From the Masterchef final to Portrait Artist of the Year: What to watch on TV tonight

Portrait of the Year finalists will have 240 minutes to paint Sir Ian McKellen

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The Independent Culture

MasterChef: The Professionals

8pm, BBC2

This is it then, and after the awayday excitements of the preceding rounds, it’s back to the MasterChef kitchen to cook a three-course meal for Marcus, Gregg and Monica. The three finalists have 180 minutes to do that, before the winner is revealed.

Portrait Artist of the Year 2014

8pm, Sky Arts 1

Meanwhile, at the National Portrait Gallery, another marathon TV talent contest finishes as the finalists have 240 minutes to paint Sir Ian McKellen.

Len Goodman’s Big Band Bonanza

9pm & 1.20am, BBC4

The suddenly ubiquitous Strictly judge revisits the music of his youth – and the swing bands led by the likes of Ted Heath, Syd Lawrence, Joe Loss and, of course, Glenn Miller.


Lottery Stories: Be Careful What You Wish For

9pm, ITV

A spot of pre-Christmas schadenfreude for those whose numbers resolutely fail to come up. Among the hard-luck stories are Michael Carroll, the former binman who took just eight years to spend the £9.7m he won in 2002, and a couple who separated and ended up half a million pounds in debt – despite having won £1.8m in 2005. 

Man Down at Christmas

10pm, Channel 4

Greg Davies’s gleefully puerile sitcom (well, what do you expect from a comic actor who found fame in The Inbetweeners?) returns for a one-off special. Sadly, Rik Mayall is no longer with us to reprise his role as clownish teacher Dan’s lunatic-fringe dad.