Quirke, The British Soap Awards and Britain’s Got Talent – best TV on tonight

Annual awards, reality TV and a dose of drama to end the weekend right on Sunday 25th May

Britain’s Got Talent – 7pm, ITV


This is the last selection of auditions before the live shows. 

Obviously there’s no chance now of any act getting an automatic place courtesy of the golden buzzer so they’ll just have to hope that judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon like them enough to put them through to the next stage. Wonder whether someone is regretting his golden buzzer decision yet? 

There’s a lot to pack in to the show, as they also have to pick which 41 contestants will appear in the live semi-finals.

The British Soap Awards – 8:15pm, ITV

Who succeeds this year will depend on the length of the voters’ memories. EastEnders had a nightmare 2013, but a resurgent 2014 thanks to the introduction of the Carter clan and Lucy’s murder. Corrie struck gold with Hayley’s exit, but hasn’t had the same critical acclaim for Tina’s affair with Peter. 

If there’s any justice, Emmerdale will receive some overdue trophies – its Bafta snub was baffling seeing as the Woolpack siege was among its best episodes yet. But the big news is that Hollyoaks is topping the shortlist with 20 nominations, both John Paul’s rape and October’s deadly explosion getting recognition.

What’s also noteworthy is EastEnders’ definition of Spectacular Scene – amid the car crashes and floods fielded by its rivals is the moment when Johnny Carter came out to dad Mick. It was beautifully touching and my own personal highlight from the past 12 months.

Quirke – 9pm, BBC1

Gabriel Byrne playing the lead in a noir-ish crime drama has to be good news. Byrne has a face you could watch endlessly. He’s a proper movie star, and he feels perfectly cast (in all but one respect…) as a brooding Dublin doctor in the 1950s, a pathologist with a drink problem, who in his hat and heavy overcoat makes a classic sleuth.

Quirke can’t resist pursuing the secrets of bodies that end up in his morgue – in the process stirring up Dublin’s closed, repressed society. In this opener, that means trying to find out why a young woman was given a fake cause of death – by none other than Quirke’s obstetrician brother, Mal.

There’s no love lost between Quirke and Mal, although there’s certainly some between Mal’s wife and Quirke, and even between Mal’s teenage daughter and Quirke – which is where things get awkward. There’s enough atmosphere and character here for us to overlook a lack of tension in the plotting. But in his mid-60s Byrne, however cool he remains, looks a shade long in the tooth for the part as written.


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