Television choices: Setting the gold standard for drama and treachery at the National Theatre

 

TV pick of the week: Arena: the National Theatre

Thursday 9pm & 2.40am BBC4

One British arts institution, BBC's Arena, salutes another, the National Theatre – on the occasion of the NT's 50th anniversary. Everyone who has been anyone in this story reminisces on camera – the deceased obviously (Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Tynan and the architect Denys Lasdun) in archive form, although Lady Olivier, Joan Plowright, is on hand to put the knife in for her late husband. It was "treachery of the highest order", says Plowright, of her husband's successor, Peter Hall, being chosen behind Olivier's back – and the first of two films concentrates on the Larry years, and the founding artistic director's relationship with the "necessary irritant", Tynan. Jonathan Miller, Tom Stoppard and Maggie Smith also contribute.

MOBO Awards 2013 – Live

Saturday 9pm BBC3

The somewhat meaningless, not to say patronising Music of Black Origin awards come from Glasgow this year, with nominees and performers including Tinie Tempah, Rudimental, Iggy Azalea, So Solid Crew, Laura Mvula, Fuse ODG and Naughty Boy. And to celebrate the awards' 18th birthday, there are clips of "memorable" moments from the ceremonies since 1996.

Toast of London

Sunday 10.40pm Channel 4

Matt Berry's bombastic actor Steven Toast gets a welcome full series in which to humiliate himself in this funny sitcom written by Berry (The IT Crowd) and Father Ted co- creator Arthur Mathews. Doon Mackichan resumes her role as Toast's unhelpful agent, and in this opener Emma Fryer plays a Telegraph hack who's also an alcoholic extreme-hoarder.

Iceland Foods: Life in the Freezer Cabinet

Monday 9pm BBC2

Malcolm Walker, founder and CEO of Iceland foods, home of frozen sandwiches and the chilled doner-kebab pizza, may not be as extreme as "Big Nev" from The Call Centre, but he's still a television natural. The toothy chairman admits to the company's image problem, and to being worried by incursions from the giant supermarkets.

The Great British Bake Off – The Final

Tuesday 8pm BBC2

An all-female Bake Off climax sees Ruby, the youngest finalist, take on "consistent and steady" Kimberley and "quirky, creative" Frances in rounds that involve a savoury picnic pie, pretzels and a wedding cake. Not that Ruby thinks much of weddings: "an exercise in narcissism... I can't be bothered". Mary Berry is among the judges.

Ambassadors

Wednesday 9pm BBC2

Starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, and written by James "Rev" Wood, this new comedy about embassy staff in a fictional central Asian republic promises slightly more than it delivers. Mitchell is Her Majesty's ambassador to Tazbekistan, Webb is his assistant and Keeley Hawes plays his wife. The plot involves vodka, human rights and a dead ibex.

Killer Whales: Beneath the Surface – Natural World

Friday 9pm BBC2

Killer whales, as their common name suggests, were once considered rather mindless hoodlums – predators of the deep – until one was studied in captivity in 1964. This revealed the marine mammal's profound intelligence, social interactions and parental instincts, and this film shows how modern studies continue to surprise.

Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
music

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
music

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
film

Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatre

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit