TV tonight: Colin Firth and Toni Collette lead true-crime drama The Staircase


The Staircase

9pm, Sky Atlantic

After the hit Netflix documentary series of the same name about the 2001 death of an author’s wife, can this eight-part dramatisation add anything else to the well-trodden true-crime story? With Colin Firth and Toni Collette starring, it’s worth tuning in to find out. The opener follows family man Michael Peterson immediately after he has called 911 to report finding his wife Kathleen’s dead body at the bottom of their staircase. It quickly becomes a murder case, with Peterson the only suspect. Cue an unravelling of twists and revelations that see him convicted, with imagined flashbacks to life before the incident to illustrate what the Petersons’ relationship might have been like. Hollie Richardson

Rob & Romesh vs the West End

9pm, Sky Max

This week’s mission – auditioning for The Lion King in the West End – is a gruelling proposition. “Musical performers are athletes,” warns Samantha Barks, currently starring as Elsa in Frozen the Musical. “You need to exercise, drink water and sleep well,” their dance captain advises. “How about regularly eating snacks off your own naked torso?” asks Romesh. Ali Catterall

Art That Made Us

9pm, BBC Two

Art historians delve into the opulent 18th century tonight – where “vivid painting, vicious satire and radical writing” tell the story of how “an age of exploitation stirs a growing social conscience”. Plus: Jason Isaacs performs a Jonathan Swift poem. HR

The format continues to bring the best out of all involved … Taskmaster. Photograph: Channel 4


9pm, Channel 4

A delight for the contenders tonight, as they get the chance to pelt Alex Horne with milk and gin. The format continues to bring the best out of all involved, as Bridget Christie gets into a shoe-related muddle and Judi Love is baffled by bunting. Still one of TV’s most conceptually perfect shows. Phil Harrison


9pm, BBC Three

Another week in the lives of our young bricklayers as they get to grips with workplace nerves, van driving and navigating a hangover without dropping concrete blocks on their own feet. What it lacks in insight into their trade, it makes up for with endearing footage of likable twentysomethings finding their way in life. Alexi Duggins


10pm, Channel 4

As Bobby (Sarah Solemani) and Cameron (Steve Coogan) continue to build on a newfound mutual respect, this comedy-drama on post-#MeToo Hollywood leans more into its serious side. There are still a few Partridge-esque lines to be had (“I don’t like the word ‘manipulate’; I prefer the word ‘schmooze’”) and Wanda Sykes is comedy gold. HR

Film choice

Some of their finest choreography … Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in Top Hat. Photograph: Snap/Rex/Shutterstock

Top Hat (Mark Sandrich, 1935), 9pm, BBC Four

This 1935 musical was the first created especially by RKO for the new partnership of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and boasts a couple of Irving Berlin’s greatest songs: the title tune and Cheek to Cheek, which features an ostrich-feather dress that Rogers herself was heavily involved in creating and one of their finest pieces of choreography. The plot is typical Fred and Ginger romantic fluff, a wafer-thin farce of mistaken identity featuring a near-identical cast to The Gay Divorcee (which follows at 10.40pm), in a Venice seemingly created from royal icing, but with vast sets ripe for dancing in. Simon Wardell

• This article was amended on 5 May 2022. An earlier version said that the ostrich-feather dress worn by Ginger Rogers in Top Hat was designed by her; Rogers was heavily involved in the creation of the dress, but the designer for the gowns in that movie was Bernard Newman. In addition an earlier version was accompanied by an image from a later film, The Barkleys of Broadway. This has been changed to a still from Top Hat.