Friday Night Dinner, EastEnders, Seven Wonders of Brazil – best TV on tonight

Keep your weekend plans simple with our top telly picks tonight Friday 20 June

EastEnders – 8pm, BBC1


Phil has never been the most demonstrative of boyfriends. I mean, can you imagine what he writes in Valentine’s and birthday cards? Just “P” probably. And a small “x” if it’s a special anniversary. And yet he has women on his case the whole time. 

Current partner Sharon is, of course, not in a position to get the most out of their relationship, as she’s lying in a hospital bed after being attacked. But Shirley has now stepped in to tell Phil exactly how she feels. Phil fans know that he and Shirl are meant to be together. But will the taciturn mechanic come to the same conclusion?

Seven Wonders of Brazil – 9pm, BBC2

You may find you’re reaching saturation point. Enough documentaries about Brazil already! One more fly-past of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio and we’ll flip.

Here, at least, Dr Robert Beckford pursues a fresh tack. Rather than charting how football is like a national religion in Brazil, he’s looking at the country’s bona fide dominant religion: Catholicism. He discovers that Catholic tradition in Brazil is a rich brew of different ethnic influences, some brought from Africa by slaves, some inherited from the indigenous Indians, and some from the folk Catholicism of southern Europe.

Friday Night Dinner – 10pm, C4

Within minutes of the start, Robert Popper’s sitcom has contrived to get eccentric dad Martin covered in ketchup, half naked and shaking hands with his son’s new girlfriend while his foot is in a toilet bowl. 

This kind of wince-making farce is what Popper is good at. The confines of a sitcom where the one setting is a Jewish suburban home and the time frame is limited to the meal of the title only serves to boost his powers of invention.

Martin (Paul Ritter) is a consistently awful but just-recognisable creation. “Has anyone in your family been murdered?” is his idea of small talk with Adam’s girlfriend, but he later concludes, “That Emma’s a smashing female.” (She is beautifully played by Sophia Di Martino, barely recognisable from her Casualty days.)

Ordinarily the comedy revolves around Adam and his brother Johnny’s sparring but here Adam manages to sabotage his date himself, with just a little help from an eight-year-old neighbour. The laughs are excruciating, but they’re big and real.


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