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On TV this weekend, BBC Two pays tribute to Freddie Mercury


Pick of the day: Womanhood

9pm, BBC Two

Six famous women of different generations (singer Sinitta Malone, businesswoman Jacqueline Gold, broadcaster Kirsty Wark, writer Chidera Eggerue, Strictly judge Shirley Ballas and comedian Suzi Ruffell) come together in a house-share to share experiences and tackle issues facing women today. While they are all saddened by the widespread use of cosmetic surgery and disgusted by the normalisation of sexual violence at universities, an inter-generational gap opens up when they meet a 21-year-old who has become a millionaire selling online sex, and when discussing the sensitive issue of transgender people and “women-only” spaces.

Unreported World

7.30pm, Channel 4

Krishnan Guru-Murthy meets the last survivors of the so-called “comfort stations” in wartime Asia, where hundreds of thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery and exploitation by the Japanese military. He follows 92-year-old campaigner Lee Yong-soo, who wants justice before it’s too late. On a journey to Seoul, she recounts how she endured rape, electric shocks and torture.

Griff’s Great New Zealand Adventure

8pm, ITV

On the second leg of Griff Rhys Jones’ tip-to-toe tour of New Zealand’s back roads (filmed in 2019, in case anyone was wondering how he got in to the country), he decides the best way to avoid highway one is to start by flying over it and heading straight to the Coromandel Peninsula. On the way, he spies Auckland’s many extinct volcanos, heading out to the newest piece of land on the planet – the ever-expanding White Island volcano.

Womanhood (Photo: Lisa Stonehouse/BBC)

Lindisfarne’s Geordie Genius: The Alan Hull Story

9pm, BBC Four

“Our Bob Dylan” is how Sting describes fellow Geordie singer-songwriter Alan Hull of Lindisfarne – the 70s folk-rock band who gave us “Fog on the Tyne” and much else. The documentary follows contemporary Tyneside musician Sam Fender as he investigates the artist whose “Winter Song” Fender successfully covered last year, admitting that he knows very little about Hull. It’s a widely shared ignorance about a man who is described by Elvis Costello as “a very English songwriter”, and who died relatively young, at the age of 50, in 1995. “Has my Geordie hero been written out of musical history?” wonders Fender.

The Graham Norton Show

10.35pm, BBC One

Will Smith, who is currently playing Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard, talks about both his Oscar-tipped film and his new autobiography. TV host and writer Richard Osman discusses his latest novel, The Man Who Died Twice, while Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about directing new musical drama Tick, Tick… Boom!

In My Skin

11.25pm, BBC One

There’s a mounting sense of dread in the latest episode of Kayleigh Llewellyn’s ridiculously good coming-of-age drama – simply because everything seems to be going so swimmingly for our teenage protagonist, Beth (the consistently excellent Gabrielle Creevy). She’s introduced her girlfriend, Cam, to her mother, Trina (Jo Hartley), while Trina’s new boyfriend seems like a lovely bloke (certainly a vast improvement). However, when Trina attempts to leave her abusive husband, Dilwyn (Rhodri Meilir), matters take a shocking turn.


Pick of the day: Freddie Mercury: The Final Act

9pm, BBC Two

It is 30 years ago to the month that Freddie Mercury succumbed to complications caused by Aids, and to mark the anniversary James Rogan’s documentary spans the last five years of the singer’s life. Beginning with Queen’s 1986 Magic tour, during which he first remarked, “I can’t do this any more,” the film is bookended by the April 1992 Freddie Mercury tribute concert that brought together George Michael, David Bowie and an unlikely duet between Elton John and Axl Rose, in reaction to the media coverage of Mercury’s death. As bandmate Roger Taylor says here of the concert’s genesis, “We were so angry and we had to stick up for our friend.”

Live International Rugby Union

2pm, BBC One

Barbarians vs Samoa Select XV (kick-off 2.30pm). The autumn rugby internationals take a breather this weekend, but there’s always this Killik Cup fixture at Twickenham. Representative side the Baa Baas will be managed by Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie, and Quade Cooper, Pablo Matera and Steven Kitshoff are among the world-class players expected to turn out for them.

Britain by Beach

8pm, Channel 4

Anita Rani concludes her selective tour of the UK littoral by visiting beaches in Yorkshire and Northumberland, starting by learning the story of the shipwreck in Whitby that inspired a moment in Dracula. She also explores how the discovery of medicinal spa water in Scarborough 400 years ago led to it becoming the world’s first seaside resort.

Empire State of Mind (Photo: Fred Windsor-Clive/Sandpaper)

Empire State of Mind

9pm, Channel 4

In the second half of his penetrating look at the legacy of the British Empire on the present-day British mindset, author Sathnam Sanghera explains how misunderstanding Imperial history can lead to a confusion of British national identity, fuelling political conflicts such as Brexit. He also travels back to his hometown of Wolverhampton to meet a new generation of pupils eager to learn the history of Empire that he wishes he had been taught.

WeWork: How To Lose $30bn

9pm, Sky Documentaries

A look at the whys and wherefores of the dramatic implosion of flexible office-sharing business WeWork and its messianic founder Adam Neumann. Valued at its peak at $47bn (£35bn), Neumann had ambitions to make WeWork the next Facebook or Google, but instead he headed the most overvalued company in the world – investing in which, according to one analyst here, was “like flushing cash down the toilet”.

Stieg Larsson’s Millennium

9.30pm, BBC Four

The start of a two-part adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played with Fire, in which Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) becomes the prime suspect in a double murder. The real culprits seem to be a gang of human traffickers being investigated by Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) . Lisbeth hasn’t been in contact with Mikael since the events of the last episode, but she needs his help now – and vice versa.


Pick of the day: American Rust

9pm, Sky Atlantic

Another opioid-crisis drama to put alongside Dopesick, although this nine-part adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s book takes a more tangential approach to the painkiller-addiction epidemic as it follows Jeff Daniels’ Chief Del Harris, top cop in a small Pennsylvanian Rust Belt town. Called to investigate a murder at an abandoned steel mill, Del realises the son of his married lover may be involved.

Doctor Who: Flux

6.25pm, BBC One

Last week’s foray to 60s Devon provided the sort of small-scale setting in which Doctor Who arguably thrives – as opposed to the dizzying CGI universe that often obscures the “human” (to use the term broadly) drama. The canvas widens again in the penultimate episode of Chris Chibnall’s swansong series, with Robert Bathurst joining the guest cast and Jemma Redgrave back as scientist Kate Stewart.

Escape to the Chateau

8pm, Channel 4

Given that Dick and Angel Strawbridge have owned the Chateau de la Motte Husson for at least seven years, are we really expected to believe that Angel has only just discovered that there is a vast attic space running the length of the building? That is the premise for this latest visit to the Pays de la Loire, with Angel planning to turn the attic into a space-inspired bar, complete with balconies from which they can watch the stars. And why not?

Showtrial (Photo: Joss Barrett/BBC/World Productions)


9pm, BBC One

Celine Buckens and Tracy Ifeachor have given outstanding performances as Talitha, the “poor little rich girl” accused of murdering a fellow student, and Cleo, the high-street solicitor defending her. The court case reaches its climax in the final episode of Ben Richards’ gripping legal drama, as Cleo takes a big risk by having the smirking Talitha give evidence about “events in her childhood”. But will Talitha’s clever-clever answers alienate or win over the jury?

The Lakes with Simon Reeve

9pm, BBC Two

Simon Reeve follows his journalistic nose to the Cumbrian coast, where sweeping sandy beaches remain empty just miles from the tourist hordes tramping around the Lake District. He also obtains access to the Sellafield nuclear site, which houses the single biggest stockpile of plutonium on the planet. Reeve takes part in a simulated terrorist attack at the reassuringly heavily guarded site, which no longer produces electricity – unlike an also-visited offshore wind farm.

The Vasulka Effect

10.15pm, BBC Four

Video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka live in New Mexico, surrounded by enough gadgetry to stock a decent-sized electronics store. This documentary follows their 40-year-journey from (respectively) Iceland and Czechoslovakia to 60s New York, and charts the profound effect that they had on the American avant-garde movement. Aside from their pioneering video art work, the Vasulkas’ cross-disciplinary environment The Kitchen would help launch the careers of Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Robert Mapplethorpe, Laurie Anderson and Talking Heads.

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