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What’s on? TV picks for Friday, Saturday and Sunday

If you're going no further than the sofa, here are some tips on what's worth watching on the box between Friday and Sunday. . .

Pick of the weekend

Vanity Fair, 9.00pm Sunday, Virgin Media Three

You could easily miss this period drama as it's going out on Virgin Media's third channel, yet it's likely to be regarded as one of the TV shows of 2018 when it comes the time to look back on the year's best offerings.

It's a pretty modern take on the Thackeray classic, and the cast – including Michael Palin as the author/narrator – is great, particularly Olivia Cooke.

She plays lowly teaching assistant Becky, who issues headmistress Miss Pinkerton (Suranne Jones) with an ultimatum: pay her properly to teach at her Academy for Young Ladies or find her a station elsewhere.

Miss Pinkerton calls her bluff, and Becky is forced to pack away her meagre possessions. Kindly stockbroker's daughter Amelia Sedley (Claudia Jessie) takes pity on the poor orphan and offers to take her home for the week . . .

New or Returning Shows

Strictly the Best, 7.10pm Saturday, BBC One

This Strictly special sees more than 30 past contestants reminiscing and sharing insider stories, rituals and secrets from the 15 seasons of the show so far.

The participants will take a look at some of their most memorable routines, their highs and lows, and many funny moments audiences will remember fondly. Some celebrities were on the dancefloor over a decade ago and yet still they remember the experience in intricate detail.

Those involved include the likes of Jeremy Vine, Deborah Meaden, Ruth Langsford, Molly King, Daisy Lowe, Russell Grant, Nancy Dell’Olio, Judy Murray and Robbie Savage.

Here's Nancy Dell'Olio's first rehearsal:

Killing Eve, 9.15pm Saturday, BBC One

If you missed this when it started on RTÉ 2 a few weeks ago, don't let it go a second time. Written by Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it's a cracking cat-and-mouse drama.

Based on the novellas by Luke Jennings, Killing Eve centres on two women: Eve (Grey's Anatomy star Sandra Oh), a bored MI5 security officer dreaming of being a spy, and Villanelle (a superb Jodie Comer, who was last seen in Doctor Foster), a mercurial killer who clings to the luxuries her violent job affords her.

In this opening episode, a Russian politician is murdered. Eve Polastri is tasked with protecting the only witness but soon finds herself on a collision course with a violent and extraordinary assassin.

David Walliams Presents the Return of Alright on the Night, 9.40pm Saturday, Virgin Media One

This iconic dud clip show was originally presented by Denis Norden from 1977 until 2006 before Griff Rhys Jones took over from 2008 until 2016.

Now David Walliams – or, a tiny animated version of him – gives it a go. Expect screw-ups from the start, and plenty of them.

A Discovery of Witches, 9.00pm Friday, Sky One & NOW TV

Fun alert! Based on Deborah Harkness’s bestselling novel of the same name, brilliant historian and closet witch Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer) calls up a magical manuscript from Oxford University’s Bodleian Library.

She's been denying her witch heritage for years, but her discovery throws her back into the world of magic and into the path of Matthew Clairmont (Matthew Goode), a vampire searching for the book.

But as news of the book’s appearance spreads, Diana finds herself in grave danger as the fragile peace that exists between witches, vampires and daemons begins to crumble.

The Art of Drumming, 9.00pm Friday, Sky Arts & NOW TV

Some of the greatest drummers on the planet discuss their passion for music and the artists who inspire them.

On a practical level, the drummers play and demonstrate how iconic beats and solos are created and how they make a unique contribution to the creation of legendary tracks.

These performances are intercut with archive footage of classic concerts showcasing the fine art of drumming.

Big Brother: Live Launch, 9.00pm Friday, Virgin Media Two

The original reality show is back for yet another run, as Emma Willis introduces the new crew of previously unknown people who will be competing to be the 18th winner in the show's history.

Front Row Late, 11.05pm Friday, BBC Two

Mary Beard hosts the live, topical cultural debate programme, where tonight she and her guest panellists discuss the representation of older people in culture, and features a rare television interview with writer, poet and cultural commentator Clive James.

Ending this weekend

Fear the Walking Dead, 10.00pm Sunday, E4

The first season of the post-apocalyptic US horror drama and companion series to The Walking Dead concludes. As the civil unrest grows and the dead take over, Travis and Madison attempt to devise ways to protect their nearest and dearest.

Room 101 – Extra Storage, 10.35pm Friday, BBC One

Frank Skinner hosts as Bill Bailey, Una Stubbs and Alice Levine compete to have their pet hates and peeves consigned to Room 101. Topics include taramasalata, people who talk too loudly and drama cliches.

New to Download

Bojack Horseman, from Friday, Netflix

One of the best shows of the last decade returns. Season four applied gentle brakes to the downward spiral of Will Arnett’s protagonist, with the introduction of the young Hollyhock providing some much-needed stability in his life.

Will Arnett will undoubtedly be back as the titular anti-hero, alongside Alison Brie (GLOW, Mad Men), who plays his one-time love interest and ghostwriter Diane, and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as his asexual best friend and frequent houseguest Todd.

The Angel, from Friday, Netflix

As his country prepares for war, top Egyptian official Ashraf Marwan makes contact with Israel and wades into a shadowy game of high-stakes espionage.

Don't Miss

Who Do You Think You Are? 9.30pm Sunday, RTÉ One

This week, the hugely popular Pat Shortt searches out his family tree and traces back five generations in rural Offaly. What appears to be a life of poverty and evictions turns around in the 1850s with the arrival of the railroad.

Music, ambition and invention brings Pat to London to follow the footsteps of his grandfather into World War II where he discovers the secret work carried out by his mysterious granduncle Brendan during the Blitz.

Over on his maternal side, Pat unearths the story of a murder mystery that gripped Ireland.

Weekend movies

Mean Streets, 11.40pm Saturday, BBC Two

Here's a glorious way to turn Saturday night into Sunday morning – in the company of Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in this 1973 classic that effectively launched both them and director Martin Scorsese.

Keitel plays Charlie, a compromised catholic – is there any other kind? – who works for his loan shark uncle, and feels responsible for his self-destructive friend Johnny Boy, played by De Niro.

If you haven't seen it before, it's one of the greatest films ever made and essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in cinema.

Murder on the Orient Express, from Friday, Sky Cinema

A star-studded cast that includes Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley feature in this Branagh-directed version of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery.

Branagh plays the impressively-moustached (shades of Jerry Fish) Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, aboard a train bound for Calais that becomes a murder scene. But who amongst the passengers is the killer?

Box Set Binge

Grey’s Anatomy: Seasons 1-14, from Saturday, Sky Box Sets & NOW TV

One of the most popular medical dramas in television history – and it's also the show that launched creator Shonda Rhimes, who is now a TV colossus.

Set in a fictional Seattle hospital, the series follows a skilled medical team, including Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey), as they attempt to balance their hectic personal lives with their equally demanding medical careers.

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Downton Abbey film for September 2019 release

The highly anticipated Downton Abbey film has been slated for a September 2019 release date.

The hit period drama will take to big screens around the world on September 13, it has been announced.

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski gave an update on the release schedule saying: "Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family's next chapter.

"We're thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen next September."

Much of the original cast will return for the feature film

Downton concluded with a Christmas Special in 2015 after six seasons and a film was long hoped for by fans of the show, with an official announcement coming earlier this year that the Crawley family would be back.

Original castmembers Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Dame Maggie Smith are all back for the film, with new additions to the cast including Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James.

Downton's creator Julian Fellowes has written the film's screenplay, while Brican Percival, who directed the series' pilot, will helm the film. Fellowes will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge.

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Depardieu ‘reveals wish for Turkish passport’ on N Korea trip

French actor Gerard Depardieu has used a trip to North Korea to announce his intention to apply for Turkish citizenship, according to Turkish media reports.

The 69-year-old became a Russian citizen in 2013 after the French government criticised his decision to move abroad because of higher taxes.

But now Depardieu has reportedly told Turkish newspaper Ayndinlik he wants to gain citizenship in Turkey.

Ayndinlik says it interviewed the actor while he visited North Korea for the secretive state's 70th anniversary celebrations.

Mr Depardieu allegedly said he wanted citizenship
Image: Gerard Depardieu became a Russian citizen in 2013

The newspaper features a photograph of Depardieu and an account of the actor answering its questions.

It follows a number of sightings of Depardieu in photographs of crowds in Pyongyang earlier this month.

Sporting a light straw hat and white shirt, the former actor appeared at an event celebrating North Korea's 70th anniversary – although it was unclear if he was due to take part or was there as a guest.

Oliver Hotham, managing editor of NK News, tweeted that he had spotted Depardieu at a hotel in the city but was told by a minder that he would have a “bad time” if he persisted in asking him for a quote.

Spotted Gerard Depardieu in Pyongyang’s Yanggakdo hotel just now – refused to allow photos and one of his dudes said “you’ll have a bad time” if I persisted in trying to get a quote from him

— Oliver Hotham (@OliverHotham) 7 September 2018

Last month, prosecutors in Paris opened a preliminary investigation into allegations Depardieu raped and sexually assaulted a 22-year-old comedian and dancer.

The actor’s representatives have denied the accusations.

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Depardieu has starred in more than 200 films across six decades, including The Man in the Iron Mask, Life of Pi and Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

Embraced by Russia in 2013, Depardieu met Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and called the country "a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby".

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Cage finds internet memes “frustrating” and unfair

Nicolas Cage has voiced his frustration with "Cage Rage" internet memes, declaring they are "frustrating" and unfair to him and the directors of his films.

In an interview with Indiewire, the highly-expressive actor is promoting his latest film Mandy, a schlock-horror movie in which he plays a man thirsting for revenge on an evil biker gang.

Cage declared: "I’m sure it’s frustrating for (director) Panos (Cosmatos), who has made what I consider a very lyrical, internal, and poetic work of art, to have this ‘Cage Rage’ thing slammed all over his movie … the internet has kind of done the movie a disservice."

'Cage Rage' is a loose term which has crept into movie parlance, used by the sceptical to describe Cage's acting antics, deemed by them to be quite over-the-top and arguably unnecessary to the portrayal.

The Hollywood actor explained the thinking that underlies his approach to acting, declaring that "It’s all very thought out and carefully planned."

He aimed, he said, to realise his "abstract and more ontological fantasies with film performance, by playing people who were crazy, or by playing people who were on drugs, or supernaturally possessed."

The actor was chuffed by Ethan Hawke’s positive comments in a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything web-chat. In that web-chat Hawke observed that Cage was "the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art of acting; he’s successfully taken us away from an obsession with naturalism into a kind of presentation style of acting that I imagine was popular with the old troubadours".

"That made me feel good," Cage admitted. "The list goes on and on about these old troubadours who embraced a kind of charismatic and larger-than-size stylisation. A grandeur, if you will."

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Modern Family is killing-off a ‘significant character’

Much-loved US mockumentary Modern Family is about to do the unthinkable and kill off what co-creator Christopher Lloyd described as a "significant character".

The sitcom – a Friday night regular on Sky One – is about to begin its tenth season and Lloyd has revealed to Entertainment Weekly that something deadly serious is about to go down for the extended Pritchett family.

"We're handling some bigger life events in this season," Lloyd said. "We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it's not easy to do because that's a heavy subject.

"But at the same time," he added, "it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it."

Understandably, Lloyd didn't provide any clues as to the identity of the condemned character, or if it will be one of the main family members, but he did say that it's a "significant character on the series" and the death will have "repercussions across several episodes".

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So, Which Vampire Diaries Characters Will Be Showing Up on the New Spinoff?

Legacies, the second spinoff of the wildly popular The Vampire Diaries franchise, is coming to The CW this Fall, and we're pretty excited. The series is slated to focus on the teenage Hope Mikaelson, last seen on the series finale of The Originals, and her adventures at the supernatural boarding school that was founded in the epilogue of the finale of the original The Vampire Diaries. The question on everyone's mind, of course, is which existing characters from the TVD universe will show up?

Two beloved characters are already confirmed as series regulars. Danielle Rose Russell and Matt Davis will reprise their roles as Hope Mikaelson and Alaric Saltzman as the main characters of Legacies. Hope, the daughter who resulted from a brief TVD-era fling between werewolf Hayley and hybrid Klaus, will be learning more about her supernatural abilities, while Alaric is running the Salvatore Boarding School For the Young and Gifted while raising his twin daughters.

THE VAMPIRE DAIRIES, Matt Davis in 'Coming Home Was a Mistake' (Season 8, Episode 5, aired November 18, 2016). ph: Bob Mahoney/The CW Network/courtesy Everett Collection

Russell and Davis aren't the only familiar faces slated to pop up, though! It was recently confirmed that Zach Roerig, who played Matt Donovan, will appear at least once, probably more, on Legacies. Matt is the sweet human who miraculously makes it through eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries as a human and a survivor and is seen taking over as sheriff of Mystic Falls in the TVD finale. But the Matt we're about to see might not be the same Matt we know and love.


"He kind of went off the deep end," Roerig explained to Entertainment Weekly. "We see him in the future a little more frazzled and a little out of his mind from the vampires. He's crazy sheriff Matt Donovan." Although he's still a friend to Davis's Alaric, he's also hell-bent on keeping Mystic Falls safe from more supernatural damage, which makes him a dangerous potential antagonist too.

At least one more TVD character is headed back to Mystic Falls. News broke in August that Steven R. McQueen had reached a deal to reprise his role as Jeremy Gilbert. He's not scheduled to be a recurring character; at the moment, he's only making a cameo appearance in the third episode of the first season. No details have come out yet about the context of his return, although the former "hunter" could probably teach a thing or two to the supernatural students at the school!

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, (from left): Steven R. McQueen, Zach Roerig, 'The Hybrid', (Season 3, ep. 302, aired Sept. 22, 2011), 2009-. photo: Quantrell D. Colbert /  CW / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Legacies is also going to welcome back one of the original Salvatore brothers — though not in the context you might think. Paul Wesley (aka Stefan Salvatore) has been tapped to direct an episode sometime during the first season. Although no other established characters have been announced to appear, creator Julie Plec says the door is always open — we certainly hope we see more familiar faces walk through that door (once they've been invited, of course)!

Image Source: Everett Collection

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