Toy Show and sex robots: This week’s must-see TV
The Late Late Toy Show, the Netflix supernatural series Dark, and robot paranoia
Ryan Tubridy during last year’s Late Late Toy Show with toy tester Darragh Malone from Castlewellan, Co Down. Photograph: Andres Poveda
Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards 2017
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
If you’re wondering what books to buy for Christmas, the awards should give you a few ideas. And you can be sure of the quality of the writing, with nominees including Bernard MacLaverty, John Connolly, Frank McGuinness, Cecelia Ahern, Patricia Scanlan, Marian Keyes, Sinéad Moriarty and Ross O’Carroll Kelly. Keelin Shanley and Evelyn O’Rourke are the presenters, and there are a number of celebs on the shortlist including Vogue Williams, Francis Brennan and Blindboy Boatclub from The Rubberbandits.
David Brophy’s Choir of Ages
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
With his High Hopes Choir, conductor David Brophy brought homeless people together to raise their voices and rise above their desperate circumstances. Now, Brophy is turning his attention to older people facing isolation and loneliness, and young people in danger of becoming disconnected due to their internet connection. Brophy will attempt to bring the two disparate generations together in harmony, and also bring together singers from Walkinstown in Dublin and Co Leitrim. Can the senior citizens keep up with the young ‘uns as they belt out the tunes, and can the youngsters learn from the older ones’ wisdom and experience?
The Late Late Toy Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
It must be a Faustian pact Ryan Tubridy has made with RTÉ: every year Ryan has to pay the devil his due by donning an icky Christmas jumper, and spending an evening babysitting an army of insufferably talented kids while they run riot with the latest seasonal toys. Yes, it’s time again for The Late Late Toy Show, the annual ritual humiliation of Ryan, when the poor man is tormented by tots and toddlers and savaged by schoolkids, all the while keeping a big rictus grin on his face and acting like, well, a kid in a toyshop. Give that man a rise – he’s earned it.
The Toy Show is the biggest thing on Irish telly – last year it had a consolidated audience of 1.57 million viewers for its Jungle Book-themed show. This year’s theme is a closely guarded secret, but Tubs and his elves have promised something truly memorable this season.
When two young children mysteriously disappear in a German town, chilling secrets harboured for years begin to bubble up to the surface – and so do a few demons, as the series takes on a distinctly supernatural edge.
Soon, it becomes apparent that the disappearance is linked to events 30 years before – and whatever happened then has not yet been laid to rest. Don’t expect a Stranger Things-style romp back to the 1980s – we’re promised intricate puzzles, odd characters with their own weird backstories, and lots of creepy stuff.
Rise of the Robots season
Channel 4, all week
Think twice before you ask Santa for a robot this Christmas – you might find yourself obsolete by next Christmas. Channel 4’s Rise of the Robots season has plenty of programmes to feed your android paranoia. Guy Martin vs the Robot Car (Sunday, 9pm) features the first-ever race between human driver and AI vehicle. The Robot Will See You Now (Tuesday, 10pm) introduces us to robot counsellor Jess, who uses AI technology to give relationship advice. Wacky inventor David McGoran shows you how to create your own lovable bot in How to Build a Robot (Wednesday, 10.35pm) and finally, a team tries to create a fully functioning carnal assistant in The Sex Dolls Are Coming (Thursday, 10pm).