11 of the best shows on TV this weekend

Jamie Lee Curtis is on Ryan Tubridy and Graham Norton, Jodie Whittaker debuts as a Doctor Who for the #Metoo era, and Donncha O’Callaghan hosts a kids show

Jamie Lee Curtis, who is on the telly twice in one night, does battle with an old nemesis in Halloween.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who is on the telly twice in one night, does battle with an old nemesis in Halloween.

 

The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
In the first of two appearances on Friday night (see also Graham Norton), Jamie Lee Curtis reflects on reprising her role as Laurie Strode in the new Halloween, 40 years after John Carpenter's original scared the bejeezus out of us. The Bafta and Golden Globe winner will describe what it was like growing as the daughter of Hollywood royalty Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh before going on to become a star in her own right. In addition, Amy Huberman will be on the couch to talk about creating her new comedy series, Finding Joy, from scratch; Francis Brennan tells Ryan Tubridy about travelling and writing about Route 66; comedian Dara O Briain will reveal the secret science behind everyday life; and broadcaster Mary Kennedy will share in philosophy of life as described in a new book, Home Thoughts from the Heart. Plus music from Soak and and West End star Killian Donnelly.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
In addition to Jamie Lee Curtis (see above), Rowan Atkinson chats about his new movie, Johnny English Strikes Again. Pop singer and sometimes Take That member Gary Barlow talks about his autobiography, A Better Me; we'll just have to wait and see if he lives up to the title. And Hollywood king of cool Jeff Goldblum performs Straighten Up and Fly Right with Imelda May.

The Ray D’Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.45pm
Rory Cowan, Erin McGregor, Ryan Andrews and James Patrice (oh, yes they do!!) join Ray for a chat about their collaboration in the Olympia Panto, Polly and the Magic Lamp. From Broadway to the West End, and not forgetting Wet Wet Wet, singer Marti Pellow takes us through his hits and some personal favourites. Waterford Whispers News, the website that claims more than 14 million readers,  will give a satirical spin to the week with the broadcast their first "live  news bulletin". And former RTÉ News broadcaster Una O’Hagan opens up about life after retirement and how writing a book about her personal connection to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux has kept her busy.

Donncha’s Two Talented
Saturday, RTÉ One, 5.25pm

Donncha O’Callaghan and a young contestant on Donncha’s Two Talented
Donncha O’Callaghan and a young contestant on Donncha’s Two Talented

New series. Rugby legend Donncha O’Callaghan hosts this family entertainment showcasing the best of Irish five- to nine-year-old singers and dancers, who must coax a parent or close adult to duet with them on the show. The kids mentor their chosen adult to a point where they’re ready to perform with them on national TV – yikes! There’s no competition, no judging, no prize, just pure, honest performance. The show has a lovely balance of confident young solo performances and tentative duets with parents and loved ones who will do just about anything for the kids.

Troubles: The Life After
Saturday, BBC2, 9.30pm
An intimate account of the Northern Troubles, told through the stories of people who lost loved ones during the three-decades-long conflict. Contributors include Virtue Dixon, whose daughter Ruth was killed on her 24th birthday while celebrating at the Droppin’ Well pub in Ballykelly, Derry in December 1982. An Irish National Liberation Army bomb brought the roof down, killing both civilians and British soldiers, and Virtue tells the story of the aftermath from her perspective.

Snowfall
Saturday, BBC2, 10.50pm

Damson Idris in Snowfall
Damson Idris in Snowfall

If you missed the first season of this US crime drama from Boyz N the Hood director John Singleton, it’s set in the early 1980s during the Los Angeles crack epidemic. It follows several characters, including teenage drug dealer Franklin (played by British actor Damson Idris). As the new run begins, Franklin and his gang have become the main dealers in the area, but cornering the market has brought a new set of problems and created a rift between the teen and his mother. But it’s a drugs bust that really forces Franklin to think of his feet. Meanwhile, Lucia and Oso are looking for a way to get into the crack business, and Teddy is dealing with CIA budget cuts.

Doctor Who
Sunday, BBC1, 6.45pm

The time has come: Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who
The time has come: Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who

Space, the final frontier of inequality, is about to change forever with the arrival of Jodie Whittaker in the role of TV’s most famous timelord. When the BBC announced that the 13th Doctor would be a woman, spotty adolescent males of all ages had to have a little sit-down. Now that the hardcore Whovians have had time to get their heads around this new reality, it’s time for Whittaker to make her doctorial debut in this first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth. Here three young people are about to have their lives (and their place in the space-time continuum) changed forever when a mysterious woman falls from the South Yorkshire sky, with no recollection of her name or how she got there. (“We don’t get many aliens in Sheffield,” says one character. Well, not after Brexit, anyway.) The series is written by new producer and showrunner Chris Chibnall, taking over from Stephen Moffatt, who drove the Doctor’s big 21st-century revival, so no pressure there then. Early word suggest we could be looking at the best Doc yet.

Who Do You Think You Are?
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Laura Whitmore profiled on Who Do You Think You Are?
Laura Whitmore is profiled on Who Do You Think You Are?

The TV presenter’s paternal ancestry reveals that many of her ancestors were bricklayers and stonemasons. She goes on a family journey through the Fenian uprising of 1867, to the various industrial disputes and lockouts in Dublin in the early 20th century, the deadly Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and to a beautiful Georgian house in Dublin’s Fitzwilliam square, where her great-grandmother worked as a servant.

Great Canal Journeys
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
New series. Timothy West and Prunella Scales travel down the river Nile from Luxor to Aswan. Tim has some misgivings about attempting such a daring journey, but is won over by Pru’s desire for fresh adventure. They discover how travel along the river was vital to the ancient Egyptians, and discover how the first ever canals were constructed nearby to ferry building materials for the temple at Karnak. Along the way, they visit a Nubian village, purchase aphrodisiacs in a souk, and dance by moonlight.

The Mediterranean with Simon Reeve
Sunday, BBC2, 8pm
New series. A journey around the region, examining the challenges currently facing the nations in the area. In the first episode, Simon visits Malta, uncovering the city’s reputation for organised crime, before moving on to the southern coast of Italy, where he joins police exploring underground tunnels used by crime bosses on the run. Finally, he arrives in Albania and discovers an ancient tradition of revenge where children can pay the price for their parents’ actions.

Last Chance Lawyer New York City
Sunday, BBC2, 9pm

Howard Greenberg, Last Chance Lawyer New York City
Howard Greenberg, the Last Chance Lawyer New York City

Brooklyn-based Howard Greenberg is a criminal lawyer who wages “war” against the US government. As this four-part documentary demonstrates, the legal eagle will go to any lengths to preserve the liberty of those he represents. Whether creating a fictitious courtroom diary clash to keep a defendant out of prison, or swapping his trousers in the street outside the US supreme court, this is a fascinating study of a Big Apple legal expert determined to win at any cost. 

Additional reporting: PA

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