TV guide: 11 of the best shows to watch this week

Including Derry Girls, Blue Planet Live, This Time with Alan Partridge, and MasterChef

Derry Girls: Ardal O’Hanlon makes a guest appearance

Derry Girls: Ardal O’Hanlon makes a guest appearance

 

Blue Planet Live
BBC One, Sunday, 8pm
Chris Packham, Steve Backshall and Liz Bonnin kick off a week of live programmes about aquatic wildlife around the globe and the state of the world’s oceans as animals struggle to thrive in the face of increasing environmental pressure. Packham visits the world’s biggest whale nursery, in Mexico, Backshall goes swimming with tiger sharks in the Bahamas, and Bonnin meets scientists experimenting on coral to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, while also encountering newborn turtles living on a nearby island.

My Tribe
RTÉ One, Monday, 7.30pm
We all want to belong to a tribe. Me, I’m proud to be part of the Boring – baldy old rockers in naff gear – tribe. You can spot us at Stranglers reunion gigs or Pink Floyd tribute shows. My Tribe is a four-part bilingual series on four tribal styles that have become frozen in time, beginning with rockabilly, the enduring 1950s musical style that has influenced every generation of rockers from Shakin’ Stevens to Imelda May. We meet ultimate rockabilly couple Jimmy Shields and Jenny Cullen, from Waterford, modern-day Teddy boy Dominic, who has an enviable collection of 1950s jukeboxes, and Sorcha Loughrey-Hoey, whose three-year-old son, Vincent, is already a huge Elvis Presley fan. Other episodes will focus on mods, skinheads and punks.

My Tribe: Jimmy Shields and Jenny Cullen, from Waterford, the ultimate rockabilly couple
My Tribe: Jimmy Shields and Jenny Cullen, from Waterford, the ultimate rockabilly couple

This Time with Alan Partridge
BBC One, Monday, 9.30pm
Although some fans of Steve Coogan’s most famous creation yearn for the halcyon days of the host’s time at Linton Travel Tavern, this is still a jewel in the BBC’s comedy crown, and this episode is a dazzler: Alan decides he’s ready to show how skilled a journalist he really is during a #MeToo special. A bonus is a performance by his mixed vocal harmony group, The Quavers.

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer
Channel 4, Tuesday, 8pm
Presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, along with judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, welcome four more celebrities into the tent to expose their soft centres. The broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, the comedian Joe Wilkinson, the actor Sally Lindsay and the reality star Georgia Toffolo make characterful biscuits for their signature challenge, followed by a technical task that leaves them nowhere to hide, and, finally, make a cake in the shape of their favourite hobby.

MasterChef: The Finals
BBC One, Tuesday, 9pm
The final five head to the Royal Society in London, where they have the immense task of cooking a five-course tasting menu to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Transglobe Expedition, the world’s first circumpolar navigation, which travelled the globe vertically, via both the South and North Poles. Hosting the event is Ranulph Fiennes, the expedition’s mastermind, and guests include some renowned explorers. Four of the amateur chefs will make it through to tomorrow; then three (see below) will go on to Friday’s grand final.

Derry Girls
Channel 4, Tuesday, 9.15pm
The Quinns – and their friends – gather for a family wedding, where the younger members of the group soon make a show of themselves. Ardal O’Hanlon makes a guest appearance as a cousin who probably wishes he had stayed at home.

The Good Fight
More 4, Thursday, 9pm
RTÉ2 is showing the second series of the US legal drama. Over on More 4, the third season begins with a storm brewing at of Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart. Revelations of past indiscretions involving a partner at the Chicago law firm come to light, and, just as she thought the world couldn’t get any crazier, an incident at home pushes Diane (Christine Baranski) to breaking point. How long can she keep up her resistance against the current administration? Meanwhile, Lucca (Cush Jumbo) struggles to balance new motherhood, romance and a potentially lucrative promotion opportunity.

The Good Fight: Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
The Good Fight: Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart

Dead Pixels
E4, Thursday, 9.30pm
What happens when the IT crowd are sucked into a huge online role-playing game? Dunno, but this new six-part comedy follows tech geeks Meg, Nicky and Usman, who have become obsessed with a popular fantasy RPG called Kingdom Scrolls. Suddenly, ordinary life is no longer of any consequence – all that matters is getting back in the game and defending Castle Blackfinger from the orc hordes. The series mixes live action with computer animation as the trio navigate the tricky terrain between online and real life. The series is made by the creators of the mighty Peep Show, so we’re really looking forward to logging on to this one and getting dead pixelated.

Hanna
Amazon Prime, from Friday
The movie starred Saoirse Ronan as a teenage killing machine evading rogue CIA agents out to terminate her. The TV version stretches it into a full series, which could be a case of diminishing returns or, if it is done well, as with Fargo, could really open out the story. Esmé Creed-Miles plays Hanna, who is raised in isolation by her father, Erik (Joel Kinnaman), who also trains her to look after herself in any deadly situation. Which is handy, because, over the course of eight explosive episodes, Hanna will encounter all sorts of deadly situations as she’s hunted by the relentless Marissa Weigler (Mireille Enos, in the Cate Blanchett role) and her team of rogue operatives. Of course, there’s a deeper conspiracy at work that Hanna will have to uncover while busy not getting dead.

Santa Clarita Diet
Netflix, from Friday
If you want to cancellation-proof your TV show, make sure it’s about zombies, vampires or other twilight creatures. If your characters are undead, then they can’t be killed off, can they? The Walking Dead, for instance, is going into its zillionth series, and Santa Clarita Diet, starring Drew Barrymore as the corpse-chewing mom Sheila Hammond and Timothy Olyphant as her ever-patient husband, Joel, has made it to a third series. It has been hard work hiding Sheila’s predilection for eating human flesh from the rest of the community over two series, so it was no surprise to see sheriff’s deputy Anne learning about the Hammonds’ hideous secret. Series three will focus on Joel’s struggles to deal with his wife’s, er, condition. He’s thinking maybe he should just become a zombie, too. It’ll make dinner dates so much less complicated.

MasterChef: The Finals
BBC One, Friday, 8.30pm
The last three amateurs in the BBC’s cooking competition have to really come up with the goods before judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode choose which of them will become the 15th MasterChef champion. There’s just three more hours for them to prove their worth, and produce jaw-droppingly good food for the judges. Cookery shows don’t get much tougher than this.

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