Saturday's best TV: Gunpowder; Lucy Worsley's Nights at the Opera


9.10pm, BBC1

England: the early 17th century – and, at a grand house, a priest covertly celebrates mass. Enter agents sent by King James, or at least his spymaster Robert Cecil, who suspect the place is “rancid with popery”. Butchery follows. So are we shown why humiliated, grieving Robert Catesby (Kit Harington), a figure shown sympathetically in this three-parter, is drawn not just to gunpowder but treason and plot, too. Impressive, if a bit actors-doing-best-serious-face. Jonathan Wright

Strictly Come Dancing

6.35pm, BBC1

Twelve couples remain hopeful of ballroom beatification – although considering Brian Conley’s shape-flinging, they might not all be in contention – following last week’s dance-off. Glitter-flecked glory gallops closer for the remaining contenders, this time bringing the promise of Debbie and Giovanni undertaking the rumba and, if there’s any justice, some redemption for Davood and Nadiya given their unfair inclusion in last week’s dance-off. Mark Gibbings-Jones

The X Factor

8.20pm, ITV

Roll up, roll up, it’s judges’ houses time. This week the 24 remaining warblers must sing in front of famous people and then leave, shedding tears of joy or pain. Louis Walsh takes the boys to Istanbul with Mika, Sharon Osbourne and her children are off to San Francisco with the girls, and Simon Cowell’s groups lounge in Cannes with Cheryl Cole. The Overs hit the musical jackpot, hanging with Nicole Scherzinger and Stormzy in South Africa. Hannah Verdier

Lucy Worsley’s Nights at the Opera

9pm, BBC2

Conclusion of Worsley’s two-part examination of significant operas, recalling a tempestuous period of European history made for rendering as theatrical caterwauling. Tonight, she explains how Carmen’s Bizet and Puccini’s La Bohème both mediated and accelerated the demi-monde of late 20th-century Paris, and how Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Richard Strauss’s Salome summoned very different aspects of German identity. Andrew Mueller

The Jonathan Ross Show

10.15pm, ITV

Though an elder statesman of chat, Jonathan Ross is reluctant to let his format grow stale. Seemingly slightly less reliant on prepared bits than Graham Norton, he is all about quality tone, helping winkle out the reluctant and the armour-clad guest to see the funny side. Tonight should test both parts of his game, as he hosts Ed Sheeran and Gordon Ramsay. Rita Ora, no easy guest for him to announce, sings live. John Robinson

Louis Theroux: America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis

11.40pm, W

A timely rerun of this 2011 film in which Theroux revisits the homophobic, provocative and generally grotesque Westboro Baptist Church whom he first documented in 2007. The church was perhaps an early warning sign of the irrational strangeness that was brewing in the heart of the US and preparing to reach its fruition in 2016. Here, Theroux discovers he’s become a hate figure as a result of his first film. Surely a badge of honour? Phil Harrison

My Beatles Black Album with Charles Hazlewood

7pm, Sky Arts

Three years after Ethan Hawke gave us The Black Album, a compilation of his favourite solo songs from former Beatles, Charles Hazlewood offers a similar project including Uncle Albert /Admiral Halsey (“sheer strangeness and ambition”), My Sweet Lord (“a musical tightening of the buttocks”) and the godlike Imagine (“combining McCartney’s ear for melody with the emotional honesty of the Plastic Ono Band”). Wonderful. Ali Catterall

Film choice

Cape Fear, (J Lee Thompson, 1962), 6.50pm, TCM
Thompson’s twisted thriller is more restrained and chilling than Scorsese’s lurid 1991 remake. Robert Mitchum’s Max Cady is frightening: a sadistic sex offender seeking revenge on the lawyer who put him in prison (Gregory Peck) by terrorising his wife (Polly Bergen) and teenage daughter (Nancy Bowden). Paul Howlett

Thor, (Kenneth Branagh, 2011), 9pm, Film4

Tom Hiddleston in Thor.

Tom Hiddleston in Thor. Photograph: Allstar/MARVEL STUDIOS

One of the later superheroes from Marvel, Thor is the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth), banished from celestial Asgard to Midgard, AKA Earth. But both he and Anthony Hopkins’s curmudgeonly Odin are upstaged by the arrival of Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s scheming brother Loki. We might have expected a little Shakespearean gravitas from Branagh, but he plays it very much for fun. Paul Howlett

In Our Name, (Brian Welsh, 2010), 11.50pm, BBC2
A heartfelt account of the problems facing soldiers on coming home from the battlefield. Joanne Froggatt, formerly of Downton Abbey, is excellent as Suzy, back in Newcastle after a tour of duty in Basra. Memories of a child’s death feed into her post-traumatic stress disorder and disturb relations with her husband (Mel Raido) and daughter (Chloe Jayne Wilkinson). It all goes a bit violently awol, but it’s powerful. Paul Howlett

Live sport

Premier League Football: Chelsea v Watford A tough task for Watford as they visit Conte’s title contenders. 11.30am, Sky Sports Main Event

European Champions Cup Rugby Union: Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints Saracens v Ospreys to follow. 3pm, BT Sport 2

Cycling: European Track Championships Day three from Germany. 5.30pm, Eurosport 2

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