Television choices: More operatic aspirations for free-thinking Mercury

 

TV pick of the week: Freddie Mercury - The Great Pretender: An Imagine Special

Tuesday 10.35pm BBC1

The 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's triumphant Barcelona project with the operatic soprano, Dame Montserrat Caballé, is the peg for this richly sourced and oddly moving look at the flamboyant performer's career outside Queen – complete with insightful new interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor. Although it was actually written by the bassist John Deacon, Queen's 1984 "I Want to Break Free" reflected Mercury's thinking at the time – and although his first solo album flopped, he soon found inspiration in his love of opera and ballet – as well as recording with Michael Jackson. Those results are broadcast here for the first time, but don't hold your breath.

The Thick of It

Saturday 9.30pm BBC2

Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) is in particularly pitiless form as deposed leader Nicola Murray (Rebecca Front) makes her farewells ("You have all the charm of a rotting teddy-bear by a graveside," is one of his more printable invectives). But the last laugh is against Tucker, as the PM calls for a inquiry into leaking to the press – The Thick of It's version of Leveson.

Homeland

Sunday 9pm Channel 4

Carrie (Claire Danes), still in her brunette wig and brown contact lenses, makes contact with Fatima, the wife of Hezbollah's Beirut commander with information to sell. But is Fatima's news a breakthrough or a trap? Brody (Damian Lewis) is meanwhile watching events from 6,000 miles away, ensconced with the chiefs of staff in a bunker – and he isn't a happy US congressman.

Wonderland: Walking with Dogs

Monday 9pm BBC2

A simple but effective documentary, as Vanessa Engle hangs out on Hampstead Heath interviewing dog-owners. With the vicar who finds a canine chum helps his pastoral outreach, the servant hired to pick up the mess left by five Bichon Frises and the ex-wife of a bankrupt living in a hostel with her Weimeraner, all of human life is here.

Grand Designs

Wednesday 9pm Channel 4

Kevin McCloud has brought his passion and (its flip-side) disdain to bear on 100 building projects now, and this centenary episode features the most ambitious projects to date – a couple's plans to convert a 150-year-old water tower in central London into a luxury home. The Grade II-listed ruin features 6ft-thick walls, but also 360 degree views over the capital.

Hebburn

Thursday 10pm BBC2

Hebburn, a fictional town in the North-east, "is where dreams come to die", according to Jack (Chris Ramsey), introducing new wife Sarah (Nixon) to his parents (played by Jim "Vic Reeves" Moir and Gina McKee), siblings and drinking mates in this reasonably amusing new sitcom written by the Tyneside stand-up Jason Cook.

Stand Up to Cancer

Friday 7.30pm Channel 4

That is the rallying cry of a benefit concert that concludes Channel 4's week-long programming to raise awareness of the Big C. Davina McCall and Alan Carr host, Cheryl Cole opens the show with her new single, and Dr Christian Jessen intercuts the ensuing acts to explain the science behind new cancer trials it is hoped can be funded by viewer contributions.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all