Easter TV: The best on the box this bank holiday weekend

A look ahead at the most enjoyable shows and films on TV this Easter

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The Independent Culture

If Christmas seems like a distant memory and you can’t remember the last time you had a day off, an Easter sat in front of the TV could be just what you're after.

While broadcasters don’t go to town making “Easter specials”, there are a fair few new drama series and one-off shows to look out for this bank holiday weekend.

The Coen brothers’ TV adaptation of Fargo starring Martin Freeman kicks off on Easter Sunday, followed by Jamaica Inn with Downton’s Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) on Bank Holiday Monday.

University Challenge fans can indulge in a Champion of Champions episode this Saturday to mark the show’s 50th birthday as Magdalen, Oxford goes head-to-head with Manchester University.

Top film picks include Toy Story, Trainspotting and The Graduate (see below).


Good Friday, 18 April

TV pick: Doctor Who - Farewell to Matt Smith (see above)

Natural World: Honey Badgers – Masters of Mayhem
9pm, BBC 2

Honey badgers are nature’s most fearless scrappers. They are unlikely to become wildlife superstars like meerkats, but they do have their champions – and this film follows three of them as they seek to better the critters.

Unreported World
7.30pm, Channel 4

Evan Williams travels to Baghdad to meet the young dancers and musicians at Iraq’s only music and ballet school, who are battling to keep their art alive against the rising tide of sectarian violence.

9pm, More4

Peter’s investigations are taking him ever closer to the centre of power in this generally engrossing, occasionally perplexing, Norwegian-noir drama.

The Trip To Italy
10pm, BBC4

Brydon and travel companion Steve Coogan visit the beach where Shelley’s body was burned by his friends in 1822.

Easter Saturday, 19 April

TV pick: University Challenge: Champion of Champions, BBC 2 (see above)

Britain’s Favourite Detectives 
9.25pm, Channel 5

List shows have their place – and that place is usually on a Saturday night. This particular countdown has been voted on by Channel 5 viewers, and suspicions that discernment levels are not of the highest calibre will be confirmed if Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple doesn’t make the top five. 

Pop Goes
10.30pm, BBC2

Joni Mitchell singing “Chelsea Morning”, Leonard Cohen duetting with Julie Felix in 1967, Pulp performing “Common People”, Soft Cell on The Oxford Road Show and John Martyn on Rock Goes to College (remember that?) are among “50 treats... in no particular order”.

Easter Sunday, 20 April

TV pick: Fargo, Channel 4 (see above)

8pm, ITV

The current series of the Inspector Morse prequel concludes with the case of a boy from a broken home who has disappeared. Morse (Shaun Evans) is, meanwhile, having second thoughts about his chosen career.

The Simpsons
8pm, Sky1

A Homeland pastiche kicks off the 25th season of the still peerless animated sitcom as Lisa is cast as Dana.

The Crimson Field 
9pm, BBC1

This week, Thomas is struggling with a growing attraction to Kitty, although he is having much more success on the wards with a pioneering system for the treatment of wounds.

Perspectives: the Magic of Houdini with Alan Davies
10pm, ITV

“Lifelong” Harry Houdini fan Alan Davies treads in the escapologist’s footsteps as he tries to find out how young Weisz managed to transform himself into “the world’s handcuff king”.

Bank Holiday Monday, 21 April

TV pick: Jamaica Inn, BBC 1 (see above)

Game of Thrones 
9pm & 12.30am, Sky Atlantic

Crikey, that Daenerys is taking her time about claiming her birthright – too much time petting those dragons, methinks. Anyway, she chooses her champion this week, while in another of the countless storylines, Arya continues her road trip with unlikely travelling companion the Hound.

Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This 
9pm, ITV

With a private life as shambolic as his magic act, Tommy Cooper (played by David Threlfall, above, with Jason Manford) was ripe for the biopic treatment, which Simon Nye delivers with an ear for Cooper’s immortal one-liners.

Amazon’s Retail Revolution:  Business Boomers 
9pm, BBC2

Charts the fortunes of  a certain online company that Jeff Bezos started in  his garage 20 years ago.

10pm, BBC2

The return of Ralph Fiennes as the Bishop of London, as Adam is shocked when he discovers that Nigel has reported him to the bishop for conduct unbecoming to a vicar.