TV guide: 16 of the best shows to watch this week
Graham Norton returns, along with perennials Dáithí and Doc Martin, plus Goodbye House on RTÉ, David Duchovny in Aquarius, and Bodyguard redux on Virgin
Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé, every afternoon on RTÉ One
Today with Maura and Dáithí
Monday-Friday, RTÉ One, 3.30pm
This is confusing. We’re told that a new series of the popular daytime magazine show is back for its autumn season, but it seems to me it has never been away. All summer long, the affable visages of Maura Derrane and Dáithí Ó Sé seem to have been grinning out from The Irish Times newsroom telly – they must have had a very short break. Still, it’s nice to see some of our presenters working hard to earn their astronomical salaries, and the pair promise to brighten up our autumn days with more fashion, cookery, celeb interviews and “extraordinary stories from ordinary people”. Next summer they should give themselves a really long, well-deserved break; we’ll manage.
The $50m Art Swindle
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
Michel Cohen is someone you could describe as a real-life artful dodger. A high school dropout from a poor background, Cohen nevertheless reinvented himself as a rich and successful art dealer with homes in Malibu and New York. During the 1990s he sold Picassos, Monets and Chagalls to America’s wealthy elite, befriending many of his clients in the process. However, Cohen also ran up massive debts and swindled collectors and auction houses to cover his back. When his actions were discovered, he and his family ran away to Brazil, where he was arrested; but while awaiting extradition, he escaped and vanished. However, tje film-makers tracked him down and he is finally about to tell his story.
Coca-Cola vs Pepsi: Cola Wars
Monday, Channel 5, 9pm
The battle between the two soft drink brands has raged for decades. This documentary looks at the secrets of each drink’s success and reveals the strategies and secrets behind the fierce contest, including their canny marketing ploys and aggressive promotional techniques. It also examines the origins of the cola drink itself and asks: how did a brown watery medicine that only made $50 in its first year turn into billion-dollar industry recognisable the world over?
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Sounds like a good, slightly cruel title for a programme about repossessions, but this new six-part series actually focuses on people who are selling up their house and downsizing. The twist is that three family members have to choose a potential new house and convince their relation to pick their property over the others on offer. The premise had a test run with a one-off pilot by Stellify Media in 2017, and now RTÉ has commissioned a full series. So be ready for some serious domicile dilemmas as homeowners decide which bijou pad they should go for.
Love Your Garden
Tuesday, UTV, 8pm
The latest edition of Love Your Garden is set to be especially heartwarming as, to celebrate the 75th anniversary year of D-Day, Alan Titchmarsh and his fellow green-fingered experts set about creating a new outdoor space for Jack Parrott, who survived the beach at Normandy, and his wife of 68 years, Margaret. The team have come up with a daring design that will make the garden more accessible and allow the war hero, who will soon celebrate his 100th birthday, to once again indulge his love of horticulture. There’s also advice on patio-size greenhouses and clever ways to create raised beds.
Live: The Circle
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9.15pm
The first series of this reality show was one of 2018’s sleeper hits as viewers discovered how addictive is the premise – and how it says so much about our relationship with social media. The contestants all move into the same apartment building but don’t interact face to face. Instead, they communicate via a purpose-built, voice-activated social media app, which allows them to be whoever they think they need to be to win over the other players. Last year, Alex Hobern won £75,000 by posing as a woman named Kate. Will this year’s crop decide to be themselves or adopt a new persona as the live launch gets under way?
Wednesday, UTV, 9pm
The drama series starring the unflappable Martin Clunes returns for its ninth run following a two-year break. As his wife Louisa (Caroline Catz) considers the benefits of adding to their brood while pursuing a new career as a child counsellor, Martin Ellingham’s own future comes under the microscope once again. Patients have complained about his lack of bedside manner as well as the impact his fear of blood has on his ability to be a GP. As a result, he’s about to be assessed – a fact that goes down like the proverbial lead balloon. Elsewhere, Al accidentally proposes to Morwenna and Mrs Tishell’s date ends in disaster.
The Fall of the Kinahan Cartel – Gangland’s Next Generation
Wednesday, Virgin One, 10pm
This Virgin Media News documentary examinrd how a massive Garda crackdown after the Regency Hotel murder effectively put the Kinahan crime cartel out of business, only to see a new ruthless breed of young criminals take their place. Featuring exclusive footage from inside the Regency and interviews with senior gardaí and clergy; one heartbroken woman tells the story of losing her son and brother in law to gangland violence.
Don’t Hate the Playaz
Wednesday, UTV2, 10pm
The hip-hop comedy entertainment show hosted by Jordan Stephens returns for its second series. Filmed in a gig-environment, it sees two teams made up of comedians, hip-hop stars and celebrity fans battle it out in front of an audience, with DJ Shortee Blitz on hand to drop the tracks live. The two teams are led by Maya Jama and Lady Leshurr, with London Hughes as a regular alongside new guests appearing on the teams each week. Guests for this season include Katherine Ryan, Michael Dapaah, Roman Kemp, The Sugarhill Gang & The Furious 5, Ms Banks, Cariad Lloyd, Judi Love, Natasia Demetriou, Fleur East, Jay 1 and Aitch.
Thursday, Virgin Three, 9pm
X-Files veteran David Duchovny stars in this gritty US drama, which ran on NBC in 2015-16. Set in the “summer of love” 1967, the plot follows an LA homicide detective (Duchovny) and an undercover officer (Grey Damon) as they search for a teenager who has fallen under the spell of future notorious cult leader Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony). A small time but charismatic leader with big plans, Manson has begun to build up his “family”, recruiting vulnerable young men and women. Edgy, addictive and visually stunning, the Age of Aquarius is here.
Conspiracy Files: Vaccine Wars
Thursday, BBC2, 9pm
Last month the UK lost its three year “measles-free” status from the World Health Organisation following a rise in confirmed cases and a fall in the number of children getting the MMR vaccination. With cases of the disease surging worldwide, the WHO has labelled “vaccine hesitancy” a top 10 threat to global health. On the other hand, campaigners still claim that vaccines are unsafe, despite decades of scientific research to the contrary. This documentary, narrated by Saskia Reeves, examines the arguments for and against vaccines, hears from people at the heart of alleged conspiracies, and asks who may be benefiting from a decline in their use.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
To kick off the 26th season of his chat show, Noron welcomes Oscar-winning Helen Mirren, who stars in new period drama Catherine the Great, beginning on Sky Atlantic next week. Also: author, adventurer and documentary-maker Simon Reeve discusses his upcoming series The Americas; comedian and actor Jack Whitehall, who stood in as host last spring, so Graham may have to remind him who is boss tonight; RuPaul on his hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK; and music from Normani, former member of the American girl group Fifth Harmony, who performs her new single Motivation.
The Doireann Project
Friday, RTÉ Player, from 11am
Doireann Garrihy returns with her online comedy series, in which she rips the piss out of the celebs, social media stars and telly presenters we all know and love so well. The series is currently the highest-rated original show on the RTÉ Player, pulling in nearly a quarter of a million streams, so it can’t be long before Garrihy makes the big leap to “proper” telly. In this new series, Garrihy goes all-out, adding new characters to her old favourites to bring her take-off total to 15, including Dáithí and Maura, Pippa O’Connor, Roz Purcell and Una Healy.
Lewis Capaldi Live
Friday, BBC1, 11.25pm
The Scottish singer-songwriter has been one of the breakthough musical artists of the year so far, achieving global success with his hit single Someone You Loved, which spent seven weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. Here, the pop sensation performs the biggest headline show of his career at Croxteth Park in Liverpool, entertaining a sell-out crowd of 12,500. Accompanied by the 60-piece Manchester Camerata, Capaldi performs hits from his platinum-selling debut album and a special surprise cover of a Beatles classic.
Friday, Virgin One, 9pm
A welcome repeat for those who missed this steamy, violent six-part thriller in August 2018, which proved to be the BBC’s biggest hits in years. A troubled specialist protection officer (smouldering Richard Madden) is assigned to guard an ambitious home secretary (steely Keeley Hawes), the possible target of terrorists due to her support for a controversial surveillance Bill. The bodyguard’s military experience in the Middle East has left him harbouring deep resentments – which may or may not make him a threat to the politician.
Inside Air Force One: Secrets of the Presidential Plane
Friday, Channel 5, 9.15pm
It is the call sign given to any aircraft carrying the US president, however it is most commonly associated with the Boeing 747s (there are two of them) that fly the president to major world events. This programme takes viewers inside the “White House in the sky”, with former chief steward Howie Franklin revealing the favourite meals enjoyed by the leaders (for Ronald Reagan it was macaroni and cheese, George Bush Snr barbecued meat, and Donald Trump fast food). There is a look at Trump’s ideas for entirely new plane, complete with a new controversial colour scheme.