TV guide: 15 of the best shows to watch this week
Cold Feet returns as do Will and Grace, while Katie looks at the life of boxer Katie Taylor
For her professional debut, Katie Taylor took on Poland’s Karina Kopinska at London’s SSE Arena on December 2nd, 2016. Photograph: Lawrence Lustig
Will and Grace
Monday, RTÉ Two, 9pm
Debra Messing and Eric McCormack are back as our favourite platonic couple from the 1990s, and series two of the new, rebooted series features a mindbending wormhole into the Friends universe, via a guest appearance from David Schwimmer aka Ross. Schwimmer plays Noah aka The West Side Curmudgeon, who Grace follows on Twitter. But will these tweets turn into sweet nothings?
Monday, UTV, 9pm; Thursday, Virgin Two, 9pm
Another reboot grows legs, as James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst, John Thomson and Fay Ripley return for a third new series of adventures in love and life. Listen out for the sound of wedding bells in this eighth season, but we can’t tell you who’s getting hitched, because UTV aren’t telling us. But we do know that Adam (Nesbitt) will have to face some home truths this season.
One Day: How Ireland Cleans Up
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
When we throw away that single-use coffee cup or empty sandwich wrapper, who cleans up after us? This documentary in RTÉ’s One Day strand looks at how Ireland’s waste is disposed of daily, meeting some of the 40,000 people who work in waste disposal, and looking at how they deal with the 7,500 tons of rubbish generated by Irish people every day. Over the course of one day, we’ll meet a bin lorry driver, a window-cleaning crew, waste incinerator staff and hotel housekeeping staff who have to clean up after weddings (lots of fake tan stains on the bedsheets).
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
The first series of this British documentary offered an eye-opening look at life behind bars. Some viewers were shocked by the extent of gang activity and drug use, but Prison also highlighted other issues, including the difficulties faced by staff as they deal with inmates who suffer from mental health problems. The second run is set to be just as fascinating, as cameras return to HMP Durham for a seven-month stretch, examining life for both prisoners and the officers.
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
We don’t need to even be told the surname to know who this is about. Champion boxer Katie Taylor allows unprecedented access into her life for this riveting documentary, which follows her as she begins a long journey back from the lowest point in her life and career. We know the story of Taylor’s rise to become the world’s greatest amateur female boxer and an Olympic gold medal winner, but Katie delves into the dark side of her life, when her father and trainer, Pete Taylor, left the family home for another woman, sending his daughter into a tailspin that saw her getting knocked out of the 2016 Olympics and beaten by boxers she had formerly vanquished. The programme, which enjoyed a successful theatrical release last year, follows Taylor’s tough, gruelling progress to regain her place at the pinnacle of women’s boxing.
The River: Walter Presents
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10.35pm
Walter Presents kicks off a new year with another promising foreign-language drama – and fans of Scandi noir will be pleased to hear that this latest offering is an intense crime series from Norway (original title: Elven). It’s set in the quiet, remote village of Djupelv, where everyone knows everyone else. However, Djupelv also sits near to the Russian border, and during the long, dark winters, Nato carries out exercises in the region. A young girl finds a severed hand while playing near the river and her family reports the grisly discovery to authorities, only for the youngster to mysteriously disappear 24 hours later. Can a detective overcome his superior officer’s reluctance and get to the bottom of what is really going on in this close-knit community?
Tuesday, Virgin One, 9pm
It’s January, Christmas already seems like a distant memory and the nights are still cold and gloomy. That all adds up to one thing: Vera is back for its ninth series (which already began Sunday on UTV). The character, created by novelist Ann Cleeves, is once again played by Brenda Blethyn. The first of her four cases, entitled Blind Spot, sees her investigate the murder of a trainee forensic psychologist whose body was found on a landfill site. Could her death be linked to a crime committed by a former prisoner?
Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
This popular show before features homeowners who feel their res is no longer quite so des. Phil Spencer tries to convince them they should sell up and find somewhere new, while Kirstie Allsopp suggests ways the current digs could be improved. She will have her work cut out this week as she travels to Larne in Northern Ireland to meet a couple who bought a 1970s-style bungalow as part of their plan to downsize. Nigel loves the rural location and stunning views, but Catherine has never totally warmed to the property and misses having neighbours. And while Kirstie can make suggestions on how to improve the house, creating a community to surround it will be a very tall order.
Revolution in Ruins: The Hugo Chávez Story
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
When Hugo Chávez came to power in Venezuela in 1998, some international politicians hailed him as a new hope for socialism. He was elected on a promise to transform the lives of the poor and, as the leader of the country with the world’s largest proven oil resources, he set about spending Venezuela’s wealth, leading to incredible short-term achievements in health and education. Yet 20 years on, 90 per cent of families in the country say they do not have enough to eat, and the UN predicts that more than five million people will have fled Venezuela by the end of 2019. This documentary examines Chávez’s tragic legacy and how his rise, which saw him largely bypass traditional media, made him a precursor to some of today’s populist movements.
Ear to the Ground
Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm
Helen Carroll visits Cashel Mart in Co Tipperary, which saw tragedy in December 2012 when farmer and mart owner Philip de Vere Hunt died by suicide at the age of 64. Carroll meets Philip’s family and adult children to find out what drove them on following the death. Meanwhile, Ella McSweeney is in Co Westmeath, where a dairy farmer has swapped his cows for trees on his 145-acre organic farm in Cloghanumera. Gerard Deegan now has 100 acres of broadleaf such as sycamore, oak, ash and beech. And Darragh McCullough travels to Ballinasloe, Co Galway, where beef farmers have joined forces to secure the future of the Irish beef industry. Angry at low cattle prices and frustrated by red tape, they are getting together behind their own Beef Plan. Using social media, they have recruited more than 10,000 cattle farmers to the cause and drafted an 86 point plan to secure the future of the Irish beef industry.
Seal le Dáithí
Thursday, TG4, 7.30pm
Dáithí Ó Sé meets veteran RTÉ sports broadcaster Ger Canning, who has covered many different events, including nearly 75 All Ireland finals, over 40 years. Canning, who was originally a secondary school teacher in Cork city, describes how a love a sport from a young age helped him develop an impressive career behind the mic.
DIY SOS: The Big Build
Thursday, BBC1, 8pm
In March 2015, the life of Simon Dobbin changed forever. After supporting his Suffolk football team at an away game, the father and husband was set upon by a gang of men in a brutal and unprovoked attack. Left fighting for his life in intensive care after a massive stroke and bleed on the brain, the vicious 90-second attack left Simon permanently brain damaged, paralysed and unable to walk or talk. After many months in hospital, Simon is now home with his wife Nicole as his full-time carer. However, he has to sleep downstairs and is washed with a bowl of water as they can’t access the upstairs bathroom. In short, Simon’s current house is now unfit for purpose. Thankfully Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team are on hand to help, leading a team of volunteers, some from the local RAF, to help make Simon’s house suitable for his rehabilitation.
American History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley
Thursday, BBC4, 9pm
Apparently fake news isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. In this new series, historian Lucy Worsley will explore how US history is a concoction of stories and untruths manipulated by whoever was in power at the time. Among the issues she will address is the American civil war, as she looks at Abraham Lincoln’s status as the Great Emancipator and discovers why some of those controversial statues honouring Confederate generals may not be as historic as their supporters like to think.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots) and Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) discuss their latest roles, while Laura Linney reveals whey she is returning to the London stage for 26 further performances of My Name Is Lucy Barton, adapted from the acclaimed novel by Elizabeth Strout.
On Bass – Tina Weymouth!
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club celebrates the role of the bass guitar in popular music. While bassists may not have always enjoyed the same romanticised status as lead guitarists, she looks at some of the instrument’s leading practitioners, discovering how Paul McCartney, James Jamerson and Carol Kaye’s inspired bass lines underpinned, respectively, The Beatles, Motown and the LA sound in the 1960s. She also meets Herbie Flowers, who played the immortal line on Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, pays tribute to Chic bassist Bernard Edwards, whose contribution to Good Times would prove be to hugely influential, and talks to Joy Division and New Order’s Peter Hook about making the bass a lead instrument.
Additional reporting: PA