8 of the best shows to watch on TV this weekend
Leo and Bublé on the Late Late, how Barbra became an icon, and the end of Taken Down
Michael Bublé in Munich on December 4th. Photograph: Joerg Koch/Getty Images
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar leads tonight’s Late Late line-up. The Fine Gael leader will join Ryan Tubridy to talk about the highs and lows of his first 18 months as Ireland’s youngest ever taoiseach, navigating Brexit, the stability of the Government, and the chances of an early election. Also: After taking time out when his son was diagnosed with cancer, Michael Bublé is back with a new album and tour. He will tell Ryan Tubridy what the last few years have been like for him and his family and how rumours of his retirement were greatly exaggerated. He will also put his famous pipes into action with not one but two songs. Plus: mega-bestselling children’s author David Walliams; Donegal’s most famous son Daniel O’Donnell; and the final three celebrities to be tripping the light fantastic on the upcoming Dancing with the Stars.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
It’s that time of year when celebrities start bringing out their autobiographiess. Jumping on the bandwagon this yuletide season is high-kicking movie star Jackie Chan, whose new memoir, Never Grow Up, offers insights into his early life, including the childhood years he spent at the China Drama Academy, his brushes with death both on and off set, and his role as a husband and father. Also on Graham Norton’s couch are professional wrestler and actor John Cena promoting his new sci-fi film Bumblebee, and Jamie Oliver, who waxes lyrical about his latest book, Jamie Cooks Italy – another surefire festive hit.
Amach an Sliabh
Friday, TG4, 7.45pm
Oisín Mistéil’s compact (15-minute) drama was inspired by a walk he took in the Comeragh Mountains of Co Waterford. Amach an Sliabh follows two sisters, Lisa and Kate, on the anniversary of their mother’s death as they hike a mountain in search of a lake their mother loved. On the journey the sisters are forced to confront their relationship and how they have each dealt with their grief.
Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
In 1969, the 26-year-old Barbra Streisand picked up a Best Actress Oscar for her debut movie Funny Girl, four years after she’d conquered Broadway in the stage version. As this documentary reminds us, her early achievements were all the more remarkable when you consider the future superstar’s relatively humble beginnings. The film explores Streisand’s determination to escape her tough childhood in working-class Brooklyn and finds that it initially looked as if her academic ability would offer her a way out. However, the young Barbra was determined to become an actor and landed her first role when she was still 16. But it was only when she started singing that her career truly took off.
Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
The first episode of Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s latest series should be out of this world: it features Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker, who has her feet firmly on terra firma as she takes up residence in the boys’ cafe, which is a lot smaller than her usual Tardis home. Whittaker helps them rustle up some tasty treats, including roast pork with a double helping of crispy crackling, although it’s an authentic Thai beef massaman curry that really tickles her tastebuds – she’s been dreaming of getting another taste of it since she was 18.
Performance Live: LOVE
Saturday, BBC2, 10pm
In his first feature film, National Theatre artist-in-residence Alexander Zeldin has written and directed this piece based on the play that opened at the NT in December 2016. LOVE is a modern tale of hope, family and courage and looks at the bonds that keep people together as they are put to the sternest test. It tells the story of families brought together and placed in temporary accommodation in the run-up to Christmas. Among them is a middle-aged man (Nick Holder) and his elderly mother (Anna Calder-Marshall) relocated from their previous housing, and a young couple (Luke Clarke and Janet Etuk) who are preparing to welcome a new child into their family.
Sunday, BBC1, 9pm
We’ve always got time for a Jimmy McGovern drama, and this one-off looks at the thorny issue of how to care for your loved ones with little support from the health services. Sheridan Smith plays Jenny, a single mother of two who relies on her own mother, Mary (Alison Steadman), to help with the kids so she can work and make ends meet. But when Mary suffers a massive stroke and is then diagnosed with dementia, Jenny’s support system comes tumbling down, and she and her sister Claire now have to work out how to get the best care for their mother while still keeping their own families together. Then Jenny learns of another way – but she will have to fight for it. The programme is cowritten by Gillian Juckes, drawing from her own experiences.
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
The excellent crime series from the creators of Love/Hate comes to its explosive conclusion as Det Insp Jen Rooney and her team learn the truth about Esme’s murder. Wwith time running out, Abeni must decide whether to help Rooney find Flora, Hope and Nina – or is the risk too great for her family? The series is set in the murky world of migration, prostitution and human trafficking, and spares no sensitivity in depicting the awfulness and desperation of people trapped in a cycle of poverty and exploitation, and condemned to the limbo of direct provision. Lynn Rafferty is commanding as Rooney and Brian Gleeson is sufficiently smarmy as the director of the direct provision centre.