Eight of the best TV shows to watch this week
‘Billions’ returns, Idris Elba’s new comedy series debuts and Irish couple’s wedding dilemmas
‘Billions’ returns for a third season.
Russian Spy Assassins: The Salisbury Attack
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Matt Frei explores the poisoning of Russian Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, searching for clues to potential motives that could explain why the former British double agent was targeted. The search takes him into the murky world of espionage, politics and crime, examining whether the latest chapter in a number of suspicious deaths of Russians on British soil could all be linked. The Kremlin denies it, but were these simply tragic endings or brazen state-sponsored assassinations?
Tuesday, RTE Óne, 10.15pm
You’re a successful woman, married to Christopher Eccleston, with three beautiful kids and a seemingly perfect life. So why would you just walk out without so much as a by-your-leave and plunge your family into turmoil and trauma? That’s the intriguing question posed by Come Home, a new three-part drama starring Northern Irish actress Paula Malcomson. She plays Marie, a mother of three who has been married to Greg (Eccleston) for 19 years. When she suddenly and mysteriously walks out of the family home, the repercussions are enormous, and you can be sure there are plenty of dark secrets just waiting to be uncovered. The story is told from different perspectives and with lots of timeshifts and flashbacks, as the family tries to work out what made Marie take such drastic action. The series is written by Danny Brocklehurst, who wrote the BBC series Ordinary Lies, and won a Bafta for Shameless.
My Big Day: Home or Away
Monday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
Telly people have no shame - they just can’t stop muscling in on ordinary people’s weddings, spoiling the nuptials by putting notions in the groom’s head, such as, “she’d really love an Arsenal-themed wedding!” or “This disused asbestos factory will be the perfect venue!”
Or perhaps the happy couple are not truly happy unless their wedding day is splashed all over the telly. My Big Day: Home or Away is a new series which takes that age-old dilemma of where to have the wedding, and goes over the top with it. Peter and Kate are getting married but can’t decide whether to have it at home on Peter’s dairy farm, or on a sun-kissed beach abroad. Enter wedding planners Tara Fay and Bruce Russell, who will try to help the couple decide - by planning two lavish weddings, one at home and one abroad. Which one will the couple choose? Hardly matters, as long as it’s not in a car park dressed as Klingons.
Are You Autistic?
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
A documentary challenging what people think they know about autism, exploring myths surrounding the condition and examining what living with autism is really like in the UK today. Anna Richardson, whose nephew has recently been diagnosed, and campaigners Georgia Harper and Sam Ahern, who are both autistic, set out to uncover the true face of autism in the UK, working closely with charities, experts and people from across the spectrum. In a unique experiment, a team of leading experts have agreed to adapt their research exclusively for the programme, and test two adults who think they are in need of a diagnosis.
In the Long Run
Thursday, Sky One, 10pm
Idris Elba goes back to the 1980s for his new comedy series. Loosely based on Elba’s own childhood, the series centres around an immigrant family living in a London tower block, trying to get by and get along in this somewhat fractured community. Dad Walter (Elba) is working at the local factory, while his wife Agnes (Madeline Appiah) sells makeup door-to-door and 13-year-old son Kobna (Sammy Kamara) tries to survive as a kid in a tough neighbourhood. When Walter’s wild-hearted brother Valentine arrives from Sierra Leone, the family’s routine is totally upended. Bill Bailey co-stars as hairy neighbour Bagpipes.
Thursday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
An old rivalry has exploded again, and this time it’s gone nuclear. The long-running war between dodgy hedge fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod and New York attorney Chuck Rhoades brings even more fallout in the third season of Billions . Damian Lewis returns as Axelrod and Paul Giamatti is back as his dogged nemesis. And there’s a new player in this game of high-stakes cat-and-mouse: John Malkovich stars as Russian oligarch Grigor Andolov. Expect some dangerous liaisons - financial or otherwise.
BBC2 thurs, 9pm
For many people, ‘Renaissance’ will bring to mind Italy but in the 15th and 16th centuries, the great Islamic empires experienced their own cultural change. Simon Schama examines how they were conscious of, and in competition with, each other and mutually open to influences flowing both ways. He goes east and west - to Papal Rome and to Ottoman Istanbul, Mughal Lahore and Agra - as he explores these connections and rivalries, and examines how the role of artists from the different traditions developed in the years that followed the Renaissances.
Missing: A Prime Time rewind - Mary Boyle
Thursday, RTÉOne, 10.15pm
Last year, Prime Time marked the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of six-year-old Mary Boyle with a special edition. This programme retells what happened that day and appeals to the public for further information.