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Decline and Fall


BBC1, 9pm

Dr Fagan, headmaster of the decrepit and disreputable Llanabba School, is appalled at the prospect of the dissolute Captain Grimes as a son-in-law. He despises his “wooden leg, abominable features and moral turpitude”.

Grimes (Douglas Hodge) isn’t that keen on marrying Flossy (Katy Wix) either, and looks around desperately for a means of escape, even during the actual ceremony.

Though this (very faithful) adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s comedy of manners at times feels a bit flat and lifeless, a good cast keeps things bumping along. Eva Longoria is winning as the seemingly flighty yet ruthlessly steely Margot Beste-Chetwynde, while Jack Whitehall fits nicely into the role of hapless protagonist Paul Pennyfeather. 

He’s smitten with Margot, who wants him to do her one little favour before they marry, just to pop over to France to help her business, the Latin American Entertainment Company. It’s a fateful request….

Only Connect

BBC2, 8.30pm

At last we reach the final of a series that’s suffered latterly from a drop in viewers after being moved to an uncomfortable berth on Friday nights. So let’s make one last plea to the BBC2 schedulers – when Only Connect returns, PUT IT BACK ON MONDAY NIGHT WHERE IT BELONGS. 

Right, where were we? Yes, the final, and host Victoria Coren Mitchell looks positively regal in a lovely dress and a tiara as a disembodied hand pours a champagne tower in honour of the momentous occasion. 

The two teams are excellent and completely worthy of their places and it’s a close, knotty match, at least to begin with. It’s played in the best of spirits, too, in that particular Only Connect way, with a lot of laughter. The questions are killers and the Connecting Walls monstrous. What fun!

The Graham Norton Show

BBC1, 10.35pm

The chattiest and best talk show on television returns with some good solid Hollywood-gold guests, Sir Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. 

The pair will be on the red sofa to talk about their new comedy caper movie Going in Style, about three old geezers (Alan Arkin is also in the cast) who rob a bank after losing all of their pension money in a financial crash. They plan to give some of the proceeds to charity, too, so it’s not at all morally dubious. 

Also in the studio are Jack Whitehall and Gemma Whelan, currently appearing in BBC1’s adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Music is supplied by Take That.

The Get Down


Some felt Baz Luhrmann’s passionate, overblown musical drama about punk, disco and hip-hop happening all at once in 1970s New York was too much to take; others loved its chaotic clash of styles and will devour the batch of new episodes that are up on Netflix today.

Knocked Up

ITV2, 9pm


Writer/director Judd Apatow follows up his hit “slacker” comedyThe 40 Year Old Virgin with another refreshingly bold entry in a genre formerly mired in facile, post-Farrelly brothers gross-out. Pudgy, curly-haired Seth Rogen (a charismatic supporting player in Virgin) plays a harmless pothead who impregnates Katherine Heigl’s media career girl during a drunken one-night stand. Prompted by the impending birth to give the relationship a go, our odd couple learns lessons about responsibility and life in general, but to hilarious rather than schmaltzy effect. Married-with-kids Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (also Virgin alumni) are the foils for the younger pair, and Rogen’s buddies, led by Jonah Hill, the geek chorus. Thanks to quality, near-the-knuckle repartee and believable chemistry between Rogen and Grey’s Anatomy star Heigl (Apatow can certainly write for women), Knocked Up proves that hit comedy doesn’t have to dumb down for its demographic.