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Thursday, October 6, 2022

TV tonight: a joyous retelling of a disability rights love story | Television

Then Barbara Met Alan

9pm, BBC Two

“He was a ball of energy, and together it felt like we could change the world.” Ruth Madeley is dynamite as the real-life disability rights activist Barbara Lisicki in this energetic one-off retelling of what happened after she met partner Alan Holdsworth (an equally brilliant Arthur Hughes). Their story is cleverly brought to life in this 70-minute drama, mixed with archive footage, as it follows their journey from protesting to get a charity telethon shuttered (“Rights not charity!”) to campaigning to get the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act passed. Watch out for the final scene on a bus, which may just provide the most joyous few minutes on screen so far this year. Hollie Richardson

Super Greed: The Fight for Football

9pm, Sky Documentaries

“One of the reasons football is the most popular sport in the world is because the weak can beat the powerful.” Marcelo Bielsa’s words set the stage for this 90-minute unpacking of why last year’s proposed Super League provoked such public outrage (Prince William and Boris Johnson intervened) that it was withdrawn in just 48 dramatic hours. Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin, Crystal Palace co-owner Steve Parish and the Guardian sports writer Nicky Bandini are just some of the contributors. HR

Fame in the Family

5.30pm, Channel 4

Dancing siblings AJ and Curtis Pritchard take their turn on this bewildering show (prepare yourselves for Ann Widdecombe and Toyah Willcox’s turns later in the week). Over dinner, four strangers need to guess which of them is distantly related to the Pritchards, according to a DNA test. Jack Seale

Holding

9pm, ITV

Sgt PJ Collins and DI Linus Dunne in Holding
Sgt PJ Collins and DI Linus Dunne in Holding. Photograph: ITV

Sgt PJ Collins and DI Linus Dunne speak to local people about what happened on the day that Tommy Burke disappeared 20 years ago, but in true small-town style it’s “all just gossip at this stage”. In fact, the locals have made up their mind that Brid is guilty of something. Are they right? HR

Killed By a Rich Kid

9pm, Channel 4

A documentary exploring the death of 17-year-old Yousef Makki, who was stabbed by his schoolmate Joshua Molnar. What stands out is the troubling difference in perception surrounding Makki (a working-class kid who gained a bursary to an upmarket school) and Molnar, who was from a wealthy part of Cheshire. Phil Harrison

Harry Hill’s Lonely Island

10.25pm, BBC Two

A year ago, Hill launched a bite-size series of black-and-white shorts in which he donned DIY historical costumes and cavorted around on a beach doing silent slapstick. An episode where he dressed up as the Queen was postponed because of Prince Philip’s illness at the time; it makes its belated debut tonight. Graeme Virtue

Film choice

The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980) 12.15am, BBC Two

John Hurt and Anne Bancroft in The Elephant Man.
John Hurt and Anne Bancroft in The Elephant Man. Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

This one is a real heartbreaker. David Lynch reined in his surrealist tendencies for this 1980 black-and-white drama about John Merrick, a real-life Victorian with severe deformities that brought him fame and notoriety. Anthony Hopkins is solid as Frederick Treves, the surgeon who rescues Merrick from a miserable life as a circus attraction, but it is John Hurt’s performance in the title role that makes the film shine. Beneath layers of makeup, he gives Merrick a delicacy and pathos that lends the story an emotional resonance far beyond its “freakshow” tragedy. Simon Wardell

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