TV guide: 15 of the best shows to watch this week
Cillian Murphy narrates The Irish Revolution doc, Red Rock returns and Sonya Lennon's Strictly Business
Éamon de Valera speaks from O’Connells monument in Ennis, Co Clare, where he was elected a member of parliament and national president of Sinn Féin. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Irish nationalist Countess Constance Georgine Markiewicz: the first British female MP, elected as a member of Sinn Féin, she refused to take her seat in 1918. Photograph: Keogh/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
The Irish Revolution
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
If you’re going to celebrate the centenary of the Irish War of Independence, then you better do it right. So RTÉ has pulled out all the stops for this mega-documentary that promises to tell the story of Ireland’s revolution as it has never been told before. Cillian Murphy narrates this three-part series tracking the fortunes of a rag-tag group of rebels as they took on the might of the British empire to establish an Irish republic. This co-production between RTÉ and University College Cork is made by the same team that brought us the award-winning 1916. It draws from first-hand accounts, archive footage and some hi-tech visuals to recreate key events. And of course there’ll be a few writers and historians on hand to share their expert knowledge.
Monday, Virgin Media One, 9pm
A new series of the Irish police drama/soap opera begins with Sean, who could be in trouble as he gets more deeply involved with Irena’s old life. Keith finds out why he hasn’t heard from Alice, and Johno and Paudge find some evidence that links the Kiely’s to Eugene’s death.
Monday, BBC1, 2.15pm
Carl is a cleaner at the local university. He’s bright but has never really applied himself; it’s a life of missed opportunity. Outside a seminar room during his shift, Carl unknowingly sweeps around a sign: “Study Group Cancelled”. Inside, he notices a script lying on the side. Realising the students think he is the replacement lecturer, Carl plays along, and quickly invents a new persona – Leo Carlton, English Lecturer. That’s the premise for the first in the new run of daytime dramas. Ben Tavassoli and Dinita Gohill head the cast.
Teachers Training to Kill
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
What is the answer to the problem of school shootings in America? Some people have argued for stronger gun controls; others say a possible solution is to arm teachers. This documentary explores the emotive and deeply divisive debate by following a group of educators who have signed up for a controversial summer school in Ohio, where teachers are trained to use guns and deal with potential shooting scenarios. The local sheriff is so enthusiastic about arming teachers that he’s put billboards up to encourage the local community to back the strategy. But the documentary also hears from those who oppose it, including a boy who was shot at his school in Ohio two years ago.
Call the Cleaners
Tuesday, UTV, 7.30pm
The domestic hygiene series returns for a new run. In the first episode, cleaners Yvonne and Angela have been called to a job in Southend. After three decades of collecting second-hand objects and knick-knacks, the owner’s house is so full she’s had to sleep in the garden shed – for the past six years. The sisters have four days to clear enough space for her to get back in her flat. Meanwhile in Luton, Maxine and Jasmine tackle the flat of 37-year-old Chris, who stopped cleaning and looking after his property following the death of his partner.
Martin Clunes: Islands of America
Tuesday, UTV, 9pm
The actor travels around the coast of the US to discover what life is like on the surrounding islands. He sets off on a 10,000-mile journey exploring the vast swathe of islands that are scattered beyond America’s shores. The first port of call is Hawaii, where Clunes looks beyond its image as a tourist paradise crammed with sun-kissed beaches and world-class surfing, and into the havoc wreaked by advancing lava fields and smoking craters. Leaving Hawaii, Clunes flies 2,500 miles north to the islands of Alaska, where the contrast couldn’t be more extreme, from tropical rainforests to snow-fringed glaciers, and from crowded beaches to some of America’s most sparsely populated territories.
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm
You’ve got a small business, and you want to take it bigger. What you need is a new plan, and designer/entrepreneur Sonya Lennon is here to help. The series will focus on six businesses whose owners are ambitious to expand and move into bigger markets. First up are Karen and Frank Daly, who own a fitness company in Dundalk, Co Louth. The couple reckon they’ve hit on a good formula with their cafe club-style weight loss and fitness centre and want to turn it into a franchise, with branches across Ireland and beyond. Lennon enlists the help of Brian Lee, co-owner of healthy food chain Chopped. But after looking at the Dalys’ business plan, it’s clear to Lee that they need to radically change direction.
Inside Ireland’s Biggest Prison: True Lives
Wednesday, Virgin Media One, 9pm
The Midlands prison is the largest in Ireland, so the crew of this new documentary series should have no problem finding a spot to discreetly set up their gear. Over the course of this series, we will get to know our way around this big facility, and we’ll get to know the inmates, governers and staff of the prison as they go about their daily business. For many inmates, this means working hard to earn credits so they can be moved to the B3 landing, where life is a little less regimented, and they can indulge in pastimes such as painting and playing the piano.
Behind Closed Doors: Through the Eyes of the Child
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
Award-winning documentary maker Anna Hall’s latest film goes into unchartered territory as she meets children who have witnessed domestic abuse and asks how it affected them. We hear from eight-year-old Ollie, who saw his mum’s head being slammed in a door; and Zara, who’s now 13 and witnessed domestic abuse for the first eight years of her life before her mum finally left her dad. Zara missed her half-sister when her parents split up – so one day she ran off with her dad without telling her mum, something she now bitterly regrets. Hall explores the importance of never ever thinking that children don’t hear or understand what’s going on, and appreciating that witnessing domestic abuse can affect a child forever.
Thursday, TG4, 8pm
A year in the life of four GAA clubs as they fight for honours and survival in the 2018 season. We follow the supporters of Cumann Caide na Gaeltachta to their All Ireland semi-final match against Moy Tír na nÓg from Tyrone, both clubs battling for a place in the final and to play in Croke Park. In Conamara, the Liam McCarthy Cup arrives at CLG na Piarsaigh clubhouse as the under-8 team begin their first training session of the season. At CLG Na Dúnaibh preparations begin on and off the field as they will host Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta finals in June. Presented by Evanne Ní Chuilinn.
Thursday, TG4, 10pm
Nuclear Security: The Big Lie 1: How big is the terrorist menace against our nuclear power plants? In a groundbreaking two-year investigation, film-maker Eric Gueret (Waste, the Nuclear Nightmare) travelled to four major nuclearised countries – France, Belgium, Germany and the US – interviewing experts, politicians and environmentalists to show how vulnerable we actually are and how close we have already come to such attacks.
The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Love is in the air as The Late Late once again brings singletons from all over Ireland toMontrose for a love-up evening of fun. And with the big day just around the corner, the audience could find themselves starting their love story just in time.
Eurovision: You Decide 2019
Friday, BBC2, 7.30pm
Forget Brexit for a moment – here’s a European issue that surely every Briton agrees they should get a vote on: who will represent them in Tel Aviv this year. Mel Giedroyc and former Eurovision winner Mans Zelmerlow broadcast live from MediaCity UK in Salford, where six acts battle it out for the honour. However, in a change to previous formats, they will only sing three songs between them. Each tune has been given to two acts, who will perform it in contrasting styles. Paul Rice and Holly Tandy each tackle Bigger Than Us, Jordan Clarke takes on MAID over Freaks, and Sweet Lies will be sung by Kerrie-Anne and Anisa.
Humpback Whales: A Detective Story
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
In September 2015 in Monterey Bay, California, a 30-tonne humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and a friend as they paddled a sea kayak. Both survived,though the near-death experience left Mustill, a documentary-maker,wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them. Here he returns to California to investigate that possibility, meeting others who have survived similar encounters and the experts who know the whales best. What Mustill discovers raises far bigger questions, not just about what happened that day but also about man’s relationship with whales.
The Defiant Ones
Friday, BBC4, 10pm
As ever, Friday night is music documentaries night on BBC Four, and the latest series is a cracker. The Defiant Ones focuses on music entrepreneurs Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre and their influence on contemporary culture. Dre was raised in Compton, California, and crossed paths with the likes of Eazy-E and Ice Cube, who became part of gangsta-rap group NWA. Meanwhile, Brooklyn native Jimmy worked with the likes of John Lennon, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. The second offering examines Iovine’s reputation as a fearless producer, and his time on the West Coast working with Tom Petty.