Elizabeth: the Golden Age, Tomorrow Never Dies, Air Force One: films on TV today

Queen Bess defends the realm, James Bond breaks the news and President Harrison Ford is in peril: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN:  FILM OF THE DAY 
Elizabeth: the Golden Age ★★★★
12.05-2.05am ITV3 

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First question: Is this movie true to history? Answer: Well, no. Second question: Does it work as a film? Answer: Yes, especially if you can forgive it playing fast and loose with the facts. It’s director Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to the 1998 Elizabeth and again stars the splendid Cate Blanchett in the title role. In 1585 Spain declares war on England, where the ageing Elizabeth is being urged by Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) to marry and thwart the ambitions of Mary, Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton). Elizabeth, however, is having it away with Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen), which came as news to me. Henceforth we are plunged into murky Papist plots, with Eddie Redmayne assigned to assassinate the queen, the Spanish king planning to grab the English throne for his daughter and, naturally, Francis Drake defeating the Spanish Armada. Historically it’s a mess but thrilling and absorbing nevertheless, and Blanchett was deservedly rewarded with an Oscar nomination as best actress. 


Tomorrow Never Dies ★★★★
10.40pm-12.50am ITV 

Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007 finds him teaming up with high-kicking Chinese agent Michelle Yeoh to thwart the plans of a megalomaniac press baron, played with mouth-frothing glee by Jonathan Pryce. 


The Way Way Back ★★
Premiere 9.00-11.05pm Film4 

A first chance on Freeview to see this coming-of-age comedy, which sees teenager Liam James dragged on holiday with his folks, Steve Carell and Toni Collete. But salvation is at hand courtesy of water-park manager Sam Rockwell.


Air Force One ★★★★
9.00-11.30pm 5STAR 

Gary Oldman was at his crazy, scenery-chewing best when he played the villain in this 90s blockbuster. Midair mayhem ensues when Oldman’s Russian terrorist group seizes control of the President’s plane. But seeing as this Commander in Chief is played by none other than Harrison Ford, he’s not going to come quietly.       


Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! ★★★
11.55pm-1.25am BBC1 

The term “feel-good” could have been specially coined for this warmly played romantic comedy starring Kate Bosworth as a small-town checkout girl who wins a… well, you can probably guess the rest.  


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