What's on: free TV shows and movies to watch from May 22 to 28

Chris Bath is joined by historians, politicians, writers and journalists on the six-part ABC series Road to Now, chronicling events that have shaped the modern world.

Chris Bath is joined by historians, politicians, writers and journalists on the six-part ABC series Road to Now, chronicling events that have shaped the modern world.

Road to Now

9.30pm Tuesday, ABC

Drawing on footage from ABC News plus international current affairs series Foreign Correspondent, this fascinating new six-hour series recounts the events that have shaped the world over the past 30 years.

From the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, the endless conflicts in the Middle East, Russia's revival and the precarious superpower status of the United States, each weekly instalment unpacks a chapter or theme of recent history.

Presenter and narrator Chris Bath is joined by historians, politicians, writers and journalists who help put the events into perspective.

Some of the featured talking heads include British historian and author Professor Niall Ferguson, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, former Australian prime minister John Howard, former New Zealand PM Helen Clark, New York Times foreign affairs columnist and author Tom Friedman, former Australian former foreign minister Gareth Evans, plus Professor Hugh White, Stan Grant and Peter Cave.

The first episode, The Age of Conflict, opens with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the "peace dividend" from the end of the Cold War is lost to terrorism and the Middle East mired in more conflict.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

9.40pm Friday, SBS WorldMovies

Writer-director Wes Anderson makes quirky movies. This 2014 film tells the strange story of concierge Gustav (Ralph Fiennes) and his experiences in the titular establishment. If you're attuned to its style, it's a lot of fun. Rated M

127 Hours

8.30pm Saturday, SBS WorldMovies

Watching this 2011 nail-biter requires a strong stomach and a fondness for James Franco. It's based on the true story of a man whose arm was crushed by a boulder, trapping him in an isolated canyon in Utah. He had to take drastic steps to survive. There are other actors, to be sure, but a lot of it is just Franco. Luckily, he's excellent. Rated MA.

Troy Kinne returns to WIN on Monday with more sketch comedy laughs.

Troy Kinne returns to WIN on Monday with more sketch comedy laughs.

Kinne Tonight

9.30pm Monday, WIN

Troy Kinne and his gang of merry jokers return for a second season of rapid-fire, distinctly Australian sketch-comedy.

A fitting Monday night accompaniment to WIN's celebrity news review game show Have You Been Paying Attention?, Kinne Tonight is hosted by the knockabout comedian Kinne - usually fronting his studio audience in T-shirt and jeans - and features short, sharp skits and bursts of schtick looking at daily life, from social media and family, to dating, dieting and workplace politics.

His co-stars include Christie Whelan Browne, Dave Thornton, Tommy Flanagan and Sarah Bishop, plus special guest appearances each week.

In Alice Springs, Miriam Margolyes meets Heather Jones, one of the few female truckers in Australia.

In Alice Springs, Miriam Margolyes meets Heather Jones, one of the few female truckers in Australia.

Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian

8.30pm Tuesday, ABC

In the second episode of her delightful three-part, 10,000-kilometre, two-month travelogue exploring what it means to be Australian, stage and screen star - and proud new Aussie citizen - Miriam Margolyes heads towards Alice Springs.

Pondering the concept of "mateship", she asks the people she meets what they reckon it means. Is it possible, she muses, the whole thing is a bit hokey, blokey and outdated?

Stopping at a roadhouse outside Alice Springs, Miriam gets to test her opinions on the locals. Turns out she has a lot to learn. She also meets Heather Jones, one of the few female truckers in Australia. From The Alice, she treks through the back of beyond to Darwin, where there's more to discover about her adopted home.

REVIEWS: RON CERABONA, JAMES JOYCE

This story History lessons on Road to Now first appeared on The Canberra Times.