, this second film is engrossing – if you can stomach yet another child-abduction mystery.


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