9 of the best TV shows to watch this weekend
The Tubridy jumper makes its 10th Yuletide appearance on the Late Late toy extravaganza
Ryan Tubridy at the Late Late Toy Show photocall on Thursday with Bearded lady Alanna’s Willoughby, 12, Carlow; Napoleon Luke O’Connor, 7, Dublin; Fat man Matthew Little, 12, Ardee; 3-Legged man Kayla McMahon, 10, Balrothery; Wolfman Colm Sullivan, 8, Navan; Tattoo man Dylan O Connor, 11, Dublin; Pierrot Clown Enya Allen, 5, Navan and Albino Ella Maher, 10, Carlow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The Late Late Toy Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
And so, the big night finally arrives when we can all start thinking about Christmas and get a sneak preview of all the fab toys Santa is planning to bring to all the boys and girls. This is Ryan Tubridy’s 10th spin in the legendary Christmas Jumper, but nobody will be looking at Tubs – he’s bound to be upstaged by another crew of super-talented kids who sing and dance with such dazzling skill you’ll wonder if RTÉ has some sort of genetics lab around the back of the Fair City set. We don’t know what the theme of the show will be (last year was an undersea kingdom, if my memory serves me well), but we do know that it will be suitably spectacular and ramped-up. The 2017 show had a consolidated audience of 1.35 million and a 72 per cent share of the telly-watching audience; expect those numbers to go up this year. And you can be sure of one thing: it’ll be a lot more fun than the recent ratings-busting presidential election debate.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Dawn French has been a showbiz trooper, so it perhaps comes as a surprise to learn that she has never done panto – until now. French reveals how much she’s looking forward to playing the Wicked Queen. In addition, Oscar-nominated actor and comedian Steve Carell talks about his new fantasy drama Welcome to Marwen, while Black Panther star Michael B Jordan reflects on reprising his boxing role in Creed II, Ruth Wilson discusses her BBC drama Mrs Wilson, and Cheryl performs her new single, Love Made Me Do It.
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
President Donald Trump has said that his government’s latest crackdown on immigration is aimed at removing criminals and illegal immigrants, in particular members of the notorious Salvadoran-American street gang MS-13. However, official figures show that a growing number of those being deported do not have a criminal record. Reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and director Jamie Welham travel to El Salvador to find out what life is like for the people who are being sent back to the country. In the process, they hear stories of Salvadorans who arrived in the US as children more than 20 years ago who now have to make a new life in a country to which they have little relationship and where they don’t speak the language.
Stevie Wonder: A Musical History
Friday, BBC4, 10pm
As you might expect of an artist with such an impressive and lengthy career, Stevie Wonder is not short of celebrity fans. Here, well-known admirers celebrate the man and his music by selecting some of his best-loved songs. Contributors include actor Martin Freeman, singers Alexander O’Neal, James Morrison, Beverley Knight and Corinne Bailey Rae, New Order’s Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris, and DJs Ana Matronic, Trevor Nelson and Norman Jay. Will anyone plump for I Just Called to Say I Love You or Ebony and Ivory, or will they stick to Wonder’s more critically admired 1970s output?
The Ray D’Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 10pm
Ireland rugby star Robbie Henshaw and his family are releasing an album of traditional music with trad superstar Sharon Shannon called The Secret Sessions. They will join Ray for a chat and session in the kitchen. Also on the show are Kellie Harrington, fresh from picking up a gold medal at the World Elite Women's Boxing Championships in India, and her team manager, boxing legend Bernard Dunne; chef Dylan McGrath, who will tell Ray about the chronic pain that left him unable to walk and his successful battle back to good health; and state pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy, who will discuss her upcoming retirement and how doing ballet became a welcome distraction from the post-mortem tragedies she witnesses in her job.
Darcey Bussell: Dancing to Happiness
Saturday, BBC2, 9pm
Strictly presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly may tell us to “keeeep dancing”, but it’s arguably judge Darcey Bussell who has done the most to ensure that we really do become a nation of twinkletoes. Since retiring as a prima ballerina Bussell has promoted dance for people of all ages, and has argued in British Parliament that it should be a key part of the curriculum to help children’s fitness. She also believes that fancy footwork can promote mental health, and in this documentary she meets some of the people who are using dance as therapy. They include Bury’s Silver Swans, whose weekly ballet class has become a way of overcoming the feeling of isolation that some retirees experience.
Saturday, BBC4, 9pm
Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman star in this gripping eight-part crime drama previously shown on Netflix. During an afternoon at the beach with her family, a woman called Cora is consumed by a fit of rage and commits a startling and very public act of violence without understanding why. Can Detective Harry Ambrose find out what made her do it? In the second part of the double-bill, Cora tries to block the police investigation, while her husband Mason struggles to come to terms with secrets from his wife’s past.
Gun No 6
Sunday, BBC2, 9pm
This hybrid of drama and documentary sets out to explore the realities of gun crime in modern Britain by focusing on the story of one weapon. The firearm in question has changed hands over the course of a decade and has been used in 11 shootings and three murders, making it Britain’s deadliest illegal weapon. The film sets out to chart each of the crimes, paying tribute to those who have lost their lives and the loved ones left behind, while also exploring what drove the shooters to pick up a weapon in the first place.
Secrets of British Animation
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
The defining characteristic of British animation can be summed up as ingenuity. Unable to compete with the big Hollywood studios, animators in Britain were forced to experiment and develop their own signature styles. This journey through more than a century explores the individual artistic visions of Len Lye, John Halas and Joy Batchelor, Joanna Quinn and Bristol’s world-conquering Aardman Animations. The documentary is a collaboration with the BFI, whose recent programme of remastering has restored hundreds of animated films to their original glory.
The X Factor Final
Sunday, Virgin One/UTV, 7.30pm
For some viewers, The X Factor was more than a singing competition – it was a countdown to Christmas. But following last year’s slightly truncated run, the show is once again wrapping up at the very beginning of December. Luckily, that doesn’t mean the finale is going to be any less spectacular, as following yesterday’s opening instalment, the remaining acts take to the stage once more to impress judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Williams and Robbie Williams – as well as the people with the final say: the viewing public.