What’s on TV tonight: The Green Planet, The Killer Nanny, The Tourist and more

Sunday January 9

The Green Planet
BBC One, 7pm
Back in 1995, David Attenborough’s series The Private Life of Plants broke new ground in nature documentaries, using time-lapse photography to reveal in previously unseen detail the life cycles of Earth’s huge range of vegetation. Twenty-seven years on, this subject area is overdue another visit, especially as technology has moved on so much that plant life can now be captured even more meticulously. And what a treat this is. Sir David starts the series dwarfed by the largest living thing on our planet, a giant sequoia in California, noting that “plants, whether enormous or microscopic, are the basis of all life on Earth, including ourselves. We depend on them for every mouthful of food we eat, every lungful of air we breathe.” The aim of the series is to see life from the plants’ perspective – how they behave and meet the challenges demanded by the vast range of environments in which they live and grow. This first programme focuses on tropical rainforests, from Costa Rica to Malaysia, northern Australia to western Africa. It is every bit as visually spectacular as you would expect and, with Attenborough presenting, brimming with fascination and surprise. GO

Snooker: 2022 Masters
BBC Two, 1pm
Reigning champion Yan Bingtao gets the Masters started at London’s Alexandra Palace, facing off against 1998 and 2003 champion Mark Williams. Tomorrow, Masters debutant Zhao Xintong plays 2021 runner-up John Higgins. 

Football: Africa Cup of Nations
Sky Football, 3.55pm
The postponed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finally gets underway at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé this Sunday, with hosts and five-time winners Cameroon taking on 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso (kick-off 4pm). Their Group A stablemates, Ethiopia (winners in 1962) and Cape Verde, meet on the same ground at 7pm (Sky Football).

Around the World in 80 Days
BBC One, 6.10pm
Five episodes in and the mishaps, naturally, continue to befall Phileas Fogg (David Tennant), who arrives in Hong Kong to find his finances have mysteriously dried up. Fortunately, Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) has some history in the colony.

Call the Midwife
BBC One, 8pm
An outbreak of scabies threatens to become a full-blown public health crisis and the proudly self-reliant clinic receptionist Miss Higgins (Georgie Glen) finds herself having to call on the compassion of the residents of Nonnatus House.

Vera
ITV, 8pm
Returning after a short break, DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) has a run-in with a major Northumbrian crime family following the death of a foreman in a hit-and-run incident at the container port in Blyth, and the subsequent discovery that the man’s son has gone missing.

The Tourist
BBC One, 9pm
The amusingly unusual thriller continues as, still in the Australian Outback, our amnesiac hero (Jamie Dornan) is left reeling from yet more discoveries about his identity – and his past relationship with Luci (Shalom Brune-Franklin). But now a mysterious Greek businessman (Alex Dimitriades) is after them – as well as the sinister detective (Damon Herriman) and the big beardy man (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson). Daft fun.

The Killer Nanny: Did She Do It?
Channel 4, 9pm
Twenty-five years on, the so called “shaken baby” case has lost none of it power to grip. This three-part nightly documentary reopens the case against the then 19-year-old Cheshire au pair Louise Woodward, who was arrested in Boston in February 1997 following the death of an eight-month-old child. Did Woodward really shake baby Matthew Eappen to death or was she a victim of bogus science?

Walter Presents: Outlier
Channel 4, 10.55pm
There’s no more appropriate time for some Scandi-crime than January. The setting? The isolated Kautokeino region of Norway. The victim? A teenage girl who is found strangled in a caravan park. The police quickly pick up their culprit but a local criminal psychology student living in London reads about the case and thinks otherwise. Now to put her studies to the test and hunt out the true murderer. The boxset is available on All4. 

Land (2021) ★★
Sky Cinema Premiere, 1.10pm/8pm
In Robin Wright’s directorial debut, she plays a grieving mother who takes to the backwoods of Wyoming to process her trauma. Wright’s signature careworn intelligence and emotional fatigue are as convincing as ever, but the plot has the pace and momentum of a flattened whoopie cushion. Still, the vistas of the American West are gorgeously shot and there is interest in Wright’s journey from grief to grace.

The Running Man (1987) ★★★★ 
Paramount, 9pm 
Set in the dystopian wastes of 2017 America, this adaptation of the pseudonymous Stephen King novel has breathless pace and heart-in-your-throat action. The Hunger Games-esque scenario finds Arnold Schwarzenegger as a “runner”, one of the unlucky convicted criminals hunted for the entertainment of the masses by contract killers. At heart, it’s a compellingly nasty send-up of US TV. Think Hunted with more Uzis.

The Sisters’ Brothers (2018) ★★★ 
BBC Two, 10pm   
Based on Patrick deWitt’s explosively good novel, Jacques Audiard’s tale of two brother assassins scrabbling around in the Old West is a rackety and watchable picaresque. Joaquin Phoenix and John C Reilly star as the titular brothers, while Riz Ahmed plays their target – a chemist whose discoveries could upend the California Gold Rush. It’s stylish and witty, but the plot feels a little woozy.

Monday January 10

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