Dr Eva, Dr Foster, Tin Star: This week’s best TV shows

‘Ireland’s Health Divide’ looks at poverty and obesity, and Tim Roth stars in ‘Tin Star’

It’s a Park’s Life looks at what goes on in one of Europe’s biggest city parks, the Phoenix Park

It’s a Park’s Life looks at what goes on in one of Europe’s biggest city parks, the Phoenix Park

 

Ireland’s Health Divide (Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm)

Former Operation Transformation star Dr Eva Orsmond is still on a mission to help Irish people lose weight and get fitter, but she’s digging into the socio-economic reasons behind poor health and obesity in Ireland’s Health Divide. In this hard-hitting documentary, Dr Orsmond highlights some shocking statistics: children born into poverty are twice as likely to become obese and have mental health issues as those born into affluence, and three times as likely to get cancer. And their lifespan is likely to be six years shorter. Dr Orsmond visits communities on both ends of the economic scale and explores the causes of Ireland’s health inequality. 

“I didn’t think I was easily shocked but some of what I’ve seen in Ireland’s most disadvantaged communities has truly shocked me, I saw poverty that I didn’t think existed in this country. I now understand that tackling health inequality is much more complex than lecturing people about the food on their plate or their health choices. It’s about understanding why people make those choices in the first place.”

Dr Eva Orsmond presents Ireland’s Health Divide
Dr Eva Orsmond presents Ireland’s Health Divide

It’s a Park’s Life (Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm)

It’s Dublin’s pride and joy, one of the most-visited places in the Irish capital, and one of Europe’s largest city parks. But what does it take to keep the Phoenix Park running smoothly all year round? It’s a Park’s Life is a new six-part series that explores all aspects of life in this 1,750-acre amenity, from the 500-strong herd of deer to the splendid residence of the US ambassador at Deerfield. Baz Ashmawy takes a break from trying to kill his mammy to meet some of the people who work in the park, including head deerkeeper Terry, gardeners Brian and Míde and ice-cream lady Grainne, and to visit some of the park’s long-standing institutions, including Ireland’s oldest cricket club, the Phoenix Cricket Club, and the Irish Army Equitation School. 

Doctor Foster (Tuesday, BBC One, 9pm)

It was one of the BBC’s biggest hits, and one of the Twitterverse’s most talked-about drama series, with 10 million viewers tuning in to watch its agonisingly tense finale. So there was much rejoicing when the BBC announced a second series of Doctor Foster, with Suranne Jones returning as Gemma Foster, and Bertie Carvel as her cheating, dodgy-dealing husband Simon. Series one ended with Gemma exposing Simon’s infidelities, but things were tied up so neatly that many of us are wondering where can the programme’s creator, Mike Bartlett, go from here? The second series is set two years later; Simon has skipped town, and Gemma is trying to pick up the pieces after the traumatic events of series one. But Simon’s cheating and Gemma’s revenge both have far-reaching consequences that plunge both of them back into the maelstrom. As Bartlett says: “No one comes through Hell unscathed.”

The new leaders in Operation Transformation, with Kathryn Thomas
The new leaders in Operation Transformation, with Kathryn Thomas

Celebrity Operation Transformation (Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm) 

It’s the end of another long, lazy summer, and we’ve spent the past three months lying around like beached whales, guzzling margaritas and chowing down on greasy barbecues. Now it’s time to get off our hammocks and get back to real life – and none of us is looking forward to facing the daily grind once again. What we need are some famous faces to get us motivated, so it’s a good thing Celebrity Operation Transformation is back for a second series. Five “well-known” personalities will take part in the telly weight-loss challenge: X Factor finalist Mary Byrne, celeb chef Gary O’Hanlon, fashion journo Triona McCarthy, Voice of Ireland finalist Kayleigh Cullinan and “social media influencer” James Patrice. Viewers will be invited to “follow” their chosen celeb as they tackle their weight issues (and other personal demons), under the watchful eye of the programme’s team of fitness experts and presenter Kathryn Thomas. I feel inspired already. 

Back (Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm)

Peep Show pair David Mitchell and Robert Webb team up for a new series, simply titled Back. Mitchell plays Stephen, whose father has just died. When the charming Andrew (Webb) shows up at the funeral claiming to be one of the family’s foster children, the scene is set for some serious step-sibling rivalry.

Robert Webb and David Mitchell in Back
Robert Webb and David Mitchell in Back

Tin Star (Thursday, Sky Atlantic & Now TV, 9pm)

Tim Roth always delivers an intensely restrained performance, whether he’s portraying a notorious serial killer in Rillington Place, or a bereaved father fighting for justice in Reg. Now, he’s starring in a major new series, Tin Star, playing a British cop starting a new job as the chief of police in a small town in the Canadian Rockies. For recovering alcoholic Jim Worth (Roth) and his family, life in Little Big Bear seems quiet and uneventful after the bustle of London, but it’s not long before things descend into bloody, violent chaos. The series co-stars Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks and Irish actress Genevieve O’Reilly. 

Bojack Horseman (From Friday, Netflix)

The fab, freaky animated series Bojack Horseman is back for a fourth series, and whaddaya know, our favourite sitcom horse is still consumed with self-loathing and enough selfish genes to knock out an elephant. So, what’s happening in Bojack’s human-animal hybrid world? Well, Mr Peanutbutter is running for governor of California, while Diane gets a new job at a hip blog. 

The Expanse (From Friday, Netflix)

Earth and Mars are on the brink of war, but that’s the least of everybody’s worries in the second series of this Netflix original sci-fi series. A deadly, constantly evolving protomolecule is loose in the solar system, and the crew of the Rocinante, led by James Holden, must try to zap it before it turns everyone into shiny blue mush. The first series tried too hard for a hip futuristic look – and just ended up looking like Total Recall (the 1980s version) – while the interplanetary politics were even more baffling than those in The Phantom Menace. We’ll give this second series a chance – as long as Netflix bring back Battlestar Galactica

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