Weekend pay TV: March 16
Magic beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story, Universal, 8.30pm
Poppy Montgomery stars as the woman who created Harry Potter in this disappointing but eventually cheering telemovie biopic. With one or two exceptions, the early scenes in which a procession of young actors establish the young Joanne Rowling as a precocious but directionless girl are perfunctory, clunky and dull. It gets better when Rowling (now played by Montgomery) moves to Portugal to teach English and meets her future hubby, who turns out to be quite the rotter. It's only when Rowling returns to Britain as an unemployed single mother that the movie begins to get a bit of energy and momentum. Made in Canada from a script peppered with North Americanisms, it never really feels authentic.
China on Four Wheels, BBC Knowledge, 9.35pm
An interesting two-part documentary in which British journalists Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt show two very different faces of China while driving from Beijing to Shanghai. Rani travels down the coast, looking at the face of new prosperity, joining young, super-rich entrepreneurs at their supercar club, and middle-class families as they tootle along on their first driving holidays. Rowlatt takes a longer inland route, finding a China where millions still live in rural poverty.
The Hunger: Death Race, Animal Planet, 6.30pm
African-born adventurer Guy Grieve heads to Namibia in the hope of seeing the legendary ''death race'' of the Kalahari bushmen. It's an extraordinarily horrible thing to wish to see. As Grieve tells it, when a tribe becomes especially desperate for food, a single hunter will chase a single animal without stopping until one of them overheats and drops dead. It's not surprising that the hunters from the tribe Grieve stays with are less than pleased when he tells them that's what he hopes to see them driven to. But, showing him more generosity than he deserves, they take him out hunting. Unfortunately, game proves scarce so eventually Grieve does get to see his death race. If this death race is fake, Grieve deserves to be buried up to his neck in opprobrium. If it's real, and Grieve and his crew didn't try to prevent it by offering the tribe some of their food, well, they deserve worse.
I Survived, Bio, 6.30pm
A typically harrowing instalment of the American series in which people who survived horrific ordeals tell their stories without narration or sensation. Tonight's survivors include a woman who as a nine-year-old girl was abducted, repeatedly raped and repeatedly stabbed with a screwdriver. Not for the faint-hearted.
Four Weddings Australia, LifeStyle You, 8.30pm
Four brides attend and rate each other's weddings.
Inside the Actors Studio, Bio, 9.30pm
James Lipton talks to the stars of the popular sitcom Modern Family.