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TV tonight: the final chapter of Freddie Mercury’s extraordinary life

·4 min read

Freddie Mercury: The Final Act

9pm, BBC Two

It is likely we know everything there is to know about Freddie Mercury – and yet, this 90-minute celebration of the Queen singer, who would have been 75 this year, manages to explore his legacy in a fresh context. Tracking the last few years of his life, it uses a mix of new and forgotten interviews alongside endlessly captivating archive footage, while also speaking with those in the LGBTQ+ community who saw the initial impact of HIV/Aids first-hand. Hollie Richardson

Dispatches: Escape from the Taliban

6.30pm, Channel 4

This special report by local journalists follows terrified Afghans in the days after the Taliban took Kabul. One of them is female rights activist Zoya Faizi who, like many others, is trying to flee the country. There’s also footage of Taliban negotiator Anas Haqqani going back to visit Bagram prison, from which he was released in November 2019. Hannah Verdier

Strictly Come Dancing

6.55pm, BBC One

There is no surer sign of the festive season than a dwindling Strictly lineup. It has been a thrilling series: well-earned 10s and the show’s first all-male couple. In week 10, the Glitterball is anyone’s to win but whatever happens, Rose Ayling-Ellis – the first deaf contestant – has surely won the coveted title of “best journey”. Henry Wong

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

9pm, ITV

The I’m a Celeb class of 2021 have had a week to settle into their Welsh digs and get to know each other a little better. So, who is shaping up to be the king (or queen) of Gwrych Castle? And who might end up being dirty rascals? Ant and Dec track the shifting moods in camp as the stars strive to secure vital supplies. Graeme Virtue

Empire State of Mind

9pm, Channel 4

Empireland author Sathnam Sanghera concludes his two-part examination of the British empire’s ongoing legacy in the UK. Tonight, he unpicks misunderstandings of imperial history, and takes us back to his old school in Wolverhampton, where he meets a new generation of pupils keen to learn more about a subject that was missing from the curriculum for so many of us while growing up. HR

WeWork: How to Lose $30bn in Two Weeks

9pm, Sky Documentaries

“The next revolution is going to be the WeWork revolution … ” So said Adam Neumann, the eccentric co-founder of WeWork – a global network of shared office spaces for millennials who thrive on entrepreneurial culture and free booze. So, how did the startup darling go from multibillion dollar business to bankruptcy? Here, WeWork insiders and former members dish the dirt. HR

Film choice

Parasite, 10pm, Channel 4

This 2020 Oscar best picture winner was a surprise international breakout hit for South Korea director Bong Joon-ho, coming after his inventive but unprofitable sci-fi dramas Snowpiercer and Okja. In a subversive story of power and privilege, the down-at-heel Kim clan (led by the great Song Kang-ho as the father) stumble on to the idea of usurping the domestic staff of the wealthy Park family after the son becomes the English tutor to the Parks’ daughter. Many a delicious twist and turn follows in a thrilling satire with more than a hint of Losey’s The Servant. Simon Wardell

Apocalypse Now: The Final Cut, 12.15am, BBC One

One can only hope that this 2019 restoration is Francis Ford Coppola’s final tinker with his wildly ambitious, seminal Vietnam war drama. The “Goldilocks edit” – longer than the 1979 original, shorter than the 2001 Redux take – retains the encounter with the French colonials from Redux that adds historical breadth to the tragic story of America’s anti-communist endeavours and removes an unnecessary second Playboy Bunnies sequence. But in whatever form, it’s an overwhelming visual and aural journey into humanity’s worst impulses. SW

The Columnist, 1.50am, Film4

A superb Katja Herbers (from TV’s Westworld and Evil) heads Ivo van Aart’s blackly comic horror about the perils of the comments section. Her sweet-hearted Dutch journalist, Femke Boot, becomes obsessed by abusive, anonymous online trolls, particularly after discovering her neighbour is one of them. This inspires Femke to take up a particularly brutal form of cancelling, while she falls for a horror author who is, conversely, a genuinely nice guy. The film follows through on its premise, possibly beyond reason, but it’s a fun, viperish, bloody ride. SW

Live sport

Women’s World Cup Football: England v Austria 11.45am, ITV. Group D qualifier from Sunderland, with Arsenal’s Beth Mead (pictured) in contention to start for England.

Snooker: UK Championship 1.15pm, BBC Two. Opening last-64 matches. Coverage continues throughout the week.

International Rugby Union: Barbarians v Samoa Select XV 2pm, BBC One. The Killik Cup from Twickenham.

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