05 September 2020 22:36
Britain's Got Talent hits the semi-final stage, Battlestar Galactica makes a welcome return, Metallica make some noise, and Clint Eastwood takes on Nelson Mandela. Pick of the Day Britain's Got Talent, 8.30pm, Virgin Media One Ant and Dec are back on co-hosting duty, but there's a lot about this show that will be unfamiliar as BGT adjusts to the Covid-19 reality. For starters there's no Simon Cowell, no live audience and some of the acts will be performing via video link rather than on the stage. It's like the whole world is just one big Zoom conference. Last month, Cowell broke his back in an ebike accident in Los Angeles, so his place on the judging panel is being taken Ashley Banjo, who led dance troupe Diversity to win the show in 2009 and is more recently a Dancing on Ice judge.
Battlestar Galactica, 9.45pm, BBC Two Here's a show that's well worth investigating or watching all over again. The series earned a wide range of critical acclaim, including a Peabody Award, the Television Critics Association's Program of the Year Award, inclusion in Time's 100 Best TV Shows of All-Time, and 19 Emmy nominations. Battlestar Galactica is set in a distant star system, where a civilization of humans lives on a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with an android race of their own creation, known as the Cylons. Being made a museum of the Cylon War 40 years earlier, Galactica is drawn into conflict again when a shock attack on the home worlds of the 12 Colonies signals the enemy has changed tactic - and appearance.
The Galactica and its crew take up the task of leading the small fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth. New or Returning Shows Metallica: S&M2, 9.00pm, Sky Arts & NOW TV This live movie was filmed over the two sold-out shows that opened the new Chase Center arena in San Francisco. S&M2 comprises nearly three hours of Metallica joining forces with the nearly 80 member San Francisco Symphony, lead by conductor Edwin Outwater, with a special appearance by legendary conductor and long time SF Symphony Musical Director Michael Tilson Thomas. The shows marked the first time since the original S&M performances in 1999 (documented in the Grammy-winning live album and concert film, S&M) that these two musical entities reunited on stage. New to Download Black and Blue, Sky Cinema & NOW TV Naomie Harris stars in this fast-paced thriller following a rookie cop who captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. When she realises the murder was committed by crooked cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her (Tyrese Gibson) as she attempts to escape both the criminals looking for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage. Jimmy's Big Bee Rescue, 8.00pm, Channel 4 Jimmy Doherty goes in search of the Secretary of State for Environment, in the hope of gaining government support for his plans to save bees. The programme examines how a radical transformation of the British countryside is needed to create a more bee-friendly environment, and reveals the results of the first episode's efforts to boost bee numbers in Peterborough. Ferdinand, 6.35pm, RTÉ One Based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's 1936 children's book The Story of Ferdinand, this animated film features an ensemble voice cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale and David Tennant. The story follows a gentle, pacifist bull called Ferdinand who refuses to participate in bullfighting but is forced back into the arena where his beliefs are challenged by being faced off against the world's greatest bullfighter. Movie Picks Captain Phillips, 9.00pm, Sky Movies Thriller This excellent, fact-based thriller stars Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, who form a superb double act as the film's main protagonists. The captain is then taken hostage when the raiding party hijacks the vessel, resulting in a tense five-day crisis. Went the Day Well? Outstanding Second World War drama, directed by Alberto Cavalcanti and based on a story by Graham Greene, starring Leslie Banks, Basil Sydney, Mervyn Johns and Marie Lohr. Villagers in a remote English village eagerly help a large group of Allied troops billeted in their town, but everything changes when they realise the soldiers are disguised German paratroopers acting as the vanguard of an invasion. Invictus, 8.05pm, BBC One Clint Eastwood directed this fact-based drama, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Following his election as president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela finds himself the leader of a racially and economically divided nation, and seeks a means to unite the people. The country's entry in the 1995 Rugby World Cup provides a perfect opportunity, and he enlists the aid of captain Francois Pienaar in making his team an inspiration to all South Africans. Ginger & Rosa, 12.45am, BBC Two Late night drama well worth staying up for (or recording), starring Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening, Oliver Platt and Timothy Spall. Two teenage girls living in 1960s London have been best friends all their lives and often skip school to spend as much time as they can together. But their relationship become strained as the Cuban missile crisis places the world on the brink of nuclear war. While one becomes involved in a protest movement, the other seeks meaning in her life through sexual experimentation. The original Battlestar Galactica was Star Wars minus the nuance, intellectual ambition and special effects. Even for 1978 it felt cheesier than a roller-disco at a Wensleydale fanciers' convention (and that despite a spiffing theme tune). So when it was announced early in the new millennium that this tale of evil Cylon aliens, robot dogs and intergalactic hot-shots in tight trousers was to be re-imagined for the present generation hopes were not high. Expectations sank lower still as executives at NBC Universal were shown the first episode of the reboot by its show-runner Ronald D Moore in 2003. Their misgivings had nothing to do with the silly space shenanigans they may have expected. The new Battlestar Galactica wasn't flashy and ridiculous. Moore had given NBC a show that resembled Mad Men in Zero Gravity – which was especially impressive as the actual Mad Men didn't even exist at that point. "They were very concerned about how dark the show was," Moore later told Wired magazine. "They literally thought that no one would watch the series after the first episode." But they did watch. Not in huge numbers (the threat of cancellation was ever present). However, the audience that Battlestar Galactica built on Sky One in the UK and NBC's Syfy Channel in the US was hugely loyal and committed to spreading the Galactica gospel. They also did their best to turn the show's bespoke expletive of "frack" into a swear word in the real world. And now all four seasons have been made available on the iPlayer as a modern classic – and perhaps the greatest science fiction show ever. Battlestar Galactica 2.0 is, in a way, a through-the-looking glass reverse image of the Seventies original, which had been cobbled together by small screen hitmaker Glen A Larson to cash in on Star Wars. The first BSG was a camp product of the age of disco, mullets and syrupy action-adventure. The remake is forged in the early 2000s era of "difficult men" prestige television.