The 10 best TV shows to watch this week
Aidan Gillen plays Dave Allen while Graham Norton welcomes Kylie Minogue
The Million Pound Holiday Club
Monday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
Four “celebrities” are thrown into the gold-plated world of luxury reportage, as they are assigned to review holidays and experiences for lifestyle magazine Lusso. Comedian Rob Beckett jets off to private island Petit St Vincent, while First Dates’ Fred Sirieix and model and actress Kelly Brook attend a gourmet food challenge in Paris, and musician and broadcaster Huey Morgan teams up with Hollywood stunt driver Ben Collins for an eccentric race in the British countryside featuring expensive vintage cars.
Travel Man: 48 Hours in Brussels
Monday, Channel 4, 8.30pm
Richard Ayoade is back with another run – the sixth – of his offbeat tourism show in which he and a buddy take a whistlestop tour of some major destinations. First into the fray this time around is comedian and Not Going Out star Lee Mack, who joins Ayoade for a short break in the Belgian capital. Their two-day trip features culture, comics, pralines, puppets and attractions both large and small, including the Grand Place and the famous atom-shaped Atomium, as well as waffles, mussels – including Moules Genghis Khan – and the secrets of chocolate-making.
Dave Allen at Peace
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm & RTÉ One, 9.30pm
Aidan Gillen blew quite a few minds with his devilish portrayal of our former taoiseach Charles J Haughey in the mini-series Charlie. Now, he’s going to try to top that by playing another legendary Irish figure – the comedian Dave Allen, who died in 2005. Dave Allen at Peace was commissioned by the BBC and is written by Stephen Russell, who also wrote Peaky Blinders. This biopic explores what motivated the young Dublin lad to become the most successful Irish comedian of his generation, and a beacon for a whole bunch of Irish comedians to follow. Allen was a fixture of British television in the 1970s and 1980s, and his controversial sketches mocking the Catholic Church were a definite influence on Father Ted. Ironically, his career went into decline after he dropped the F-bomb during one of his TV monologues. Gillen immerses himself in Allen’s persona, sitting on his signature stool with glass of ginger ale to hand, and reflecting on his 40-year-career and the events that shaped his life, particularly the death of his father (played by Tommy Tiernan).
Kiss Me First
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
A thriller that moves between the real and virtual worlds? That could either be the best of both worlds or a confusing collision of half-baked ideas. Kiss Me First is a six-part drama based on the novel by Lottie Moggach, and combining live action with state-of-the-art virtual reality sequences. Lonely teenager Leila is addicted to video games, and when her mother dies, she retreats deeper into the online world of Agora, where she can be whoever she wants to be. When she meets extrovert party girl Tess, the scene is set for intrigue and deceit. Let’s hope there isn’t too much “lag” in this virtual world.
Tuesday, BBC One, 9pm; RTÉ One, 9.30pm
In part two of Danny Brocklehurst’s drama, Marie is determined to press the reset button on her life but when things start to spiral out of control, she finds herself in the depths of despair and deceiving people around her. Elsewhere, Liam and Laura are getting increasingly frustrated with Brenna when she invites chaos and danger into the family home. After her ex-boyfriend Garry turns up at the house looking for his son, events take a sudden turn for the worse. Meanwhile, Liam makes a drastic decision. The cast includes Christopher Eccleston and Paula Malcomson.
My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me
Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
Comedian Patrick Kielty has first-hand memories of The Troubles. On January 25th, 1988, his father John “Jack” Kielty was shot dead by the UFF – a wing of the UDA – in his home village of Dundrum. Now, on the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement, Patrick wants to find out if the historic peace deal has delivered on its pledge to create a new Northern Ireland, free of the hatred that took his father’s life. He returns to his home village and then travels around the country meeting other people whose lives were shattered by the Troubles, including Richard Moore, who was a 10-year-old boy on his way home from school when he was shot and blinded by a British army officer’s rubber bullet. Patrick visits the Border country, exploring why Brexit has put the peace deal back in the spotlight and meets politicians from both sides, including DUP leader Arlene Foster and young Sinn Féin representative Emma Rogan.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm
Friday nights haven’t been the same without Graham, but thankfully he’s back for a new series of chat. In the first edition, a married couple join the host, as Emily Blunt, star of The Devil Wears Prada and Girl on a Train, and US Office actor John Krasinski discuss working together in new horror movie A Quiet Place. Kylie Minogue also chats and performs her new single Stop Me from Falling from the album Golden. Plus, another bunch of intrepid audience members steps up to the plate, willing to recount an anecdote from the dreaded red chair.
The City and the City
Friday, BBC Two, 9.30pm in Northern Ireland
China Miéville’s mind-bending novel The City and the City has been described as weird fiction – a type of science fiction that takes place in a world very like our own, but with a twist. In the case of this three-part TV adaptation, which stars David Morrissey, some of the “weirdness” comes from the setting. It takes place in the fictional city of Beszel, which shares the same geographical space with Ul Qoma. However, the two metropolises have a dangerous relationship and citizens are trained from childhood to unsee the other city. That could change when the body of a young woman is found at the Bulkya Docks, which overlap with Ul Qoma. Inspector Tyador Borlu (Morrissey) of the Extreme Crime Squad, notices similarities between the murder and a previous, but risks losing the investigation to the secret police.
Have I Got News for You
Friday, BBC One, 9.30pm
The satirical news quiz, still featuring original team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, returns for the first instalment of its 55th series, helmed for this first edition by veteran journalist Jeremy Paxman. Helping poke fun at the week’s events are comedian Josh Widdicombe and Watchdog and Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern. There are no general elections or major referendums on the cards this spring, but plenty to muse about as Brexit negotiations continue and the nation struggles in its relationship with Russia.
Front Row Late
Friday, BBC Two, 11.05pm
Mary Beard hosts a new series of the TV version of Radio 4’s long-running cultural review show. In the first episode, she’ll be looking at the generation gap, as she finds that as well as being divided over pensions and house prices, boomers and millennials are also fighting it out in the theatres, galleries and bookshops as they claim the right to define and redefine the “classics”. Her guests will also be discussing The Inheritance, a new play directed by Stephen Daldry, about different generations of gay men in New York today.