Here’s your guide to what to watch over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, with some specially selected top picks, a look at some of the different films that are on over the next few days, and some suggestions for family viewing too.
There’s also a list of boxset recommendations at the end, just in case nothing on normal television catches your eye this Easter.
Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils
BBC One ● Easter Sunday @ 7:10pm
Jodie Whittaker’s penultimate episode as the Doctor sees the return of the Sea Devils, a classic monster that previously menaced Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison, in an exciting adventure with some real-life historical pirates. Mandip Gill and John Bishop also star in this Easter special that looks set to be one of the Doctor’s last chances to have fun before she regenerates in October.
The Thief, His Wife, and the Canoe
ITV ● Easter Sunday @ 9pm
A new true-crime drama from ITV, though this one isn’t about a murder – in fact, it’s almost the exact opposite. Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan star as Chris Lang (Unforgotten) dramatises the story of John Darwin, the ‘canoe man’ who faked his death as part of an insurance fraud scam. The four-part drama is airing on consecutive nights from Sunday to Wednesday, with a documentary following on Thursday to delve into the facts that inspired the series.
Dinosaurs: The Final Day
BBC One ● Good Friday @ 6:30pm
David Attenborough presents this feature-length piece about the last day of the dinosaurs, looking at how an asteroid devastated the planet and wiped the dinosaurs out. With the help of some CGI trickery, Attenborough will walk amongst the dinosaurs as he details newly-found evidence from a prehistoric graveyard. (Fun fact: Attenborough’s brother, the actor/director Richard, starred as Jurassic Park’s creator Dr Hammond in the classic Spielberg movie.)
The Lion King (1994)
BBC One ● Easter Sunday @ 5:45pm
Young lion Simba (Matthew Broderick) learns the hard way to accept what it means to be king of the pride lands. James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons also star, with music from Elton John and Tim Rice.
Britain’s Got Talent
ITV ● Easter Saturday @ 8pm
You know exactly what this is, you don’t need me to explain it to you. If you don’t know what it is, get in touch, because I don’t believe you.
Romeo and Duet
ITV ● Easter Saturday @ 9pm
Oti Mabuse hosts this dancing/dating mashup show in her first television programme since leaving Strictly Come Dancing earlier this year.
Turning Red (2022)
Disney+ ● Available Now
Rosalie Chiang and Sandra Oh star in Pixar’s latest movie, a coming-of-age movie about a thirteen-year-old girl who suddenly transforms into a giant red panda whenever she feels a strong emotion. Domee Shi (previously of Pixar’s acclaimed short film Bao) directs.
Anything else for families on Disney+ I should know about? The Encanto singalong, Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo, The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, Bluey, Jungle Cruise, and Cruella are all currently available on Disney+.
Jill Halfpenny’s Easter Journeys
BBC One ● Good Friday @ 1:30pm
The Coronation Street star takes viewers on a tour through the North East and Scottish borders, explaining its significance to Christianity and the unique traditions still commemorated there as part of Easter celebrations.
Aldi’s Easter Secrets
Channel 5 ● Good Friday @ 6pm
A look inside how the supermarket chain prepares for the Easter season, from making their hot-cross buns to choosing floral arrangements to shipping Easter Eggs.
Easter Day Service
BBC One ● Easter Sunday @ 10am
A traditional Easter service delivered live from Leeds Minster and lead by the Bishop of Leeds.
Urbi Et Obi
BBC One ● Easter Sunday @ 11am
A live Easter message from the Pope, to the city of Rome and to the world (which is what Urbi Et Obi means).
The Miracle Maker (1999)
The Icon Film Channel via Amazon Prime Video
Ralph Fiennes and Richard E Grant lend their voices to this Claymation film about the life of Jesus, if you’re looking to watch something with a more religious inflection this Easter. It is also quite a decent film generally, as far as I remember – ages since I watched it but Ralph Fiennes is very good in it.
The Beguiled (2017)
BBC One ● Easter Sunday @ 11:25pm
Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst star in this gothic civil war drama from Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette).
Anything else on iPlayer I should know about? Spotlight, All The President’s Men, Burning, Whiplash, Easter Parade and Pain and Glory are all on iPlayer at the moment. I’d personally recommend The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a fantastic film about conversion therapy starring Chloe Grace Moretz.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Film4 ● Good Friday @ 4:20pm
The best superhero film of the past decade. Several Spiders-Man (as played by Shameik Moore, New Girl’s Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nic Cage amongst others) team up to save the multiverse from Kingpin and Doc Ock.
Anything else on Film4 I should know about? The Favourite, Withnail and I, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Frances Ha, Carol, Salt, and Alpha and Omega are all on Film4 at the moment.
The James Bond Collection
Amazon Prime ● Good Friday
Every James Bond movie (apart from the David Niven one, and the legally complicated Sean Connery one Never Say Never Again) will be available on Amazon Prime Video from Good Friday.
Anything else on Amazon Prime I should know about? Sing, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I, Robot, and The Devil Wears Prada are all on Amazon Prime.
Paddington (2014) & Paddington 2 (2017)
Disney+ ● Available Now
The Easter Bank Holiday Weekend is probably as good a time as any to see if these films are the best movies ever, as so many people say so often. Ben Whishaw voices Paddington, alongside Nicole Kidman in the first movie and Hugh Grant in the second.
Anything else on Disney+ I should know about? Spielberg’s West Side Story, Little Miss Sunshine, The Sound of Music, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and Holes are all available on Disney+ this Easter.
Amazon Prime ● Available Now
Hacks is about the relationship between legendary LA stand-up Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and young comedy writer Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder), each at opposite ends of their career and struggling to find work. The pair reluctantly collaborate on Deborah’s last show, in the hope it’ll reinvigorate both of their careers.
Disney+ ● Available Now
Amanda Seyfried is magnetic as Elizabeth Holmes, deftly capturing her transformation from alienated college student to powerful CEO. It’s a layered performance – literally, at times, as The Dropout tracks Holmes’ different constructed identities, from the affected baritone to the black turtlenecks.
Queer as Folk
All4 ● Available Now
Queer as Folk – about the lives and loves of Stuart, Vince, and Nathan – is probably the best thing Russell T Davies has ever written, or at least certainly the most RTD thing he’s ever written. It’s a really stunning debut for one of the biggest names in television, well-worth your time if you’ve not seen it yet.
What We Do in the Shadows
BBC iPlayer ● Available Now
The great thing about What We Do in the Shadows is the specific rhythms of its dialogue: the comic timing, the line delivery, the way a particular insult or exclamation is phrased. It’s a perfect showcase for Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén and Mark Prosch – the show always feels like it’s written for them and their specific talents.
Bridgerton Series 2
Netflix ● Available Now
Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley share crackling romantic chemistry – he’s more than capable of stepping up to the plate as Bridgerton’s new protagonist, and she proves an excellent romantic lead in turn.
Sky & NOW TV ● Available Now
Bloods is a sitcom about paramedics, following them around London as they respond to different emergencies and injuries, and spends a lot of time with its four perfectly calibrated comedy duos.
Apple TV+ ● Available Now
Employees at Lumon Industries have their memories bifurcated, unable to remember their home life at work and their work life at home. Mark Scout (Adam Scott) enters the elevator, full of regrets and anxieties and grieving for his wife; Mark S exits the elevator, no recollection of who he is the other 16 hours of the day, allowed no tangible connection to the outside, not even a surname.