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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Hollie Richardson, Graeme Virtue, Phil Harrison, Ali Catterall and Simon Wardell

TV tonight: Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson is television at its most triggering

Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in This England.
Unsettling … Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson in This England. Photograph: Sky

This England

9pm, Sky Atlantic

Michael Winterbottom’s six-part drama based on the events of the pandemic is TV at its most triggering. Kenneth Branagh is sickeningly accurate as Boris Johnson, while Simon Paisley Day’s take on Dominic Cummings is a call to burn all beanie hats. The series uses real testimonials and archive footage, with some poetic licence (“I shall be the sun, and he Icarus!” Boris says when Carrie Symonds tells him to put Cummings in his place). It starts in early 2020 when Brexit, floods, a cabinet reshuffle and writing a book on Shakespeare distract Johnson from a “mysterious Sars-like virus” outbreak in China. This programme might have been made too soon – but perhaps its very intention is to be unsettling. Hollie Richardson

The Rehearsal

9pm, Sky Comedy

Nathan Fielder’s acclaimed reality TV project has used HBO’s big bucks to create lavish dress rehearsals for difficult real-life conversations. This rug-pulling series finale pulls off some wild coups de théâtre, but the use of child actors, in what seem like very intense emotional situations, gives it all a queasy edge. Graeme Virtue

Sky Arts Book Club

8pm, Sky Arts

This admirably unadorned and low-key literary show continues. Tonight, Andi Oliver and Elizabeth Day are joined by Meg Mason to talk about her book Sorrow and Bliss, a novel that dives fearlessly but sensitively into issues surrounding mental health. Colchester Book Club also joins in with the discussion. Phil Harrison

Nadiya’s Everyday Baking

9.35pm, BBC Two

Did somebody say triple-stacked tandoori chicken naan sandwiches, jammy flapjacks, a punchy Mexican one-pot wonder and an epic cookie pie? “You heard right,” says chef Nadiya Hussain, who is cooking up this menu tonight. “Need I say more?” HR


9.45pm, Sky Max

More glorious Viz-style antics with Vinnie (Joe Gilgun) and co. When a weed sale to exotic animal lover Manolito gets out of hand, the gang attempt to steal – and sell on – his private zoo (including “a tiny monkey with a horrible attitude”). Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men … Ali Catterall

The Great

11.05pm, Channel 4

Phoebe Fox in The Great.
Marial’s wedding … Phoebe Fox in The Great. Photograph: Gareth Gatrell/Hulu

In a fittingly excellent hour of chaos for the season finale, Marial marries her young relative (it was a different era), Peter’s worst secret spills out and Catherine does risky business with the sultan. HR



A near three-hour visit to the cinematic equivalent of the psychoanalyst’s couch, Andrew Dominik’s biopic of Norma Jeane Baker, AKA Marilyn Monroe, comes trailing controversy. It’s an explicit, sometimes brutal look at the creation and exploitation of a film icon, and the terrible personal cost paid by her in the process. Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’s hefty novel, the film sweeps stylishly around Monroe’s life, connecting the dots that led to tragedy. Ana de Armas plays Monroe with a commitment to the emotional extremes and a high degree of accuracy, while Adrien Brody and Bobby Cannavale feature as Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. Simon Wardell

Film choice

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet.
A force of nature … Cynthia Erivo (left) in Harriet. Photograph: Focus Features/Allstar

Harriet, (Kasi Lemmons, 2019), 10.40pm, BBC One
It’s remarkable that it took until 2019 for the life of 19th-century American abolitionist Harriet Tubman to make it to film, as she packed enough into it for several. Director Kasi Lemmons and star Cynthia Erivo make fine work of telling her story – from her escape from slavery in Maryland to freedom in Philadelphia to joining the “underground railroad”, which rescued many others, including her own family. Erivo is a force of nature as Tubman, whose visionary fits (the film errs on the side of God-given rather than due to a head injury) inspire her mission. Simon Wardell

Live sport

Women’s Super League football: Chelsea v West Ham United, 7pm, BBC Two The champions take on their local rivals at Kingsmeadow.

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