TV Tonight: Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson is television at its most exciting

This England

9 p.m. Sky Atlantic

Michael Winterbottom’s six-part drama based on the events of the pandemic is TV at its strongest. Kenneth Branagh is shockingly accurate as Boris Johnson, while Simon Paisley Day’s version of Dominic Cummings calls for all caps to be burned. The series uses real testimonials and archival footage with a certain poetic liberty (“I’ll be the sun and he’ll be Icarus!” says Boris when Carrie Symonds tells him to put Cummings in his place). It begins in early 2020 as Brexit, floods, a cabinet reshuffle and the writing of a book about Shakespeare distract Johnson from a “mysterious Sars-like virus” outbreak in China. This program may have been made too soon – but perhaps its intention is to unsettle. Hollie Richardson

The sample

9 p.m., Sky Comedy

Nathan Fielder’s acclaimed reality TV project has used HBO’s big bucks to create elaborate dress rehearsals for difficult real-life conversations. This groundbreaking series finale tears up some of the wild coups de theatrebut the use of child actors in seemingly very intense emotional situations gives the whole thing an uneasy edge. Graeme virtue

Sky Arts Book Club

8 p.m., Sky Arts

This admirably unadorned and understated literary show continues. Tonight, Andi Oliver and Elizabeth Day are joined by Meg Mason to talk about their book, Sorrow and Bliss, a novel that tackles mental health issues fearlessly but sensitively. The Colchester Book Club is also taking part in the discussion. Phillip Harrison

Nadiya’s daily baking

9.35pm, BBC Two

Did someone say triple-stacked tandoori chicken naan sandwiches, jam flapjacks, a hard-hitting Mexican one-pot wonder, and an epic cookie cake? “You heard me right,” says chef Nadiya Hussain, who is preparing this menu tonight. “Do I need to say more?” MR


9:45 p.m., Skymax

More Viz-style glorious escapades with Vinnie (Joe Gilgun) and company. When a weed sale to exotic animal lover Manolito gets out of control, the gang tries to steal his private zoo — and sell it on (including “a little monkey with a terrible attitude.” “). Well, you know what they say about the best plans of mice and humans… Ali Catterall

The great

11:05 p.m., Channel 4

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

In a suitably excellent hour of chaos for the season finale, Marial marries her young relative (it was a different era), Peter’s worst secret is exposed, and Catherine strikes a risky deal with the Sultan. MR



A nearly three-hour visit to the cinematic equivalent of the psychoanalyst’s couch, Andrew Dominik’s biopic of Norma Jeane Baker, aka Marilyn Monroe, is the subject of controversy. It’s an explicit, at times brutal, look at the creation and exploitation of a film icon and the horrific personal cost it pays in the process. Adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ stout novel, the film stylishly sweeps through Monroe’s life, connecting the dots that led to tragedy. Ana de Armas plays Monroe with a commitment to emotional extremes and a high level of accuracy, while Adrien Brody and Bobby Cannavale star as Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. Simon Wardell

film selection

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

Harriet, (Kasi Lemmons, 2019), 10.40pm, BBC One
It’s notable that it took until 2019 to film the life of 19th-century American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, as she packed enough into it for several. Director Kasi Lemmons and star Cynthia Erivo do an excellent job telling their story – from escaping slavery in Maryland to freedom in Philadelphia to joining the “subway” that saved 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 rather than due to a head injury) inspire her mission. Simon Wardell

live sports

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

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