Shaun of the Dead, The Road, I Am Legend: films on TV today

The undead stalk North London, but it's even more depressing for Will Smith and Viggo Mortensen, who might well be among the last people alive on Earth: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

Shaun of the Dead ★★★★
10.40pm-12.30am ITV


How modest in budget and scope this seems now, 11 years on. It was the first cinema outing of the team behind Channel 4’s cult slacker comedy Spaced: director Edgar Wright (whose first feature – A Fistful of Fingers, a remake of a school film – is all too rarely shown), his co-writer and star Simon Pegg, and co-star Nick Frost. None involved could have predicted the success of the resulting “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy, which would accumulate $150 million worldwide. The original remains a super-confident, resourceful landmark fusion of horror and comedy, as scary as it is funny. Satirising the zombie genre with 100 per cent affection and fidelity, it unleashes the undead on North London where Pegg’s electrical-goods sales assistant and Frost’s slob housemate are ill-equipped to deal with the invasion. Joined by various family members and friends (including Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Dylan Moran), they turn their local pub into a fortress. It’s still irresistible, but not for the squeamish.

The Road ★★★★
11.05pm-12.45am BBC2

Cormac McCarthy’s bleak but brilliant Pulitzer prize-winning novel is the source for this frankly depressing but superbly realised futuristic drama. Father and young son (Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) make their way across a post-apocalyptic landscape in the hope that settling near the coast will give them a better chance of survival. But lawless gangs and others who like to snack on passing travellers make it a journey fraught with danger.

I Am Legend ★★★
9.00-11.05pm ITV2 

Director Francis Lawrence’s science-fiction tale might have a bit more gloss about it than The Road, but the subject matter puts it firmly into the norra-lotta-laffs category. After a virus wipes out the whole of mankind, scientist Will Smith is the only living boy in New York, and indeed on Earth, after he becomes immune to the epidemic. But is he really alone?

The Day of the Jackal ★★★★★
11.00pm-1.50am ITV4 

Fred Zinnemann delivers a superbly plotted, superbly paced thriller adapted from Frederick Forsyth’s superbly plotted, superbly paced novel. General De Gaulle is the target of icy assassin Edward Fox, and while you probably know the outcome, it doesn’t stop this being a genuinely riveting classic of suspense. Features an appearance by British actor Barrie Ingham, who died recently.

The Punk Singer ★★★
PREMIERE  12.25-2.05am Film4


Documentary that charts the life of Kathleen Hanna, leading feminist of the 1990s, who used her band Bikini Kill to spread the message before she was struck down by a debilitating illness.