Friday’s best TV: Decline and Fall, Unreported World, BBC Young Dancer 2017

Jack Whitehall shines in a lively Evelyn Waugh adaptation, shocking illiteracy in the US comes under the spotlight and young stars of British ballet battle it out

Decline and Fall
9pm, BBC1

Jack Whitehall was born to play Paul Pennyfeather in this Evelyn Waugh adaptation. In a lively opener, Pennyfeather is expelled from Oxford for “running the length of the quadrangle without his trousers” so is forced to take a job as a teacher in Wales. There he meets a kidnapper (Stephen Graham) and headmaster Dr Fagan (David Suchet). Life gets more interesting when his eyes meet those of wealthy widow Margot (Eva Longoria) over a foie gras sandwich. What larks. Hannah Verdier

Unreported World
7.30pm, Channel 4

This remarkable strand is now into its 28th series, testament to both the torrent of grim stories the world is able to provide and the surprising desire of enough people to sit down in front of a gloomy documentary on a Friday evening after a week at work. This week, reporter Kiki King is in the US where illiteracy is at crisis levels, with nearly one in five adults unable to read. She goes to Detroit, where two-thirds of high school students struggle with basic reading and a group of them are suing the state of Michigan for failing to teach them adequately. Phil Harrison

BBC Young Dancer 2017
8pm, BBC4

Second of four discipline-specific knockout rounds for this biennial dancing competition (last week was street dance, with contemporary and south Asian heats to come). Five dedicated ballet students from across the UK are looking for their pointe break, each performing a solo and a pas de deux, and a piece of their choosing. This last category allows their personalities to shine through, in a fluid, visual feast. Graeme Virtue

Lethal Weapon
9pm, ITV

A cocksure crook robs a jewellery store, but he has somehow managed to leave his résumé at the scene of the crime. A case primed to crack itself? Not when the perp turns out to be a former Navy Seal lacking his behavioural modification meds. It takes the similarly unconventional mindset of Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) to make any real progress. Hardly the most sensitive portrayal of mental health issues, all told. Mark Gibbings-Jones

9pm, Channel 4

Catch up with both the week’s televisual highlights and some members of the public you may have, tragically, started to think of as friends in this latest episode of the relentlessly enjoyable reality format. The key to Gogglebox’s brilliance has always been its superb casting, selecting couch-potato contributors who are both amusingly eccentric and dispensers of crowd-pleasing common sense. Nine series in, the combination is still as gratifying as ever. Rachel Aroesti

Carters Get Rich
8pm, Sky1

When Harry (Rio Chambers), an ordinary schoolboy genius from Milton Keynes, creates Honc – an app that allows geeks like him to talk to girls – he attracts the attention of overly sincere, kimono-wearing tool Trent Zebrisky (James Van Der Beek), a billionaire businessman who scoops up the idea for £10m. But will it change them? Most certainly, if Mum Liz (Kerry Godliman) has anything to do with it. Well-meaning family fare in need of a few belly laughs. Ben Arnold

The Team
9pm, More4

Penultimate episode of the stylish Euro crime thriller. After something of a mid-season lull, the focus is firmly back on efforts to bring Loukauskis to justice. The corrupt and downright dangerous billionaire is now on the run, wanted on a charge of raping Iris Gabler’s daughter Maria when she was a teenager. Elsewhere, flying solo, Jean-Louis has his own dangerous agenda and sets up a Skype call with Loukauskis, and Alicia deals with a personal tragedy. Jonathan Wright

Film choice

Shadow Dancer (James Marsh, 2012) 12.05am, BBC2
This gripping thriller opens with young Collette (Andrea Riseborough) on the London tube, carrying a suspicious package. She’s picked up by MI5, whose agent Mac (Clive Owen) makes a deal with her that leads into a labyrinthine network of secrets. Directed by James Marsh, the maker of Man on Wire, and written by former Northern Ireland reporter Tom Bradby, there’s a low-key authenticity to the story, and strong support from Gillian Anderson and Domhnall Gleeson.

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000) 1.15am, Film4
This nightmarish descent into a drug-saturated hell is hard to stomach: a queasy swirl of gruesome images and split-screen mayhem. Ellen Burstyn is a widow hooked on TV game shows and diet pills; her son (Jared Leto) is a heroin user who dreams of making it big as a major drug dealer. Buying in bulk, however, proves to be his and his friends’ downfall. A raw slice of what passes for life.

Live sport

Scottish Premiership Football: Dundee v Aberdeen 7.30pm, BT Sport 1

Action from Tannadice.

Super League Rugby: Leeds Rhinos v Wigan Warriors 7.30pm, Sky Sports 2

All the action from Headingley.

Championship Football: Derby County v Queens Park Rangers 7pm, Sky Sports 1

Coverage of the Championship match at Pride Park. Can Derby get back in play-off contention?


Hannah Verdier, Phil Harrison, Graeme Virtue, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Rachel Aroesti, Ben Arnold and Jonathan Wright

The GuardianTramp

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