A Question of Sport, Wallander, The Sculptress – best TV on tonight

Don't waste time channel-surfing and choose one of our top telly picks on Saturday 21 June


A Question of Sport: Super Saturday – 6:50pm, BBC1


Here’s a new trick for an old dog. A Question of Sport has propped up the BBC schedules since 1970 but these days looks a little quaint when set next to Sky’s A League of Their Own. James Corden’s show is louder, lairier, ruder, madder and flat-out funnier than its BBC forebear, partly because it dreams up daft physical trials for its panellists. That has spurred on the BBC to try something similar – with Jason Manford as our comedian-host. 

We can expect “a new format that will be more of a test of the contestants’ physical attributes and their nerve rather than their sporting knowledge.” Team captains Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell brace for impact.

Wallander – 9pm, BBC4

A decade ago Krister Henriksson took a lot of coaxing to play this role but, as he revealed earlier this year to an audience of fans in London, “My therapist said, ‘Wallander is you, Krister. You don’t even have to act.’ So then I went home, read the books and I thought, ‘Yes! This will be a very lazy job for me.’ ” He was joking of course, but rarely has an actor inhabited a character so completely, seemingly without effort. And now, having clocked up 32 films as Kurt, it’s time to bid farewell.

The Sad Bird isn’t the trickiest case Wallander ever solved, but it does bring the action close to home with a tale of kidnapping, corruption, even a shootout in Ystad police station itself. It’s Christmas, and darkness closes in for Kurt and daughter Linda as they face up to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Frankly, I’d have preferred a finale that solely dealt with this. It really is goodbye and goodnight, or rather adjo och god natt.

The Sculptress – 9pm, Drama

Pauline Quirke was really very good in this 1996 adaptation of Minette Walters’s bestseller as the dour and unprepossessing Olive Martin, a morbidly obese woman accused of the murder of her mother and sister. She arranged the body parts so artistically that it won her the macabre nickname of the Sculptress.

As Olive moulders in her prison cell, restless and unhappy journalist Rosalind Leigh (Caroline Goodall) looks into the background of the case. She’s intrigued and visits Olive. As the pair talk and Olive peels away the layers of her miserable life, Leigh becomes convinced of Olive’s innocence. It’s an absorbing, dark, did-she-really-do-it tale that delivers a deft little sting.


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