Dirty God, BBC Two, 10pm

Dutch film-maker Sacha Polak makes her English language debut with a gritty London-set drama about body image and self-confidence. Single mother Jade (Vicky Knight) is the victim of a horrific acid attack perpetrated by her ex-boyfriend. Her face, arms and torso are scarred and the hospital advises her to wear a clear face mask to protect tissue from further damage. When she is finally discharged, Jade recuperates at home with her mother Lisa (Katherine Kelly) but her young daughter Rae (Eliza Brady-Girard) is disturbed by the mask. Upset by her little girl's reaction, Jade seeks comfort from fun-loving best friend Shami (Rebecca Stone) and Shami's boyfriend Naz (Bluey Robinson). A night out proves to be a trial by fire and Jade musters courage for the obstacles that lie ahead.


The Workshop, BBC Four, 10.10pm

Successful novelist Olivia Dejazet (Marina Fois) agrees to host a writing workshop over the summer for teenagers living in the ailing port town of La Ciotat near Marseille in this absorbing French drama. She encourages participants to draw upon their personal stories and the history of the town to create a thriller for publication. At first, the culturally and economically diverse teenagers trade ideas about characters and scenarios for their book. Olivia is inextricably drawn to one boy, Antoine (Matthieu Lucci), who demonstrates a penchant for wanton violence in his writing. She begins to investigate the young man and uncovers evidence that he watches right-wing videos and is inspired by their destructive messages.


Lean On Pete, Film 4, 11.15pm

Hailed by many critics as one of the UK’s most exciting film-makers after the success of 2011’s Weekend and 2015’s 45 Years, Andrew Haigh turned to America’s rural north-west for this 2017 coming-of-age tale, here receiving its network premiere.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Willy Vlautin, a writer and alt-country musician from Portland, Oregon, it opens with 15-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) moving to Portland with his feckless, hard-drinking father Ray (Travis Fimmel). Charley hasn’t seen his mother since shortly after he was born and has become used to his father’s succession of short-term girlfriends. His only other relative is his father’s estranged sister, Margy, last heard of working in a bar called Scottish Sam’s somewhere in Wyoming.

Yet to start school and pretty much left to his own devices, Charley keeps himself to himself, jogs around the city outskirts and frequents the nearby race-track, where he has a chance encounter with acerbic and unscrupulous racehorse owner Del Montgomery (a grizzled-looking Steve Buscemi). Del offers Charley money to help him change a wheel and Charley, in need of cash, offers to help Del for the entire day. And so begins an unlikely relationship as the two load Del’s horses into a trailer and head off to a low-rent, out-of-town race meet. Charley strikes up a particular bond with one of the horses, Lean On Pete – or Pete for short.

When Ray is attacked by a jealous husband and ends up in hospital, Charley sets off on a road trip with Del, Pete and Del’s favoured jockey Bonnie (Chloe Sevigny). But it soon becomes clear that Pete’s days in Del’s stable are numbered and he will soon be “sent to Mexico”, a euphemism of sorts for the slaughterhouse. Del and Bonnie are unsentimental, but Charley is distraught. He steals Pete and sets off on foot across country, heading for Wyoming.

As Haigh throws tragedies and trials at Charley, he certainly pulls on the heart strings, but there’s nothing saccharine about the film. Instead it’s an intense, elegiac, powerful and often troubling story about a teenager in extremis – a boy who has fallen through the cracks and has to rely on his own determination and resourcefulness to win through, while also revealing the vulnerability and naivety of his relative youth. Buscemi and Sevigny are welcome helpmates, but it’s the quiet dignity that Plummer brings to the role of Charley, allied to the sense of solitude Haigh’s cinematography evokes, that really makes Lean On Pete sing.


The Green Mile, Channel 5, 10.30pm

The delicate equilibrium of a 1930s Death Row block is disrupted by the arrival of a gentle giant called John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted of raping and murdering two 10-year-old girls. Over time, the new inmate befriends one of the guards, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), who has seen many guilty men pass through and who suspects that Coffey may be serving time for a heinous crime he did not commit. The Green Mile is a heart-breaking drama which grows almost organically, building in pace and tension, and drawing to an earth-shattering close that really will have grown men weeping inconsolably on the sofa. The use of a flashback structure generates a neat final reel twist, drawing together the various plot threads with a quiet assurance.


Dreamgirls, 5*, 10pm

In 1960s Detroit, girl group The Dreamettes – Effie (an Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson), Deena (Beyonce Knowles) and Lorell (Anika Noni Rose) – are groomed by car salesman-turned-manager Curtis (Jamie Foxx) as back-up singers for showman James "Thunder" Early (an electrifying Eddie Murphy). The trio is promoted to headline act and re-christened The Dreams. Tensions flare when Deena replaces Effie as lead vocalist. Effie eventually quits and turns to old manager Marty Madison (Danny Glover) and talented songwriter Clarence Conrad White (Keith Robinson) for her shot at fame. Fuelled by eye-popping production design and electrifying performances from the cast, Dreamgirls is a classic rags-to-riches fairy-tale adapted almost note-for-note from the Broadway stage musical.


Brooklyn, BBC Four, 8pm

Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a shrinking violet in 1950s Ireland. Thanks to her older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott), Eilis secures a one-way ticket to a brighter future in New York. Holy man Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) places her at a boarding house for single girls run by Mrs Keogh (Julie Walters). Eilis' homesickness gradually fades and she sparks a tender romance with a handsome plumber called Tony (Emory Cohen). The lovebirds marry in secret, but when a tragedy forces Eilis to return home to Enniscorthy, local boy Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson) unexpectedly turns her head. Adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin's novel of the same name, Brooklyn is a classic, old-fashioned romance, which combines elegant storytelling, strong performances and swoonsome visuals.


The Mercy, BBC Two, 9pm

Amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) attends a 1968 trade show with his sons Roger (Kit Connor) and James (Finn Elliot) to sell their invention: a nautical navigation device. The family's pitch is interrupted by a rousing speech from pioneering sailor Sir Francis Chichester (Simon McBurney), to launch the Golden Globe Race, which promises a £5,000 prize for the first sailor to single-handedly navigate the world non-stop. Donald has always been a dreamer and he informs his wife Clare (Rachel Weisz) that he intends to take up the mantle. The Mercy is a handsome dramatisation of Crowhurst's fateful journey of self-discovery, directed by James Marsh, who captained The Theory Of Everything to Bafta and Oscar glory.

And one to stream …

Rocks, Netflix

Directed by Sarah Gavron, who also made Suffragette and the film adaptation of Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane, Rocks is an unflinching and unsentimental coming-of-age story set among diverse immigrant communities in inner-London. The titular Rocks (Bukky Bakray) has a Jamaican father and a Nigerian mother, her classmates are a mixture of white, black, Asian and Roma, and the family roots of best friend Sumaya (Kosar Ali) lie in the Somali community. But where Sumaya’s family is large, noisy and self-supporting, Rocks’s family unit is failing: her father is dead and her mother, Funke, suffers from mental health problems.

We first meet Rocks and her young brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) on the first day of the autumn term as Funke makes them a lavish, back-to-school breakfast of yam and eggs. But when Rocks and Emmanuel return home to their flat, Funke is gone leaving an apologetic note and an envelope filled with money which Rocks soon loses. What follows is a round of sofa surfing at friends’ houses, school absences, close encounters with social services and run-ins with classmate Roshé, a troubled girl who recently transferred to Rocks’s school from Nottingham with her step-mother, a Polish hairdresser.

Co-written by playwright Theresa Okoko, who grew up one of eight children on the same Hackney streets on which the film is set, Rocks feels pleasingly authentic, from the rat-a-tat dialogue peppered with London street slang to the immersive dive it offers into young black lives in the UK’s largest city. French director Céline Sciamma’s Paris-set Girlhood covers similar territory, though Gavron’s light-touch emphasis on the social and political themes underpinning her story put Rocks more in the territory of film-makers such as Mike Leigh.