The Searchers, BBC Two, 1.50pm

Embittered American Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) is horrified when a Native American tribe kills his brother and sister-in-law and kidnaps their daughter Debbie (Natalie Wood). He becomes obsessed with tracking down his missing niece and is joined in his quest by the family’s adopted son Martin (Jeffrey Hunter). But the longer Debbie stays with the tribe, the more she will adjust to their way of life, leaving Martin worried about what exactly Ethan is planning to do if they find her... John Wayne and director John Ford made many classic Westerns together, but this brooding, visually stunning movie is arguably the finest of their collaborations.


In The Heat Of The Night, BBC Two, 10pm

When a wealthy industrialist in found murdered in a Mississippi town, the racist local sheriff Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) is quick to accuse black newcomer Virgil Tibbs (the late Sidney Poitier, on terrific form) who has been spotted in the town. However, he soon discovers that his chief suspect is actually a decorated homicide detective from Philadelphia. Despite this disastrous start, the pair work together to find the real killer, reaching a new respect along the way. Released in 1967 at the height of the US civil rights movement, director Norman Jewison’s drama boasts great performances and at least one truly iconic line from Poitier.


Lady Macbeth, BBC Two, 11.15pm

She had a breakout year in 2019 thanks to Midsommar and Little Women, but Florence Pugh first gained critical attention for her role in director William Oldroyd’s gripping adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s 19th-century Russian novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, which moves the action to Victorian England. Teenage bride Katherine (Pugh) is sold by her father as part of a property deal and she is consigned to a miserable, loveless marriage to a swarthy brute called Alexander (Paul Hilton). When Alexander is unexpectedly called away to deal with an explosion at a colliery, Katherine seeks out excitement in the company of rebellious groomsman Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis).


Date Night, 5STAR, 9pm

Claire (Tina Fey) and Phil Foster (Steve Carell) fear their marriage is growing stale, and plan to re-inject some excitement with a date night at a trendy restaurant in the middle of New York. It turns out the place is full, so they pose as another couple who booked a table but failed to show up. They soon regret it, though, when they realise that the people whose reservation they stole are in debt to gangsters and have hitmen on their trail.


Film of the week

The Revenant, ITV4, 11.15pm

Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu won big at the 2015 Academy Awards for the free-wheeling Birdman and followed that feat a year later by grabbing another handful of awards for this adaptation of Michael Punke’s 2002 novel, becoming the first person in 60 years to win back to back Best Director Oscars. His director of photography, compatriot Emmanuel Lubezki, went one further by winning three Best Cinematography Oscars in a row (as well as Birdman and The Revenant he lensed Alfonso Cuaron’s 2013 smash Gravity). Enlivened by Lubezki’s dizzying camera-work, Iñárritu’s directorial brio, a widescreen setting and an intense performance by star Leonardo DiCaprio, the resulting film is a long and brutal revisionist western which manages to be both epic and intimate.

The period is the early 1820s, the place somewhere in the area now covered by the US states of North and South Dakota. It is cold, snowy, mountainous and inhospitable, and cut through by the raging Missouri River. It’s here that frontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and his half-Pawnee son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) work as guides for a group of elk hunters. When half the group is slaughtered during an attack by members of the Ree tribe, the survivors escape by boat then, having abandoned the craft, bury the precious elk pelts and try to make it over the mountains to the nearest fort. Mauled by a bear and looking unlikely to survive, Glass is left in the care of Hawk, the conscientious Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) and the unsavoury and untrustworthy John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fitzgerald has been offered a reward of $100 if he stays with Glass until his apparently inevitable death – which is how the injured man ends up being left for dead.

What follows is a fight for survival as Glass inches – literally, at some points – towards vengeance and whatever passes for restorative justice in the lawless American wilderness. Sometimes he is pursued, always he is the pursuer. He goes over cliffs and waterfalls and has a series of visions and fever-induced encounters in which he sees (variously) a meteorite shower, a ruined church complete with ornate frescoes and, endlessly, his dead Pawnee wife, murdered by soldiers some years earlier.

Even watching The Revenant feels like a feat of endurance at points, but from its performances to the visceral thrill of its action set-pieces you can have nothing but admiration for it.


Rio Bravo, BBC Four, 8pm

A small-town sheriff must keep a murderer behind bars until a marshal arrives to deal with him. It sounds simple, but the only people on the lawman’s side are a drunk and an ageing deputy, while the prisoner is the brother of a powerful rancher who will stop at nothing to break him out. Throw in a young gunslinger and a mysterious beauty fresh off the stagecoach, and the scene is set for high drama. John Wayne gives one of his best performances as Sheriff Chance, and has a convincing chemistry with Angie Dickinson, even if she is half his age.


The Magnificent Seven, STV, 11.05pm

Grieving widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and her friend Teddy (Luke Grimes) enlist the services of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) to kill greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), who is terrorizing the God-fearing folk of Rose Creek. Moved by Emma’s tearful plight, the gunslinger corrals six men of dubious character to wage war in Rose Creek. This remake might not be as magnificent as the original but it ropes together a stellar cast and a rollicking soundtrack.