Maxwell 9pm, BBC2
When David Suchet first appears on screen as Robert Maxwell in this drama-documentary, ostensibly fronting a promotional film for his employees, his presence actually sends a shiver down your spine. This is partly because he appears dominating and slightly frightening, and partly because he is talking about pension funds
in which, of course, we know he had a controversial involvement. Although it could be because he bears an uncanny resemblance to Seventies snooker ace Ray Reardon. This film looks back at the final stages of the life of the former Daily Mirror proprietor (who, if you'll recall, died in mysterious circumstances on his yacht in 1991) and takes us to a world of opulent, wood-panelled offices, identikit slim secretaries and ruthless business deals.
Suchet (right) dominates proceedings
as he should
relying not so much on physical padding to portray the largerthan- life Maxwell but more on steely expressions and a booming voice. Mind you, the supporting cast
notably Patricia Hodge as his wife
allow Suchet to take centre stage yet not at the expense of their own characters. These days, telly drama seems to fit into two broad categories; it is either completely bonkers, or based on real-life people and events.
Productions in the latter category can sometimes grate, with their often overtly comic portrayals of familiar figures (notably ITV1's recent John Prescott romp). However, this is a powerful story that allows you to get under the skin of the key players whatever this leads you to feel about them..
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross 10.35pm, BBC1 Channel Chat shows are perhaps not a cutting-edge part of television schedules (although, lest we forget, Parky's back on Saturday on ITV1), but Jonathan Ross's regular Friday-night celebs-and-silliness slot is a real sign that the weekend has arrived. Tonight, Ross (left) chats to the delightfully funny Rob Brydon (his fake panel game, Annually Retentive, is back on BBC3 on Mondays) and actress Helena Bonham Carter. Music comes from the View.
Peep Show 10.30pm, Channel 4 Another filthy delve into the socially dysfunctional world of Mark and Jeremy, and Mark (David Mitchell, below) decides it would be a good idea to go to his school reunion so his former classmates don't think he's a "gender bender" or a "mentaloid".
So Mark and Jez end up at a safari park with the girl Mark used to fancy at school and the bloke who used to bully him & her now husband, as it turns out.
Highly amusing, in a toe-curling kind of a way.
Later with Jools Holland 11.35pm, BBC2 Yes, it's the 927th season of the music show. Jools Holland (above) is now a robotic clone of his 1979 Squeeze self, suspended in a plasma bubble. Acts are beamed into his virtual studio from other planets, yet all of them still seem based around the template of three student types withguitars. Woah! Think I just had a vision of the future. In the meantime, shall we watch the new series of Later . . ? Kicking off proceedings are Arctic Monkeys
performing new tracks including Teddy Picker and 505 as well as CSS, Tinariwen, The Hold Steady and Henri Salvador. Plus, ladies of a certain age, Bryan Ferry is in the studio, having a chat with Mr Holland and crooning If Not For You and Make You Feel My Love..
Ugly Betty 9pm, Channel 4 I wondered if Ugly Betty was veering into Dynasty territory thanks to its bizarre families, but it's actually more like Dynasty meets the Pink Panther, with its undercurrent of slapstick. While Wilhelmina spills the beans about Daniel (Eric Mabius, below) and Grace's relationship to Alexis (which doesn't make her happy), Mrs Meade, Constance the immigration worker and Daniel's mum all farcically end up at Betty's dad's. Most amusingly, though, Mode's bitchy receptionist Amanda decides rubberwear is ideal for the office.
Maxwell 9pm, BBC2
When David Suchet first appears on screen as Robert Maxwell in this drama-documentary, ostensibly fronting a promotional film for his employees, his presence actually sends a shiver down your spine. …