Ten of the best new TV shows to watch this weekend
Tubridy and Strictly are back, Damien Dempsey digs deep, Kylie is at Hyde Park
Ryan Tubridy returns with the 57th series of The Late Late Show tonight.
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
The national institution returns for a 57th year – making it one of the world’s longest-running chat show – with it’s usual mix of entertainment, controversy, discussion, music and comedy. Ryan Tubridy himself will celebrate 10 years at the helm of the show, and tonight he will be joined in the studio by a host of triumphant sporting stars: the Irish Senior Women's Hockey team; manager John Kiely, captain Declan Hannon and conditioning coach Joe O'Connor of the Limerick Senior Hurling team; and gymnast Rhys McClenaghan, hurdler Thomas Barr and swimmer Ellen Keane, all medal winners at the European Championships. Plus TV presenter Piers Morgan, who will discuss all things Brexit and Trump; Clare cave diver Jim Warny, who was involved in the dramatic Thai cave rescue; and Carlow Rose Shauna Ray Lacey. With music from James Vincent McMorrow and Beverly Craven.
Ancient Invisible Cities
Friday, BBC Two, 9pm
In this new three-part series, professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Warwick Michael Scott goes deep underground, using the latest laser-scanning technology and virtual reality to reveal the historical secrets of Cairo, Athens and Istanbul. He and his team begin in the Egyptian capital, as they attempt to help us us see this city as no human eye ever could. The film goes beneath the first pyramid ever built at Saqqara, near the entrance of the Nile Delta, which was one of the largest burial grounds in Egypt and in use for more than 3,000 years. Here Scott finds out how this necropolis, which remains mostly unexcavated helped inspire the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Friday, C4, 9pm
The fly-on-the-wall series turning the cameras on TV’s most vocal armchair critics returns, as the show’s regular gaggle of families, friends and viewing party acquaintances settle down to share their thoughts on what they have been watching during the week from the comfort of their own sofas. As usual, the programmes considered can range across any genre – comedy, drama, news and sport, while personalities in the firing line often include politicians such as Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump.
The Ray D'Arcy show
Saturday, RTE One, 9.45pm
New series. In a Love Island exclusive, Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham, the winning couple who melted hearts all summer, join Ray to talk about life since leaving the villa, what it’s like living together away from the TV cameras, how they avoided joining the “Do Bits Society”, and their exciting plans for the future. In addition, Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee and some of the show’s stars tell Ray about the series and McGee describes the switch from screen to stage for her new play, Girls and Dolls. Ray also meets two Waterford lads who are determined to turn their comic business into a massive industry and make them millionaires – before they are teenagers. With Alison Nevin, the lucky Dubliner who snapped a selfie with Pope Francis in Croke Park, and music by Damien Dempsey
Strictly Come Dancing: The Launch Show
Saturday, BBC One, 7.35pm
RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars may be a poor cousin to Strictly, but it’s now taken top billing in Irish viewers’ hearts while the BBC version has been relegated to warm-up act. However, just to put down some time until DWTS returns next spring (without presenter Amanda Byram and, alas, without last year’s star turn Marty Morrissey), Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are bringing another bunch of twinkle-toed celebrities onto the dancefloor, including the requisite YouTube star, former boyband star, former Pussycat Doll, former cricketer and more presenters than you can shake a pom-pom at. If you’re thinking of taking part in the Irish version, you might pick up some tips here.
Massacre at Ballymurphy
Saturday, C4, 8pm
It is a massacre that few have heard of, yet the tragic Ballymurphy shootings was one of the most significant events of the Troubles. This new documentary from award-winning director Callum Macrae (Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields) reflects on the day in August 1971 when 11 innocent people were killed by the British army on a Catholic estate in West Belfast. The British military has always maintained that the paratroopers were fired on first by IRA gunmen, but this investigative film suggests that may not have been the case and chronicles the fight by the victims’ relatives and survivors to discover the truth.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
It’s a brave soul who’ll dig into their ancient past – you never know what kind of unsavoury ancestors you’ll uncover. Beyoncé found out she was descended from a slave owner, so let’s hope Damien Dempsey doesn’t discover he’s related a landlord in penal times. The Dublin singer-songwriter is the first guest to take a dive into the genealogical pool and explore his family history in the new series of WDYTYA?. He finds out that his ancestors worked at a cotton mill in Massachusetts in the 19th century, his great-grand-aunt fought in the 1916 Rising alongside James Connolly, and an ancestor on his mother’s side was accused of treason and imprisoned with Daniel O’Connell. Other celebs scheduled to get the family tree treatment in this new series are actor and comedian Pat Shortt, presenter Laura Whitmore, former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, actor Adrian Dunbar, and diplomat Samantha Power.
Kylie Minogue Live at Hyde Park
Sunday, BBC1, 10.30pm
She has released 34 UK top-10 singles, including seven No 1s, sold more than 80 million records and has won three Brit Awards and a Grammy. So you could say that Kylie Minogue has come a long way since playing a tomboy mechanic in Neighbours. Tonight, the pint-sized Australian pop princess – who turned 50 back in May – headlines one of the highlights of the British summer’s musical calendar: Radio 2’s Live in Hyde Park. She will perform songs from her recent chart-topping album Golden, as well as many of her classics, including I Should Be So Lucky, The Loco-Motion, Hand on Your Heart, Better the Devil You Know, Confide in Me, Spinning Around and Can’t Get You Out of My Head.
Battle of Britain: Model Squadron
Sunday, C4, 8pm
Winston Churchill called it England’s “Finest Hour”. Now, as part of the RAF’s centenary, the Battle of Britain is brought to life by model airplane pilots recreating the days that changed history. This three-part series sees modellers fill the skies above the English south coast with the buzz of Spitfires and Hurricanes, as they push themselves and their miniature flying machines to the limit – dive bombing and dog fighting. They will be joined in this epic endeavour by pilots from Germany, who are bringing Messerschmitts, Heinkels and Stuka dive bombers to the UK. Meanwhile, author and historian James Holland uncovers the strategy, tactics and history of those key moments of the summer of 1940.
Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls
Sunday, C4, 9pm
New series. Another party of celebrities brave a deserted Pacific island. This year’s team of castaways consists of Olympic rower James Cracknell, boxer Anthony Ogogo, Hollywood star Eric Roberts, Pete Wicks (Towie), Montana Brown (Love Island), transgender campaigner and journalist Paris Lees, actor Martin Kemp, TV medic Dr Saleyha Ahsan, former model Jo Wood, and Roxanne Pallett (Emmerdale). Pete takes charge as they look for a place to camp, but his decision to leave most of their fresh water behind stirs up resentment as the weather worsens.
– Additional reporting: PA