Must-see TV: Six shows to watch this week
Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne hit the road, TG4 spies on road users, and Sense8 returns to Netflix
Dara & Ed’s Road to Mandalay, RTE One, Thursday. Photograph: Adrian Goss/Fremantle Media
Little Boy Blue
Monday, TV3, 10pm
On August 22nd, 2007, 11-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones was on his way home from football practice when he was shot dead by teenager Sean Mercer, a member of a local Liverpool gang. The murder shocked the community, and brought to light the problem of teenage gangs and gun crime on the streets.
The murder and its aftermath are recounted in this real-life drama starring Stephen Graham (above) as the Merseyside Police investigating officer determined to bring Mercer to justice, along with the gang and family members who tried to thwart the investigation.
Dara & Ed’s Road to Mandalay
Thursday, RTE One, 10.15pm
If Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon can do it, well, no reason why two of Ireland’s top comics can’t do it too. After the success of Coogan and Brydon’s wry travel series The Trip, Dara O Briain and Ed Byrne have joined forces to go on an odyssey of their own. Coogan and Brydon tooled around Italy and Spain, but O Briain and Byrne go further afield, heading for South East Asia, and travelling 3,000 miles through Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.
And while the The Trip was an excuse for Coogan and Brydon to sit around in restaurants indulging in comic banter and practising their Sean Connery and Michael Caine impressions, this series sees O Briain and Byrne actively engaging with the local culture, joining in with traditional activities and heading deep in to jungles both rural and urban - although there’s bound to be some top-notch comedic commentary along the way.
Turas an Bothar
Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm
What do people talk about when they’re driving around in their cars? This new series eavesdrops on people’s conversations as they go about their daily business behind the wheel. Among the participants are Maria and Ciaran from Dublin, Chris and Damien from Cork, Bairbre and Katie (below) from Connemara, Daithi and Criosoir in Galway and Aoife and Meabh from Belfast.
We’ll earwig on their chats through microphones concealed inside their cars, and get their views on every topic under the sunroof, from relationships, gay marriage, IVF, botox, diets, funerals and the afterlife.
The Truth about Stress
Thursday, BBC One, 9pm
We all know that stress is bad for you, right? Bad for the blood pressure and the ticker, and implicated in all sorts of diseases from diabetes to cancer. But what if a little stress is actually quite good for you?
Fiona Phillips (above) looks at this radical notion, and takes part in some stressed-out experiments to see if she can harness the power of intense mental pressure. Oh, me nerves.
Friday, Sky 1, 9pm
In the early 17th century, the first English settlement in the New World was established, on a swampy promontory in Virginia. Life was hard for the settlers, who endured mosquitos, disease, famine and a parlous relationship with the local native Americans. Not to mention a shortage of womenfolk. This new series is by the producers of Downton Abbey, but the only silverware you’ll see here are the blades wielded in a constant fight for survival.
The story centres on three women, Alice, Verity and Jocelyn, who arrive in Jamestown and are duty bound to marry the men who paid for their passage. Their hopes of a better life in the New World are quickly dashed, and they must use all their guile and wiles to get ahead in this harsh new environment. Also arriving is the new governor of Jamestown, Sir George Yeardley, and it’s not long before political unrest is stirred up in the colony.
from Friday, Netflix
It’s been called the most baffling series on Netflix, but whether that’s a complaint or a compliment we’re not sure. But here’s a second chance to make some sense of Sense8, as it begins its second series of mind-bending adventures. The first series introduced us to eight strangers from different parts of the world who discover they are mentally plugged into each other. It’s not long before a sinister group known as BPO is on their trail, forcing the “sensates” to put their heads together and work out how to counter this evil threat.
Dreamt up by the minds behind The Matrix, Cloud Atlas and World War Z, Sense8 series two promises more mind games, more hot pursuit, and even more cod-mystical guff about everything being interconnected, man.