Barry Murphy once more trawls the TV and radio guides (so you don’t have to) to find anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 4th May to Thursday 10th May.
Highlight of the week: Steve McQueen: the Essence of Cool. Tuesday 8th May ITV 4. 8.00pm
Showing as part of ITV 4’s Steve McQueen night, this excellent documentary about the movie icon features interviews with his first wife Neile Adams, son Chad McQueen, Martin Landau, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach and Richard Attenborough. Followed by Papillon (1973).
Friday 4th May
Mission: Impossible – Five US. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
The team investigates a couple of corrupt fund-raisers.
Planet of the Apes – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
Repeat showing of the short lived TV series.
In Concert: Cat Stevens – BBC 4. 8.30pm – 9.10pm
Classic hits in a 1971 performance by the singer/songwriter.
Film: Tom Horn (1980) – ITV 3. 9.00pm – 11.00pm
Biographical western starring Steve McQueen and Linda Evans.
Imagine… – BBC 4. 9.10pm – 10.05pm
A profile of Yusuf Islam, the singer/songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, who abandoned his musical career to convert to Islam.
BBC 4 Sessions: Yusuf Islam – BBC 4. 10.05pm – 11.05pm
Cat Stevens gives his first solo concert for nearly 30 years at London’s Porchester Hall.
Tales of the Unexpected – ITV 3. 11.00pm – 12.10am
Double bill of the classic series. In the first, a man tries to escape his marriage. In the second, an electronics expert’s marriage hits the rocks.
The Avengers – BBC 4. 11.05pm – 11.55pm
Steed is invited to a fancy-dress party on an island.
Film: Withnail & I (1986) -Film4. 11.15pm – 1.20am
Classic black comedy about two actors who decamp from London to a country cottage.
Saturday 5th May
TOTP Goes Eurovision! – BBC 2. 10.40pm – 11.40pm
Archive songs from stars of the famous competition.
Film: The Long Good Friday (1979) – Channel 4. 11.15pm – 1.20am
Menacing crime drama starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. East End gangster Harold is trying to set up a massive property deal. When his plans are knocked off course by the violent intervention of a rival, Harold seeks revenge.
Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Brian Matthew spins two hours of hits, B -sides and album tracks.
Lost Albums – Elton John – the Thom Bell Sessions – BBC Radio 4. 3.30pm – 4.00pm
Music producer Thom Bell (the Stylistics and Detroit Spinners) gives a rare interview to Pete Paphides recalling the soul sessions he recorded with Elton John in the late 1970s that were never released until Are You Ready for Love became a hit years later.
The Funk and Soul Show – BBC Radio 6. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues.
Sunday 6th May
Mission: Impossible – Five US. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
The team investigates the activities of a couple who have been raising money in the name of charity.
Edith Piaf – Singing Her Life – BBC 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Profiling the iconic French singer, revealing the truth behind the complex and unique star.
Film: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – BBC 1. 11.40pm – 1.35am
Classic sci-fi thriller starring Donald Sutherland as a public health inspector, who becomes aware of a strange epidemic sweeping San Francisco.
Monday 7th May
Film: The Great Race (1965) – Five. 12.00pm – 2.55pm
Mapcap comedy starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood.
Film: Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) – Five. 3.00pm – 5.30pm
Crazy period comedy starring Sarah Miles, James Fox, Stuart Whitman and Terry Thomas.
Music Hall Meltdown – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.30pm
Phil Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke present a variety show attempting to re-create an original Edwardian music hall. Featuring Madness.
Tuesday 8th May
The Persuaders – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
A face from the past comes back to haunt Brett as he prepares for a race.
Steve McQueen: the Essence of Cool – ITV 4. 8.00pm – 9.50pm
Film: Papillon (1973) – ITV 4. 9.50pm – 12.40am
Harrowing but impressive account of a real-life escape from Devil’s Island. Starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
Forever – ITV 1. 4.05am – 5.00am (Weds am)
A selection of the greatest musical moments from heroes of reggae and ska, including Bob Marley.
Wednesday 9th May
The Saint – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
A trip to the West Indies leads to a murder investigation.
Film: Sleuth (1972) – ITV 3. 9.30pm – 12.15am
Classic mystery adapted from his own play by Anthony Shaffer. Starring Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier.
Film: Play Misty for Me (1971) – ITV 4. 12.10am – 2.10am (Thurs am)
Thriller starring Clint Eastwood.
The Reggae Show – BBC Radio 2. 10.00pm – 11.00pm
With Mark Lamarr.
Thursday 10th May
The Champions – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
No synopsis available.
The Avengers – BBC 4. 7.00pm – 7.50pm
Enemy agents plot to kill the Prime Minister.
Film: Play Misty for Me (1971) – ITV 4. 10.00 pm – 12.05am
Thriller starring Clint Eastwood.
Suggs in Soho – ITV 1 (London region only) 11.00pm – 11.30pm
The Madness frontman gives an insider’s view of one of London’s most lively areas. He takes in a stroll with Soho regular Stephen Fry, and enjoys a refreshing glass or two at the legendary Colony Room Club.
Hitler: the Comedy Years – Channel 4. 11.05pm – 12.05am
Although Charlie Chaplin and Mel Brooks ridiculed him best, the dictator has been a mainstay of British humour for over 60 years. He has provided material for everybody from Spike Milligan to Freddie Starr, but is there still a place for goose-stepping humour on today’s comedy circuit?
Legends – ITV 1(London region only) 11.30pm – 12Midnight
Profiling the comic actor Terry-Thomas, who found fame in films such as School for Scoundrels and I’m All Right Jack.