Easter 2015: best TV on today, Good Friday
David Suchet, Eurovision's Greatest Hits and The Clare Balding Show are among today's essential Easter viewing
David Suchet: in the Footsteps of St Peter, 9.00am, BBC1
A two-parter, concluding on Easter Day, that sets out to match historical scholarship, and the relics and landscapes that are still visible, to the story of Peter as told in the gospels. David Suchet is an ideal choice of presenter: enthused, clear and, in the moments where he’s required to speculate on the character and motives of his subject, subtly drawing on his acting skills to fill in some blanks.
Opinionated as Suchet is, he fittingly doesn’t try to position himself as an authority, preferring gentle enquiry instead as he gets as close as he can to the reality of life in the first century, starting with Peter’s likely origins as a fisherman in Bethsaida and/or Capernaum, on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Detailed examinations of contemporary swords and fishing boats sit alongside reverent visits to the sites where Matthew, Mark, Luke and John report miracles took place. Jack Seale
Unreported World, 7.30pm, Channel 4
Bull-riding is a frantic affair, often descibed as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sport”. Reporter Shaunagh Connaire visits Fort Worth in Texas to meet the cowboy kids who take to the rodeo from an absurdly young age.
They start on sheep, progress to calves, then to enormous bulls. Watching Lance, aged ten, being bucked and kicked by a furious animal seems like any parent’s nightmare. But Lance’s dad’s watchword is, “I’m gonna throw you to the wolves: you either come back leading the pack or you get eaten.” It’s a glimpse of a classic American sub-culture that is becoming, we gather, big business. David Butcher
EastEnders, 8.00pm, BBC1
Kat is one of those characters who you love and dislike almost at the same time. She’s always had one of those smiles that never quite reaches her eyes — a sign that deep sadness lurks just below the surface. And yet she can also be quite capricious and downright vile to her nearest and dearest.
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But despite her many faults, we do still care for Kat, so prepare to have your heartstrings pulled tonight when she resorts to desperate measures. Elsewhere, Ian and Jane are doing their best to remember Lucy (it is a year since her death), but Cindy does her best to thwart their efforts. David Brown
Relatively Clever, 8.00pm, Sky1
Dodgy fluorescent-orange set aside, this feels like a return to the halcyon days of Telly Addicts and Family Fortunes. At least, that’s the idea. Two families answer easy trivia questions. And, er, that’s about it.
The teens clearly feel awkward at being dragged into the situation, especially when host Mel Giedroyc starts mum-dancing to Drake’s Take Care featuring Rihanna. She then amplifies the torture by pointing out one poor youth’s girlfriend in the audience. It’s as if she’s been on a course in how to mortify minors. This is harmless, old-school family fun, but you do wonder whether it’s distinctive enough to hook viewers back for more. Gary Rose
Eurovision’s Greatest Hits, 9.00pm, BBC1
To celebrate 60 years of the annual saturnalia of song, and ahead of this year’s final on 23 May, the grands fromages of Eurovision have rustled up this glitzy, retrospective gig. Of course, in a contest that is the very definition of subjectivity, one person’s Dana International is another’s Dustin the Turkey. And vice, very much, versa.
Among the winners reprising their work are Finnish Klingons of rock Lordi, Germany’s onetime answer to Crystal Tipps, Nicole, and Norwegian duo Bobbysocks! letting it swing once more. And 1976 UK victors Brotherhood of Man — will they still be able to do that little twisty-knee dance? Let’s hope so.
Many featured songs have an of-their-time quality, so will there be modern arrangements of, say, Herreys’ Diggi Loo, Diggi Ley, to banish its 80s, Kids from Fame vibe? Others should have retained their classic feel: Anne- Marie David’s epic, ear-wormish Tu te reconnaîtras, for example. But they’re all winners, so the concert should be one wingding (dong) do. Mark Braxton
Springwatch at Easter, 9.00pm, BBC2
While much of the nation is busily searching for eggs of the chocolate variety, Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan have a more natural type of egg in their sights. They’re at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where a quarter of a million sea birds come to breed including puffins, gannets and guillemots. “It’s a massive migration hot spot for birds coming in and out of Europe,” according to Michaela, “so we’re hoping to get an Easter egg.”
Meanwhile, Martin Hughes-Games is back at Minsmere in Suffolk and Simon King is in the Inner Hebrides, where he’s looking out for mad March hares and revealing the origins of the Easter bunny. Jane Rackham
Carry On Forever, 9.00pm, ITV3
It’s easy to pooh-pooh the Carry On films. Yes, they were formulaic and increasingly smutty but they stormed the UK box office in the 1950s and 60s. Many have a period charm and are still amusing. With mainstays Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Joan Sims and Hattie Jacques long dead, this affectionate three-part history calls in semi-regulars. It takes Shirley Eaton and Liz Frazer back to Pinewood Studios, Rosalind Knight and Sally Geeson to film locations, and reunites Bernard Cribbins and Juliet Mills for the first time in 50 years. Rather touching. Patrick Mulkern
The Clare Balding Show, 10.00pm, BBC2
Diver Tom Daley and cricketer Charlotte Edwards join the host to discuss their careers and topical issues. Expect an exciting blend of high-profile sporting revelations, humorous banter and topical debates headed by one of Britain’s best loved sports presenters. This show, the first in a new series, continues to showcase Clare’s passion for tackling the issues that count with a wicked sense of humour, becoming the go-to place for all sport lovers looking for an evening’s entertainment with a twist. Nick Freeman
Read more: Easter 2015: best TV on today, Saturday 4th April