Free to air
Would I Lie to You? ABC1, 9.50pm
The Brits churn out so many of these panel shows, and with such success. Here Rob Brydon hosts and David Mitchell and Lee Mack lead the teams as various other comedians and notables improvise their way through a series of games, while members of the opposing team have to guess whether the improv is true, or not so much.
The set up is certainly fun. In one game tonight, for instance, Mitchell, Ruth Jones and Jason Manford each have to explain how they know ''Ian'', an actual gentleman brought on to set. Is it through an eBay connection, a childhood adventure or the rescue of a tortoise? As tends to be the case with these shows, the actual game play is fun, but the free-form interaction between the panelists even more so.
The Last Explorers: William Speirs Bruce, SBS One, 8.30pm
I love tales of the great Victorian explorers and adventurers: Darwin, Burton, Livingstone (who was covered last week) and this fellow, the little-known William Speirs Bruce. Although, strictly speaking, Bruce was not a Victorian. His great work took place just after the turn of the century, but he certainly fits the mould: clever, tough, naive, rather eccentric, absurdly young and possessed of an indefatigably inquiring mind.
Unlike most of today's adventurers, these chaps had genuine purpose, cataloguing unknown geography, flora and fauna. And by the time Bruce was up and about, few places remained as utterly unknown as Antarctica. The young Scot had his heart set on broaching the great southern land but, unfortunately, the combination of being Scottish and impolitic meant he failed to get the all-important backing of the Royal Society. So while the Society sent Scott and Shackleton off on their expedition, Bruce embarked on his own journey.
As we know, the former two received all the glory, but here historian Neil Oliver retraces Bruce's journey and reveals his story along the way. The camera work is stunning and Oliver brings a visceral sense of both the hardship and the genuine awesomeness of the adventure.
Randling, ABC1, 9.15pm
Randling is getting better every week. Sure, it doesn't always have the pace we'd like and it doesn't necessarily crackle with wit from go to whoa, but there's always at least one laugh-out-loud moment.
We're about halfway through the season and the Fitzroy Fireballs (Anthony Morgan and Dave O'Neil) are facing off against Manchester and Haberdashery United (Genevieve Morris and Toby Truslove). Morgan is incapable of deciding whether something's a cat or a currency, but he can tell you which make good anagrams (even though that's not actually part of the game). And I don't think any of us know what a ''witzelsucht'' is, but when the answer is revealed it's worth it.
House, Ten, 9.30pm
I wonder what these actors will do when House winds up (for us, that's in a week or so)? Some have spent most of their adult lives in these roles and it's hard to imagine them as anyone else. Still, they should have a tidy nest egg tucked away. After eight years, and some monster ratings, you'd imagine the pay isn't too shabby. And in the meantime they have their usual roles to fulfil.
Dr House is at his Holmesian best as he tries to protect cancer-ridden Wilson from himself and help him out the only way he knows. That leaves this week's diagnosis to the team and their temporary ''boss'' - the mother of the patient, a specialist in her daughter's rare genetic condition. Once more, the mystery illness is not lupus but it does involve much vomiting of blood. Our attention, though, is on Wilson and House in a pretty dark instalment - literally and figuratively - that redeems itself in the final moments with a delicious reference to Weekend at Bernie's.
Justified, FX, 8.30pm
Crime novelist Elmore Leonard and series creator Graham Yost have brought us a rogue's gallery of low-lifes in the first two seasons of this reliably entertaining drama. None has been scarier than hillbilly crime matriarch Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), who in recent weeks has poisoned a man at her table and coldly smashed the hand of one of her sons with a hammer as punishment for his congenital stupidity. Mags, being uncommonly clever, stands in contrast to most of the other backwoods baddies that US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) has to contend with. Take Mags's son Dickie (Jeremy Davies). Tonight Mags is carving up her empire, giving Dickie the dope-growing operation and giving Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) the green light to run the rest of the crime in Harlan County. Dickie thinks he can run Boyd out of town, which is a very stupid thing to think.
Last Feast of the Crocodiles, Animal Planet, 8.30pm
This doco plays out among an amazing diversity of animals gathered around a shrinking South African waterhole waiting for rains that never come. In the end even the crocs and hippos are pronounced dead, though they die off-camera after finally leaving what has become no more than a patch of baked mud. There's some amazing stuff here, not least the footage of baby hippos sniffing, licking and generally pestering the much larger crocs.
Someone Is Watching (2000) Seven, noon
Thank goodness life, which has a habit of imitating art, doesn't imitate what little art there is in lunchtime movies. The words ''based on a true story'' have a pretty elastic meaning these days, too. It's hardly surprising that many midday dramas feature women prevailing in difficult circumstances, given such fare seems to be targeted at women struggling with equally difficult situations at home. Here, Stefanie Powers (who you might recall from Stefanie Powers' Broadway Workout and searing comedies such as 1970's The Boatniks) features as a mother who, after being robbed by intruders in her home, takes her son and moves to a safer community, only to discover her townhouse has a long history of curious events and inexplicable mysteries. Should she have hosted more dinner parties to discuss the vagaries of the real estate market? Has she studied the form of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Aliens? Don't die wondering. Better yet, don't die. Someone may well be watching - it won't be me.
Tehroun (2009) SBS Two, 9.30pm
Made in Tehran and described as ''noir'', this film would not have been enthusiastically received by Iranian censors, who are renowned for their zealous approach to the government's views on national image. An image that appears to be wildly at odds with the vision of Iranian filmmakers. Ibrahim leaves his village to try his luck in Tehran, where money and opportunity await. He falls in with child traffickers and, after ''misplacing'' an infant from the gang's supply chain, finds his life on the line unless he can find a substitute kiddie for the merciless ringleader.
The Terror (1963) ABC1, 12.20am (Thu)
From Tehroun to Terror. Vintage schlock from Roger Corman in which a young officer in Napoleon's army pursues a mysterious woman through the enchanted corridors of a castle owned by an elderly, if somewhat sinister, baron. Sounds pretty dreadful and it is - but with Boris Karloff as Baron Victor Frederick von Leppe and Jack Nicholson as Lieutenant Andre Duvalier, there may be some attraction for late-night viewers. The highly fetching Sandra Knight (Nicholson's wife at the time) features in the dual roles of femme mysterieuse Helene and the spectral Ilsa, the baron's late wife. Francis Ford Coppola, the film's second-unit director, took 11 days to film 10 minutes of footage that appears in the finished product.