TV guide: 14 of the best shows to watch this week
The Roses in bloom once more, plus the return of the Bake Off and Love Your Garden
Dáithí Ó Sé at the 2017 Rose of Tralee launch in Malahide Castle. Photograph: Andres Poveda
The Rose of Tralee International Festival 2019
Monday-Tuesday, RTÉ One, 8pm
It’s an anniversary for the evergreen lovely girls’ contest. The Rose of Tralee is celebrating its 60th year, while host Dáithí Ó Sé is marks his 10th year doing what you must agree is a difficult job: interviewing 32 women from around the world live on stage without coming across as a complete prat. We’re promised that Dáithí will be “his usual natural, witty and exuberant self” over the two-night run of the contest, live from the festival dome in Tralee. He is the latest in an illustrious line of former Rose presenters, which include Ray D’Arcy, Ryan Tubridy, Marty Whelan, Terry Wogan and Gay Byrne (the latter did the honours for a whopping 20 years running). But let’s not forget, this is all about the contestants and their unique stories. Wherever you are in the world, you can keep up with the contest via the RTÉ Player and RTÉ Player International and via the official hashtag #rteroseoftralee.
Shortscreen: Little One
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.30pm
In Ferdia MacAnna’s 2016 short chiller, made for about €5,000 and running for less than three minutes, a suspicious man (John Elders) follows a mother (Clelia Murphy) and her child (Aimee Ryan) as they walk home one night.
The World’s Most Beautiful Railway
Monday, More4, 9pm
Scotland’s railway network connects coastal towns and rural villages beneath huge mountains and across open moorlands. This series meets the folks who keep the railway going the and steam enthusiasts who safeguard these iconic routes. In episode one, 200 passengers board steam locomotive Union of South Africa as the train makes a farewell tour of Scotland after half a century of service. Cameras also follow station trainee conductor Melanie as she completes the final stages of her training at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station.
The Great British Bake Off
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
If you’ve seen the mouthwatering teaser ad for the new series of Bake Off, or the Mad Hatter’s tea party-themed publicity shot, then you’ll be well primed up for this autumn’s sugar rush. The 10th series of the popular pastry show sees Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding return to the white tent to cast their expert eyes over the oven-made creations of a new bunch of amateur bakers. Hollywood’s exploits outside the kitchen have been the subject of much tabloid tittle-tattle. (He had an affair with his co-presenter on the American version of the show, split from his wife Alex, and has recently been dumped by his girlfriend Summer Monteys-Fullam; who says baking is boring?) But you can be sure that all gossip will shrivel up like a bad souffle once the real business of extreme baking starts heating up. See also Friday.
Saving Lives at Sea
Tuesday, BBC2, 8pm
New series. RNLI volunteers in Pembrokeshire, including brothers Hal, Will and Ben, race to the scene when a plane makes an emergency crash landing on one of Wales’ busiest beaches. In Jersey, the St Catherine crew are pushed to the brink when they search for a man who has gone missing at sea in the middle of a fierce winter storm. On the Wirral, the crew of Hoylake launch their specialist rescue hovercraft and race the incoming tide to try and save a horse, which has become stuck fast in the mud and at risk from drowning.
Love Your Garden
Tuesday, UTV, 8pm
New series. Alan Titchmarsh and his experts (Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and David Domoney) create a modern family garden in Hucknall near Nottingham. The project is a surprise for a landscape gardener who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of just 32, making him one of the youngest people in England to develop the condition and leaving him physically unable to complete the garden personally. Titchmarsh also provides viewers with some tips on sensory planting and creating home-made play equipment for children.
Kathy Burke’s All Woman
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10.30pm
Burke discusses the nature of compromise in a relationship, talking to Caroline Flack, who reveals how she was once tempted to give up her career altogether for the sake of her boyfriend, and Skunk Anansie singer Skin, who talks about her different experiences in relationships with both men and women. Burke also goes on a chaste date with a gigolo who claims to offer women freedom from having to compromise during sex, and discusses the neurochemistry of love with an Oxford academic, who stresses that friendship is equally important. Last in the series.
Franco Building with Jonathan Meades
Tuesday, BBC4, 10pm
Over the years, broadcaster Jonathan Meades has made films about the architecture of European dictators of the 20th century – Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. Now he focuses on Spain’s Francisco Franco. For him Franco’s legacy isn’t to be found in the dull and pompous government buildings put up in the 1940s and ’50s after the civil war, but in the clash of building styles of the 1960s and ’70s that grew up along Spain’s coasts, particularly the proliferation of skyscrapers in resorts such as Benidorm.
Supershoppers: Money Saving Special
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
We all love to bag a bargain and avoid dodgy dealers, so the latest helping of money-saving tips and revelations about big brands should make for must-see TV. Sabrina Grant and Kate Quilton have been so overwhelmed by questions and complaints from viewers that this edition is largely devoted to answering those queries. The team will put petrol to the test and reveal how to save at the pump. There’s also advice on not spending a fortune on kids’ clothes from big retailers; savings that can be made by avoiding high street opticians; a look at QVC’s returns policies; and where to get better-than-Heinz ketchup for a third of the price.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm
Comedian Paul Merton investigates his family history. His mother’s Irish parents died when she was very young, so Merton’s sets out to piece together the story of his grandfather’s involvement in key events leading up to Irish independence in the 1920s, and learns that the true circumstances of his death were very different from the story that had been handed down. Elsewhere in London, Merton traces a great-great-grandmother on his father’s side who was sent to prison for her part in an assault.
China: A New World Order
Thursday, BBC2, 9pm
Some 1.43 billion Chinese are either thriving or trying to survive in a country of extreme wealth and severe poverty. President Xi Jinping has spent six years in charge of this rising superpower, as well as commanding of a formidable military and heading an economy that is crucial to people’s lives around the globe. This documentary tells the story of his controversial rule, and how he set about transforming the world’s fourth largest country into a tightly controlled state where loyalty to the Communist Party appears to be valued above everything else.
World War Speed
Thurday, BBC4, 9pm
Historian James Holland attempts to unearth the truth behind a lesser known aspect of the second World War: the use of drugs to help numb pain and improve efficiency. We see how certain stimulants would help ease post-traumatic stress disorder, overcome fatigue and push troops to their limits. A key aspect of the story takes place in 1941, when rumours about German soldiers using a “super-drug” identified as the methamphetamine Pervitin were confirmed. In response, Allied commanders instigated their own classified programme to find the perfect war-fighting drug.
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
Jo Brand returns with a fresh helping of post-Bake Off analysis, joined by a panel of celebrity fans who will dissect all the action from the tent. As it’s episode one of the new series, this edition will feature an interview with the first of the baker’s dozen to leave. Dapper funnyman Tom Allen will chat to the studio audience bakers and take a look at their weird and wonderful bakes. Frank Skinner, Stephen Mangan and Scarlett Moffatt give their opinions on episode one and no doubt offer viewers on those they think will go the distance. Plus, viewers at home offer photos of their baking triumphs.
The Rob Rinder Verdict
Channel 4, 10pm
Fans of the criminal barrister and telly personality want to know: Does Judy Rinder have the comedy chops to sustain the interest over four episodes? The format is simple enough: Rinder applies his extensive know-how to take swipes at the news in his own unique way. (No doubt Boris Johnson and Donald Trump’s latest political decisions/disasters will be scrutinised.) There’s no surprise to find C4 comedy favourites Katherine Ryan, Big Narstie and Tom Allen popping up at some point during the run. We can also expect high-profile politicians being put under the spotlight by Rob in the most unlikely of scenarios.