This week’s TV: seven shows to watch

Ardal O’Hanlon’s latest outing, country and Irish in full (crystal) swing, and nursing under the microscope


After Hours

Monday, Sky 1, 9.30pm

In a classic episode of Father Ted, Fr Dougal had to drive a booby-trapped milkfloat set to explode if it went below 4 miles an hour. In new comedy-drama After Hours , Ardal O’Hanlon risks typecasting by playing an out-of-work milkman, Peter Hannigan, trying to provide for his family in the blighted English town of Shankly.

The series centres on Peter’s son Willow, dumped by his girlfriend and abandoned by his mates who have all gone off to university. The only thing that keeps him sane is local independent radio show After Hours, broadcast from a barge by music fans Lauren and Ollie.

The pair allow Willow to come on board as their assistant, and the trio set out on a mission to provide inspiration to their depressed community. With a cast that includes Bafta winner Georgina Campbell, John Thomson and Caroline Aherne, this heartwarming comedy could hit the sweet spot.

Stetsons And Stilettos

Sunday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm

When Garth Brooks pulled his Croke Park gigs in 2014, 400,000 Irish country music fans were left disappointed. Who are these fans and what is it about country music that gets them all hog-tied with emotion? Stetsons And Stilettos is a new six-part series that tries to get to the heart of country music in Ireland and uncover the secret of its enduring popularity.

The series visits some of the most popular country music hotspots, filled to the brim with Stetson-sporting country heads jiving and line-dancing to Achy Breaky Heart and goes on tour with Ireland’s hottest young country star, Nathan Carter. Along the way, the series visits country music’s answer to the Electric Picnic and gatecrashes the country-themed wedding of Dervla Burke from Crystal Swing.

Designing Ireland

Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Irish design is marked by its blend of traditional craft and forward-thinking innovation, and a major new series, Designing Ireland tries to pull together the different strands to come up with a composite picture of how it has developed and evolved.

Presented by architect Angela Brady and design writer Sandra O’Connell, this four-part series, commissioned to mark the Year of Irish Design, promises a visual feast that highlights the skill, talent and originality of Irish designers.

Ireland’s Call: A Prime Time Special

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 10.30pm

Would you like to see a united Ireland in 2016? Well, here’s a chance to get your spoke in. Ireland’s Call: A Prime Time Special, a collaboration between RTÉ and BBC Northern Ireland, seeks to find out if, 100 years after the Easter Rising, people from the North and South want a united Ireland.

However, this is not simply a one-issue debate. A specially commissioned survey sought views on a range of social, economic and political issues from people on both sides of the Border, and the results of this survey will be discussed. The programme links RTÉ’s Prime Time, presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, and BBC’s Nolan Live, presented by Stephen Nolan, to create a wide-ranging discussion that is sure to stimulate and provoke in equal measures.

Nurses on the Frontline

Monday, BBC One, 9pm

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, one group witnessed the consequences on both sides first-hand and up close. Nurses on the Frontline tells the story of the medical staff who treated both the victims and perpetrators of the violence and who tended to the wounded and dying in the Omagh, Enniskillen and Shankill bombings and in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

This documentary hears the accounts of nurses who dedicated their lives to caring for those injured in the conflict, whether they were innocent civilians, security forces, bombers or gunmen.

Dole Life

Sunday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

When the Government presented Budget 2016, it seriously expected Ireland’s young emigrants to come flocking back to the nest to take up the thousands of high-paying jobs that would miraculously materialise. But life for twentysomethings still trapped here has not improved all that much, and Dole Life follows a group of young people as they try and get on the career ladder.

These include Shauna, who can’t afford to socialise on Dublin’s gay scene; Lloyd, a Trinity graduate trying to start his own artisan soup business; and Avril, who is so desperate for work, she’s considering taking up a JobBridge placement. Emigrants watching this on the RTÉ Player will have their minds changed about coming home.

Simply Nigella

Monday, BBC Two, 8.30pm

Too many TV cooks? The celebrity chefs are packed like sardines into the autumn schedules, but now it’s time for them to move aside and make room for the queen of them all, Nigella Lawson. In her latest series, Simply Nigella, Lawson wants to show that cooking for friends and family need not be a stressful chore, but can be calming, relaxing and pleasurable – and no one knows how to derive pleasure from food quite like Nigella. So get your apron on (and little else) and get ready to spend a sensual half-hour in the kitchen with Nigella.