TV tonight: David Attenborough explores a mammoth graveyard

The national treasure takes on an excavation of a mammoth graveyard in the prehistoric riverbed of the Thames. Plus: Judy Garland in London. Here’s what to watch this evening

Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard

8pm, BBC One

True, this title might not instantly evoke seasonal images of sparkles and candy canes. But it’s a calming dose of Attenborough nonetheless. In this one-off, he meets a couple who accidentally found a mammoth fossil in Swindon. Joined by archaeologists and palaeontologists, they excavate what turns out to be a mammoth graveyard in the prehistoric riverbed of the Thames. Cue a very exciting lesson on the relationship between early humans and mammoths during the ice ages. Hollie Richardson

Christmas University Challenge

8.30pm, BBC Two

As this year’s festive run of the quizshow continues with graduate contestants, tonight’s second semi-final sees host Jeremy Paxman firing questions at the remaining two highest-scoring winners from the heats. Which team will secure a spot in the final? HR

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special

9pm, BBC One

After the Christmas special, here’s another sewing extravaganza to take us into the new year. Tonight, Drag Race winner Lawrence Chaney, Starstruck creator Rose Matafeo, journalist Kirsty Wark and Steps singer Claire Richards rustle up a festive waistcoat and transform some old clothes into children’s party outfits. Sara Pascoe hosts, while Patrick Grant and Esme Young are on judging duties. HR

One Night in London Zoo

9pm, Channel 4

Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe spend the night in the zoo, American Werewolf in London-style – which makes the show’s rule of “If you break it, you pay for it” sound even more worrying, frankly. Comedians Desiree Burch and Guz Khan join them as they befriend the penguins and sidestep prodigious quantities of camel dung. Ali Catterall

Celebrity I Literally Just Told You

10pm, Channel 4

Produced by Richard Bacon, here’s the first celebrity special version of the new “gameshow with a unique twist” fronted by Jimmy Carr (yes, him again). As questions are written throughout the show based on things that are said, Aisling Bea, Asim Chaudhry, Alex Horne and Lorraine Kelly need to pay attention and answer them correctly to win big for charity. HR

And Just Like That

9pm, Sky Comedy

The Other Three (Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis) continue their quest to navigate the brave new world with its Pelotons, podcasts and people of different races you can actually be friends with. This week sees the “gals” trot off on yet more adventures for fans to add to their collections of reruns. Hannah Verdier

Film choices

Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Photograph: Columbia Pictures/Allstar

The Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993), 4.50pm, BBC Two
Merchant Ivory’s finest film, a devastatingly sad drama superbly adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1930s-set country house novel. Anthony Hopkins is repression personified as Stevens, the loyal-to-a-fault butler to James Fox’s Nazi sympathiser Lord Darlington. But when new housekeeper Kenton (Emma Thompson) arrives at the estate and shows an interest in him, there are hints of a thaw in his character. Hopkins and Thompson are on the top of their game, nuanced but on point emotionally, in a world hidebound by class and tradition. Simon Wardell

Judy (Rupert Goold, 2019), 9pm, BBC Two
“Unreliable and uninsurable” – that’s Judy Garland in late 1968, just before she flies to London for a five-week run of concerts at the Talk of the Town nightclub, in this drama. The actor and singer is a figure in sad decline: underweight, hooked on prescription drugs, often drunk and missing her children back in LA, whom she can’t afford to take care of. But still, in Renée Zellweger’s outstanding portrayal, she can knock your socks off with a song and inspire adoration from her many fans. A tragedy about the uses and abuses of talent. SW

Live sport

Premier League football: Everton v Newcastle United 7.30pm, Amazon Prime Video. And Manchester United v Burnley at 8.15pm.


Hollie Richardson, Ali Catterall, Hannah Verdier, Simon Wardell

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