Six TV shows to watch this week (that aren’t Game of Thrones)
Away from the most anticipated finale in aeons here are six others to whet the appetite
Game of buns: the new pretenders to the GBBO throne
The Great British Bake Off
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
The scene is set for the mother of all battles, as mighty forces meet in a flurry of fire and steel. No, we’re not talking about the season finale of Game of Thrones (Monday, 2am & 9pm), although that’s shaping up to be a serious showdown. We’re talking about another hugely popular warmongering franchise, The Great British Bake Off (Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm), which returns to our screens with a whiff of cordite and vanilla extract, as 12 amateur bakers line up their armies of hundreds and thousands in a bid to capture the Bake Off throne.
The story so far: having succumbed to the temptation of filthy lucre, the show has ensconced itself in its new home on Channel 4. But while judge Paul Hollywood has remained loyal, the rest of the Bake Off team refused to make the trek to the dark side, so new judge Prue Leith has been recruited, along with new presenters Sandy Toksvig and Mighty Boosh man Noel Fielding. Will the new crew raise the flour to a new level or will this series be a flat soufflé? Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, as they say, and don’t beat the eggs too hard.
And for those who just can’t get enough of that sweet stuff, The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice (Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm) will see Jo Brand and a panel of celebrity Bake Off fans pick over the crumbs from the latest episode and chew over the goings-on in the tent.
Sunday, BBC One, 7.30pm; Tuesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Diana, Princess of Wales died 20 years ago this week, and if you haven’t already maxed out on Diana-related retrospectives, then Diana, 7 Days might be worth watching. The documentary by award-winning filmmaker Henry Singer looks back on an extraordinary week in history, as Britain – and the world – reacted to the news of Diana’s death with an unprecedented outpouring of grief. The documentary features interviews with many of the people who were at the centre of events, including her siblings Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer, her lady-in-waiting Anne Beckwith-Smith, prime minister Tony Blair and Diana’s two sons, William and Harry. Get the tissues out – this could trigger a few collective memories.
Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Sunday, BBC One, 9.05pm; Monday, BBC One, 9pm
JK Rowling is best known for a certain bespectacled boy wizard, but she also published several crime novels under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, which follow the adventures of private investigator Cormoran Strike, whose own backstory is almost as strange as Harry Potter’s. Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling stars Tom Burke as the eponymous detective, with Holliday Grainger as his assistant Robin Ellacott. Supermodel Lula Landry has fallen to her death from a balcony, but was it suicide? When Lula’s stepbrother asks Strike to find out the truth, he’s only too happy to take on the case, as he’s broke. Meanwhile, his new assistant does some detective work of her own, and discovers her boss’s dad was a hellraising rock star, and his mother was a groupie.
Horizon: What Makes a Psychopath?
Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm
Are you a psychopath? Is your boss a psychopath? Are you married to a psychopath? Am I a psychopath? The world is fascinated by psychopaths – we just love those cold, calculating minds which see puny humans as mere insects. But what is a psychopath, and could we spot one in our local supermarket? Horizon: What Makes a Psychopath? (Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm) walks a thin ethical line by actually communicating with one of Britain’s most notorious psychopaths, the Moors Murderer Ian Brady. The team struck up a correspondence with Brady, and his letters form part of their research into the psychopathic urge to prey on others.
From Friday, Netflix
Every crime series needs a bad guy to pursue, but what do you do when your bad guy has been killed at the end of series two, and the viewers want more? Narcos has found the answer: go after an even bigger enemy. After Pablo Escobar, Colombia’s most notorious drug kingpin, is killed in a rooftop shootout at the end of season two, the way is clear for a new drug cartel to take over lucrative cocaine trade – the Cali Cartel. Led by four godfathers, the Cali Cartel ran 90 per cent of the drug trade in Colombia, and their tentacles ran into all levels of government and officialdom. But will they have the charisma of actor Wagner Maura, who played Escobar? And will viewers get hooked on the new series?
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One,9.35pm
Summer holidays are ending, back to school is looming, and that means one thing: time for Ryan Tubridy to get back to the telly and show us why he’s worth nearly half a million squids. The Late Late Show returns for its 56th outing, and our exhaustive research tells us it will once again feature “chat, music and craic” with “celebrity guests, in-depth interviews and the stories that get the nation talking”. See, we’re worth all that moola The Irish Times pays us (don’t push it – Ed).