Weekend TV guide: 11 of the best shows to watch
Freddie Mercury the greatest showman? Plus Fab 5 Freddy in the Renaissance
Fred Brathwhite in A Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy, Saturday on BBC2. Photographer: Eddie Knox
Rescue: River Deep, Mountain High
Friday, UTV, 8pm
Documentary series focused on rescue efforts across Britain and Ireland, featuring access to mountain rescue teams, coast guard and air ambulances. In the first edition, a rescue team in Kerry is called to Carrantuohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, to rescue an American couple who have got lost and are experiencing some of the worst weather Ireland can produce. And on the Humber estuary in nothern Englnad, the Humber Inshore Lifeboat is called to a reported body on the banks of the river, but the job turns out to be a false alarm.
Freddie Mercury: The Greatest Showman
Friday, Channel 5, 10pm
We didn’t need a blockbuster biopic to remind us that Freddie Mercury was one of rock’s greatest showmen. Twenty-eight years after his death, interest in the self-conscious guy from Zanzibar has never been greater. In the latest of many profiles of the larger-than-life star, we hear from those who knew him, including his friends, lovers, collaborators and his most devoted fans. From the basements of 1960s London to the pinnacle of global success, this film charts the extraordinary moments that created the phenomenon of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
Friday, UTV, 9pm
Since the saga launched in 1987, Lethal Weapon has revolved around mismatched LA cops Riggs and Murtaugh. Now the showrunners have made the bold move of killing off Riggs and creating new character, Wesley Cole, a former CIA agent who returns home and assumes duty as an LAPD officer. Cole soon finds himself navigating a new partnership with Murtaugh as he adjusts to life in LA. Damon Wayans returns as Murtaugh, while American Pie veteran Seann William Scott plays his new partner.
Hippos: Africa’s River Giants
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
With incredible underwater footage, guide David Attenborough takes us into the world of an animal that cannot swim yet is utterly dependent on water. Cameras focus on Botswana’s Okavango delta, where hippos face a major challenge as deep floodwaters evaporate in a matter of months. During one incredible season, we see these creatures protect their families and face enemies as they deal with the drought. Though they might have a dangerous reputation, the hippo is compassionate, sensitive and highly intelligent.
Celebrity 5 Go Barging
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
Michael Buerk, Shaun Williamson, Amanda Barrie, Anita Harris and John Prescott trade the countryside for cityscapes, drifting toward the industrial heart of the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. As well as learning about the area’s rich history along the way, they share some revelations of their own, such as who has showered the least, how to eat mushy peas without cutlery, and why ducks are scared of journalists. It’s not all plain sailing: and after spending a rough few nights sleeping in the kitchen, Prescott abandons ship to find an alternative.
Zone of Champions
Saturday, UTV, 6.45pm
John Thomson and Jessica Knappett take on the guise of presenters Jack Bullman and Nicky Brimble for this six-part comedy clip show. They commentate on a range of “sports”, from a horse playing football to pensioners racing on escalators; expect to also see the likes of long-jumping cats and owls performing rhythmic gymnastics. The programme utilises viral videos, unusual TV moments and oddball archive clips, but the results are often hilarious: “What surprised me most about working on Zone of Champions was just how many domestic pets have been overlooked as serious athletes until now,” says Knappett.
A Fresh Guide to Florence with Fab 5 Freddy
Saturday, BBC2, 9pm
Hip-hop pioneer Fred Brathwaite, better known to music fans as Fab 5 Freddy, was part of a creative revolution during the 1970s and 1980s. Here he goes back in time to the 15th and 16th centuries to examine the multiracial society that played a part in the Italian Renaissance but has seemingly fallen through the cracks of history. With so many Renaissance artists representing black figures of prominence in their work, Brathwaite aims to bring focus back to the social change at the heart of the art movement and artists who were the cultural disrupters of their time.
The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan
Sunday, BBC2, 9pm
Celebrity travelogues are 10 a penny these days, but this series in which the likable comedian travels to some of the most unlikely holiday places in the world, is definitely one of the most enjoyable.Tonight the host takes viewers on a journey into Zimbabwe in the aftermath of Robert Mugabe’s rule. Chipo, a teacher who was born and raised in Harare, wants to show the intrepid Rom just what tourists have been missing – and why Brits should be holidaying in her country once more. Their grand road trip includes encounters with rhinos and elephants, biblical lightning storms, a re-enactment of Titanic on a Lake Kariba houseboat, and a lesson on the country’s troubles.
Secrets of Coca-Cola: Top of the Pops
Sunday, Channel 5, 7.30pm
How did a brown medicine invented in 1886 become the best-selling soft drink of all time? Here cameras take a rare glimpse inside the company’s enormous bottling factory in Wakefield, west Yorkshire. There’s also a look at the extensive archive library at Coca-Cola’s Atlanta HQ, research and development facilities, and behind the scenes of Coca-Cola’s theme park in Atlanta. What we will not discover is the formula for Coca-Cola, considered the world’s best-kept trade secret – but that won’t stop a food scientist from attempting to bottle it in a lab.
Cindy Sherman untitled
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
Artists can be a funny lot. Some love to shout about their work from the rooftops; others prefer anonymity. Cindy Sherman falls into the latter camp: one of the world’s leading contemporary artists who is also notoriously elusive. Little wonder the folks at Arena HQ are rather thrilled to get this in-depth and revealing audio interview with her. Using a mix of art and archive footage, this film offers viewers a rare insight into one of the most influential living creative forces. Among the contributors are Kim Cattrall and Gabby Hoffmann.
Sunday, BBC1, 10.30pm
Alan Yentob presents a profile of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, whose work is the subject of the In Real Life exhibition at Tate Modern on London’s Bankside. The film explores the main thematic preoccupations that have characterised Eliasson’s career since graduating from the Royal Danish Academy in 1995, including the democratisation of culture, advocacy for societal change in issues such as climate awareness and migration, the audience’s role in a work of art, spatial awareness, and movement.