TV tonight: a strangely straight look at the 1969 hippy pilgrimage to Woodstock

TV tonight: a strangely straight look at the 1969 hippy pilgrimage to Woodstock

The fun and music goes backstage in favour of logistics and statistics in this feature-length documentary. Plus Nish Kumar seeks the hottest tickets at the Edinburgh festival. Here’s the evening’s best TV

Half a million hippies descended on Woodstock in August 1969.
Half a million hippies descended on Woodstock in August 1969. Photograph: Elliott Landy/Elliott Landy / The Image Works

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation
10pm, BBC Four

This feature-length documentary takes us back to August 1969, when almost half a million hippies made a pilgrimage to a farm in upstate New York for a festival memorably described by host Max Yasgur as “three days of nothing but fun and music” – but which took place against a backdrop of a nation in conflict over civil rights and Vietnam. Barring a few signature seconds’ worth – Richie Havens, Santana, Sly – this strangely straight film purposely sidesteps the music in favour of logistics and statistics. Mike Bradley

Fosse/Verdon
9pm, BBC Two

Granted it is great to watch, but increasingly in this elegantly drawn drama you wonder if there are any depths left unplumbed by choreographer-director Bob Fosse – even the success of the Cabaret movie can’t halt his soft-shoe shuffle towards oblivion. A beguiling number that closes with a must-see fantasy sequence. MB

Thou Shalt Not Kill
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Thou Shalt Not Kill. Photograph: Global Series Network/Channel 4

Thou Shalt Not Kill
9pm, More4

Burglary gone wrong or murder? This week’s case, the killing of a banking scion, is what Sherlock Holmes would call “a three-pipe problem”. In Turin, Inspector Ferro smells a rat when confronted by the man’s children, none of whom seems too distraught. Clever deductions pave the way to a spectacular denouement. MB

The Abortion Divide
9pm, PBS America

Having made a film on abortion about 36 years ago, journalist Mark Obenhaus returns to Philadelphia for a new programme on reproductive rights. Scenes of religious groups and even doctors trying to dissuade women from ending pregnancies will unnerve viewers, but overall this is an insightful watch. Hannah J Davies

Cher: The Greatest Showgirl
10.15pm, Channel 5

Cher was not actually born in the wagon of a travelling show, as this documentary proves, but she did have a tough childhood. There are more talking heads and dramatised scenes featuring unforgivable wigs than there are Cher interviews, but it’s still a reminder of her majesty. Hannah Verdier

Edinburgh Nights With Nish Kumar

11.05pm, BBC Two
With the various Edinburgh festivals now in full swing, Kumar seeks out the hottest tickets. As well as shining a spotlight on some of the comic talent hoping to stand out from the crowds, he goes behind the scenes of My Land, the eastern European lo-fi circus show that became a breakout hit in 2018. Graeme Virtue

Sidney Poitier (left) and Rod Steiger investigate a murky murder case in In the Heat of the Night.
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Sidney Poitier (left) and Rod Steiger investigate a murky murder case in In the Heat of the Night. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Film choice

In the Heat of the Night, 11.35pm, BBC Two
Norman Jewison’s drama about racial tensions in the southern states was released in 1967, at the height of the civil rights movement. It pits Sidney Poitier’s smart Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs against redneck police chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) in a murky murder case in a backwoods Mississippi town. Paul Howlett

Sport choice

Test Cricket: England v Australia 10am, Sky Sports The Ashes. Day three of the second Test.

PGA Tour Golf: The BMW Championship 5pm, Sky Sports Golf. Day two coverage from Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Championship Football: Huddersfield Town v Fulham 7pm, Sky Sports Main Event. Two sides relegated from the Premier League meet.