Television choices: Knightly duo take a tilt at sitcom roles as jibing jousters in Vicious


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The Independent Culture

TV pick of the week: Vicious/The Job Lot

Monday 9pm/9.30pm ITV

Sorry to wheel out the bus gag again, but you wait years for a new ITV sitcom and, well, you know the score. Vicious, co-created by the playwright Mark Ravenhill and the Will & Grace writer Gary Janetti, stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as lifelong partners growing rancorously old together in their Covent Garden flat. And if the threadbare milieu suggests ITV's greatest ever sitcom, Rising Damp, so does the casting of Frances de la Tour – although Vicious actually seemed more like a waspish, gay Last of the Summer Wine. The Job Lot is much more conventional, a workplace sitcom set in a Midlands Job Centre and starring Being Human's Russell Tovey and Miranda's Sarah Hadland.

Doctor Who

Saturday 6.30pm BBC1

"You're like one of those guys who can't go out with you unless their mother approves," Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) scolds the Doctor – and "mother" is the Tardis, with which she is being encouraged to bond. When a space-salvage team ingests the time machine, Clara is trapped inside. Stephen Thompson wrote this above-par episode, "Journey to the Centre of the Tardis".

Rupert Murdoch: Battle with Britain

Sunday 9pm BBC2

Steve Hewlett takes a fresh look at "the Dirty Digger" (Private Eye, passim) and – taking us through Murdoch's life and times, or Times (saved from closure by the Australian press baron) – suggests that he was the agent of change that post-war Britain desperately needed. But is the British Establishment now biting back?

Crash for Cash

Tuesday 9pm Channel 4

This Cutting Edge film tells how, in recession-hit Britain, more people are tempted by the lure of insurance money. Injury claims have shot up 60 per cent, much of it down to criminal gangs, but also due to individuals staging fake car crashes. Cameras follow insurance investigators at work, while we learn why drivers in County Durham are all paying £100 more each in premiums.

The Genius of Marie Curie – the Woman Who Lit Up the World

Friday 9pm BBC2

Geraldine James plays Marie Curie in this docu-drama biopic of the Polish physicist and chemist who became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize after discovering two elements and coining the term "radio- active". Tragically, of course, Curie died from prolonged exposure to such material.

The Repo Man

Thursday 9pm Channel 4

"Meet the men battling on the front line on behalf of the finance companies..." Ooh, our heroes. This depressing missive from debt-laden Britain follows the bailiff Sean James as he parts non-payers from their (or rather the finance company's) property. "Too softly, softly and you may as well stick your head up your arse," he says, relieving a teary woman of her Honda Civic.

Nelson's Caribbean Hell-Hole: an Eighteenth Century Navy Graveyard Uncovered

Wednesday 9pm & 2.45am BBC4

The Caribbean island of Antigua was not always the holiday brochure paradise of today, inspiring Horatio Nelson to dub it "an infernal hole". One reason for Nelson's distaste lay revealed in 2010, when flooding exposed 200-year-old human remains just under the beach. Dr Sam Willis explains.