TV guide: 12 of the best shows to watch this week
Danny Dyer’s right royal blood, Ireland’s tourist sector, plus The Good Fight and Deutschland in the bad old days
Please don’t tell me I look ridiculous: Danny Dyer in Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family
A Year of British Murder
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
Between January 1 and December 31, 2017, 768 people died as a result of murder or manslaughter in the UK – around 14 deaths per week. Filmed over the course of 12 months, this often heartrending film examines some of them, exploring the human cost of murder in the process, including the impact such a sudden and tragic event can have on those left behind. Each case follows friends and family of the victims as they face the immediate aftermath of the crime, through the court process, and beyond, as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
One Day: Showing Ireland Off
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
The third in this run of “One Day” documentaries looks at Ireland’s tourist industry, and the preparations needed to get the country’s attractions ready for the visitors. This day begins at Agnes O’Sullivan’s B&B on the Ring of Kerry, where she gets busy with the help of her sole employee – Henry the hoover. Then it’s off to Tayto Park, where Louise Banks is tasked with testing the Cú Chulainn roller coaster before the punters arrive. The crew decamps to the exclusive (and very expensive) Ballyfin Demesne, where Glenn Brophy prepares for his role as a five-star butler. The day winds up at Bunratty Castle, where 140 hungry tourists await their vittles at the castle’s famous medieval banquet.
The Good Fight
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
The spin-off show from The Good Wife, starring Christine Baranski as high-powered lawyer Diane Lockhart, begins its second series. Once again the series will closely mirror actual events in US politics, so we’ll see the firm working desperately to salvage a project involving the Obamas, following the death of Carl Reddick. We’ll also see Reddick’s daughter Liz catch all sorts of hell after she sends out an anti-Trump tweet. Omigod, sooo on the zeitgeist.
The National Television Awards 2019
Tuesday, UTV, 7.30pm; Friday, Virgin Media One, 9pm
Don’t mistake these for the Iftas – they are the UK National Television Awards, so don’t expect to see Ryan Tubridy, Amy Huberman or Brendan O’Connor stepping up to collect gongs. But there will be no shortage of British telly celebs, including Ant & Dec, Holly Willoughby, Bradley Walsh and Philip Schofield, along with actors such as Tom Hardy, David Tennant, Sheridan Smith, Jenna Coleman and Suranne Jones. And sure there’ll be a couple of Irish names in the mix, too, with Graham Norton and Brendan O’Carroll joining the battle to win the inaugural Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award. It’s like UTV never left us.
Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village – Warkworth
Tuesday, BBC4, 7.30pm
Archaeologist Ben Robinson explores the story of the English village from Norman times to the present day. His first destination is Warkworth, Northumberland, where he discovers clues that point back almost 1,000 years to the Norman Conquest and how the invaders laid the foundations of a planned community, still visible to this day. Robinson argues that Warkworth, like many of the oldest villages in the country, was born of terror, oppression and foreign invasion by the Normans, who wanted to enforce conquest and control after 1066.
Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family
Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
EastEnders actor Danny Dyer may sound like he comes from pure peasant stock. But as he discovered when he did Who Do You Think You Are?, Dyer is actually descended from King Edward III. Oooh, law-di-daw. Inspired by his royal ancestor, Dyer delves deeper into his blue-blooded lineage and uncovers a veritable court of lords and ladies who he can claim as forebears. But what was it like to be a titled toff 800 years ago? Dyer dons the livery of the day and relives a typical day in the life of an ancient royal, which includes eating sheep’s tongue, hunting on horse and foot, and fighting like a viking.
Wednesday, RTÉ2, 10.50pm
What was life like behind the Berlin Wall back in the dark days of the 1980s? This series is the follow-up to Deutschland 83, and, yes, you’re way ahead of me, is set three years after the events of the first series. East Germany is broke, and communism is under threat. The only way to keep the dream alive is to dabble in capitalism, so a task force is set up to try to scare up hard cash to keep the DDR going. And if that means selling arms to both sides in the Iran-Iraq war or blood that has yet to be tested for HIV, then it’s worth it. The series sees the return of undercover operative Martin Rauch, who has been banished by the Stasi to Angola. His aunt visits him in exile with an offer he can’t refuse (well, obviously he can’t).
We Need to Talk About Death
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
We’re all going to die – we just don’t like to talk about it. And, as Dr Kevin Fong points out in this documentary, we’re increasingly able to put off having the difficult conversation. Modern medicine is focused on saving lives, life expectancy has increased, and many of us view death as something to be battled, with doctors doing all they can to save patients right up until the very end. But Fong asks if we have over-medicalised our final years when we would better off exploring palliative care that might give us less time but a better quality of life and death. In his search for answers, he talks to the medical professionals as well as the patients who are facing their own big questions.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
World heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua will tell Norton what 2019 holds for him. He’s joined by Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, who will introduce their latest project, All Is True, a drama directed by Branagh and written by Ben Elton, which sees them playing William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway.
On Guitar – Lenny Kaye!
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
The rhythm sections have had their say with On Drums and On Bass, so now it’s time for the guitarists to grab the spotlight. Writer, producer and musician Lenny Kaye, who is probably most celebrated for his work with Patti Smith, looks at how the quest for new guitar sounds has driven pop music, fromBo Diddley’s pioneering use of the Tremolo pedal to Pete Townshend’s experiments with feedback and Peter Frampton’s Talk Box. Contributors include Duane Eddy, Roger McGuinn, the Edge, Bonnie Raitt, Seasick Steve and KT Tunstall.
The Last Leg
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
The satirical comedy is back for a new series, although you could be forgiven for thinking it never went away, especially as the team recently brought us a New Year’s Eve special. Still, it’s good to have hosts Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker back to give us their take on the headlines as the UK begins the final countdown to Brexit. The trio are joined by celebrity guests and, as usual, the hashtag #isitok paves the way for the gang to round up and explain the most entertaining and perplexing news stories.
Burns by the Lagan
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
The annual celebration of the life and poetry of Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), held this year at the Titanic Building in Belfast. Among those set to appear are Eddi Reader, Phil Cunningham, Aly bain, Cup O’Joe, Andrew Calderwood and the Ulster-Scots Juvenile Pipe Band.