Wednesday’s best TV: In Plain Sight, Quarry

The horrifying crime thriller about the Beast of Birkenshaw murders concludes. Plus: a bloody and brooding new drama

In Plain Sight
9pm, ITV

This well-crafted retelling of how serial murderer Peter Manuel – the “Beast of Birkenshaw” – terrorised Lanarkshire in the late 1950s concludes. Buoyed by his continued evasion of the law, the assured and cocky Manuel (Martin Compston) sets a foot wrong, meaning Douglas Henshall’s thwarted but ever-resourceful detective Muncie is finally able to close in. Had Manuel’s horrifying crimes been a work of fiction, they would scarcely be believable. Ben Arnold

Six Wives With Lucy Worsley
9pm, BBC1

Third and final instalment of Worsley’s attempt to shift some of the historical spotlight from Henry VIII to the unlucky women in his life. By 1540, Hank was well into his Fat Elvis stage with three wives to go: disastrous German signing Anne of Cleves, tragic teen Catherine Howard and canny court operator Katherine Parr. The conceit of inserting a costumed Worsley into the reconstructions is unnecessary, but consistently fun. Graeme Virtue

Inside Chernobyl’s Mega Tomb
9pm, BBC4

Thirty years have passed since the Chernobyl disaster. But its consequences continue to resonate and will do so for the vast lifespan of the radioactive material the reactor contained. This documentary follows the construction of a 36,000-tonne steel structure intended to entomb the ruins of the plant. In theory, it should make the area safe. But how safe is the process for the workers charged with installing it? Sobering. Phil Harrison

9pm, Sky Atlantic

This promising new drama stars Logan Marshall-Green as Mac Conway, returned from Vietnam to Memphis in 1972 to a howl of protest following his apparent involvement in a massacre. Finding himself cold-shouldered by the community and let down by family, he is drawn into a network of violence also involving his buddy Arthur (Jamie Hector, Marlo from The Wire) and a mysterious figure known as The Broker (Peter Mullan). Bloody and brooding from the get-go. David Stubbs

The Ghost Army
9pm, PBS America

One of the more ingenious acts of deception in the second world war, The Ghost Army were a unit with a very particular brief: to fool Nazi intelligence into believing huge pockets of US forces in France were in a different location than they actually were. Fake radio transmissions, huge PA systems and even inflatable tanks were all part of a unique arsenal of illusion and skulduggery. An intriguing, if oddly bombastic, account. Luke Holland

Insert Name Here: Christmas Special
10pm, BBC2

With the Beeb’s Bake Off all but over, Sue Perkins now has plenty of time to chair the new series of this wacky quiz show. Teams – led by professional know-it-all Richard Osman and panel game veteran Josh Widdicombe – are grilled on past and present celebrity trivia. Except, confusingly, all the celebs in question have the same name. Silly, semi-interesting and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny stuff. Grace Rahman

The Great Songwriters
1.05am, Channel 4

Last in series for this show spotlighting the talents of writer-performers. Tonight it’s the madly prolific, often misfiring Ryan Adams, who made a couple of classic solo albums in the late 90s, since diluted by a wealth of rather more eccentric genre experiments and covers – such as his profile-boosting crack at Taylor Swift’s 1989. He’s not shy, so if you’ve doubted his talents thus far he may be able to talk you round. John Robinson

Film choices

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2009) 10pm, Syfy
Like Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity employs that flickery digital camera technique to portray an evil presence in the home. Peli’s chilling tale finds it’s own dark corner, with Katie Featherston as a young woman plagued by the inexplicable. Micah Sloat is the sceptical boyfriend who sets up a digicam in their bedroom to record what goes bump in the night. The film moves through layers of menace and dread before a stunning conclusion.

To Have And Have Not (Howard Hawks, 1944) 7.05pm, TCM
This first on- and off-screen pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall adds romantic snap and crackle to Hawks and Hemingway’s heroics. Humph is Harry Morgan, a cynical charter boat captain not unlike Casablanca’s Rick Blaine. He’s steering well clear of the Nazis in occupied Martinique, making a good living taking wealthy clients on fishing trips, until Bacall turns up, 19 and electric in her screen debut as Slim. Walter Brennan is Harry’s rum-soaked buddy but, for all the clowning and cooing, it’s at heart a tough-nut thriller. Paul Howlett


Cricket: Big Bash League 8.30am, BT Sport 2 Adelaide Strikers host Brisbane Heat.

World Darts Championship 7pm, Sky Sports 1 Day seven of the competition, featuring four first-round ties.

FA Cup Football: Newport County v Plymouth Argyle 7.30pm, BT Sport 1 Seven-time cup winners Liverpool await the victors of this second-round replay (kickoff at 7.45pm).


Ben Arnold, Graeme Virtue, Phil Harrison, David Stubbs, Luke Holland, Grace Rahman, John Robinson, Paul Howlett

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