13 of the best TV shows to watch this week

Podge & Rodge return to Ballydung while BBC airs unseen footage of Bowie in 2000

Podge & Rodge wtih Doireann Garrihy

Podge & Rodge wtih Doireann Garrihy


The Podge & Rodge Show
Monday, RTÉ 2, 10.40pm
The national broadcaster is under pressure: revenues and viewer numbers are down, and (if the multimillion-euro ad campaign is to be believed) no one is coughing up for their licence fee. How can RTÉ return things back to the way they were? Simple – bring back two of telly’s most famous grumpy old men (no, not Eamon Dunphy and John Giles) and watch the viewers and revenue flow back in. Yes, the doors of Ballydung Manor are creaking open once more, as Podge & Rodge treat celebrity guests to some serious bedtime scares with the help of their (considerably) younger cohost, Doireann Garrihy.

The Podge & Rodge Show last aired 10 years ago, but, amazingly, the O’Leprosy brothers look like they haven’t aged a single century since. They’re ready to gross out a new generation of viewers, but is the new generation ready for them? RTÉ is certainly banking on it being so.

Incidentally, guests on this first show are Dancing with the Stars fleetfoot Erin McGregory and Josh "JP" Patterson of Made in Chelsea fame. With music from Le Galaxie.

Mr Mercedes
Monday, RTÉ 2, 9.30pm

Justine Lupe and Brendan Gleeson in Mr Mercedes
Justine Lupe and Brendan Gleeson in Mr Mercedes

Brendan Gleeson returns as retired detective Bill Hodges, in the series based on the crime trilogy by Stephen King. The first focused on the cat-and-mouse game between Hodges and the psychopath known as Mr Mercedes, and Gleeson was commanding in the role the complex, larger-than-life copper. This second series is based on the second book in the trilogy, Finders Keepers, and sees Hodges drawn into the weird inner world of the Great American Author as he investigates the cold-case murder of a famous writer and recluse 40 years previously. King apparently based theauthor character on Philip Roth, John Updike and JD Salinger, and he did the writer-meets-psycho thing very well in Misery, so let’s see where this one goes.

Only Connect
Monday, BBC2, 8pm
Victoria Coren Mitchell returns with another run of the engaging quiz. There have been 13 winning teams since the series began a decade ago, from the Crossworders to the most recent victors, the Escapologists. In the first match, a side from Lancashire take on three pop music aficionados, with one set of clues consisting of “Beethoven’s 7th, Centre of gravity, 3rd of November, and Very beginning”. As the Hotpots take on the Poptimists, prepare to be amazed as some often baffling connections are made. It should be a brain-expanding journey as squads are whittled down to the final two.

A Woman Captured: Storyville
Monday, BBC4, 10pm
Marish, a 53-year-old Hungarian woman, has been kept as an unpaid domestic slave for 10 years by a family in her native country. She has been separated from her family and friends as well as her possessions and dignity by a woman called Eta (who is heard off-screen). If there’s too much sugar in her coffee, it can have repercussions for Marish, who has also been forced to take out loans on behalf of Eta’s family. What’s remarkable in this powerful documentary is the fact that Bernadett Tuza-Ritter spent two years filming Marish’s plight before the harrowing story reaches its conclusion.

Prime Time – The Presidential Debate
Tuesday, RTE One, 9.35pm
With the election looming on Friday, all six candidates - Peter Casey, Gavin Duffy, Joan Freeman, Sean Gallagher, current President Michael D Higgins and Liadh Ní Riada, - are expected in the studio for the final TV debate to try to persuade voters they are the best person for the job. However, Casey said on Friday he was going to “think carefully about whether to continue” in the race after he was sharply criticised for his comments about Travellers in recent days. David McCullough will be on hand to make sure everything is above board.

Imagine — Tracey Emin: Where Do You Draw the Line?
Tuesday, BBC1, 12.10am

Tracey Emin and the multimillion mattress
Tracey Emin and the multimillion mattress

British artist Tracey Emin, who turned her unmade bed into a work of art, is busier than ever. Large-scale commissions have taken her from London’s St Pancras station to the streets of downtown Sydney, and there have also been exhibitions in Hong Kong and Brussels. Following the death of her mother two years ago, Emin has decided to convert a derelict Margate print works into a new studio where she can live and create. For the past 12 months, cameras have followed her progress around the world and on home turf. She talks to Alan Yentob about her life, from her troubled early years in Margate to a series of breakthroughs in the 1990s as a leading light of the Young British Artists.

Martin Lewis: 10 Things Your Kids Should Know
Tuesday, UTV, 9pm
In this one-off special, the renowned money expert reveals what he believes every family should do to secure their children’s financial futures, offering handy tips and advice for those concerned about their state of affairs. The film also explores some of the secrets of Martin’s own success to give a picture of how he came to prominence in his field and made his fame and fortune, and looks back at his childhood and how the tragic death of his mother helped shape his life.

Trevor McDonald and the Killer Nurse
Wednesday, UTV, 9pm
In 1991, 22-year-old nurse Beverly Allitt murdered four children in her care and attacked nine more at Grantham Hospital in Lincolnshire. Here, Trevor McDonald re-examines the case 25 years after he reported on her conviction. He is given access to the original police interviews with Allitt, and tracks down several of her surviving victims. They include Bradley Gibson, who was five years old when Allitt tried to kill him. Now 32, he describes how his heart stopped beating for 32 minutes, long after many doctors would have given him up as dead. The veteran newsman also meets former det supt Stuart Clifton, the man who caught Allitt, and hears the story of an investigation against the odds.

Ear to the Ground
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
The agri-magazine show returns for its 26th series, and once again Ella McSweeney, Helen Carroll and Darragh McCullough will traverse the country and get the lowdown on what’s happening in farms and agri-businesses across the land. The series begins with a look at the aftermath of the driest summer in years, as farmers coped with burnt crops and ongoing water shortages. The team also meets a couple who keep alpaca and beef farmers trying to survive in an increasingly under-pressure sector.

Berlin Station
Thursday, More4, 9pm

Michelle Forbes in Berlin Station
Michelle Forbes in Berlin Station

The acclaimed crime series set in the German capital returns for a second crack of the whip, with Richard Armitage as American CIA operative Daniel Miller, sent to the CIA’s Berlin office to help bring down terrorists, international criminals, corrupt politicians and people who haven’t paid their TV licence (not sure about that last one). In the first series, Miller was tasked with tracking down a mole who was leaking top-secret information. In series two, the operatives of Berlin Station must infiltrate a far-right group planning a major atrocity on election day. A starry supporting cast includes Rhys Ifans, Richard Jenkins Michelle Forbes and Ashley Judd.

100 Days to Victory
Thursday, BBC2, 8pm
A century after the close of the first World War, this two-part docu-drama reconstructs the final months of battle, revealing how the Allied forces eventually seized victory. The Germans had launched an attack, advancing more than 60km in only three days. Blocking their path were British, French, Australian and Canadian forces, whose leaders decided the only way to achieve success was by the effective co-ordination of artillery, tanks, aircraft and infantry. Modern warfare had begun.

David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000
Friday, BBC4, 10.55pm

David Bowie performs at Glastonbury on June 25, 2000
David Bowie performs at Glastonbury on June 25th, 2000.

On Sunday, June 25, 2000, David Bowie closed Glastonbury with a two-hour performance. It was his first appearance at the festival since 1971, and should have been screened in all its glory. However, only some 30 minutes of the set was broadcast on the BBC that night at the star’s insistence. Thankfully cameras kept rolling and captured the whole performance for posterity. This programme features an hour of highlights, including such previously un-broadcast hits as Ashes to Ashes, Starman and Let’s Dance. A glorious reminder of one of the most unique and sorely missed talents in showbusiness.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 11.05pm

Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law on the set of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law on the set of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The host welcomes Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law, who talk about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the latest Harry Potter prequel, which is released on November 16. Joining them on the sofa are Melissa McCarthy, promoting upcoming comedy-drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Oscar winner Emma Stone and singer Rick Astley, who also performs his latest single Try.

Additional reporting: PA

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.