TV guide: 16 of the best shows to watch this week
Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid and when Donald Trump came to Doonbeg are the RTÉ picks, while BBC goes Inside the Bank of England
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid
The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
One solitary Kildare farmer takes on the might of a giant US tech corporation – it’s a story made for a heartwarming movie. But The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid is a docudrama charting the real-life struggle of the titular farmer to hold onto his family farm despite the IDA slapping a compulsory purchase order on the lands. Ferghal Ward’s beautifully shot film mixes real-life portrayals with dramatic re-enactments and makes no bones about whose side it’s on, portraying Reid as an eccentric son of the soil fighting the good fight against the encroachment of big data. His foe is chip-maker Intel, whose campus lies close to Reid’s land, and the film highlights the huge chasm between Intel’s shiny, 21st-century look and Reid’s musty, old-world life, filled with old 1980s VHS tapes and dusty 1970s vinyl. Reid himself is unkempt and unbowed, a rugged hero holding out for the old ways, and refusing all offers of filthy lucre to give up his birthright.
Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones
Monday, BBC2, 9.30pm (repeated Wednesday, 11.15pm)
Last December Gatwick was brought to a standstill for 33 hours due to an alleged drone. The incident cost the UK’s second busies airport £1.4 million and saw the UK’s second busiest airport closed for 33 hours affected some 140,000 passengers as experts debated what to do. In this one-off documentary, high-risk specialist Aldo Kane investigates the threat posed to airports and airspace by these aerial devices – from rogue hobbyists to terrorists. There’s also a look at what technology is available that governments and the aviation industry can use to keep the skies safe.
Kirstie’s Celebrity Craft Masters
Monday, Channel 4, 5pm
The queen of crafting shares her love of all things handmade with celebrities in this new series. Kirstie Allsopp also puts some famous faces to work to see who can cope with tough craft challenges. In the first episode, TV presenting friends Angellica Bell and Rav Wilding go head to head. Each joins forces with a professional crafter who teaches them to make bags and polymer clay planters, and helps them turn rubbish into treasure. Then they travel to the Craft HQ, where Allsopp sets them a final timed challenge.
Shortscreen: Marky’s Bad Week
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.50pm
Daniel Holmwood’s 2017 short follows Marky (Thomas Dunne) who, having the worst week of his life, reflects on everything that has gone wrong and decides to take the edge off with a spliff – only to realise he’s lost his nodge of hash. Things then go from bad to worse when Marky crosses paths with an old acquaintance (Caoilfhionn Dunne).
Trawlermen: Celebs at Sea
Monday, Channel 5, 9pm
Boyzone veteran Shane Lynch, seasoned chef Antony Worrall Thompson and rugby player Ben Cohen join the crew of a trawler to see if they’ve got what it takes to handle one of Britain’s toughest jobs. Fierce Atlantic storms, sea sickness and sleep deprivation soon take their toll. Skipper Alan Watt has major reservations about the trio’s suitability for the job, especially as Thompson is 67, well past the age when most trawlermen retire. The fishing begins 200 miles north of Cape Wrath, and when the first catch comes in, the stars have to gut the fish by hand. No pressure then chaps.
Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure
Tuesday, UTV, 9pm
York’s greatest export is off to explore one of the world's oldest and most spectacular rainforests. She also meets its enchanting animals and gets an insight into how important this region is to life on Earth. In the first episode Dench experiences the rainforest for the first time in a 125-mile helicopter ride to the heart of the island with expert Glen Reynolds. At 130 million years old, this jungle is so ancient it was around when dinosaurs ruled the planet. Upon arrival, Judi meets orangutans in the wild, encounters giant grasshoppers and moths, and encounters a dung beetle she names Bob.
Inside the Bank of England
Tuesday, BBC2, 9.30pm
Part one of two. Documentary examining the inner-workings of the institution during 2018 as it navigates turbulent economic times – including the challenges posed by Brexit. This first edition reveals how the central bank influences inflation by setting the UK’s interest rate. The process is shown step-by-step as staff analyse the state of finances, leading to governor Mark Carney and other senior figures making their decision. In the lead-up to the interest rate announcement, the press speculates over what Carney will decide, but inside the bank, the meticulous work of monitoring the economy must carry on unhindered by outside influence.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2019
Tuesday/Wednesday, BBC1, 7pm; Thursday, BBC2, 9.30pm
Joe Swift and Jo Whiley take a first look at some of the 24 gardens and more than 100 floral exhibits at the world’s largest annual flower show. In the first programmes, Joe and Jo are joined by experts Carol Klein, Adam Frost, Arit Anderson and Rachel de Thame as they meet some of the new garden designers at Hampton and explore the glorious show gardens and dazzling displays in the floral marquee.
The Great Gardening Challenge
Tuesday, Channel 5, 8pm
Nicki Chapman and Diarmuid Gavin host a horticultural competition in which two teams of designers are challenged to transform unloved spaces in just 48 hours, with Carol Klein and Mark Gregory judging the results. The first episode comes from Norris Green in Liverpool, pitting an established professional company from Harrogate against an up-and-coming show garden team. Faced with designing gardens for an open public area that has been neglected and vandalised in the past, what type of gardens will the designers create?
Anna: The Woman Who Went to Fight Isis
Wednesday, BBC2, 9.30pm
Two years ago, Anna Campbell (25) from Lewes in East Sussex travelled in secret to Rojava, the Kurdish territory in northern Syria. In the midst of the civil war, a feminist democracy had been established, but soon came under threat from the Islamic State. Eight months after arriving and with no military background, Campbell was on the front line intending to fight with a Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit (YPJ). She was killed a month later by a Turkish air strike. With the aid of her diary and videos filmed while she was there, this documentary explores what motivated Campbell – and how her family have coped with the consequences.
Inside the Ritz Hotel
Wednesday, UTV, 8pm
Documentary offering a behind the scenes look at life inside London’s Ritz, one of the most famous, traditional luxury hotels in the world. The programmes follows some of the famous faces that visit the hotels, including Richard E Grant, Anna Wintour and Mo Salah, and the work of hotel staff as they prepare for their famous afternoon tea. With consumers spending less and ever more luxury hotels opening their doors, how does one of the most well-known hotels in the world stand out from the rest?
Thursday, BBC1, 8pm
Forget Love Island, forget I’m a Celebrity – If you want to see a gritty relationship drama in the wild, with lots of love-rivalry, cheating and beastly betrayal, this six-part natural history series will deliver. Okay, it doesn’t have buff bikini bods or Harry Redknapp, but there will be rippling muscles on the big cats, mating moves of the male baboon, and close-up looks at the lives and loves of the wild animals of the Serengeti. The series is narrated by John Boyega (aka Fin from Star Wars), but the real stars are the animals. These include Kali the lioness, who is ostracised by the pride after having cubs with an outsider; Bakari the baboon, whose girlfriend has copped off with the new, more aggressive leader of the troop; and teen elephant Tembo, who is sidelined when his mother Nalla gives birth to a new baby, sparking a jumbo-sized sibling rivalry.
When Trump Came to Town
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
When Trump Came to Town relives the week the 45th president of the United States visited Ireland and his own hotel and golf course in Doonbeg, west Clare. We meet local people from Doonbeg and American tourists who were enthusiastic about the visit, as well as those who protested his visit in Dublin and Shannon during a sometimes surreal week. The programme also explores the tension between the need for local jobs and global rancour, between Donald Trump as employer and as world leader.
Sarah Payne: The Untold Story
Thursday, UTV, 9pm
Susanna Reid speaks to Sara Payne about the abduction and murder of her eight-year-old daughter Sarah in July 2000, a crime that shocked Britain, particularly when it was revealed that the culprit, Roy Whiting, was a convicted paedophile. Payne campaigned to change the law, determined that parents should have access to the sex offender register. Here she reflects on the impact it has had on her family, while Sarah’s siblings and grandparents also reveal how they have coped since this most devastating of crimes.
Charley Pride: I’m Just Me
Friday, BBC4, 9.30pm
This one-off traces the journey of the musician, from his beginnings as a sharecropper’s son on a cotton farm in segregated Mississippi to his rise as a groundbreaking country music star. Charley Pride arrived in Nashville in 1963 while the city was rocked with sit-ins and racial violence. But with perseverance and musical talent, he parlayed a series of fortuitous encounters with music industry insiders into a wealth of hit singles. Narrated by country singer Tanya Tucker, the film features interviews with country greats, including Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton.
Friday, Channel 4, 11.05pm
A new ship-based game show sees twentysomethings head to the Mediterranean to hold a party on a lavish cruise liner and complete a series of physical and mental challenges in order to be crowned the most popular team. Setting sail from Barcelona, the ship, carrying 1,500 passengers, will sail the Med via Cannes, Corsica, party islands Ibiza and Palma, before heading back to Barcelona. The aim is to convince the other party-goers to vote for them in the week-long contest. At the end, the group with the most votes will win a luxury holiday to Bali.