Nine of the best TV shows to watch this weekend

Monty Python legend Eric Idle on the Late Late, Podge and Rodge return on Ray D'Arcy and Galway singer takes part in the X-Factor live shows

The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Tonight Ryan Tubridy will be looking on the bright side of life with Monty Python legend Eric Idle. The comedian, actor, writer and musician will chat about being part of one of the most beloved comedy groups of all time and a life that has seen him count everyone from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones as friends – and why a Python reunion is unlikely.

As the bearded lady in The Greatest Showman, Keala Settle stole the show from Hugh Jackman and her performance of This Is Me is one of the biggest songs of the past decade. She describes being thrust into international fame and recording her new album.

Four time All-Ireland winner Cora Staunton will talk about scaling the heights of Ladies GAA – from starting out playing for the Mayo Senior team at 13 to taking 11 All-Star awards and be the first international draft signing in the Australian Women’s Football League. Staunton will give her take on the ongoing controversy around Ladies GAA in Mayo and talk about why she chose to address rumours about her sexuality.

When she was 16, Shauntelle Tynan was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. After eight months of chemo with little success, her mother began the mammoth task of raising €600,000 so Shauntelle could take part in US clinical trials that had the potential to save her life. In Texas for the past year, she returned to Ireland this week having been declared cancer free.


Plus Hector Ó hEochagáin on his new travel series, Hector Ó Siberia Go Saigon; master gardener Diarmuid Gavin on going back to basics with his new project; and music from The Whileaways.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Norton is joined by Sir Michael Caine, Chris Pine, Rami Malek and Sally Field. With music from Christine and the Queens, who perform their new single 5 Dollars.

Box Office
Friday, Virgin Media 2, 9pm

Lisa Cannon is back with a new series of the cinema show, bringing you behind the velvet rope as the stars of Hollywood promote their latest blockbusters. This week, Lisa meets Jamie Lee Curtis, who is reprising her iconic role in the original Halloween horror classic 40 years later. She also meets Irish actors Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford, stars of Rosie, the new drama written by Roddy Doyle.

Synth and Beyond with Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert
Friday, BBC4, 8pm

In theory, musicians Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert should clean up on an episode of All Star Mr and Mrs – they've been married for 24 years and have been in New Order together for even longer than that. However, it seems they are still capable of surprising each other with their musical tastes, and here they look back on their influences, which range from Captain Beefheart to disco. It seems eclectic tastes might run in the family, as Gillian reveals that her dad was a fan of punk, while Stephen shares the unlikely story of the time he was mistaken for Stevie Wonder.

The X Factor
Saturday, UTV, 8.25pm

Brendan Murray represented Ireland in the 2017 Eurovision competition but crashed out without making it past the semi-finals. Now the 21-year-old Galwegian is set to perform in Saturday’s live show after judge Louis Tomlinson chose Murray as one of his four final acts. And those who thought the UK’s talent search juggernaut had run out of steam may have been proved wrong as Robbie Williams has helped breathe new life into the format. This weekend is the first of the live shows. With Simon Cowell coaching the Girls, Tomlinson guiding the Boys, Williams handling the Groups and wife Ayda tackling the Overs, here is where the potential drama really begins.

The Ray D'Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.55pm

Podge & Rodge are back on TV after a long hiatus, and tonight they join Ray to introduce their new cohost, Doireann Garrihy. Also up: 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and bestselling author Dr Edith Eger, who describes how she learned to "find joy within" after Auschwitz; Irish solo sailor Gregor McGuckin, whose recent attempt to sail nonstop around the world was ended by a violent ocean storm; nine-year-old sheep farmer Lucy Harrington and her All-Ireland champion lambs and hoggets; and former ministers Mary O’Rourke, Gemma Hussey and Niamh Bhreathnach, who will discuss sexism in Irish politics. Plus music from Maria Byrne.

54 Hours: The Gladbeck Hostage Crisis
Saturday, BBC4, 9pm
This two-part German drama is based on a hostage crisis that shocked Germany in the summer of 1988. an armed bank robbery goes wrong, the ensuing manhunt turns into a disaster for the police and media, and gunmen take an entire busload of people hostage.

Philly McMahon: The Hardest Hit
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon is on a mission to change attitudes to drugs and drug addiction. His older brother John was a heroin user and died after a long battle with addiction in 2012. In this very personal documentary, McMahon explores the underbelly of drug addiction and he makes a case for decriminalising drugs in Ireland. Since John’s death, Philly has travelled the country campaigning for decriminalisation, as well as mentoring young people and encouraging them away from drug use. We see him training prisoners in Mountjoy – among them lads he grew up with in Ballymun. He speaks with his parents about the heartbreak of having an addict in the family, and travels to Portugal to see how new laws have transformed that country’s relationship with drugs. Philly also interviews people still struggling with addiction, as well as other parents who have lost their children to drugs.

Royal Opera House: Lessons in Love and Violence
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm

Composer George Benjamin and playwright Martin Crimp previously collaborated on Written on Skin, the most performed new opera of the 21st century. This new peiece is a powerful and thrilling story of passion and brutality and combines atmospheric music and deep character studies. The drama begins as King Edward II's relationship with Piers Gaveston upsets the personal life of court and the political wellbeing of the country. Then, when the controlling military leader Mortimer joins forces with Queen Isabel, the results are deadly for Gaveston and Edward.

Additional reporting: PA