What to watch on TV this weekend

You'll never miss a thing with our indispensable guide to telly...

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Doctor Who

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7.20pm Saturday, BBC1

Knock Knock marks the Doctor Who debut of Mike Bartlett, the award-winning playwright who brought Doctor Foster to BBC1 in 2015 – and he’s delivered one of the eeriest episodes in a long while. 

Bill and five student buddies are looking for digs. After a series of amusingly hopeless viewings, they’re shown round a rambling old pile with an irresistibly low rent. What’s the catch? The landlord (a pallid David Suchet creeping about with a tuning fork) certainly isn’t letting on. 

Freak draughts, 1930s sockets and no mobile signal are the least of their problems. Creaking woodwork and floorboards and a fright that lurks in the “unsafe” tower are what they ought to be scared of. As night closes in and Bill’s friends vanish one by one, can her cool/embarrassing “grandfather” come to her aid? 

I adore an Old Dark House chiller and this is up there with the finest. It doesn’t offer much in the way of black humour, but there are plenty of flesh-crawling thrills. Prepare to develop xylophobia – an irrational fear of wood.

Hinterland

9pm Saturday, BBC4

Baleful DCI Tom Mathias stills bears the wounds of the attack at the end of the last series as he surveys the charred wreck of his caravan. OK, so it wasn’t Chatsworth, but it was home.

But he must snap out of his reverie, a minister is found murdered, his head smashed with a hammer, in his gloomy chapel. The victim wasn’t entirely popular, not even with his family, and one former member of the congregation calls him a “self-righteous fool”.

In between long, searching stares at nothing in particular (a Hinterland trademark), Mathias (Richard Harrington) and his right-hand woman Mared Rhys (Marli Harries) visit a series of appallingly decorated front rooms/shacks to interview universally hostile witnesses/suspects. 

It’s all terrifically miserable but undeniably atmospheric, though it’s hard to pinpoint what glowers more, the clouds muffling the Welsh hills, or Mathias. 

Nightcrawler

9pm Saturday, BBC2

On the surface, director Dan Gilroy’s feature debut is a state-of-the-nation address that uses California – with its lurid early-morning news reports covering car crashes, homicides and shoot-outs – as the rest of the USA in microcosm. However, at its heart, this dark and entertaining neo-noir is a fascinating character study, with a dramatically skinny Jake Gyllenhaal as its antihero, the smart, calculating and possibly sociopathic Louis Bloom. A loner searching for work, Bloom sees his chance when he spots a freelance news crew combing the streets of LA. Investing in a camera, he starts his own career as a video journalist, selling his wares to Nina (Rene Russo), manager of a local TV station. As Bloom’s media empire takes off, ethics quickly fall by the wayside, and Nightcrawler begins to reveal itself as a modern morality tale. The nightmares that Bloom is selling are immaterial; what terrifies more is the cut-throat corporate culture that so willingly pays him – and pats him on the back.

Babs

8pm Sunday, BBC1

It’s 1993 and Barbara Windsor’s career is in the doldrums as she does one-night shows in cheap seaside venues. But the ghosts of her past come crowding in and the years peel away to reveal her younger self…

Tony Jordan’s sympathetic, sentimental biopic is brilliantly acted by Samantha Spiro (as older Babs) and Jaime Winstone, though the conceit – the loved and lost “visit” Barbara in the theatre – takes a while to get going. 

Nick Moran is Barbara’s adored dad, a man who turned his back on his daughter after an acrimonious divorce from her mum, but who returns to comment on the various stages of Barbara’s life – her nightclub singing career, her movies and her men, notably that thieving rogue, Ronnie Knight. 

Zoë Wanamaker makes every scene count as the mercurial, brilliant, bizarre director Joan Littlewood, and the real Dame Barbara Windsor makes a handful of cameo appearances.

Grantchester

9pm Sunday, ITV

Once again the streets and meadows of Grantchester are a battleground. There are shootings and blows, yes, but the real battle is between buttoned-up 1950s morality and the approach best summed up by the theme of Sidney’s sermon: “This is the life we are here for… We owe it to ourselves to live it.”

Except he’s not living it. He’s all eaten up inside because he and Amanda can’t be together, so he goes for joyless runs across the meadows and pushes himself like a man possessed – then reaches for the whisky bottle. So while Geordie is tormented by the affair he’s having (with young Margaret at the station, remember), Sidney is tormented by the one he’s not.

All very sad, but they find time to tackle a spate of armed robberies – and a bingo night in the church hall, where Mrs Maguire notes cheerily, “Nothing fun is without sin.”

Queer Britain

BBC3

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YouTube star Riyadh Khalaf, who’s a much better presenter than a lot of vloggers, fronts a series on LGBT issues. First, he looks at whether faith and homosexuality are compatible, talking to religious extremists who say no, and young people from religious backgrounds who have now come out.