Nine TV shows to watch this week
Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale all return
Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope: Seána Kerslake and Nika McGuigan as Aisling and Danielle
The Woman in White
BBC One, Sunday, 9pm
Ben Hardy, Charles Dance and Dougray Scott star in the BBC’s five-part adaptation of Wilkie Collins’s psychological murder mystery. But the big mystery here is why it took the Beeb so long to get around to adapting this 1859 novel. Maybe it has been too busy rehashing Jane Austen. Either way, we’re promised a feast of intrigue as a young teacher, Walter Hartright, encounters the titular ghostly figure on Hampstead Heath, setting of a suspenseful chain of events.
Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope
RTÉ2, Sunday, 9.30pm
Put away your old Sex and the City box sets and break out the Prosecco: the two sassiest girls on Irish telly are back on the scene for the second series of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. (Just don’t call it Fecks and the City.) Seana Kerslake and Nika McGuigan reprise their roles as Aisling and Danielle in the acclaimed series by Stefanie Preissner, but we’re not in Copper Face Jack’s any more, Toto. When we left the pair they had just had a big bust-up outside the legendary shifting shop, and went their separate ways. Aisling is living with her parents in Mallow after losing her high-flying financial job in the IFSC, and buried in nappies and buggies as she helps look after her unexpected new baby sister. Meanwhile, Danielle is in Vancouver on her scholarship, being all artsy and avoiding all Aisling’s attempts to renew contact. But Vancouver is too politically correct for Danielle’s liking, and she misses the craic. Meanwhile, Aisling decides she’s had enough of small-town life and heads back to Dublin. Could this be the catalyst for a new beginning? Or the tipping point into even more chaos? We’re plumping for the latter.
Sky Atlantic, Monday, 9pm
Do you dare return to the sci-fi theme park peopled by cowboys and androids? Westworld’s first series was a violent, visceral and thought-provoking study of what happens when humans create robots to fulfil their every need – and facilitate their darkest urges. But then came the Awakening, and the creators of Westworld could no longer control their playthings. By the end of season one the tables had turned, and now it’s the robots of Westworld killing their former masters for sport. Season two promises to be even more bloody and violent, as Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) gleefully embraces her new role of avenging android. But will conquering Westworld be enough for her, and will she look for fresh kills in the world beyond? This world’s not for the squeamish, that’s for sure. In season one, you could keep telling yourself, it’s only a robot. In this season, you don’t have that luxury.
All Bets Are Off
RTÉ One, Monday, 9.35pm
Baz Ashmawy knows all about beating the odds: he has put his mammy through many dangerous stunts, and she has survived them all. Gambling with your mammy’s life is one thing, but actual gambling is another, and in All Bets Are Off Ashmawy looks at what happens when gambling spirals out of control and sends ordinary people over the edge. He meets Tony O’Reilly, a post-office manager who stole nearly €2 million to feed his gambling addiction, and the Offaly footballer Niall McNamee, who lost more than money playing a mug’s game. Apparently, Irish people are the world’s unluckiest online gamblers, and the third-biggest losers in the world, so it’s not worth our while. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of Irish people getting sucked in by the lure of easy money. Baz quickly finds out that there really are more than 50 ways to lose your shirt.
How to Cook Well with Rory O’Connell
RTÉ One, Tuesday, 7pm
The first menu in the culinary teacher’s eight-part run involves a starter of mussel and wild-garlic omelette, a main of meatballs with roasted red onions and cherry tomatoes, and a caramel-meringue dessert.
BBC One, Tuesday, 9pm
Nicola Walker heads the cast of this six-part drama from the award-winning writer Abi Morgan. She plays Hannah, a successful lawyer who leaves her family after being denied a promotion, and starts working for an arch-rival.
RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Just to sow the seeds for this year’s Bloom, RTÉ’s garden challenge returns with the promise of more mud-slinging and dirt-digging. It’s trowels at dawn as five garden designers go head to head to create a winning garden worthy of being showcased at the annual Bloom festival, in the Phoenix Park. First up is Joanna O’Brien from Cork, a geo-engineer who was inspired to pursue her gardening dream after a heart scare. She takes on the task of designing a Chinese garden for her granny, but she soon clashes with judge Mónica Alvarez over her choice of colours and her centrepiece, a moon gate.
BBC Two, Thursday, 9pm
Simon Schama examines the role of art in a world increasingly dominated by machines, computers and the need to make a profit. He ponders whether it should provide an escape from our lives, or enable us to cope with its pressures.
The Handmaid’s Tale
RTÉ2, Thursday, 9.30pm
The award-winning dystopian drama returns for a second series, and we get to see the first two episodes just a day after it airs on the US streaming service Hulu. The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of Offred, trapped in a postapocalyptic patriarchy in which the very few fertile women are enslaved and used for breeding. Series one ended with a pregnant Offred (played to near perfection by Elizabeth Moss) being taken away to an unspecified fate. So what happens in series two? We’re in uncharted territory now, as the series takes place after the events of the original novel, by Margaret Atwood. What we do know is that Offred will do everything she can to fight the powers of Gilead and find a way to save her future child from a life of enslavement.