Critic's Choice: The Spitfire: Britain's Flying Past / 9pm, BBC2; Educating Essex / 9pm, Channel 4; The Big Celebrity Swim / 9pm, Channel 5

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The Independent Culture

The Spitfire: Britain's Flying Past / 9pm, BBC2

John Sergeant, the broadcaster, sometime ballroom dancer and flying enthusiast

(I didn't know either), celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire by documenting the history of the Second World War fighter plane. The former RAF cadet charts the story of one particular plane, MH434, from the factory where it was made, in Castle Bromwich, to its eventual retirement.



Educating Essex / 9pm, Channel 4

A secondary school in Harlow, Essex, is flooded with 65 cameras in this genuinely eye-opening (and rather heartening) new series in the style of 'The Model Agency' and '24 Hours in A&E'. And the multi-camera technique gives a far clearer picture than the somewhat hysterical Jamie Oliver series 'Jamie's Dream School'. This opener concentrates on the school's impressive deputy head, Mr Drew, who has to deal with an argument over the school uniform that threatens to derail his career.



The Big Celebrity Swim / 9pm, Channel 5

What is this new fad for swimming celebrities? Blame David Walliams, if you like, as Ronan Keating (above) leads a team of D-listers on a 56-mile relay swim across the freezing-cold waters of the Irish Sea.



The Lost Genius of British Art: William Dobson / 9pm & 3.05am, BBC4

Waldemar Januszczak bigs up the 17th-century portrait artist who succeeded Van Dyke as the court painter to Charles I.

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