10 Rillington Place, Carry On Matron, God Bless America: films on TV today

Richard Attenborough presides over a house of horrors, Sid James plots a hospital heist, and a regular Joe kicks back against the US of A: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


10 Rillington Place ★★★★★
10.00-11.45pm BBC4 


Imagine if Fred West’s house in Gloucester hadn’t been bulldozed after the discovery of his appalling crimes but used as a location for a dramatised film. Such was – almost – the case with this 1970 British film about serial killer, fake backroom abortionist and factory clerk John Christie, who calculatedly strangled a number of women in the 1940s and 50s in a terraced house in Ladbroke Grove, West London, burying the bodies there. It’s a grisly tale, precisely told by American director Richard Fleischer (The Boston Strangler) and writer Clive Exton, and doesn’t flinch from Christie’s deeds. Cinema’s “decent cove” Richard Attenborough is cast against type as the unassuming killer, while a young John Hurt convinces as unfortunate illiterate tenant Timothy Evans, who is framed for the murders – one of Britain’s most notorious miscarriages of justice. Uneasy viewing, but worthwhile as it tells a cautionary legal tale. Incredibly, 7 Rillington Place stood in for number 10, because the actual house was occupied.

Carry On Matron ★★★
11.50pm-1.20am ITV 

The last hurrah before the comedy series went bottoms up finds Sid James and his inept gang attempting to steal a load of contraceptive pills from a hospital. Hattie Jacques plays the formidable Matron of the title, who resists registrar Kenneth Williams’s overheated advances, saying she wants to be “wooed”, prompting Ken to deliver the zinger: “You can be as ‘wude’ as you like with me!” 

A League of Their Own ★★★
6.25-9.00pm Movie Mix 

Tom Hanks is great fun here as a boozy former sports pro who coaches a female team to satisfy America’s demand for baseball while its sons are away frighting in the Second World War. Among the ladies lining up for the Rockford Peaches are Geena Davis and Madonna, who contributes the film’s theme song, This Used to Be My Playground.    

Dracula – Prince of Darkness ★★★★
9.00-10.50pm Horror Channel 

In Hammer’s landmark 1958 Dracula, Christopher Lee’s count is reduced to ash by the rays of the rising sun. But you just can’t keep a good vampire down, and this was the first of six sequels to feature Lee in the lead. From his gory resurrection to his inevitable demise on a frozen lake, you can’t help but slightly root for the alluring, blood-sucking fiend. 

God Bless America ★★★★
11.05pm-1.10am Film4 

Mad Men returns to our screens next week (well, to those who have access to Sky Atlantic), and this darkly humorous satire gives a leading role to the man who plays Freddy in the show, Joel Murray. He plays an average guy who, after losing his job and then being told he hasn’t long to live, decides to vent his ire on all the people who aggravate and annoy him. With a gun. Like you do.


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