TV guide: 17 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

The White Lotus, Our DNA Story, Diana, Christy’s Life on the Road, The Chair

The Secret World of Crisps
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
Last Sunday C4 ran a documentary about chocolate. The broadcaster continues its focus on snacks by turning its attention to crisps. Dawn French again narrates, regaling viewers with fascinating facts about the nation's multimillion-pound crisp industry, which in Britain is ruled by such brands as Smiths, Golden Wonder and Walkers. The programme reveals secrets about their decades-long rivalry and efforts to outdo each other by launching new flavours and adopting modern marketing techniques.

The White Lotus
Monday, Sky Atlantic & NowTV, 9pm

“The plane! The plane!” With these immortal words, Herve Villechaize would announce the arrival of new guests at Fantasy Island. Alas, Tattoo’s not here to announce the new arrivals in The White Lotus, but there is a dapper Ricardo Montalban type waiting with his clipboard to greet the new guests. You get the idea: a disparate group of holidaymakers alight at this seemingly idyllic Hawaiian resort, all ready for some well-earned rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. But their problems have stowed away and travelled with them, and soon there’s trouble in paradise as darker undercurrents begin to surface. And there’s no Mr Roarke to cleverly engineer a happy outcome in this six-part social satire.

Our DNA Story
Monday, RTÉ One, 10pm


Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, aka Ant and Dec, are a strange TV chimera all right, a presenting duo that manages to operate as one single person. With Our DNA Story, scientists had a chance to learn how this unique broadcasting entity came to be, but instead they chose to use the data to explore the pair’s individual family history. Thus the pair embark on a gleeful global adventure as they seek to discover where they came from and who their ancestors were. They’ll be utilising cutting edge genetic tools and getting advice from top experts in DNA to delve into their past. No surprise if it turns out their ancestors had teamed up to present a medieval show called Britannia Doth Possess Talent, By My Troth.

Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Diana, Princess of Wales would have been 60 this year, and this documentary, directed by Bafta-winning Jemma Chisnall, marks her birthday by delving into the archives to uncover rarely seen footage and new testimony. The documentary retraces Diana’s journey from teenage nursery assistant in Pimico to princess in a gilded cage, assailed on one side by a controlling royal family and on the other by a voracious tabloid press that relentlessly hounded her right to the end. You might think you know everything there is to know about one of the world’s most closely scrutinised women, but this promises to bring new insights into the complex person behind the media image.

Children of 9/11: Our Story
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
To mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks next month, an intimate film made up of home video tells the life stories of six young people whose fathers were killed on that earth-shattering day, either before they were born, or before they had a chance to meet. They include a banker who had a meeting in the South Tower; a mechanic who was on a job in the North tower; a firefighter who lost his life saving others; a passenger on flight AA11; a military official working in the Pentagon; and a man from Yemen who died helping guests evacuate from a hotel. The film explores how a figure they never knew and an event they didn't witness have shaped these young people's lives, and those of their families.

Shortscreen: Rough
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.50pm

Belfast gangsters pass a death sentence on a dog, leading the owner to offer himself to be shot instead in this stark 13-minute drama, written and directed by Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn. Rough had its world premiere at the Belfast Film Festival in April 2020, and was named best short at the 2020 Kerry Film Festival and the 2021 Ifta Awards. The film was executive produced by Derry-born Hollywood actress Roma Downey, who commented at the time of the Ifta gong: “I am proud to be associated with the film. I really responded to the story of how one man’s love for his little dog reminds us all of our own humanity. [Rough] is made with warmth and humor and I am so happy for our talented team to pick up this prestigious award.”

The Railway Killers
Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, Channel 5, 9pm
On a wintry night in December 1985, Alison Day disappeared after getting off her train at Hackney Wick in east London, and the case turned into a murder hunt when her body was later recovered from a canal. This three-part film looks at the investigation into her disappearance and death. It continues tomorrow with police officers' hunt for the killers taking another turn as Anne Lock goes missing after boarding a train. Then, the final episode takes us back to 1997 when John Duffy, nine years after he had been sentenced to life for murder and rape, finally confesses to police that he had an accomplice.

Monday, BBC One, 11.05pm

The comedy based on comedian Liam Williams’s adolescence returns. Liam is on a date for the first time since his all-too-recent break-up with Jess. With a bit of help from an “icebreaker” app, everything seems to be going well. But when his date asks Liam about the last time he felt completely happy, he’s thrust back into memories of his adolescence. It’s GCSE results day in Leeds in the early noughties, and Liam is secretly overjoyed to have beaten his friends academically. But when thoughts turn to a big night out in the city centre, a new sort of competition rears its ugly head.

Christy's Life on the Road
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

How does Christy Moore prepare to go onstage? Does he lift weights and do 100 press-ups? Does he conduct a voodoo ceremony and sacrifice a chicken? Not a bit of it. According to this unique look at his life on tour, the bould Christy immerses himself in the music, getting himself in the right space psychologically to go out there and deliver the magic. This feature documentary follows Moore as he visits some of his favourite venues, including the Marquee in Cork and his spiritual “HQ” in Lisdoonvarna. Much is made up of unused footage from the film Christy Moore: Journey. We go behind the scenes to meet the road crew who have been with Moore for many years, and get a rare insight into the daily work of entertaining the people of Ireland every night. It will also be a reminder of what we’ve missed during the pandemic: that intimate connection between artist and audience in big, sweaty venues.

Changing Rooms
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Whether viewers were tuning in to pick up interior design inspiration or just hoping that someone was really going to hate their new-look home, Changing Rooms was one of the most talked-about shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now it's back, bringing with it more colours, patterns textures and imagination, not least because interior design icon Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has returned to the fold. He's joined by presenter Anna Richardson, designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio, and carpenter and joiner Tibby Singh in what long-standing Changing Room fans will know as the Handy Andy role. In the first episode they all heading to Swansea, where florist Claire is hoping her postal-worker neighbour Lisa can turn her beige living room into something a little more ostentatious.

Jay's Yorkshire Workshop
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm

We’re used to seeing Jay Blades in a workshop, but normally it’s on The Repair Shop, where he’s meeting people who hope to see their beloved family heirlooms restored to their former glory. In this new series, Blades and his team of volunteers take up residence in the heart of West Yorkshire to create objects from scratch. Ranging from chairs and cabinets to cocktail bars, these bespoke items will be given to local community heroes as a thank you. And it’s not just the new owners who benefit, as Jay hopes his volunteers will discover how the sense of achievement from making something with you own hands can boost your confidence and happiness. In the first episode, the team helps Connor to surprise Jack, who donated half his liver to him, with a mid-century inspired sideboard.

Glórtha ón Imeall
Thursday, TG4, 8.30pm
For almost a decade, Imeall was TG4's landmark arts series showcasing Ireland's most exciting musicians, artists and creatives. Glórtha ón Imeall takes a look back at some of the show's favourite interviews and performances. Voiced by Fiachna Ó Braonáin, the series also features guest interviews by Úna Mullally, Theo Dorgan and Tristan Rosenstock. In this episode, Micheal D Higgins visits Galway's iconic An Taibhdhearc theatre, we get an insight into the life behind poet Paula Meehan, we follow sculptor Cliodhna Cussen as she describes her works, and queen of rockabilly Imelda May performs.

Joe Lycett's Got Your Back
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
Comedian Joe Lycett is back with a new series, ready to fight for the consumer rights of the British public. Over the next few weeks, we'll see him take on dodgy puppy dealers and some of the nation's worst bosses, while launching a campaign to promote British wool. He won't be going it entirely alone – he's got his trusty assistant Mark Silcox, a weekly studio guest and a range of celebrities to help him. In the first episode, Lycett's sidekicks include AJ Odudu, who has some tips to share on the art of complaining. Joe also gets himself cancelled on live TV to draw attention to the issue of plastic waste, Mark pits two leading brands of cola against each other, and comedian Sophie Duker investigates rat-run traffic fines.


The Nilsen Tapes
From Wednesday, Netflix
This chilling documentary explores the world of one of Britain's most notorious serial killers. Dennis Nilsen admitted murdering 15 people between 1978 and 1983, a time when mass unemployment drew young men to London in search of their fortunes, only to find themselves destitute and easy prey. The programme reveals how Nilsen went from a young boy growing up in a quiet Scottish fishing village to prowling the streets of the capital. It includes interviews from police, journalists, survivors and bereaved families. We also hear Nilsen's own voice via never-before-published cassette tapes of his private recordings, examining how he was able to get away with his crimes for so long.

Nine Perfect Strangers
From Friday, Amazon Prime
It must be all the cabin fever from being confined to staycationing, but there seems to be a run on telly holiday-gone-wrong dramas – just to reassure us that, really, we're better off staying at home. This new eight-part drama is set in a luxury boutique health and wellness resort where guests are promised healing, transformation and a new appetite for life, as if they didn't already guess from the name of the resort, Tranquillum. The retreat is run by Masha (Nicole Kidman), who assures the nine guests that they have "nothing to fear", before proceeding to push them to the very edge of madness and self-destruction. She's Nurse Rached, Cruella De Vil and Anne Robinson rolled into one. With nine willing guinea pigs desperate to try anything to put their lives right, Masha has free rein to make them do whatever she wants – no matter how crazy or suicidal. Kidman is joined by Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall and Michael Shannon in this adaptation of the bestselling novel by Liane Moriarty. Next up, a scary new horror drama in which three priests find themselves trapped in a caravan on a remote craggy island.

Truth Be Told
From Friday, Apple TV+
Oscar winner Octavia Spencer returns with a new season of the anthology drama that offers a unique glimpse into America's obsession with true crime podcasts. She is joined by Kate Hudson in her first leading television role. It follows investigative reporter-turned-podcaster Poppy Parnell (Spencer) as she dives head-first into a new case that involves her childhood friend (Hudson), a media mogul. However, as the developments unfold, their lifelong friendship is put to the ultimate test.

The Chair
From Friday, Netflix

Sandra Oh heads the cast of this six-parter, written by Amanda Peet, who is also an executive producer, alongside Oh and David Benioff and DB Weiss, best known for their work on the final season of Game of Thrones. In The Chair, Dr Ji-Yoon Kim (Oh) is navigating her new role as the chairperson of English at the prestigious Pembroke University, and finds herself faced with a unique set of challenges as the first woman to head the department, not to mention being one of the few staff members of colour on campus.

Contributing: PA