Barry Murphy returns once more to trawl the TV and radio guides (so you don't have to), finding anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 30th October to Thursday 5th November 2009.
Highlights of the week
In 1959, Ronnie Scott, a rising young saxophone player, opened a club where he and his friends could play the music they liked. Over the following years, the club had its ups and downs, reflecting the changes in attitudes to jazz, and in the social life of surrounding Soho. Ronnie Scott's is now known across the world as the heartbeat of British jazz. In Omnibus: Ronnie Scott… and All that Jazz (BBC 4. Friday 30th, 9.35pm), Omnibus talks to some of Ronnie's greatest admirers, including movie director Mel Brooks, writer Alan Plater and the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke, MP, and features rare archive footage of historic performances at the club by Zoot Sims, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. Also showing over the weekend on BBC 4 as part of the same strand are 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz (Friday 30th, 1.00am), cult 1961 documentary West End Jungle (Friday 30th, 2am) and Arena: Cool (Saturday 31st, 1.50am), a documentary exploring the meaning and history of cool through the American music of the 1940s and 50s that became known as cool jazz.
Francis Bacon's paintings are some of the most vivid, haunting and ferocious in art history, and his life was as outrageous as his art. BBC 4 dedicates Saturday evening to this remarkable artist with a profile - Francis Bacon's Arena (9pm), followed by a new collection of BBC archive clips providing an insight into his life in Francis Bacon in His Own Words (10.35pm) and the 1998 biographical film drama Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (11pm).
Finally on this weeks list of recommendations is a late night repeat of Blues Britannia: Can White Men Play the Blues? (BBC 4. Wednesday 4th, 12.20am) a documentary charting the British love of the musical genre over a 20-year period from the 1950s with contributors including Keith Richards, Paul Jones, John Mayall and Bill Wyman.
Friday 30th October
The Champions – ITV 4. 5.55pm – 7.00pm
The team investigate the disappearance of three Nemesis agents.
Minder – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Arthur must find a way of paying a £20,000 tax bill.
The Sweeney – ITV 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
A consignment of mercury is stolen and the squad is bemused by the prime suspect's alibi.
Omnibus: Ronnie Scott… and All that Jazz – BBC 4. 9.35pm – 10.35pm
A tribute to the influential saxophone player, who opened his own Soho jazz club in 1959. Featuring interviews with celebrity fans and footage of performances at the venue.
Ghosts in the Machine – BBC 4. 10.35pm – 11.35pm
A look at the history of supernatural programmes on British television, examining such classic ghost stories as Whistle and I'll Come to You. With contributions by Bill Paterson, Sarah Greene and Yvette Fielding.
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross – BBC 1. 10.35pm – 11.35pm
Includes 70s soul legends The Stylistics.
1959: The Year That Changed Jazz – BBC 4. 1.00am – 2.00am
1959 was the seismic year jazz broke away from complex bebop music to new forms, allowing soloists unprecedented freedom to explore and express. It was also a pivotal year for America: the nation was finding its groove, enjoying undreamt-of freedom and wealth; social, racial and upheavals were just around the corner, and jazz was ahead of the curve.
Four major jazz albums were made, each a high watermark for the artists and a powerful reflection of the times. Each opened up dramatic new possibilities for jazz which continue to be felt: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue; Dave Brubeck, Time Out; Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um; and Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come. Rarely seen archive performances help vibrantly bring the era to life and explore what made these albums vital both in 1959 and the 50 years since. The programme contains interviews with Lou Reed, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Joe Morello (Brubeck's drummer) and Jimmy Cobb (the only surviving member of Miles' band), along with a host of jazz movers and shakers from the 50s and beyond.
Film: Wait Until Dark (1967) – ITV 1. 1.25am – 3.10am
Menacing thriller starring Audrey Hepburn. A blind woman is terrorised by three criminals after her husband is given a doll that contains drugs.
Film: West End Jungle (1961) – BBC 4. 2.00am – 2.50am
Banned when made in 1961, this documentary offers a comprehensive insight into the history and seedy reality of the sex industry in London's Soho. Examining the consequences of the introduction of the Street Offences Act in 1959, which until then had seen as many as 10,000 prostitutes line the streets and alleys of Soho with nothing more than a deterrent of a small fine, the film explains what happened after those streets were cleaned up and looks at the many different guises as one of Britain's oldest professions continued to operate and thrive.
Saturday 31st October
Film: The Fly (1958) – Film4. 11.00am – 12.50pm
Cult 1950s sci-fi horror in which a scientist ends up half human/half fly.
Francis Bacon's Arena – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.35pm
An Arena profile of the artist, including contributions from Bacon's friends and family, as well as original music composed by Brian Eno.
The Thick of it (2/8) – BBC 2. 10.10pm – 10.40pm
New. Series Three. A week into her new job, Nichola faces catastrophe when the immigration records of 170,672 people are wiped off the computer database. How will she break the news to Malcolm?
Francis Bacon in His Own Words – BBC 4. 10.35pm – 11.00pm (Repeated 2.50am)
New. A collection of BBC archive clips providing an insight into the life of the figurative painter.
Film: Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998) – BBC 4. 11.00pm – 12.25am
Biographical drama about British painter Francis Bacon. When Bacon catches petty criminal George Dyer breaking into his studio, he seduces him instead of reporting him to the police. It is the beginning of a troubled relationship – one that will ultimately lead to tragedy.
The Jazz Baroness – BBC 4. 12.25am – 1.50am
Documentary about British heiress Pannonica Rothschild, who defied her family to start a new life in New York after hearing one particular jazz track. Her great niece, Hannah Rothschild, explores how she became a legend in the jazz world and why her relatives are still reluctant to tell her story. Featuring unseen archive footage, contributions from friends and relatives, and the voice of Helen Mirren.
Film: The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) – ITV 1. 12.40am – 2.20am
British horror starring Ralph Bates. Cold-blooded young student Victor Frankenstein steps into his father's shoes to continue his horrific experiments in bringing the dead back to life.
Arena: Cool – BBC 4. 1.50am – 2.50am
Documentary exploring the meaning and history of cool through the American music of the 1940s and 50s that became known as cool jazz. Those who wrote and played it cultivated an attitude, a style and a language that came to epitomise the meaning of a word that is now so liberally used. The film tells the story of a movement that started in the bars and clubs of New York and Los Angeles and swept across the world, introducing the key players and setting them in the context of the post-war world.
Sounds of the 60s – BBC Radio 2. 8.00am – 10.00am
Brian Matthew spins two hours of hits, B -sides and album tracks.
Baroque and Roll: Townshend on Purcell – BBC Radio 4. 3.30pm – 4.00pm
Rock star Pete Townshend reveals that the Baroque composer Henry Purcell has long influenced his songwriting for the Who and other projects. He tells how he was inspired by Purcell's dramatic genius for his most intriguing compositions, including Tommy.
The Funk and Soul Show – BBC 6 Music. 6.00pm – 9.00pm
3 hours of funk, soul and blues presented by Craig Charles.
Sunday 1st November
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – ITV 1. 4.00pm – 6.15pm
Lavish spy adventure starring Roger Moore and Barbara Bach. James Bond sets out to stop an evil shipping magnate who is capturing nuclear submarines by means of a secret tracking device.
Film: Dreamgirls (2006) – Channel 4. 9.00pm – 11.35pm
Musical drama based on the Broadway show, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Three singers from Detroit known as the Dreamettes are discovered by ruthless manager Curtis Taylor Jr who quickly puts them on the path to s
uccess. But Taylor's decision to change their style and his favouritism of one particular member soon causes friction among the girls.
Fleetwood Mac – Don't Stop – BBC 1. 10.20pm – 11.20pm
One of the biggest selling bands of all time are back on the road. This is their story, told in their own words.
Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood – BBC 1. 11.20pm – 12.25am
Coverage of the duo's 2008 concert in Madison Square Garden, New York, featuring performances of Blind Faith hits Presence of the Lord and Can't Find My Way Home.
The Deighton File – BBC Radio 4. 1.30pm – 2.00pm
Author Len Deighton, now aged 80, talks to Partrick Humphries about his life and work, including his Harry Palmer spy stories.
Monday 2nd November
The Sweeney – ITV 4. 6.00pm – 7.00pm
A Scottish detective on the trail of a gang asks for help.
Glamour's Golden Age (3/3) – BBC 4. 9.00pm – 10.00pm
New. How American movies influenced British culture in the 1920s and 30s. as glamorous lifestyles fuelled a demand for cosmetics, cigarettes and dieting. Narrated by Hermione Norris.
Reputations: Chanel – a Private Life – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 11.00pm
The life of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, examining how she rose from working as a nightclub singer to become one of the most successful fashion designers of the 20th century.
Tuesday 3rd November
Minder – ITV 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Arthur tries to strike a deal with a visiting Russian ship.
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet – ITV 4. 9.00pm – 11.10pm
Double bill. Oz uses his head to get Dennis out of trouble.
The Culture Show – BBC 2. 11.20pm – 12.20am
Actor and Motown fan Martin Freeman interviews his idol, iconic soul star Smokey Robinson.
Wednesday 4th November
Minder – ITV 4. 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Arthur manages to cause a diplomatic incident.
Flight of the Conchords (3/12) – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 10.30pm
Series one. Bret starts dating but refuses to let Jermaine tag along.
Blues Britannia: Can White Men Play the Blues? – BBC 4. 12.20am – 1.50am
Documentary charting the British love of the musical genre over a 20-year period from the 1950s. Contributors including Keith Richards, Paul Jones, John Mayall and Bill Wyman study the inspiration of American artists such as Muddy Waters, how young white audiences came to love the music, and the increasing international dominance of UK-based performers as the 1970s dawned.
Thursday 5th November
Glamour's Golden Age (3/3) – BBC 4. 8.00pm – 9.00pm
How American movies influenced British culture in the 1920s and 30s. as glamorous lifestyles fuelled a demand for cosmetics, cigarettes and dieting. Narrated by Hermione Norris.
Filth: the Mary Whitehouse Story – BBC 4. 10.00pm – 11.30pm
Feature-length drama, based on first-hand documented accounts, starring Julie Walters as the Midlands housewife and teacher who, in 1963, embarked on a mission to clean up British TV. Her crusade led her into conflict with the man she felt responsible for a tide of "filth" – Sir Hugh Carleton Greene, director-general of the BBC – culminating in a bitter fight over whether to broadcast the word "knickers" in the Beatles song I Am the Walrus.
The Thick of it (2/8) – BBC 4. 11.30pm – 12Midnight
Series Three. A week into her new job, Nichola faces catastrophe when the immigration records of 170,672 people are wiped off the computer database. How will she break the news to Malcolm?
Reece Shearsmith's Haunted House (2/2) – BBC Radio 4. 11.30am – 12Mid-day
Films, Fangs and Frightening Fellas. Reece Shearsmith continues his cosy, clip-rich chats with Mike Roberts, Mark Gatiss and Vic Reeves. They recall the classic scary moments from the movies and remember the great horror actors.