Alison Spittle, Peaky Blinders: The TV to watch this week

Comedian Alison Spittle finds laughter in the midlands, and Cillian Murphy returns

Cillian Murphy returns in season four of Peaky Blinders

Cillian Murphy returns in season four of Peaky Blinders

 

Nowhere Fast
Monday, RTÉ Two, 10pm

Alison Spittle in Nowhere Fast: trapped in midlands
Alison Spittle in Nowhere Fast: trapped in midlands. Photograph: RTE

You thought Stranger Things was scary? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Sure, the “upside-down” is a pretty eerie place, but it’s a holiday camp compared to the horrorzone that is the midlands. And, unlike the upside-down, there’s no way out – the midlands will suck you back in like a big, boggy vortex.

Comedian Alison Spittle knows this only too well, and her new comedy series Nowhere Fast is inspired by her own landlocked life growing up in Westmeath. Spittle plays a young woman returning to her midlands home to lick her wounds and regroup after a disastrous attempt to start a media career in the Big Smoke. Now she’s sleeping on friends’ couches, cadging lifts and plotting her escape from small-town hell. Can she break free from this village of the damned and find a way back to the real world? Think The Prisoner with culchie accents and some frighteningly good jokes.

10 Things to Know About...
Monday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

What's the connection between an abandoned copper mine and your mobile phone?

It’s science week, so RTÉ has released all the boffins it’s been keeping locked up deep in the bowels of Montrose, and they’ve come out blinking into the light to share their knowledge with us lucky viewers. Kathriona Devereux, Jonathan McCrea and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin are back for their latest instalment of their science series 10 Things to Know About. In the first episode, Ní Shúilleabháin looks at the silent killer that lurks in many homes – radon – and she delves deep under earth to look at efforts to make copper-mining safer and more environmentally friendly.

Will a Robot Steal My Job?
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Anne-Marie Tomchak
Anne-Marie Tomchak: artificial intelligence and robots on her mind

Anne-Marie Tomchak, the UK editor of news website Mashable, explores how artificial intelligence and robots are changing the face of work, and taking over many roles traditionally performed by humans. Will software soon replace “wetware”? And with many robots doing the job better than humans, how does that make humans feel? (The human I’ve replaced to write this column doesn’t seem to mind too much – wait, Kevin, put down that axe . . . aargh!)

Weather Live
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 7pm

Extreme weather events, involving storm surges, flooding and destructive winds, have become part of everyday life – and the situation is likely to worsen. Photgraph: NASA Earth Observatory/ AFP/ Getty Images
Extreme weather events, involving storm surges, flooding and destructive winds, have become part of everyday life – and the situation is likely to worsen. Photgraph: NASA Earth Observatory/ AFP/ Getty Images

What do Irish people like talking about more than anything else? The weather, of course, so as part of Science Week, Weather Live will examine Ireland’s favourite conversation topic from all angles. Kathryn Thomas will be joined by a team of top meteorologists, including Gerald Fleming, Evelyn Cusack and Joanna Donnelly, to talk about the weather, and why Ireland’s weather is so unique and well worth talking about.

They’ll be looking at the causes and effects of Storm Ophelia, and reviewing technological breakthroughs in weather forecasting, and of course Ireland’s own technologically advanced weapon in staving off bad weather – the Child of Prague.

Peaky Blinders
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm

Joe Cole as John Shelby in Peaky Blinders. Photograph: BBC
Joe Cole as John Shelby in Peaky Blinders. Photograph: BBC

Cillian Murphy returns as gangland kingpin Tommy Shelby in the fourth series of the peerless Peaky Blinders. Tommy is now a highly respected member of British high society, with an OBE and a big country pile. But he’s also cut off from his family and no longer at home in his former stomping ground in the slums of Birmingham. But then a revelation on Christmas Eve forces him to return to his roots and try to save his estranged family from annihilation. Murphy is joined by an all-star cast that includes Aiden Gillen, Adrien Brody, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson and Tom Hardy.