Footballer Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca was first treated for breast cancer in 2013. The cancer returned in a more aggressive form in 2015 and she died ten weeks later at the age of 34.
Ferdinand opens up here with piercing honesty about the effect on his family, including his own near-suicidal thoughts: “I can see how you sink into a mad place where you think, ‘D’you know what? Forget this.’ But I’ve been lucky.”
As we see him talk to other widowed dads and bereavement experts, Ferdinand bares his soul to an amazing degree. He cries; he agonises about how best to help his three children cope; he confesses to throwing himself into work because “I don’t sit and dwell”. And he wonders above all whether he has really given himself and his kids the chance to process what happened.
It makes for a film that is clearly therapeutic for him and full of practical wisdom for the rest of us about the complexities of grief.
Dara O Briain and Brian Cox take a new angle on astronomy as their observations resume: they’re in Australia, where the patterns of the night sky are naturally different to the ones seen by British telescopes. Dawn will be imminent as we drop in at the end of an all-night survey of the Milky Way, the Southern Cross and other constellations best seen from the other side of the world – especially now, with the autumn rains having cleansed Oz’s atmosphere of summer dust, and especially from the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, with its powerful lenses and ultra-dark skies.
Joining Dara and Brian on the remote mountain top are Liz Bonnin, who’s on a quest to catch a shooting star, and outback astronomer Greg Quicke. Meanwhile, your help is requested to find our solar system’s missing ninth planet.
Channel 4, 10pm
Insecurity, addiction, love, mortality, parenthood and sometimes simple misfortune… the joy of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s relationship comedy has always been the spiky and side-splitting way it unsparingly tackles the truth and profound puzzles of middle-aged life. But tonight they may have written their best episode yet as Sharon and Fergal head back to Ireland to deal with their very sick dad. While Sharon fills the empty hours of waiting by obsessing about family favouritism, Rob is back in London facing up to his descent into drink before a punchy and powerful denouement. But the best single moment comes when Scots terrier Chris (Mark Bonnar) embarks on a manly showdown with Fran’s new plastic surgeon boyfriend Douglas (Douglas Hodge). Horgan and Delaney’s writing always has a hilarious capacity to surprise – but this time it may well take your breath away.
Idris Elba’s drama series of five short films lasting only five minutes each challenges preconceptions and subverts stereotypes. It introduces exceptional new talent including Georgina Campbell and Sope Dirisu and is a bite-size, poetic slice of contemporary London.
5 STAR, 11pm
Chuck Palahniuk’s bestseller is boldly brought to the screen here by Se7en director David Fincher. The result is a shocking, provocative and highly amusing macho fantasy, as insomniac loser Edward Norton teams up with seditious soap salesman Brad Pitt to form a no-holds-barred fight club as an outlet for their directionless aggression. The growing cult’s Project Mayhem takes subversive vandalism into the outside world with a series of ludicrous acts of sabotage. Fincher’s satirical fable brilliantly plays with cinematic conventions and climaxes with a shock twist. This charged slice of nihilistic angst is a mesmerising ride through the 1990s male psyche, aided by elaborate production design, unconventional editing, startling images and superlative acting from the leads. You’ll either love it or hate it.