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What to watch tonight

PUBLISHED: 00:01 09 November 2017

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 31/10/2017 - Programme Name: Sam Smith at the BBC - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **Strictly embaroged until 31/10/2017 00:00:01 ** Sam Smith - (C) BBC  - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 31/10/2017 - Programme Name: Sam Smith at the BBC - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **Strictly embaroged until 31/10/2017 00:00:01 ** Sam Smith - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

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Thursday's best TV: Sam Smith, Angry,White and American, Paul O'Grady

Sam Smith at the BBC, BBC1, 8pm

You know you’re kind of a big thing if the TV programme made about you involves a title which includes your name followed by “at the BBC”.

In the space of five years, Sam Smith has gone from a struggling singer and chorister to one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Ever since he featured on Disclosure’s breakthrough single Latch in 2012, his rise to the top of the musical pile has been astonishing.

His weight loss is pretty astonishing, too – allegedly he lost 14 pounds in 14 days thanks to a nutritional guru who suggests shunning gluten, dairy and refined sugar alongside daily weight training, yoga and snacks of “herb-infused ice cubes”.

What does this leave to eat? Dust? Air? Cobwebs?

But anyway – Smith has already secured huge album sales, six UK number one singles, Guinness World Records, AMAs, Mobos, Brits, Grammys and even an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his James Bond theme. And all that on a diet of ice cubes.

It usually takes decades for pop’s greats to achieve this level of success but Smith has nailed the lot with just one album, In the Lonely Hour, which he describes as being “all about unrequited love”. That’s one way to turn a rain into a rainbow. Back in September, the singer returned with Too Good at Goodbyes, which debuted at number one and last week, he released his eagerly awaited second album, The Thrill of It All, the follow-up to his multi-platinum selling debut.

To celebrate, Smith has recorded this hour-long entertainment show in which he is accompanied by his band and the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform old and new tracks in front of a live studio audience including Lay Me Down, Money on My Mind, Stay with Me, I’m Not the Only One and Writing’s on the Wall - incredibly, the first James Bond theme to reach the top spot in the UK. Presented by Fearne Cotton, the programme will also feature an interview with the singer as he discusses his career, music and his much talked-about private life. In May 2014, Smith came out to the public and recently he has been seen in public with 13 Reasons Why star Brandon Flynn. Tonight, a few lucky fans, including a couple of their wedding day, get the chance to share The Thrill of It All.

Angry, White and American, Channel 4, 10pm: During last year’s US Presidential election, Donald Trump’s emotional appeal to the country’s white population helped him win over democratic heartlands. How depressing. Journalist Gary Younge travels to America a year after Trump’s victory to look at the American Dream: falling living standards, decreasing life expectancy and a demographic timebomb that is already beginning to explode in alt-right rage. Younge speaks to the people to whom Trump’s policies resonated.

Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs, ITV, 8.30pm: If you want to avoid the Trumpathon on Channel 4 and the long Sam Smith documentary, head to ITV where the lovely Paul will be taking an in-depth look at the pressing issue of…fat Staffies. O’Grady meets a Staffy who is now four times the size she should be thanks to the not inconsiderable issue of her eating anything and everything she can lay her paws on. He also gets acquainted with a French bulldog who has been mistreated and a Puggle who is scared of her own shadow.

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