What’s on TV tonight: The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files, Britain's Cheapest Street, and more

Allan Wilmot reflects on the Windrush story
Allan Wilmot reflects on the Windrush story Credit: Harriet Thomas/BBC

Monday 24 June

The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Although a number of contributors to David Olusoga’s eye-opening film were directly affected by the Windrush Scandal, the real focus is not the scandal itself, but how decades of institutionalised racism led to it. As Olusoga puts it: “This is the story of 70 years of political panic, bad faith and racist prejudice in the corridors of power stretching back to the arrival of the first wave of Caribbean immigrants on the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948.” He isn’t exaggerating. Time and again, he produces documented examples of the rank hypocrisy of British governments attempting to stem the flow of black Caribbean migrants into Britain without impeding that of white Commonwealth citizens or appearing to discriminate.

Some of this is shocking – Churchill proposing to Cabinet in the Fifties that “Keep England White” might be a good electioneering slogan, secret race surveys conducted at job centres, Sixties’s immigration-limiting legislation that “in practice will operate against coloured people almost exclusively”. What shocks most, though, is the inhumane treatment inflicted only recently on innocent people under the government’s “hostile environment” policy. GO

London Kills

BBC One, 1.45pm

Unusually, this London-based and British-cast crime series was made for a US streaming channel, but now receives its UK premiere after being bought in by the BBC to beef up daytime schedules. Hugo Speer stars as DI David Bradford, head of an elite murder investigation team who’s distracted by the fact that his own wife has disappeared. GO

Tennis: Eastbourne International

BBC Two, 1.45pm  

Eastbourne is the women’s counterpart to Queen’s. It’s a strong field: Caroline Wozniacki will defend her title, with Simona Halep and Kiki Bertens likely to pose a stern threat.

Triumph and Tragedy

Smithsonian Channel, 8.00pm

This edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings focuses on how astronauts learned to walk in space – and how tragedy during tests for the first manned Apollo mission underlined the human cost of space exploration. GO  

Panorama: The Race for Number 10

BBC One, 8.30pm

Failing an unforeseen “coronation”, the key battle for the PM-ship is now well under way as the two remaining candidates set out to woo Tory party members. Panorama assesses their campaigns thus far. GO

The £1 Houses: Britain’s Cheapest Street

Channel 4, 8.30pm

The series about house-buyers who availed of Liverpool Council’s offer to purchase derelict homes for just £1 returns for a series of updates. The emphasis here is less on home improvements and more on the homeowners themselves, as they get to grips with living in a neglected community. GO

Beecham House

ITV, 9.00pm

In the second episode of Gurinder Chadha’s lavish period drama set in India, John Beecham discovers his decadent brother in a brothel, and a beautiful if rather haughty young woman (Pallavi Sharda) shakes things up. GO

A Year to Save My Life: George McGavin and Melanoma

BBC Four, 9.00pm

This is a powerful film about a man on a mission to save his own life. Last year, entomologist and TV presenter George McGavin was diagnosed with skin cancer, but pioneering medicines were holding out hope of boosting his survival chances. It’s a roller-coaster ride through science and hope. GO

Big Little Lies

Sky Atlantic, 9.00pm

The brilliant second series continues as the fallout from the revelations that came in the last episode is felt, not least the quaking of a couple of marriages. GO

Pony Express (1953) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 4.35pm

This Jerry Hopper Western won’t win many prizes for characterisation – Charlton Heston plays Buffalo Bill, Forrest Tucker plays Wild Bill Hickok – but at least it has a more novel premise: the risky establishment of a horse-bound mail service between Missouri and California. Our double Bill of heroes must contend with not only the usual Indians, but also secessionists who don’t want communications to help unite the States.

Blue Steel (1989) ★★★★☆

London Live, 11.00pm

Before Point Break and The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow wrote and directed this taut thriller, in which Jamie Lee Curtis’s rookie cop is pursued by a disturbed trader (Ron Nelson) who witnesses her shooting an armed robber. While it’s not exactly subtle – and didn’t do too well at the box office – the pace never relents, and the piece is jam-packed with both menace and suspense. Clancy Brown also stars.

Being Blacker (2018) ★★★★☆

BBC Two, 11.15pm; not N Ireland

Any documentary by Molly Dineen (The Ark, Geri)is a must-see. Being Blacker is the result of a request from her friend, reggae producer and Brixton record-shop owner Blacker Dread, to film his mother’s funeral. Instead it evolved into a three-year odyssey that takes us through a tumultuous period in his life and explores the world of the Jamaican community rooted in the south London suburb.

Tuesday 25 June

Triton, Neptune's only retrograde-orbiting moon Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/BBC

The Planets

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Few presenters are as adept at capturing the wonder of the unexplored as Professor Brian Cox, whose look at the planets comes to a suitably lyrical end as he asks us to follow space probe Voyager 2 out to the furthest planets in our solar system, Uranus – “a pale blue marble in the dark, frozen depths of space” – and Neptune, “the final true planet”. It’s a fascinating journey and one full of revealing facts, as Cox explains why Uranus lies on its side, what Shepherd Moons are and why Pluto is no longer considered a planet. Not that Cox himself is terribly bothered by Pluto’s downgrading, noting that it’s “still a world and therefore we should explore it”.

He’s right, of course, as Pluto yields a number of surprises – from the beauty of its crater-covered surface to the mystery of Tombaugh Regio, a light-coloured area in the shape of a heart and thus also known as Pluto’s Heart. Cox ends the series with a heartfelt plea that humans should continue to marvel at what is out there rather than sitting “huddled in a tiny corner of the solar system wondering what we’re doing here”. It’s a smart and thoughtful conclusion to what has been a truly epic piece of TV. SH

Cricket World Cup: England v Australia

Sky Sports Main Event/SS Cricket, 9.30am

The crowd at Lord’s are famously cultured, but what price a rude welcome for David Warner and Steve Smith? Each of the disgraced Australians was greeted with boos in the World Cup warm-up game last month, a close match edged by the visitors. Eoin Morgan’s men will want revenge on the oldest enemy.

Ackley Bridge

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Few shows would have the cheerful audacity to pull off tonight’s opening moments, in which a young Muslim girl gets a glimpse of a very unexpected afterlife. That cheeky attitude is definitely needed ahead of tonight’s powerful episode, with its focus on the fallout from last week’s crash. SH

The Thames: Britain’s Great River with Tony Robinson

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Tony Robinson finishes his perambulation along the Thames by heading to London’s East End, where he grew up. Then it’s on to the Thames Estuary, with plenty of enlightening facts along the way. SH

Master of Photography

Sky Arts, 8.00pm

The four remaining contenders are sent to their homelands to take a set of three intimate photos, including at least one self-portrait, that showcase who they really are. It’s a tricky and potentially exposing assignment, and more than one of the contestants struggle. SH  

Great British Gardens: Season by Season with Carol Klein

Channel 5, 9.00pm

Tonight’s final edition of the series that tours the country in the company of the superb Carol Klein takes us to the decidedly chilly yet verdant acres of Gresgarth Hall near Lancaster. SH

Drag SOS

Channel 4, 10.00pm

This is essentially Queer Eye given a very British spin, as Channel 4’s newest series sees drag collective The Family Gorgeous attempt to transform people’s lives through the power of big hair, dramatic make-up and over-the-top performance. This week, they’re in Dover for an episode that builds to a lovely climax. SH


Sky One, 10.00pm

Legend has it that before his premature death in 1973, martial arts king Bruce Lee pitched an American studio an idea for a film about a Chinese immigrant travelling through America in the late 19th century. They declined, but the fast and furious Warrior, executive-produced by Lee’s daughter Shannon, goes some way to redressing that decision, using the star’s notes to tell the story of Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) a young man on a mission who arrives in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1878. Koji is solid and the action scenes thrill; Jason Tobin steals the show as the local crime boss’s louche son. SH

The Blue Dahlia (1946, b/w) ★★★★☆

Film4, 11.00am

George Marshall’s thrilling film noir stars Alan Ladd in his penultimate pairing with Veronica Lake. Raymond Chandler won an Oscar nomination for his first original screenplay, though he relapsed into drink while working out how to finish off its fiendish plot. Johnny Morrison (Ladd) is the main suspect after his wife is murdered; his discharged Navy buddies are swept up in the intrigue as well. A skilful and hard-boiled film.

Hobson’s Choice (1953, b/w) ★★★★☆

Talking Pictures TV, 5.30pm

In this adaptation of Harold Brighouse’s 1915 play, hero Willie Mossop (John Mills) finds, after suffering the tyranny of his boss Henry Horatio Hobson (Charles Laughton), that despite the film’s title, he does have a choice over how he’ll conduct his life after all. The winner of Best British Film at the 1954 Baftas, this delight chalked up another success for director David Lean (Great Expectations).

Wild (2014) ★★★★☆

Film4, 11.20pm

Jean-Marc Vallée follows one award-winning film (Dallas Buyers Club) with another. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s successful memoir, the plot follows Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) as she walks the Pacific Crest Trail, up the western spine of the US from Mexican to Canadian borders, after a decade of loss and personal trouble. This backpacking challenge makes for an entrancingly lush visual experience. Laura Dern co-stars.


Wednesday 26 June

Tennis champion Martina Navratilova explores the issue of transgender sportswomen Credit: Andrew Crowley

The Trans Women Athlete Dispute with Martina Navratilova

BBC One, 9.00pm

Martina Navratilova has dived headlong into the debate on transgender women in sport, but her views haven’t always been wholly welcome. In February she was savaged publicly and branded “transphobic” after she said that transgender women were “cheating” at sport by possessing physical advantages. Navratilova apologised, but the former tennis champion, winner of 59 Grand Slam titles, has not retreated beneath the parapet. On the contrary, in tonight’s film she keeps her consequent promise to explore and debate the issue further.

Navratilova meets voices from both sides: trans athletes describe the struggles they’ve faced, while Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies reiterates her opinions – more or less shared with Navratilova – about the perceived advantages for trans sportswomen, and Loughborough University researchers tell her about studying the performance of trans women athletes before, during and after their transition. Although the documentary was still being filmed at the time of going to press, we’re promised a respectful look at the argument, not least in terms of whether trans athletes feel accepted. VP

The Supervet: Noel Fitzpatrick

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Noel Fitzpatrick works more medical miracles on sick dogs as the docu-series continues. He mends the deformed legs of puppy Suki in an impressive five-hour procedure involving drills, pins and metal frames, and still finds time to dispense empathy to the pets’ owners. VP

Summer of Rockets

BBC Two, 9.00pm

Stephen Poliakoff’s peculiar drama closes with a series of reveals that almost beggar belief, leaving us to declare this piece a qualified triumph. Much credit is due to Toby Stephens for his quirky, scene-stealing performance as Samuel Petrukhin, who tonight finally discovers the truth about the Shaws and MI5. VP

Wild Bill

ITV, 9.00pm

It’s seems a crime that Rob Lowe’s impeccable comic timing is being squandered in this comedy-cum-procedural. The series rumbles on as flatly as the Lincolnshire landscape, with Lowe’s Chief Constable Bill Hixon solving the crime of the week. Tonight, OAPs are being burgled… VP

The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes

Channel 4, 9.00pm

This series, in which people with early-onset dementia open and run a restaurant, continues to tug at the heartstrings. It’s uplifting to watch the sufferers develop coping skills, and educational too about this devastating condition. VP

How to Get Away With Murder

Sky Witness, 9.00pm

This imported legal melodrama is back in session for a fifth season, with another towering performance from Oscar-winner Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, the brilliant professor who plays the mentor to an elite group of law students. Tonight’s opener also offers up the shocking murder mystery that will keep the characters occupied for the next 15 weeks, as Connor and Oliver’s wedding becomes the scene of a brutal killing. VP

Emily Atack: Adulting

W, 10.00pm

The likeable runner-up of last year’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! continues to capitalise on her fame with this docu-series. Casting herself as a chaotic woman-child of 30, Atack is followed by cameras as she discusses quarter-life issues such as whether or not to have children and the modern plague of anxiety. Her honesty is genuinely commendable compared to the neatly airbrushed “reality” promulgated by many young stars. VP

Ransom (1996) ★★★★☆

ITV4, 10.00pm

The year after Braveheart and those cries of “freedom”, Mel Gibson showed his scary side in this gripping thriller from Ron Howard. Gibson and Rene Russo play the millionaire couple Tom and Kate Mullen, who turn the tables on a gang that kidnaps their son (Brawley Nolte, son of Nick). By offering up the ransom as a bounty on the kidnappers’ heads, they set off a cat-and-mouse game. It’s smart and slick, and it keeps its tension to the end.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) ★★★★☆

AMC, 11.00pm

A remake of the 1957 classic, itself an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard short story, 3:10 to Yuma is an excellent, thrill-filled Western starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as two men from either side of the law who end up thrown together. Directed with real verve by James Mangold, it tells the story of a rancher (Bale) who escorts a notorious gunslinger (Crowe) to the town of Contention to be put on the train to Yuma Prison.

Oldboy (2013) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 11.10pm

Spike Lee’s garish remake of the 2003 Korean classic fails to capture very much of the original’s brilliance. Josh Brolin, however, is good as a brutish ad exec who learns of his ex-wife’s murder while he’s locked in a hotel room. When he’s at last released, he wants answers. Sean Bobbitt’s bravura camera work gives flash to the first half, but Sharlto Copley’s tiresomely camp British villain sends the final act downhill.


Thursday 27 June

Murderer Paris Bennett (left) with Piers Morgan Credit: ITV

Psychopath with Piers Morgan

ITV, 9.00pm

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan heads to Texas to interview a murderer. But this criminal is like no other that Morgan has ever faced – even in his Serial Killer series. Paris Bennett has a genius-level IQ, is cunning, manipulative and is a diagnosed psychopath. In 2007, when he was 13 years old, Bennett stabbed his four-year-old half-sister Ella to death. “Yes, I did commit a monstrous crime,” Bennett says, “but does that one mistake define my entire life?” This “mistake”, as Morgan hears, was no impulsive fit of rage, but rather a deliberate, planned act of violence.

In his first interview on British television, Bennett, now 25, admits that the murder was driven by a desire to inflict misery upon his mother, Charity. Morgan, who is more considered here than in his usual combative interviewing style, also hears why Charity has stood by her “nice, personable, polite” son, but also fears what he could do to her on his release (he’s due for parole in a few years time, even though he “will not, cannot change”). This powerful film both explores the psyche of a dangerous man and charts the appalling toll that a violent psychopath takes on their family. CM

Family Business

Netflix, from today

After learning that France is about to legalise cannabis, down-on-his-luck entrepreneur Joseph (Jonathan Cohen) plans to turn his family’s kosher butcher shop into a marijuana café. But not everyone is on board. What ensues in this new comedy series is wacky and irreverent fun. CM  

Golf: Rocket Mortgage Classic

Sky Golf, 1.00pm

The latest PGA Tour event begins at Detroit Golf Club; Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler head the entry list, while Tiger Woods is notably absent. Earlier today, the European Tour heads to southern Spain for the Andalucía Valderrama Classic (11.00am). Host and three-time winner Sergio García will again be the man to beat.

Who Should Get to Stay in the UK?

BBC Two, 9.00pm

There’s love in the air in the last episode of this series following non-EU citizens who have applied to stay in the UK. This week, we meet Egyptian citizen Doaa, who was detained at Manchester Airport for having the wrong visa; and Sylvia, who arrived from Uganda to marry a man she’d met online. CM


Channel 4, 9.00pm

George Clooney’s adaptation of Joseph Heller’s 1961 anti-war satire continues with US bombardier Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) still convinced that everyone is out to kill him. So he resorts to desperate measures to get home. CM

Discovering: Maggie Smith

Sky Arts, 9.00pm

As a scene-setter for the highly anticipated Downton Abbey film, which is released in cinemas in September, Sky Arts looks at the career of Dame Maggie Smith. The actress is a rare recipient of the industry’s triple crown – an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy. Whether she’s playing the dowager Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham, or Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter films, Smith charms her audience, which has given her fans across the generations. This beautifully-put-together profile charts her story, from her early days as a classical actress to global stardom. CM  

Liam v Noel: Brothers at War

Channel 5. 10.00pm

Don’t Look Back in Anger doesn’t appear to apply to the Gallagher brothers themselves, as their spat shows no signs of abating. Ahead of Liam’s performance at Glastonbury, this documentary charts their tempestuous relationship. CM

The Operating Theatre: Minute by Minute

Channel 5, 11.05pm

When Operation Live aired earlier this year, viewers were queasy and fascinated in equal measure. Now we return to St Bart’s Hospital in London as the surgeons perform a total knee replacement. Be warned: it involves the use of power tools while the patient is still awake. CM

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) ★★★★☆

Film4, 1.35pm

This disaster movie from Robert Aldrich, about a plane crash in the Sahara, is fast-paced and well-told. As the pilot (James Stewart) and alcoholic navigator (Richard Attenborough) try to save their passengers, it’s left to a fanatical engineer (Hardy Krüger) to devise a wild plan to build a new plane from the wreckage. Ian Bannen won an Oscar nomination for his cocky turn as Ratbags Crow.

Rocky IV (1985) ★★★☆☆

5Spike, 10.00pm

It’s a stew of blood and sweat as the Cold War “rivals” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) lay it all on the line. Rocky IV is seen by many as the series’ nadir, and the fight scenes do run on, but it did give us one worthwhile moment: the robot butler given by Rocky to his best friend Paulie (Burt Young), behind which there’s a sweet tale – it was used by Stallone to help his autistic son communicate.

Bad Teacher (2011) ★★☆☆☆

5STAR, 10.20pm

This rather by-the-numbers comedy stars Cameron Diaz as a teacher focused on marrying the richest man she can. Diaz comes across fairly well as the beauteous but two-faced Elizabeth, able to play both heroine and snake, but the film drags on, and at times its set-pieces are pretty improbable. Though they try, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel fail to raise more than a smattering of laughs as her two (very different) love interests.


Friday 28 June

Stormzy headlines the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury tonight Credit: Doug Peters/PA

Glastonbury 2019

BBC One/Two/Four/iPlayer/Red Button, from 7.00pm

The Cure, The Killers, Stormzy, Miley Cyrus, Vampire Weekend, Kylie and, er, Jeff Goldblum. There’s something for everyone at the spectacular Glastonbury Festival, back after a fallow year. The One Show kicks off the BBC’s coverage at 7.00pm with an edition presented by Mel Giedroyc and Jo Wiley live from the site. Things pick up over on BBC Two at 7.30pm when Wiley, Lauren Laverne, Clara Amfo, Mark Radcliffe and Edith Bowman give us a taste of the opening day’s best moments, plus there are performances from Jorja Smith and Sam Fender.

But the main event doesn’t arrive until after the break, at 9.50pm, when Wiley, Amfo and Huw Stephens tee-up tonight’s Pyramid Stage headline act – grime superstar Stormzy. They’ll also be looking back at earlier highlights including sets by Bastille, George Ezra, Sheryl Crow and the fabulous Lauryn Hill, while Radcliffe and Bowman take us through the early hours, catching up on performances from Interpol, Jon Hopkins and Cat Power. On BBC Four at 10.00pm, Laverne introduces tonight’s Other Stage headliners, Tame Impala. Many other performances are being live streamed on iPlayer all weekend and available via the Red Button. GO


Netflix, from today

The US docu-series that sets out to view the problem of illegal drugs from all sides returns for a third series, widening its view beyond the US to explore the trade’s vast international reach and impact. GO

Exhibit A

Netflix, from today

Usually television loves to highlight how forensics is the Holy Grail of crime investigation; this true-crime series offers a more cautionary perspective, with stories of innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted using dubious forensic tools and techniques. GO  

Celebrity Crystal Maze

Channel 4, 8.00pm

Can Anita Rani live up to quizmaster Richard Ayoade’s maxim that all great Crystal Maze teams are captained by women? That’s up to her gang: presenter Jeff Stelling, Paralympic gold-winner Hannah Cockcroft, Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and actor Tom Rosenthal. GO

When Buildings Collapse: World’s Worst Engineering Disasters

Channel 5, 8.00pm

Rob Bell investigates catastrophic construction failures, including the horrific Genoa bridge disaster last year when 43 people were killed, and the Hyatt Regency tragedy in Kansas in 1981, when a hotel walkway collapsed, killing over 100. GO

Still Game

BBC One, 9.00pm

Silver-surfer rivalry rears its ugly head as Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill) get wind of “Twilight Monthly” magazine’s hunt for a new cover star and, at the other end of the age scale, Navid (Sanjeev Kohli) is on the hunt for a sneaky schoolboy shoplifter. GO

The Nile: Egypt’s Great River with Bettany Hughes

Channel 5, 9.00pm

Bettany Hughes makes a terrific guide to Egypt’s ancient wonders, arriving at Luxor and the Valley of the Kings to visit Tutankhamun’s tomb, the temple at Karnak and the more recently excavated tomb-builders’ village. GO

Bruce Lee and the Outlaw

PBS America, 9.00pm

This award-winning documentary follows the tough day-to-day life of Romanian street child Nicu who, living in the system of heating ducts beneath Bucharest’s streets, is torn between life with his drug-dealer protector Bruce Lee, and a chance of escape offered by concerned aid worker Raluca. GO

Tiger Bay (1959, b/w) ★★★☆☆

Film4, 4.40pm

This film is part gritty drama, part melodramatic morality tale; it follows the unravelling consequences of a 12-year-old girl’s lies. Gillie Evans (Hayley Mills, daughter of John, in her first major film role) witnesses a Polish sailor shooting his girlfriend in a jealous rage – then she befriends him and obstructs the murder investigation. Set in Cardiff, as the title suggests, the film marked the arrival of the British New Wave.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) ★★★★☆

Horror Channel, 10.45pm

This taut three-handed British thriller stars Gemma Arterton as Alice Creed, a woman kidnapped by two men (Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston) and ransomed for her father’s money. The performances keep your eyes glued to the action, and you’re never quite sure who’s controlling whom. It’s a sure-footed debut from J Blakeson, who later made The 5th Wave.

Never Say Never Again (1983) ★★★☆☆

ITV, 11.10pm

This “unofficial” Bond adventure, made by an independent company, is often omitted from the canon. Still, Sean Connery’s final outing as 007 is plenty of fun, as the secret agent investigates the theft of nuclear weapons by terrorist masterminds Spectre. Kim Basinger is the Bond girl. It’s a rehash of Thunderball, and 21 years after his 007 debut, Connery is creaking, but it’s enjoyable nevertheless.

Television previewers

Vicki Power (VP), Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Gabriel Tate (GT), Sarah Hughes (SH), Toby Dantzic (TD)