The 11 best shows to watch on TV this week
A cartoon take on Trump, Ramsay on the rampage and Katherine Heigl joins ‘Suits’
TV chef and author Nadiya Hussain on the Graham Norton Show. File photograph: Ian West/PA Wire
Nadiya’s Family Favourites
Monday, BBC Two, 8pm
Look out, Nigella: British Pakistani chef Nadiya Hussain has your crown on her ingredients list, and she’s back with a new eight-part series in which she shows viewers how to cook delicious meals for entertaining family and friends in every situation, from day-trips to long, leisurely weekends. Hussain rose to fame after winning The Great British Bake Off in 2015, and since then she has established herself as a TV chef with the popular touch, and was even invited to bake a cake for the queen’s 90th birthday. Hussain has also broken through stereotypes of Britain’s Muslim community, and in this new series she comes up with multicultural recipes to satisfy all palates. The first episode focuses on family days out, and features chai spiced vermicelli, prawn saffron biryani and yummy cheesy biccies with tomato jam.
Monday, BBC Two, 8.30pm
Jeremy Paxman presides over proceedings as the academic quiz returns for its 25th series since the revival of the show in 1995, with competitors from 28 universities around the UK answering questions on all manner of subjects. The opening match of the first round sees four students from the University of Warwick take on a quartet from Exeter University for a place in the second stage of the contest.
Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9pm
It’s a sobering thought, but for a generation of kids born in the last decade or more, they will never have known a time when people didn’t spend hours clicking on animated GIFs posted by their friends, or spend hours more pressing “Like”. Facebook is, of course, a phenomenon which has changed the way we get our news and snoop on our nearest and dearest. But who decides what can and cannot be posted on the world’s biggest social media site? Here’s a chance to find out in an investigation which looks at how those decisions are made. It also explores the impact that they have on the millions of people who use Facebook. After watching this, you may never look at that hugely addictive social media site in the same way again.
My Broken Brain
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
What happens when the wiring inside your head goes awry? This is the question many people don’t want to discuss, but with nearly 750,000 Irish people suffering from some form of neurological condition, it may be time to face up to the reality that we may not always remain of sound mind.
In this documentary, we meet Irish people who have been diagnosed with either epilepsy, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, and follow them as they undergo medical treatment. Among them are 60-year-old theatre producer Ronan Smith, who realises he has inherited familial Alzheimer’s from his father, and whose children have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the condition. Also featured is 40-year-old Brian Byrne, who is about to undergo an awake craniotomy in an attempt to tackle his severe epilepsy, and 47-year-old Billy Reilly, a lifelong GAA man battling Motor Neurone Disease, who takes part in a clinical trial under Prof Orla Hardiman in the hope of a breakthrough.
The participants know that it may be too late for them, but they’re hoping that by getting involved in research, they may help others dealing with these debilitating brain diseases.
Our Cartoon President
Tuesday, Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm
No prizes for guessing who’s the chief target of this satirical animated series. The Showtime comedy focuses on the misadventures of a certain straw-haired, orange-skinned leader, his clueless family and his revolving retinue of fawning yes-folks. The series is co-produced by US president Donald Trump’s media nemesis, Stephen Colbert, so you can bet that no punches are pulled. This is the second part of season one, which has already dealt with Trump’s cack-handed efforts to comfort disaster victims and roll back Obamacare, but there’s an inherent flaw in this laff-riot approach to Trump. First, we thought we could defeat the Trump administration’s fake news agenda by simply stating the facts. But Trump and his supporters have proven impervious to anything approaching reality. Now it’s thought that humour might be the weapon to fell this self-regarding egotist, but in the light of Trump’s recent inhuman anti-immigration policies, it’s clear that this man is no joke, and humour dies a death in the face of his monstrous brand of neo-fascism.
Live Well For Longer
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
With the BBC’s series Eat Well for Less, plus countless other similar programmes, this new Channel 4 show promising an in-depth look at health topics might fail to stand out. That would be a shame, as this actually contains some really useful information – presented in a frank, grown-up fashion. Presenters Kate Quilton and Tamal Ray kick things off by discussing sex, drugs and alcohol. The pair hear about a new, supposedly hangover-free type of booze called “alcosynth”, while a group of women get a fresh look at the effects of alcohol by going tipple-free for a month. Meanwhile, reporter Morland Sanders trials a new smart drug, and asks whether it’s time to lift the ban on medical marijuana.
Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back
Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm
Gordon Ramsay travels across the US in search of restaurants in dire need of renovation — and after analysing their situation, he has just 24 hours to bring them back from the brink of disaster. His first stop is the New York community of Congers, where he hopes to save family-run Italian restaurant Bella Gianna’s. Gordon and his team work round the clock to clean the premises, remodel the interior and revamp the menu, while also teaching the staff to prepare new dishes and work together as an efficient unit. What will the customers think of the new-look restaurant?
Earlier this year, the US drama about the goings-on at a Manhattan law firm was probably the most talked-about show in the world – not because of any on-screen drama, but because of the presence of a future member of the British royal family on the cast list. So let’s get one thing out of the way: Meghan Markle won’t be featuring in this eighth season of the show – she’ll be too busy opening regattas and being photographed with Harry at various royal functions. But the show must go on, and season eight sees the firm of Spencer Litt dealing with the fallout from the departure of key partners (well, it’s not every day a top member of your legal team scoots off to marry a royal).
But things are looking up – the firm has found a worthy replacement: none other than Katherine Heigl as ambitious attorney Samantha Wheeler, a hawkish legal eagle determined to set herself up as the firm’s queen counsel.
The Crystal Maze
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
New series. The popular 1990s game show returns for a fifth run in its reworked, updated incarnation. Richard Ayoade guides five enthusiastic competitors, who are paid to play computer games for a living, on an epic adventure through four fantastical zones – Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic. In each zone the team must tackle physical, skill, mystery and mental challenges in a bid to win crystals. These elusive crystals each give them five seconds inside the Crystal Dome, where they hope to collect gold tokens to convert into prizes.
If you liked Futurama, here’s another animated sci-fi comedy series, this one created by indie film-maker Olan Rogers. It’s a grown-up cartoon following the adventures of an astronaut named Gary Goodspeed, who befriends an adorable alien named Mooncake. But Mooncake has a hidden talent – he can destroy entire planets, and the evil Lord Commander wants to tap into this talent in order to, we suppose, destroy planets. Gary and Mooncake must avoid falling into Lord Commander’s clutches while trying to solve the ultimate mysteries of the universe, such as where does the universe end, and does the blooming thing even exist at all?
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man
Friday, Sky One, 9pm
James Nesbitt returns as Detective Inspector Harry Clayton, the guardian of a special bracelet which bestows great luck on its wearer. Despite being supposedly the luckiest man in the world, however, Harry is beset by enemies, foes and criminals, all of whom want a piece of Harry’s good fortune. Sounds as if he would be better off throwing the damn bracelet in the Thames, but of course he’s not about to do anything so rash.
As series three begins, Harry is on the run from his old colleagues in London’s Murder Squad, and heads to Hong Kong to search for clues about the origins of the bracelet. But, as luck would have it, he falls foul of HK’s ultra-violent criminal gangs. And just when you think things couldn’t get worse, he faces his most powerful enemy yet, contract killer Samuel Blake, who wants – what else? – to get his bloodied hands on the magic bracelet. Lucky my arse.
Additional reporting: PA