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The Jackie Collins Story, and more

Friday October 15

Stand Up To Cancer 2021
Channel 4 from 7.30pm
Davina McCall, Alan Carr, Adam Hills and Maya Jama host a dazzling night of live TV as Channel 4’s bi-annual fundraising extravaganza (last year’s live show was pandemic-postponed) takes over the airwaves for a night. As telethons go, SU2C is always a belter, packed full of seriously famous faces, entertaining sketches and amusing mini-editions of Channel 4’s most popular shows – plus moving stories of the difference that the money raised makes to cancer patients and research projects around the UK. 

Among the great and good turning out tonight are Usain Bolt, Olivia Colman (starring in a skit with Alan Carr about celebrity doctors) – and that’s just in the first hour or so – with lots of other familiar faces, too, including Joe Lycett, Sue Perkins, Mo Gilligan, Rosie Jones, Stephen Mangan, David Oyelowo, the cast of Derry Girls and Jamie Oliver. At 9pm there’s a Gogglebox Celebrity Special (with Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, Danny and Dani Dyer, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, and Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy among those pairing up for a spot of armchair TV criticism) followed, at 10pm, by Tom Jones and Harry Styles, in a highly anticipated musical tribute. GO

The Thames with Tony Robinson
Channel 5, 7pm
Robinson concludes his hugely enjoyable riparian peregrination with a visit to the capital’s only island runway, at London City Airport, visits William Morris’s riverside manor, Kelmscott, and meets the busy team of tree surgeons responsible for keeping an eye on the thousands of trees that line the banks of the Thames. GO

Inside Culture
BBC Two, 7.30pm
With just weeks to go before the announcement of the 2021 Booker Prize, writer and academic Shahidha Bari explores whether the way in which we experience literature is changing, with guests Liz Lochhead and Ian Rankin, and previous Booker winners Marlon James, John Banville and Eleanor Catton. Will this year’s competition banish the lingering bad taste from 2019’s controversial split decision between Margaret Atwood and Bernadine Evaristo? GO

Have I Got News For You
BBC One, 9pm
More news-based wit as Alexander Armstrong adds another notch to his record-breaking tally for guest-hosting the veteran quiz. Two first-timers join Paul Merton and Ian Hislop on the panels: Today programme presenter Mishal Husain and comedian Geoff Norcott. GO

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story
BBC Two, 9pm; Wales, 11.05pm; NI, 11.35pm
An adhesively fascinating profile of the bestselling author (and sister of Dame Joan) whose high-glam, sex-laced literary output (so widely trashed by critics at the time, even her agent says her success was down to being able to “promote those books and not be embarrassed”) is enjoying a reappraisal. As one contributor says: “She changed the way women got to have sex.” GO

Grantchester
ITV, 9pm
Poor old Leonard (Al Weaver), he’s finding the going a tad tough in prison. But he finds a renewed sense of purpose when his cellmate is accused of murder and he calls Will (Tom Brittney) in to help. Meanwhile, all the talk of incarceration puts Geordie (Robson Green) through the wringer, too. GO

Cobra: Cyberwar
Sky Max, 9pm
Is it an earthquake? Is it an unaccounted for explosion? Or are those Russians up to no good again? Robert Carlyle returns as a British prime minister, with Victoria Hamilton as his chief of staff, for the second series of the grippy political thriller – this time facing a series of cyberattacks. GO

It: Chapter 2 (2019) ★★★ 
Amazon Prime Video 
The It of 2017 did a fine job of turning Stephen King’s 1,000-plus page horror doorstopper about a demonic clown into moreishly breezy scares. This sequel – set 27 years later – sees the Losers Club reunite when Pennywise once again crawls from the sewers. It loses some of its sheen on second outing, but Bill Skarsgård is still lavishly horrible as Pennywise; and the all-star cast, including Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, impresses.

Dirty Harry (1971) ★★★★★
Channel 5, 10pm  
“You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” In 1971, the world was introduced to “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) – a renegade San Francisco police inspector adept at bending the rules in the name of justice. It’s fast and brutal, but smart too, with a streak of moral ambiguity at its heart. The film had four sequels, of ever-decreasing quality. Don Siegel’s original remains head and shoulders above the others.

Halloween (2018) ★★★
BBC One, 11.25pm
So confused is the timeline of the sequels to Halloween (1978) that this new one, directed by David Gordon Green, acts as though none of them happened. Jamie Lee Curtis again plays Laurie Strode, who escaped in the original, fleeing masked killer Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney) four decades after he first stalked her. It’s an effective and skin-crawling reimagining of one of horror’s most nightmarish villains. 

Television previewers

Catherine Gee (CG),  Gerard O’Donovan (GO), Vicki Power (VP), Gabriel Tate (GT), Rachel Ward (RW) and Jack Taylor (JT)

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