Attack the Block, Hairspray, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: films on TV today

Hoodies take on aliens, John Travolta channels his inner big momma, and a Grimm fairy-tale follow-up: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


Attack the Block ★★★★
9.00-10.45pm E4 


Establishing Joe Cornish, formerly of radio duo Adam and Joe, as a writer/director to watch, Attack the Block brings the Gremlins-style creature caper bang up to date with the tale of a socially excluded, patois-slinging gang of hoodies on a south London council estate. When their “block” is targeted by sharp-toothed alien invaders (largely unseen for budgetary reasons), they must find the hero within amid breakneck siege action around the estate’s walkways, garages and bins. Cornish does not patronise his young protagonists, drawing on his local cast’s ear for authentic street language. Acting ballast comes from Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost, while John Boyega, then an actorly unknown, has since seen his career go supernova in Star Wars Episode VII: the Force Awakens. If the argot, petty crime and inner-city setting put some audiences off, it still emerges as a socially conscious, energetic sci-fi caper that’s scary and very funny.  

Hairspray ★★★★
6.35-8.50pm Film4 

Camper than Butlins and with a totally infectious soundtrack, this uplifting, foot-tappin’ musical also features a fat-suited John Travolta donning drag. Did we mention it was camp?    

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters ★★★
9.00-10.50pm ITV2 

The young siblings from fairy tale have grown up to be anything but sweet as candy in this dark “what if” action fantasy. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton give killer performances as the tooled-up steampunk slayers.

Heartbreak Ridge ★★★
9.00-11.40pm ITV4 

One for Clint Eastwood fans, this finds the director and star playing a gruff sergeant who’s tasked with turning a bunch of young punks into fighting Marines before the invasion of Grenada.  

Tower Block ★★★★
10.25pm-12.15am 5STAR 

Sheridan Smith and Jack O’Connell are sitting ducks for a psycho sniper in a derelict block of flats, called Serenity House.  It’s a straightforward story, but the pace is relentless.     


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