Four TV shows to watch this week that aren't Game of Thrones

The big one is series seven of Game of Thrones - but there's also the heyday of women’s football; U2’s early days and Ozark, this year's Breaking Bad

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones season seven.  Photograph: HBO

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones season seven. Photograph: HBO

 

Game of Thrones
Monday, Sky Atlantic and Now TV, 2am and 9pm

Can you hear those war drums beating? That’s the sound millions of TV viewers have been waiting for, as the armies line up for the mother of all battles in this penultimate season. There were some complaints (heresy!) that season six got a little boring and saggy around the middle, but there will be no chance to slip out and make a cup of tea this time around – this will be the fastest-moving segment of the show thus far, as the producers pack almost a season’s worth of action into each episode.

Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones season seven. Photograph: HBO
Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones season seven. Photograph: HBO

So, what’s the state of play so far? Snow has retaken Winterfell and been declared the new King in the North, while the cruel and calculating Cersei has seized the Iron Throne. But a huge armada led by Daenerys Targaryen is bearing down on Westeros, with three dragons flying alongside, while the Night King leads his army of the dead as they march south, bringing winter along with them (just like any ordinary July day in Ireland, really). KC

DCI Banks
Monday, RTÉ Two, 9pm

Stephen Tomkinson (above) returns as Yorkshire cop DCI Banks for a fifth series of the crime drama based on the novels of Peter Robinson. The body of a small-time drug dealer has been found in the woods, and it’s clear he met a violent end. Banks is convinced local crime boss Steve Richards has something to do with the murder, but as more suspects emerge, his team begin to doubt their boss’s legendary infallibility. This final series, which aired on ITV in autumn 2016, kicks off with an opening double-bill. KC

When Football Banned Women
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm

A century ago, as the first World War raged in Europe, back in England, teams of working-class girls became footballs biggest stars. Commanding crowds bigger than the men’s game of up to 60,000 fans, the most popular team was the Dick, Kerr Ladies (above), made up of 11 factory workers from Preston. Even as the war ended, the league’s popularity continued to grow, until, in December 1921, the FA placed a complete ban on women playing professional football. That ban was to last 50 years. Ahead of the Uefa Women’s Euro 2017 Championships, this documentary, presented by Claire Balding, tells the story of the factory girls who took on the world, looks at the shameful reason they were banned, and explores the legacy of that ban 100 years on. JL

U2 agus an Arc
Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm

U2 – UCC Downtown Kampus Cork 1979 © Pat Galvin
U2 – UCC Downtown Kampus Cork 1979 © Pat Galvin

U2 will always be associated with Dublin’s Dandelion Market, but the band also played other venues in their early days, as they built up their loyal home audience. One venue where the band really clicked was the Arcadia Ballroom in Cork, where they played regularly between 1978 and 1980 at gigs run by the students at UCC. This film, directed by Tony McCarthy (a regular attendee at the band’s Arcadia gigs), tells the story of the band’s Cork connection, as they sharpened their sound in front of a willing and open-minded fanbase at the Downtown Kampus gigs, run by Elvera Butler, who was Ents officer at UCC at the time. Butler also brought bands such as The Specials, UB40 and The Cure to the Arc, but the venue was key to U2’s development. The full story is also told in admirable detail on Martin O’Connor and Colm O’Callaghan excellent music blog The Blackpool Sentinel . KC

Ozark
Netflix, from Friday

New drama starring Jason Bateman (above) as “financial planner” Marty Byrde, whose real job is money-launderer for a big Mexican drug cartel. But when $8 million of the cartel’s money goes missing, Marty must move his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and teenage kids to a holiday resort community in the Missouri Ozarks and hide out. It’s been described as Netflix’s answer to Breaking Bad – let’s see if Bateman can give Brian Cranston a run for his (mob) money. KC

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