Eight of the best TV shows to watch this week

McAleese on today’s Irish families; welcoming the lovely girls, and old world matchmaking

Taking the 'church-step' challenge: Pope Francis overlooking St Peter’s Square. Photograph: EPA/Claudio Peri

Taking the 'church-step' challenge: Pope Francis overlooking St Peter’s Square. Photograph: EPA/Claudio Peri

 

The Rose of Tralee 2018
Monday/Tuesday, RTÉ One, 8pm

Dáithí Ó Sé with 2018 Roses Hazel Ni Chathasaigh (Limerick) and Deirdre O’Sullivan (Galway) at the Gardens in Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Collins
Dáithí Ó Sé with 2018 Roses Hazel Ni Chathasaigh (Limerick) and Deirdre O’Sullivan (Galway) at the Gardens in Kilmainham Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Collins

As you wait in joyful anticipation for the visit of Pope Francis next week, what better way to kill time than to watch the Rose of Tralee competition, which comes live over two days from the Dome in Tralee. Ireland may have changed a lot since the last papal visit in 1979, but the Rose of Tralee hasn’t changed all that much – although condescension levels have been dialed down, and no one says “sure aren’t you a great girl altogether!” anymore. The contest is still a faintly ridiculous relic of old Ireland, but the licence-paying punters seem to like it, and there’s no shortage of young women from around the world willing to flock to Co Kerry and do their party piece for the judges. Dáithí Ó Sé again presents, but when is RTÉ going to really embrace equality and run a male version of the contest? They could call it the Bro’s of Tralee.

Celebs on the Farm
Monday, C5, 10pm

New muckspreaders: Celebs on the Farm 2018
The new muckspreaders: 'Celebs on the Farm 2018'

Not content with bringing us the latest run of Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 5 is also launching another reality series stacked with famous faces. As the title suggests, it takes eight townie celebs and packs them off to spend 10 days on a farm, where they’ll be expected to muck in (and muck out) under the watchful eye of farmer Chris Jeffrey. The participants are TOWIE star Bobby Norris, country singer Megan McKenna, choreographer Louie Spence, Sandi Bogle from Gogglebox, former Strictly pro Gleb Savchenko, glamour girl Charlotte Dawson, British judo champion Ashley McKenzie and actress Lorraine Chase (who may have an advantage as she used to be in Emmerdale). In the first episode, Charlotte learns why high heels and farms don’t mix. The rest of the series can be seen nightly on 5STAR.

Manhunting with My Mum
Tuesday, C4, 10pm

Wanted – husband: AJ Odudu goes manhunting in Nigeria. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Wanted – husband: AJ Odudu goes manhunting in Nigeria. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Presenter AJ Odudu moved from Blackburn to London 10 years ago and forged a career in television and social media. (You may know her from projects such as Big Brother’s Bit on the Side and ITV2’s The Hot Desk.) Having recently turned 30, she is finding it hard to appreciate her success as she has no one to share it with. Her mum Florence moved from Nigeria to Blackburn in the early 1970s as part of an arranged marriage. Drawing on the Nigerian tradition of parents arranging partners for their children, mother and daughter take a road trip around Nigeria in an attempt to land AJ a husband. Their trip takes them to the town of Badagry, where AJ meets (a besotted) Prince Joshua. Other potential suitors include KC, a 34-year-old churchgoer in Lagos who is so true to his Christian faith that he has remained celibate. Will AJ ever find Mr Right?

Mary McAleese’s Modern Family
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Becoming modern: Mary and Martin McAleese with Minister Katherine Zappone at the 2018 Dublin Pride parade. Photograph: Tom Honan
Becoming modern: Mary and Martin McAleese with Minister Katherine Zappone at the 2018 Dublin Pride parade. Photograph: Tom Honan

Families? I’ll show you families. Former president Mary McAleese has been outspoken about the upcoming Irish visit of Pope Francis, and has refused to be silenced by the Vatican on issues such as same-sex marriage and the ordination of women. LGBTQ families may have been airbrushed from the official documentation of the World Meeting of Families, but McAleese is out to show us what family life in modern Ireland is really like in this documentary, which sees her encountering a diverse range of set-ups, including a couple with 11 children, a mixed-race and mixed-faith family, and a gay couple with their 18-year-old son. It’s clear that Irish families have changed since the last papal visit in 1979, and Irish attitudes to church teaching have changed as well. McAleese meets with clerics and theologians to discuss whether the Catholic Church can roll with these changes, or if it is forever fixed in its blinkered attitudes.

My Asian Family: The Musical
Wednesday, BBC4, 10pm

From Uganda to England: My Asian Family: The Musical, BBC4
From Uganda to England: 'My Asian Family: The Musical'

In 1972, 12 members of the Thakrar family arrived in Britain with virtually nothing, fleeing for their lives from Idi Amin’s Uganda. In the decades that followed, they found jobs, love and new lives, and the family now includes 90 members across three generations. As you may have gathered from the title, this programme tells their story through song and dance, showing how the Thakrars have preserved their Hindu cultural traditions while also adapting to British life. Jyoti, the youngest of the 10 siblings who made the initial move in the 1970s, provides the narration.

Living with the Pope
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.35pm
Could you live with the pope? No, this isn’t a papal episode of Living with Lucy - it’s a special programme asking a diverse group of Irish people if they could live by some of the more radical ideas put forward by Pope Francis. Presenter Mick Peelo presents this “church-step challenge”; among the people he meets are millionaire Richard Mulcahy, who reads the pope’s teachings on wealth and capitalism; dairy farmers the Megan family, who consider the pope’s views on environment and sustainability; and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh, who came out as gay after winning the contest, and who ponders the pope’s thoughts on family and relationships.

Inside Alton Towers
Thursday, C4, 9pm

Come shriek with me: Wicker Man, Alton Towers’ new rollercoaster
Come shriek with me: Wicker Man, Alton Towers’ new rollercoaster

In June 2015, two carriages collided on one of the most popular rides at Alton Towers, injuring 16 people, five seriously. This documentary goes behind the scenes as the UK’s biggest theme park attempts to win back visitors with the launch of their multimillion-pound new rollercoaster, Wicker Man. The film meets rollercoaster junkies keen to try the new ride and, with exclusive access to the theme park, follows the team as they battle with the challenge of building a wooden structure that appears to burst into flames. Can Alton Towers sell the new ride to the public and a sceptical media?

Pump Up the Bhangra: The Sound of Asian Britain
Friday, BBC4, 10pm

When Indian met Club: Bobby Friction and Gurcharan Mall in Pump Up the Bhangra
When Indian met Club: Bobby Friction and Gurcharan Mall in 'Pump Up the Bhangra'

BBC Asian Network DJ Bobby Friction explores the rise of Bhangra music in Britain, exploring how in the 1980s an Indian folk tradition was transformed into a part of the UK club scene, outselling many mainstream acts. It’s a story that takes in cassette tapes and teenagers bunking off school to attend secret gigs, but Friction also looks at how the genre soundtracked battles against discrimination and helped many British Asians to find their voice and identity. In the process, he hears from some of the scene’s most influential names, including Balbir Bhujhangy, Gurcharan Mall, Heera and Apna Sangeet.

Contributing: AP

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
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

Hello

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.
SUBSCRIBE
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.