Television - Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Burt Reynolds (ITV1, 9pm), Friday, October 26

The former tabloid editor tries to shed some light on the hirsute hunk whose million-dollar grin and trademark ‘tache once left women the world over weak at the knees. Born in Georgia in 1936, Burt Reynolds grew up in Michigan and Florida, and did the usual manual labour jobs to support his acting dreams.

TV shows Riverboat and The Lawless Years helped pay the rent, and by 1972 he gave one of the best turns of his life in disturbing thriller Deliverance.

Crowd-pleasers such as Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run helped dull the pain, but 1980 single, Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial seemed to be his manifesto for the next 17 years.

He returned to TV projects such as BL Stryker, and the well-received sitcom Evening Shade, which bagged him an Emmy.

By the late 1990s, he did make one wise movie choice: Boogie Nights, the critically acclaimed drama about the porn industry.

Burt says: “The films that I’m most proud of are Deliverance, and Boogie Nights was good work, because it was skating on real thin ice.”