The Ipcress File, Outlander, Peaky Blinders, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and more

The Witchfinder
BBC Two, 10pm
This terrific six-part comedy drama is set in 1645, in the middle of the English Civil War and at the height of fears about famine, plague and witchcraft. Comedian Tim Key is Gideon Bannister, an incompetent witchfinder mocked by the successful Hebble (Daniel Rigby), but he has a stroke of luck when he hears that England’s Witchfinder General needs a new right-hand man. Bannister wants to impress the boss by personally delivering “witch and pig-killer” Thomasine Gooch (Daisy May Cooper) to him at the assizes in Chelmsford. What follows is an odd-couple road trip across East Anglia as the uncouth Gooch outsmarts the pompous Bannister. Written and directed by Neil and Rob Gibbons (This Time with Alan Partridge, Mid Morning Matters, Veep), it ignores historical accuracy with slyly funny anachronisms and is packed with gags, both verbal and visual. And those who think that swearing is both funny and clever will get an added pleasure in that it comes amid florid 17th-century language. The ensemble cast includes Jessica Hynes, Reece Shearsmith, Julian Barratt, Ricky Tomlinson, Rosie Cavaliero and Cariad Lloyd. All episodes are available on the iPlayer from today. VL

Cricket: England v West Indies
BT Sport 1, 1pm
Considering their storied history of failure, perhaps it’s an exaggeration to suggest that the England men’s Test side has reached its lowest ebb. But after narrowly avoiding a cataclysmic Ashes whitewash (spared only by a weather-induced draw), with decades of off-field mismanagement set in stark relief, they can’t be far off. Joe Root has miraculously kept the captaincy, while veteran bowlers Stuart Broad and James Anderson have seemingly paid the price for a series of dismal performances from England’s batsmen, and been cut from the squad. The first Test of the three-match series begins on Tuesday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua – in the wake of the Windies’ T20 series win earlier this year. England fans might prefer to save themselves for the evening, when this very same fixture features in the group stage of the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand (Tuesday, Sky Main Event, 9.30pm), with England pursuing an unlikely title defence. VL

Winter Paralympics
Channel 4, from 6am
Coverage continues from day four in Beijing with Menna Fitzpatrick, Millie Knight and Neil Simpson in the alpine skiing events. At 8am, there’s highlights of Team GB in the wheelchair curling 7, then at 1am the live action restarts with coverage of cross-country skiing, with TeamGB’s Steve Thomas and Callum Deboys in action. VL

The Martin Lewis Money Show: Live
ITV, 8pm
Martin Lewis’s savvy cost-of-living financial advice is never more necessary – nor more timely. Top of the agenda for this special show is perhaps the most pressing money concern for UK families now – how to make savings on domestic fuel bills. VL

George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces
Channel 4, 8pm
This week the architect’s celebration of British design ingenuity in self-builds is a personal project. Clarke’s father, who died young, was a keen amateur astronomer who passed on his passion to his son; now Clarke and carpenter friend William Hardie build an observatory. Clarke’s enthusiasm – and genuine emotion as the creation takes shape – is catching. VL

The Conductor
Sky Arts, 8pm
This documentary tells how Marin Alsop became the first woman to lead a major American orchestra. She describes growing up in a musical family in New York, her unhappy time at Juilliard and the obstacles and prejudices that she’s had to overcome. Colleagues and critics contribute to Bernadette Wegenstein’s film, with clips of Alsop on the rostrum. VL

This Is Going to Hurt
BBC One, 9pm
Adam Kay’s medical comedy drama continues as junior doctor Adam (Ben Whishaw) learns he could be struck off, and his paranoia about who made the anonymous complaint adds to his emotional disintegration. The series has been accused of misogyny and presenting childbirth as routinely traumatic, but it’s still gripping and often laugh-out-loud funny. VL

Rock Till We Drop
BBC Two, 9pm
In the musical talent show for over-64s competing for a spot at the Isle of Wight Festival, the mature musicians rehearse as a band for the first time – and it’s not all music to the ears of judges Martin Kemp and Lady Leshurr. They each wonder if they have made the right choices as both bands have a drummer problem. Not the first time that’s been hazarded. VL

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) ★★★★★
Film4, 9pm  
Literary forger Lee Israel is such a singular anti-heroine she could only, really, have been played by Melissa McCarthy, who has a rare gift for finding sympathetic angles on unbearable people. The setting is early 1990s Manhattan, where Lee, a once-noted writer, scrapes together a drab existence. When work dries up, she turns to flogging forged letters from high society luminaries. Richard E Grant co-stars.

Batman Begins (2005) ★★★★
Sky Showcase, 9pm  
After the superb Batman in 1989, this comic-book franchise took a dive and reached a nadir with Batman & Robin in 1997. But Christopher Nolan revived it, casting Christian Bale as the lead in a reboot trilogy. This first instalment strips away everything in the comic-book mythos that didn’t serve the film, and tells of how Bruce Wayne became the dark hero. The Batman, Robert Pattinson’s astonishing take on the character is in cinemas now. 

Phantom Thread (2017) ★★★★★
BBC Two, 11.15pm  
Paul Thomas Anderson’s exquisite work finds Daniel Day-Lewis (in what he’s since declared is his final film) as Reynolds Woodcock, a Fifties couturier with a muse (Vicky Krieps) who’s bad news. Reynolds’s sister, Cyril (Lesley Manville), serves as the third point of their uneasy domestic triangle. The film is an instant classic, with hints of Alfred Hitchcock but a strangeness and a comedy all of its own.

Wednesday 9 March