Geek shows and movies on UK TV in the coming week

Doctor Who leads the holiday programming with The Impossible Astronaut, and there's lots of exceptional films to catch in the week ahead in the UK...

It seems to our (admittedly faulty) memories that prior Easter holidays have been much more tightly packed with specials and programmes for the long weekend and beyond. Thanks goodness, then, that Doctor Who is back!

As you’re most surely aware, the sixth series of new Doctor Who returns on Saturday, April 23rd at 6:00pm on BBC1. The Impossible Astronaut, the first of a two-part premiere, sees the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River Song meeting up on the plains of Utah, a huge and expansive backdrop for the kick-off of what looks to be a fabulously exciting season.

We had a spoiler-free review of the opening episodes here, and we’ll have all the details and freely shared thoughts in our full review as soon as the first episode airs, followed by another spoiler-free review of Day Of The Moon mid-week.

We won’t say more about Saturday’s episode for now except that, for us, it’s a real cause for celebration, increasing anticipation for the new series beyond our expectations. The Impossible Astronaut is the highlight of the holiday bookended week, and we look forward to what you thought of the premiere in the comments come Saturday night.

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Of course, our enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by the heartbreaking news this week of Elisabeth Sladen’s passing. A special programme, My Sarah Jane – A Tribute To Elisabeth Sladen, will be broadcast on Saturday, April 23rd, on CBBC at 6.45pm as Doctor Who concludes. If you’d like a place to share your memories and express commiserations, you’re welcome to join others in mourning the monumental loss, and in celebrating Elisabeth Sladen’s remarkable life and impact on generations of fans and admirers.

On Sunday April 24th, there’s another sombre offering in United. Starring David Tennant, it’s a dramatisation of the successes and tragedy of Manchester United’s legendary Busby Babes, telling the story of the young team’s momentous English Football League victory in 1956 through to the repercussions of the devastating 1958 plane crash. The one-off hour-and-a-half long programme airs at 9:00pm on BBC2.

Another period drama follows on Monday, April 25th, this time set much earlier, in 1860 with The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher. If “period drama” aren’t two words you’d expect to find on this page, perhaps the fact that it stars Paddy Considine, with Peter Capaldi among the cast, is the first clue to why the two-hour telly film got our initial attention. It then kept it with a fact-based murder mystery that occurs during the time of the formation of the Scotland Yard detective department. Inept local law enforcement and an uncooperative press and public sounds like enough of a meal for those two impressive thesps to chew on and will, hopefully, provide a real treat for fans of the subject or the talent, starting at 9:00pm on ITV1.

Longstanding fans of the Trotters of Peckham who enjoyed the Only Fools And Horses prequel, Rock & Chips, will want to tune in Thursday, April 28th at 9:00pm for a second special on BBC1. The Frog And The Pussycat again stars Inbetweeners alumni, James Buckley, as a young Derek Edward Trotter alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst as rakish Freddie Robdal (pre-Rodney) and Kellie Bright as Joan, Del Boy’s mum.

UPDATE: We’ve just spotted that TCM is running the Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant-starring western, Deadwood, (originally aired on HBO) starting tonight, Friday, April 22nd at 10:05pm. The channel’s showing all twelve episodes of the first series across consecutive nights, at similar times, through Monday, May 2nd.

Now, on to those films showing through the weekend and a bit beyond. If the TV shows list is a bit on the brief side, the movies this week more than make up for that.

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It looks like Indiana Jones has officially joined the likes of Mary Poppins in becoming a holiday film tradition and BBC3 has all four films scheduled across the week, (although we only had room for three in our list).

Besides a listing indicator, we don’t usually focus too much attention on any one channel each week. BBC decisions and programming are probably nearly equally praised and condemned in these pages and we’ve had the occasional moan about the Syfy name and content changes, but we’d like to mention Film4 this week, specifically.

The channel has had some stellar scheduling of late and it’s really excelled itself this holiday week with its Film For Life programming.

Film4’s offering two-thirds of our highlighted anime trio as well as bringing seldom seen horror treats Carrie and Rosemary’s Baby back to small screens, along with a lot of classics, old and new, the best of which follow in our list. And The Iron Giant leads the parade of films to share with the youngest TV fans. Yay!

As always, if we missed anything interesting, have a shout in the comments, with our thanks.

We hope everyone enjoys the holidays and we’ll be back to our normal schedule of stories and articles on Tuesday, April 26th.

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Please also note: the ordinal numbers for dates will help you scan through this simple list with your browser’s search function. Enter ’23rd’ in your browser’s Find box or window to highlight and/or tab through all movies shown on Saturday. Enjoy!

A Hard Day’s NightOn: BBC 2Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 11:15pm

Batman (1966)On: Film4Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 11:00am (and noon Film4+1)

BreakdownOn: ITV4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 00:10am (and 1:10am ITV4+1)

Bugsy MaloneOn: Film4Date: Thursday 21st AprilTime: 5:10pm (and 6:10pm Film4+1, 1/2:00pm 23rd Apr)

CarrieOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 11:20pm (and 00:20am 24th Apr Film4+1)

Charlie And The Chocolate FactoryOn: ITV1Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 4:00pm

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Chicken RunOn: BBC 1Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 2:45pm

Corpse BrideOn: GOLDDate: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 11:40pm (and 00:40am 24th Apr Gold+1, 6:10/7:10pm 24th Apr)

Crocodile DundeeOn: E4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 4:00pm (and 5:00pm E4+1)

DogmaOn: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

DogtoothOn: Film4Date: Thursday 28th AprilTime: 11:25pm (and 00:25am 29th Apr Film4+1)

EnchantedOn: BBC 1Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 4:50pm

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Ferris Bueller’s Day OffOn: Film4Date: Wednesday 27th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

Fight ClubOn: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 11:20pm (and 00:20am 25th Apr Fim4+1)

HeroOn: Film4Date: Tuesday 26th AprilTime: 7:05pm (and 8:05pm Film4+1)

GhostbustersOn: Channel 5Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 7:50pm

Groundhog DayOn: GOLDDate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 8:00pm (and 9:00pm Gold+1, 4:50/5:50pm 23rd Apr)

Hairspray (1988)On: TCMDate: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 5:00pm (and 8:25am 24th Apr)

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Independence DayOn: Film4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 1:05pm (and 2:05pm Film4+1, 6:16/7:15pm 28th Jan)

Indiana Jones And The Temple of DoomOn: BBC 3Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 9:00pm

Indiana Jones And The Last CrusadeOn: BBC 3Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 7:00pm

InnerspaceOn: TCMDate: Monday 25th AprilTime: 6:40pm (and 10:20am 26th Apr)

Jackie BrownOn: Film4Date: Tuesday 26th AprilTime: 11:10pm (and 00:10am 27th Apr Film4+1)

Jaws 2On: SyFyDate: Thursday 21st AprilTime: 10:00pm (and 11:00pm Syfy+1, 5:40/6:40pm 22nd Apr)

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of LifeOn: WatchDate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 9:40pm (and 10:40pm 9/10:00pm 23rd Apr)

Lethal WeaponOn: TCMDate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 11:20pm

Mary PoppinsOn: BBC 1Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 1:30pm

My Neighbour TotoroOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 11:00am (and noon Film4+1)

Napoleon DynamiteOn: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 4:50pm (and 5:50pm Film4+1)

No Country For Old MenOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

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Pacific HeightsOn: Channel 5Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 11:05pm

Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of TimeOn: Sky Movies PremiereDate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 10:00am (and 11:0am Premiere+1 & 8/9:00pm, then daily through 28th Apr)

Princess MononokeOn: Film4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 6:20pm (and 9:20pm Film4+1)

Raiders Of The Lost ArkOn: BBC 3Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 7:10pm (and 10:00pm 27th Apr)

Raising ArizonaOn: Film4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 02:00am (and 3:00am Film4+1)

Red HeatOn: ITV4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm ITV4+1, 11:30pm/00:30am 28th/29th Apr)

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Rosemary’s BabyOn: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 01:15am (and 2:15am Film5+1)

Salem’s LotOn: horror channelDate: Sunday 24th AprilTime: noon (part 2 follows at 2:00pm)

Sexy BeastOn: Film4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 11:05pm (and 00:05am 26th Apr Film4+1)

ShaneOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 2:50pm (and 3:50pm Film4+1, 3:50/4:50pm 28th Apr)

Smokin’ AcesOn: ITV4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 10:00pm (and 11:00pm ITV4+1)

Spider-Man 2On: WatchDate: Monday 25th AprilTime: 3:30pm (and 4:30pm Watch+1,& 9/10:00pm)

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Spirited AwayOn: BBC 2Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: noon

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of KhanOn: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 1:00pm (and 2:00pm Film4+1, 6:50/7:50pm Film4+1)

SupermanOn: TCMDate: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 12:20pm (and 5:35am 25th Apr)

Superman ReturnsOn: WatchDate: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Watch+1, 6/7:00pm 25th Apr)

SwordfishOn: 5*Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm 5*+1)

Team America: World PoliceOn: Film4Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

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The African QueenOn: Film4Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 4:40pm (and 5:40pm Film4+1, 4:55/5:55pm 26th Apr)

The Blues BrothersOn: ITV4Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 11:35pm (and 00:35am 23rd Apr ITV4+1, 10/11:00pm 26th Apr)

The Crying GameOn: Film4Date: Tuesday 26th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)On: Film4Date: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 3:05pm (and 4:05pm Film4+1)

The GooniesOn: 5*Date: Thursday 28th AprilTime: 7:50pm (and 8:50pm 5*+1)

The Iron GiantOn: Film4Date: Wednesday 27th AprilTime: 5:10pm (and 6:10pm Film4+1)

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The Karate KidOn: 5*Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 7:00pm (and 8:00pm 5*+1, 4:30/5:30pm 24th Apr)

The Last Of The MohicansOn: 5USADate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm 5USA+1, 9/10:00pm 26th Apr)

The Long Day ClosesOn: Film4Date: Wednesday 27th AprilTime: 02:05am (and 3:05am Film4+1)

The Lord Of The Rings (1978)On: SyFyDate: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 5:30pm (and 6:30pm Syfy+1)

The MaskOn: TCMDate: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 7:00pm (and 11:00am 23rd Apr, 9/10:00pm 25th Apr 5*/+1)

The Muppets Take ManhattanOn: GOLDDate: Monday 25th AprilTime: 06:30am (and 7:30am Gold+1, 12:10/1:10pm 25th Apr)

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The Naked Gun: From the Files Of Police Squad!On: Sky1Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 9:00pm 24th Apr Sky2, 9:00pm 26th Apr Sky1, 10:00pm 28th Apr Sky2)

The Neverending StoryOn: ITV2Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 12:35pm (and 1:35pm ITV2+1)

The PrestigeOn: WatchDate: Monday 25th AprilTime: 11:30pm (and 00:30am 26th Apr Watch+1, 9/10:00pm 26th Apr)

The Prince Of EgyptOn: BBC 1Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 1:30pm

The Right StuffOn: ITV4Date: Monday 25th April )Time: 11:05pm (and 00:05am 26th Apr ITV4+1)

The Scarlet ClawOn: TCMDate: Sunday 24th AprilTime: 5:20pm

The Thin Red LineOn: Film4Date: Tuesday 26th AprilTime: 00:50am (and 1:50am Film4+1)

The VillageOn: BBC 2Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 10:30pm

Time BanditsOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 5:10pm (and 6:10pm Film4+1)

Top GunOn: Film4Date: Monday 25th AprilTime: 9:00pm (and 10:00pm Film4+1)

Trading PlacesOn: Film4Date: Saturday 23rd AprilTime: 01:05am (and 2:05am Film4+1)

TremorsOn: ITV4Date: Thursday 28th AprilTime: 01:10am (and 2:10am ITV4+1)

VolverOn: Film4Date: Friday 22nd AprilTime: 10:50pm (and 11:50pm Film4+1)

Young FrankensteinOn: Film4Date: Thursday 28th AprilTime: 01:15am (and 2:15am Film4+1)