TV guide: 13 of the best shows to watch this week
Photographing the Troubles, plus all-in holidays and profiles of Rory Best and Jo Brand
Stanley Matchett’s famous image from Bloody Sunday in Derry, one of many Troubles photographs discussed in Shooting the Darkness, Wednesday on RTÉ.
Inside Europe: 10 Years of Turmoil
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
Brexit isn’t the only challenge facing the European Union. In this new series, presidents, prime ministers and their closest advisers talk about the political developments and personality clashes that have threatened the EU, including the Greek financial crisis and the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in the summer of 2015. But it begins with a look at the events surrounding Britain’s EU referendum, exploring how David Cameron called the vote in response to the Conservative Party’s fixation on the subject of Europe. William Hague, George Osborne and Nick Clegg offer insights into the arguments that were raging inside the British government, while Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk provide the view from Europe.
Bliain in Inis Mór
Monday, TG4, 7.30pm
Sean-nós singer Treasa Ní Mhiolláin gives her weekly lessons in the primary schools, fundraisers get underway for some badly needed changing rooms, Melissa goes back to basics in her efforts to learn cúpla focal, and Gabriel has news on some imminent arrivals. Síle meets people from both sides of the wall. including two inspiring fathers who lost their daughters in the conflict. They are now risking everything to speak out against hate and violence calling, above all, for the wall to come down.
Imagine – Jo Brand: No Holds Barred
Monday, BBC1, 11.10pm
Now that Jo Brand is the host of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, a regular on Have I Got News for You, and generally regarded as one of Britain’s best-loved comedians, it’s easy to forget just what a divisive figure she once was. When Brand broke into the largely male-dominated stand-up circuit in the 1980s, dubbing herself the “sea monster”, she challenged stereotypes about what a woman performer should look and sound like – and not everyone approved. This profile explores her ground-breaking career, going behind the scenes as she promotes her latest book (Born Lippy: How to Do Female), and finds out more about how she made the transition from psychiatric nurse to comedian, writer and actor to all-round national treasure.
Steph & Dom: Can Cannabis Save Our Son?
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
This documentary follows former Gogglebox stars Steph and Dom Parker as they try to help their 18-year-old son Max, who has severe epilepsy and suffers more than 100 seizures a day – any one of which could be fatal. Medicinal marijuana is being used to reduce or even eliminate the deadly seizures, but, like thousands of British families, they are currently refused this treatment. The film follows Steph, Dom and daughter Honor as they try to work out just how effective medicinal cannabis could be.
Tuesday-Friday, BBC2, 8pm (9pm Wednesday)
If you’re struggling to cope in the winter months, spare a thought for some of the animals featured in the seasonal nature show. Cairngorms National Park has the UK’s wildest landscape, with freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow making it an extreme environment for creatures to survive in. The Dell of Abernethy, a lodge built in 1780 that sits on the edge of the Abernethy Caledonian pine forest, is the new all-year-round location for the Watch team. From here presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke will reveal footage of pine martens, red squirrels, golden and white-tailed eagles and crested tits. Iolo Williams will also be reporting from Scotland, and there will be reports on how wildlife is faring in the rest of Britain.
Shooting the Darkness
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 10.35pm
Imagine suddenly going from wedding photographer to war photographer, replacing snapshots of happy couples with stark images of people caught up in conflict. This documentary centres around photographers in Northern Ireland who unwittingly found themselves recording the Troubles on the streets of their own town. They didn’t seek out war zones – their own homes became war zones. With help from archive footage, several photographers look back on the dark days between 1968, when the Troubles erupted, to 1998, when the Belfast Agreement was signed. Among the iconic images discussed is the photograph of Bishop Edward Daly waving a bloody handkerchief as soldiers open fire on unarmed Catholics on Bloody Sunday, and harrowing images from the attack and murder of two British army corporals who had inadvertently driven into an IRA funeral.
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
This comedy about obsessive compulsive disorder stars Charly Clive as Marnie, a twentysomething who is beseiged by unwanted thoughts of a very sexual nature. Basically, she’s got Tourette’s of the brain, and can’t seem to stop the filthy thoughts from popping up in her head at the most inappropriate times. Only one thing for it: head to London and hook up with a bunch of people with mental health issues of their own, including recovering sex addict Charlie and promiscuous ladies’ lady Amber. Pure is based on the book by Rose Cartwright, detailing her life with an extreme form of OCD known as Pure O. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gag.
Rory Best: A Life in Rugby
Wednesday, BBC1, 10.40pm
Stephen Watson talks to the Ireland Rugby Union captain ahead of what is set to be his final year as an internatioanal player. Access is granted to Best’s family as the programme charts his career, reflects on the 2018 Grand Slam triumph and victory over New Zealand, and previews this year’s Six Nations and world Cup.
The Truth About Antibiotics
Wednesday, BBC1, 8pm
Although we may sometimes take them for granted, antibiotics are a miracle cure. Or a least they were. a growing number of bacterial diseases have become resistant to the antibiotics we use; if nothing is done, millions of people could potentially die. In this documentary, Angela Rippon finds out more about the latest scientific breakthroughs that could keep the diseases at bay and learns why the experts are finding inspiration in some unexpected places. However, it’s not all in the hands of scientists, as Rippon speaks to a GP on the front line and learns what the rest of us can do to ensure that antibiotics remain effective.
Thursday, TG4, 8pm
An Gála Mór: At the western edge of Europe lies an unique culture that depended on and fought with the Atlantic for thousands of years. It is the native sailboat, the Galway Hooker, that sustained this poorest of communities, and the new generation of these same families of sailors still sail the coast of Connemara, now racing to be champions of the Galway Hookers Association Racing Series. Tension grows in the competition between the Tónaí and the American Mór, before the big gale breaks half of the fleet in the final race of the season
Fred and Rose West: The Real Story with Trevor McDonald
Thursday, UTV, 9pm
The crimes of Gloucester couple Fred and Rosemary West were so heinous that they appalled and transfixed the world. “Coming back to this story 25 years later, it’s still as shocking as it ever was, if not more so,” says Sir Trevor McDonald, the host of thisnew documentary. Made a quarter of a century on from the horrifying discoveries in the “House of Horrors”, the film features interviews and insights. Contributors include former Cromwell Street lodger Jayne Hamer, who describes hearing screams from the cellar, and families of murder victims. McDonald also asks the key questions: how did these crimes go undetected for so long, and what role did Rose West play?
All Inclusive Holiday: Is it Worth It?
Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm
With the value of the pound in freefall, particularly against the euro, increasing numbers of British holidaymakers are turning to all-inclusive breaks to get more bang for their buck. But do these “eat and drink as much as you like” trips offer good value for money? And can the hotels and resorts really give holidaymakers a genuine money-saving deal without compromising on quality? Consumer expert Alexis Conran teams up with travel experts to offer insider tips and goes head to head with a vacation-ready family to see if he can mirror their trip by doing things independently – and beat them on budget. Conran also asks whether some all-in deals are just too good to be true.
Friday Night Jukebox Live!: The BBC4 Request Show
Friday BBC4, 10pm
Comedian Phill Jupitus and Altered Images singer Clare Grogan plunder the BBC music archive, responding to viewers’ song requests based on their stories and memories of friendship. The duo showcase performances from US singer and guitarist James Taylor; the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, Carole King; Georgia rock band REM; Manchester indie giants Oasis; musician and actor Paul Simon; “King of Pop” Michael Jackson; and one of the best-selling artists of the 21st century, Ed Sheeran. There are also live performers in the studio.