Nine of the best TV shows to watch this week
John Kelly interviews Roddy Doyle, poet Eavan Boland marks International Women’s Day, and the dogs are the stars Crufts 2018
Crufts 2018 gets under way on Thursday. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The Great Celebrity Bake Off
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
The Great British Bake Off is still in rude health following its move to Channel 4, and a host of stars have signed up for this five-part run of celebrity specials – the first batch of famous faces to grab their mixing bowls are Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, actor and writer Róisín Conaty, veteran broadcaster Bill Turnbull and comedian Harry Hill. Future episodes will see the likes of Alan Carr, Lee Mack and former Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher attempting to bake up a storm in the name of Stand Up to Cancer. The first challenge is a bake sale classic — cupcakes. But then the competition intensifies with a fiery technical, followed by a demanding showstopper that involves recreating the best day of their lives as a three-dimensional biscuit scene.
The Works Presents . . . Roddy Doyle
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 11.10pm
Roddy Doyle is John Kelly’s first guest on the new series of The Works Presents… and it promises to be a good old chinwag as Doyle discusses the inspiration for his latest novel, Smile, the story of a separated fiftysomething man dealing with single life and the ghosts of childhood abuse. Doyle also looks back on his best-loved work, including the Barrytown trilogy, and the programme will be interspersed with clips from the film versions of The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. During the series, Kelly will also meet pianist John O’Conor, Oscar-nominated animator Nora Twomey, artist Colin Davidson and novelist Eimear McBride.
Stetsons and Stilettos
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm
Yee-ha! It’s time saddle up once again for a rootin’, tootin’ new series of Stetsons and Stilettos. You don’t need to travel to Nashville to find the heart of country music – it’s right here in the small towns and villages of Ireland, and once again the series takes us to a world we in our sheltered south Dublin lives never knew existed, where Nathan Carter is king, and Achy Breaky Heart is a searing ode to lost love. This week the series hitches its wagon to a country ‘n’ cupid festival, where cowboys and girls gather in the hopes of lassoing a romantic pardner, and the line-dancing lovers are treated to a live on-stage wedding.
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
Clare Balding presents the world’s biggest canine competition which gets underway on Thursday. Judging includes the working and pastoral groups – including the Boxer, Great Dane and St Bernard – and expect some mayhem and dogs running at breakneck speeds in the flyball and agility competitions, with the latter celebrating its 40th year at the contest. Plus, there will also be dog stories (not necessarily of the shaggy variety) and chats with the guests.
What Are You Eating?
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Weight-watchers everywhere have recently had to deal with a rather heavy revelation: calorie counting doesn’t add up to a hill of beans when it comes to shedding the pounds. Recent research suggests reducing your calorie intake alone won’t reduce your weight by one iota. It’s down to the type of foods you eat – and if processed foods are part of your diet, then you’re fighting a losing battle with the flab.
You won’t find many processed foods in the vegan diet, but you won’t find meat, fish or dairy products either. But Philip Boucher-Hayes is going to give it a go anyway in the third series of What Are You Eating? PBH has put his body through some gruelling diets in the name of telly entertainment, including the punishing paleo diet and the physically demanding high-protein gym bunny diet. (Those gym bunnies tasted a little tough). Will the vegan diet be the right fit? Can Boucher-Hayes survive on veggies, berries, grains and seed without going nuts? He’s got dietitian Aveen Bannon to help him keep up his protein and vitamin levels, and series chef Hilary O’Hagan-Brennan to show him how to cook vegan dishes that don’t leave him dreaming of a big juicy steak.
Eavan Boland: Is it Still the Same?
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
She has been called one of our greatest women poets, but many will agree that, gender aside, Eavan Boland is quite simply one of Ireland’s finest poets. This is an intimate portrait of Boland, who grew up the daughter of a diplomat and an artist, and who struggled to find her place in the male-dominated world of poetry in the 1960s. The documentary is broadcast to mark International Women’s Day, and looks at her enduring friendship with former president Mary Robinson, and her tireless work for the Irish Women’s Liberation movement (she still insists that she is an “Irish woman poet”). The programme also explores her life as a wife and mother in Dundrum, where she found her poetic voice, and her current life as a professor of creative writing at Stanford University in California.
Another feminist icon returns on International Women’s Day, but this one is more likely to bust heads than to bust a rhyme. Jessica Jones is back for a second series featuring the most badass female private dick in the Marvel universe. Jessica (Krysten Ritter) is trying to get back to what passes for normal round these parts after dispatching her archenemy Kilgrave, but now everybody knows she’s a kick-ass killing machine, which makes it a bit harder for her to lay low and stay out of trouble.
Not Going Out
Thursday, BBC One, 9pm
Lee Mack returns in the long-running sitcom and we have more domestic mayhem to look forward to as Lee struggles with life as a suburban dad assailed on all sides by demands and responsibilities. The last series time-jumped seven years from Lee and Lucy’s wedding straight into the anarchy of home life (same for me – those early years with toddlers went by in a blur). Lee is now dealing with three feisty kids, a feckless father, no-nonsense in-laws who don’t care much for Lee’s wisecracks, and a best friend (Hugh Dennis) who is on a mission to get out of his marriage. Welcome back, Mack.
Putin: The New Tsar
BBC2, Friday, 9pm
He may once have been a poor boy living in a tiny flat in St Petersburg, but from those humble beginnings, Vladimir Putin went on to become one of the world’s most powerful leaders. On the eve of his almost certain re-election as president of Russia, this documentary charts his rise, speaking to some of his inner circle, including Sergei Pugachev, who helped Putin to power before falling from favour. There are also contributions from former Home Secretary Jack Straw, who recalls Putin’s first meeting with Tony Blair, and former Foreign Secretary William Hague, who reveals how he bonded with the Russian leader over a shared love of judo but later found that his influence only stretched so far.
– Additional reporting PA