The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Flash of Genius, Carry On Henry: films on TV today

Judi Dench and the gang swap British gloom for Indian sun, Sid James cackles for England as Henry VIII, and inventor Greg Kinnear fights his corner against big business: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ★★★★
9.00-11.25pm Film4 


Anyone missing the Dowager Countess and Mrs Crawley exchanging withering witticisms over a sherry of a Sunday evening may take heart at this showing of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. For it features both Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton amid an all-star cast of what we shall delicately call the over-50s. Dame Maggie plays an ex-housekeeper waiting for a new hip and Wilton an unhappily married near-agoraphobic who sign up for a far-flung dotage at a dilapidated retirement hotel in India in this sharp-tongued and demographically laser-guided adaptation by Ol Parker of a Deborah Moggach novel. Another dame, Judi Dench, is hoping to move on after the passing of her husband. Tom Wilkinson is a retired judge revisiting the country where he once lived. Bill Nighy is Wilton’s more outgoing husband, while Celia Imrie is on the run from her family and Ronald Pickup is the group’s Mr Lover Man. Meanwhile, Dev Patel’s hotel’s manager is a dervish of optimistic blather. It’s as much a learning-curve adventure for us as for these British visitors, and though the word “colourful” is often glibly applied to foreign cultures, Shakespeare in Love director John Madden and cinematographer Ben Davis drink in the Rajasthan locations with a visitor’s awe, and less photogenic issues like the caste system are addressed. Greeted in 2012 as though no film about older people had ever been made, Exotic Marigold nonetheless feels free of cynicism. 

Carry On Henry ★★★
11.40pm-1.15am ITV 

The Carry On team subject Sid James’s Henry VIII to trial by innuendo while Kenneth Williams gives Wolf Hall’s Mark Rylance a run for his money as Thomas Cromwell. 

The Desert Fox ★★★
3.20-5.05pm Film4 

James Mason puts a human face to Field Marshall Erwin Rommel in a tentatively sympathetic portrait eager to stress that the German Second World War general was a patriot rather than a fan of Hitler.

A League of Their Own ★★★
6.20-9.00pm Movie Mix 

Tom Hanks and Big director Penny Marshall are back together for this genial drama about a ladies baseball team. Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell fill out a cast list that’s undeniably eclectic. 

Flash of Genius ★★★
9.00-11.20pm Movie Mix 

Greg Kinnear invents the intermittent windscreen wiper, only to see big business nick his idea. That rare thing – a film that doesn’t present an inventor as a weirdo, but as someone who just enjoys getting stuck into a problem.


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