TV guide: 16 of the best shows to watch this week
One priest and his camera on RTÉ, plus new Sarah Lancashire drama The Accident, inside the teenage brain, murder during the War of Independence, and Harry Hill’s clubnite
Lupita Nyong’o: The Black Panther star is on a search for west Africa’s real-life warrior women Wednesday on C4
Travel Man: 48 Hours in Dubrovnik
Monday, Channel 4, 8.30pm
Writer/actor/director Stephen Merchant tags along with Richard Ayoade on a jolly to scenic Dubrovnik. After checking in to their digs (a 16th-century townhouse), they’re off to check out one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. Parts of Game of Thrones were shot here, you know. Richard and Stephen are also off to the Hotel Excelsior (famous apparently); enjoy a buggy safari on Mount Srd, and visit a hilltop fort still littered with landmines from the war of the 1990s. As Croatia is birthplace of the cravat, the duo also seek out neckware.
The Day California Burned
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
Last November northern California was devastated when an inferno broke out. In its path was the town of Paradise, and within four hours around 30,000 people had lost their homes. It was the deadliest blaze in the US for a century. With the aid of hundreds of hours of footage, this is a dramatic account of that day. It features moving interviews with the firemen, police and survivors who came face to face with the fire. Among those featured is Nichole Jolly, a nurse at the local hospital who evacuated her patients before finding herself trapped in the middle of the fire. The carnage killed 85 people and left many asking questions about why it started, and how climate change is contributing to making fires bigger and more frequent.
Dave Gorman: Terms and Conditions Apply
Monday, Dave, 10pm
Since bursting onto the comedy scene a few decades ago, the English funnyman has turned statistics into comedy gold, whether on assorted TV shows or during his compelling stand-up gigs. Following the success of his show Modern Life Is Goodish, he’s now back on Dave with this little gem. Gorman will be joined by three comedy guests as they cast their eye over his latest modern world discoveries. They also compete in mischievous games and try to unscramble the baffling supply of information that surrounds us in the internet age.
Ar Son na Poblachta
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm
A fresh insight into the War of Independence. This two-part episode looks back at the murder of Thomas Hodgett, a devout Protestant and loyalist who in February 1921 was the postmaster in Navan. In the early hours of February 18th three men in civilian clothing knocked on the door of his home claiming to be police. They burst inside and dragged Hodgett outside, through the centre of Navan to the bridge over the river Blackwater. There he was shot and his body thrown into the river. The murder aroused widespread revulsion locally. His wife, Grace, mounted a fearless campaign to establish the truth, taking her case all the way to the King. What ensued was a story of intrigue, lies, drama and suspicion that went right to the top of the political and military establishment.
The British Tribe Next Door
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9.15pm
A few months ago, Scarlett Moffatt posted a photo on social media of a replica of her family’s terraced family home, complete with running water, electricity and their possessions around them . . . in the middle of a Namibian tribal village. Here’s the story behind that jaw-dropping shot. Scarlett and her family have moved to Otjeme village, home to 100 semi-nomadic Himba cattle herders who choose to live very traditional lives. In the first episode, the Moffatts arrive in Namibia and come to terms with the sight of their terraced house in the middle of a tribal village. The first Himba visitors arrive at the house, including Kandisiko, who soon strikes up a friendship with Moffatt.
Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong’o
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
Since winning an Oscar in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has costarred in a string of high-profile projects, including the recent Star Wars epics, Us and Black Panther. In this documentary, she journeys across Benin to uncover the truth behind the women who may have helped inspire the freedom fighters in Marvel’s blockbuster. Nyong’o discovers that an army of African female fighters existed in west Africa and are still remembered there as the Agoji – or, as Europeans labelled them, the Amazons. These real-life warrior women, in armies 4000-strong, fought African and European powers alike from the 17th to the 19th centuries in the Kingdom of Dahomey, now part of modern-day Benin.
Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs
Wednesday, UTV, 8pm (repeated Fri, Virgin Two, 8pm)
As series eight kicks off, O’Grady is again at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London, where in the first episode he meets seven Staffie puppies whose mother has rejected them. Cameras also focus on a 13-year-old mongrel who was found wandering the streets, and Paul lends a hand building a ladder and platform for nine-year-old pooch Archie.
Grand Designs: House of the Year
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
New series. Kevin McCloud visits homes in the running for the 2019 Royal Institute of British Architects House of the Year. He and co-presenters architect Damion Burrows and design expert Michelle Ogundehin visit five experimental homes competing for a place on the shortlist. The properties include a pioneering home made entirely from cork in Eton, an innovative Derbyshire stone cottage, a bold family home on the South Downs with a vaulted interior, a micro-home built on the site of a double garage in London, and an extraordinary ultra-low-energy house in Buckinghamshire.
Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm
A gang of local teenagers break into a building site – but not all of them come out. A huge explosion causes the building to collapse, killing several kids and leaving others with life-changing injuries. The Welsh community wants answers to this terrible tragedy, but the ones they get may not be what want to hear. Sarah Lancashire stars as Polly Bevan, a distraught mother whose daughter led the teenagers into the site, a construction project that was meant to revive the fortunes of the town. As the blame game ratchets up and the community is ripped apart by recriminations, Polly must try to mend fences while facing up to some uncomfortable truths. The series is written by screenwriter extraordinaire Jack Thorne (Skins, This Is England, the upcoming His Dark Materials), and the cast includes Joanna Scanlan and Borgen star Sidse Babett Knudsen.
Father Delaney, Silent Witness
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
It looked like just a box of useless old film reels, but inside was a treasure trove of Irish life before the age of television. Fr Jack Delaney served in parishes in Dublin’s inner city from the 1930s up to his death in 1982, But he also had a passion for amateur film-making, and, with his 16mm camera, documented ordinary life in Ireland as far back as the 1930s, including people living in Dublin’s slums and tenements and women working in the Magdalene laundries. Guests including film-maker Jim Sheridan, playwright Peter Sheridan and broadcaster Pat Kenny watch some of the footage with fresh eyes. The Sheridans recognise Dublin locations they used in My Left Foot, while Kenny’s 101-year-old aunt, Nora Whyte, recognises her father, a zookeeper, performing tricks with an elephant at Dublin Zoo. The footage is silent, so some of the scenes can be misleading – what looks like a religious procession turns out to be the church moving in and re-establishing their rule over the red light district of Monto. The documentary is narrated by Joe Duffy.
Fíorscéal: Surviving the Teenage Brain
Thursday, TG4, 10.30pm
Throw away all of your preconceived ideas about the behaviour and nature of teenagers. New research suggests that without our turbulent teen years the human race would be, as Dr David Bainbridge puts it, “short lived and stupid”. This programme looks at this critical developmental stage from a scientific and evolutionary point of view, combining cutting-edge scientific research with a graphic novel approach. It illustrates that our teens are doing precisely what they should be doing to finesse the development of their brains and ensure the survival of the human species.
Prince Charles: Inside the Duchy of Cornwall
Thursday, UTV, 9pm
Amanda Redman narrates this two-part documentary featuring access to Prince Charles and his private domain, the Duchy of Cornwall, the ancient Royal estate which he built up over the last half century into a billion-pound business to support himself, his immediate family and his charities. Episode one examines Charles’s work as the longest serving Duke of Cornwall. It reveals how the Duchy is run to reflect his personal philosophies across the whole estate. Cameras reveal how the estate supports an ancient way of life on Bodmin Moor, but also gives young families the chance to embark on a new start in farming.
Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive
Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm
Two years ago, shortly after filming The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up to Cancer, TV presenter and journalist Bill Turnbull was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He’d chosen to ignore the early warning signs, and by the time he went to his doctor, the disease had spread from his prostate to his bones. Bill decided to go public in the hope of encouraging more men to get checked. This film follows him over 12 months as he undertakes chemotherapy, celebrates the love and support he receives from family, friends and fans, and adopts a healthier diet.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Jason Momoa, Emilia Clarke, Regina King and Ross Noble discuss their latest projects. Plus music from American-Cuban singer-songwriter Camilla Cabello.
Weasels: Feisty and Fearless
Friday, BBC2, 8pm
Often portrayed as villains of the natural world and associated with unsavoury behaviour, weasels have gotten a bad rap over the years. To find out if they deserve this reputation, cameras follow first-time stoat mum Bandita as she raises her kits in a weasel wonderland via 50 hidden cameras. We meet a half-ounce orphaned least weasel called Twiz, who embarks on her journey back to the wild. Viewers also discover how a least weasel’s bite is stronger than a tiger’s, and how a ferret can move around so impressively in a burrow.
Harry Hill’s Clubnite
Friday, Channel 4, 11.05pm
Harry Hill is back on Channel 4 with a showcase for some of the funniest rising stars on the comedy circuit. There’s also a heady mix of sketches, games, music and all the bizarreness you’d expect from a Harry Hill experience. Taking part in the first episode are Bridget Christie, a veteran of a dozen Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows as well as Radio 4’s Bridget Christie Minds the Gap. Spencer Jones is cut from the same cloth as Harry, as anyone who saw his BBC series The Mind of Herbert Clunkerdunk will testify. Rosie Jones, seen recently on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, also takes part, along with EGG and Anna Mann.