TV tonight: Nas, J Cole and Rakim deliver a must-watch history of hip-hop

Sacha Jenkins’ impressive doc explores the evolution of hip-hop. Plus: smart espionage thrills in The Looming Tower. Here’s what to watch on TV tonight

Word Is Bond
10pm, Sky Arts

Sacha “Burn Motherfucker, Burn!” Jenkins’s must-watch documentary about the lyrical history of hip-hop makes up for what it lacks in structure with an impressive array of artists – Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Anderson .Paak, Rakim – ready to articulate their take on the evolution of the genre. Most thoughtful of all is the North Carolina rapper J Cole, who volunteers: “When you’re in the zone, it’s the non-ego you speaking, the soul you, the part of you that’s wiser than the physical you.” Great animation by Hectah is the icing on the cake. Mike Bradley

John Bishop’s Ireland
8pm, ITV

From the reference to an “enchanted land” in the first 30 seconds, cliches are never far away on this breezy travelogue. Sure enough, by the end of this opener, Bishop has also covered Guinness and leprechauns. Even so, it’s hard to dislike – the comic’s love of Irish culture is heartfelt and his enjoyment is infectious. Phil Harrison

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco
9pm, ITV

When a half-dead stranger staggers through Millie and Jean’s doorway, they are dragged into a criminal conspiracy, and it seems Edward knows more than he’s letting on. You might not think wartime code-cracking would be a key skill for navigating the Bay Area underbelly, but these “gals” can handle themselves. Ellen E Jones

John Lee Hooker: The Boogie Man
9pm, BBC Four

John Lee Hooker in 1989.
‘Raw, rhythmic, magnetic, powerful’ ... John Lee Hooker. Photograph: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

A sumptuously illustrated look at the life and work of the veteran bluesman, whose music is described here as “raw, rhythmic, magnetic, powerful”. It’s a tribute ornamented by observations from Hooker’s family, plus Keith Richards, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and more. MB

The Looming Tower
9.30pm, BBC Two

This well-judged drama about the efforts of the CIA and FBI to tackle the rising threat of al-Qaida in the late 1990s sounds like a complicated prospect. But, thanks in part to a bravura performance from Jeff Daniels in the lead role, you quickly fall under the spell of this smart 10-part political/espionage thriller. MB

Sex Tape
10pm, Channel 4

After Naked Attraction and Sex Box, where’s left for Channel 4 to go? Ah, OK. Here’s yet another “bold social experiment”, in which three couples with relationship problems share sex tapes with one another and a relationship counsellor. And, of course, with us. Titillation telly? Or genuinely therapeutic? Ali Catterall

Film choice

Olivia Cooke, Thomas Mann and RJ Cyler in Me and Earl and The Dying Girl.
A charming tale ... Me and Earl and The Dying Girl. Photograph: Indian Paintbrush/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, 2015), 1.40am, Film4
Geeky Greg (Thomas Mann) hangs out with Earl (RJ Cyler) making wacky film spoofs such as A Sockwork Orange. But then Mum makes him visit Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has been diagnosed with leukaemia. “This is not a love story,” Greg says, in a charming tale from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Paul Howlett

Live sport

Snooker: World Championship 10am, BBC Two. Day seven from the Crucible.

Premiership rugby union: Sale Sharks v Bath 7pm, BT Sport 1. Mid-table clash from the AJ Bell Stadium.

Premier League football: Liverpool v Huddersfield Town 7pm, Sky Sports Main Event. Title-chasing Pool host the already-relegated Terriers.

Contributors

Mike Bradley, Phil Harrison, Ellen E Jones, Ali Catterall and Paul Howlett

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