This week’s must-see TV: Eurovision and the Undocumented
Beyond the Eurovision, it’s a good week for comedy, drama and documentary
Nick Helm, Jim Howick, Mary McCormack, Samuel Anderson and Jonny Sweet in Loaded, Channel Four, Monday. Photograph: Channel Four
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Tech geeks and net nerds are proving ripe fodder for comedy writers, and you can’t turn on the telly these days without being bombarded by “IT-coms” such as Silicon Valley and The IT Crowd. But there’s always room for more IT idiocy, and Loaded is a riotous comedy about four British tech entrepreneurs who are thrown into a world of high living and hard partying after selling their gaming company Idyl Hands. They may be overnight multimillionaires, but they’re about to wake up to a whole suite of new problems.
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Many in the US are living in fear of Donald Trump’s (with Enda Kenny, left) crackdown on illegal immigration, but that shouldn’t worry the Irish – after all, we’re not illegal, we’re “undocumented”. But still, many of the 50,000 “undocumented” Irish are worried that they may lose their jobs, homes and even families if Trump decides to send in the goon squads. This documentary looks at what life in the US is like for Irish people who don’t have the proper paperwork, and are living a precarious life that could be pulled from under them at any time. Six undocumented Irish in New York tell their stories of getting by without access to such things as health insurance, driver’s licence or the freedom to travel home.
Eurovision Song Contest Semi- Finals
Tuesday & Thursday, RTÉ Two, 8pm
Remember when Ireland ruled the Eurovision? We won the contest so many times, it got a little embarrassing. Some reckoned we could have sent a turkey to Eurovision and he would have won (we did; he didn’t). These days, however, the dream of douze points is far in the distance, and we’re lucky if we can even get within an ass’s roar of the final. But we’re going to try again this year at the Eurovision Song Contest Semi- Finals. This time we’re sending young singer-songwriter Brendan Murray (left) into the lion’s den with his rather insipid if well-meaning ditty Dying to Try (why didn’t we send Niall Horan?). Brendan will be performing in Thursday’s semi-final, and he’s up against Israel with the more upbeat-sounding I Feel Alive, Romania with the scary-sounding Yodel It!, and Lithuania with their pointedly political tune Rain of Revolution. We are going to get hammered (and sickled).
Wednesday, Sky Atlantic, 10pm
You’ve binged out on all the crime dramas Scandinavia has to offer, but fear not – Belgium has come up with a new series that’s even darker than its famed chocolate. Public Enemy centres on a convicted paedophile who is about to be released into an unwelcoming community. Guy Beranger (Angelo Bison, left) has served his 20-year sentence for the murder of a child, and is in the care of the monks of Vielsart Abbey, but the local villagers are not too happy about the situation. When a child goes missing soon after Beranger’s arrival at the abbey, things get very unpleasant indeed. The series has won acclaim in Belgium and internationally. Will it be as good as The Missing? We can but hope.
King Charles III
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
How’s this for a royal plot? Queen Elizabeth has died, and, after a lifetime’s wait, Charles (played by Tim Pigott-Smith, left) finally ascends to the throne. But when the new king baulks at signing a controversial Bill into law, the UK is plunged into a constitutional and political crisis – and William and Kate are a bit miffed, too. King Charles III is an adaptation of the Olivier award-winning play by Mike Bartlett. The clever bit is that it’s performed just like a Shakespearean play, with the dialogue in iambic pentameter, and the plot twists conjuring up Macbeth and Othello.
Thursday, RTÉ Two, 7pm
Ireland might well be sitting out the Eurovision final again this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the melodic delights on offer at this year’s event. And just to whet our appetites (or try to drum up some enthusiasm), this documentary looks at our enduring fascination for a horribly dated contest featuring cheesy songs and even cheesier costumes. The press release goes on about “spellbound” audiences and “trans-European shared memories” but the reality is that beleaguered TV stations all over Europe badly need viewers to keep tuning into this annual cheesefest until the yaks come home.
Anne With an E
Netflix, from Friday
Remember Anne of Green Gables? The mini-series based on the 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery was a huge success in the 1980s, and now Netflix have “reimagined” the iconic drama with this new series. No, it’s not a modernised version set in the rave generation – Anne With an E is adapted from the original novel, and features Irish-Canadian actor Amybeth McNulty in the red-headed, freckly-faced title role. This could be a vomit-inducing Little House on the Prairie pastiche, or it could be a charming little drama about a young orphan girl changing hearts and minds on the American frontier.