“In this thriller, which tells the true story of Charles Sobhraj (Rahim) and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman), who went on the “hippie trail” in Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976, the Serpent9pm, BBC OneA Prophet’s Tahar Rahim stars.
In this opening chapter, as Sobhraj and Leclerc pose as jet-setting gem dealers while junior Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle) stumbles upon their crimes, we’re plunged into a world of ’70s silk suits and feathered hair.
Ammar KaliaDoctor Who6.45pm, BBC The Daleks’ OneRevolution sees mutants being used as security drones on their way to Downing Street. With the Doctor still in jail, it is up to Yaz and the boys, along with Captain Jack Harkness, to deal with them (John Barrowman at his best).
And Chris Noth, the familiar villain, is at it again, too. Hannah Verdier Chitty Flies Again David Walliams7.30pm, Channel 4 David Walliams, enthusiast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Bang, helps celebrate the film’s 52nd anniversary by making his own Guy Martin and attempting to create a real flying car. To support him with the nuts and bolts and to learn about the film’s past, Walliams hires engineer Tony Hoskins.
The delightfully dumb game show that made wintery Thursday nights a little more bearable features a New Year’s special. AKTaskmaster: New Year’s Treat9pm, Channel 4 Greg Davies will question a group of celebrities, including Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Nicola Coughlan, and Rylan Clark-Neal, about the unthinkable. Phil HarrisonMrs Brown’s Boys10pm, BBC OneAs a mummy who loves her family, Mrs Brown struggled with closure: “No hugs, no kisses, no touching … it was like being married again.” Cathy struggles with a birthday and eccentric neighbor Winnie gets a nasty surprise in the second festive special of Brendan O’Carroll’s sitcom. Graeme VirtueFrankie Boyle’s 2020 New World Order10pm, BBC TwoOur cynic-in-chief Frankie Boyle, joined by comedians Miles Jupp and Sophie Duker, is back for his regular shabby round-up of political and cultural activities of the year. No doubt in this 2020 version there will be plenty of laughs, so be prepared to laugh your way through the pain.
AKSelection FilmMr. Holmes (Bill Condon, 2015), 6:20 p.m., BBC Two Director Bill Condon and Ian McKellen meet for another poignant examination of a film legend, the fictitious Sherlock Holmes, after the James Whale biopic Gods and Monsters.
Now a 93-year-old recluse, McKellen’s sleuth is grappling with diminishing powers and unwelcome memories of his last, catastrophic event. Paul HowlettLive SportBig Bash Cricket: Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder, 8am, BT Sport 1Metricon Stadium T20 match coverage, Carrara. Premiership rugby union: Worcester Warriors v Harlequins, 7pm, BT Sport 1From Sixways Stadium. Soccer Premier League, 7.30pm, Sky Sports Main Event A top flight match from England.