TV guide: 18 of the best shows to watch this week
Statuesque Luke Kelly, a long day in Lough Derg, the Camino by sea, the return of Super Garden, and Mark Kermode on the heyday of disaster movies
Vera Klute and her Luke Kelly sculpture on Two Lukes. Photograph: Gregory Dunn
John Coll and his Luke Kelly sculpture on Two Lukes. Photograph: Bernadette Ní Ghallachoir
Monday, RTÉ One 6.30pm
Dubliners must really love Luke Kelly. After all, we have erected two statues to the legendary singer and social activist, one on the northside and one on the south. But how did Dublin end up with two statues of Luke Kelly? This warmhearted documentary looks at a saga that began 15 years ago, when then-councillor Christy Burke proposed the idea of a Luke Kelly statue. It sounded like a mighty fine idea, but the later crash shelved the project. When Burke became Dublin’s lord mayor in 2014, he commissioned German-born artist Vera Klute to come up with a design: a 2m-high bust, with corroded metal wire making up Luke’s red hair and beard. Kelly’s family, however, felt it was a little “modernist” for their liking, and the project was put on hold again. Meanwhile, sculptor John Coll got a private commission from artist and folk music fan Gerry Hunt to create a lifesize statue of Kelly playing the banjo, to be installed in Hunt’s back garden. The family liked the design so much that Hunt decided to donate it to Dublin, leaving the city with two Luke Kelly statues. Rather than choosing between them, Dublin City Council put one in Sheriff Street, where Kelly was born, and the other in South King Street, close to where he performed regularly among his milieu of bohemians and balladeers. The documentary promises lots of music from Kelly and The Dubliners, archive material, and interviews with the sculptors, Kelly’s brother John and fellow Dubliner John Sheahan.
Monday, RTÉ One 7.30pm
How shockin’ holy can you go? In this two-part series, we meet the pilgrims who are willing to endure extreme footsoreness as they make their way barefoot to the “sanctuary of St Patrick” at Lough Derg. What drives these pilgrims to endure the physical challenge of reaching this centuries-old place of worship and reflection? Lough Derg has been the destination of pilgrims for more than a millennium, and in this series we’ll meet some of the people who hope to strengthen their faith or deal with personal problems in their lives by getting blisters on their feet.
Iomramh an Chamino/The Camino Voyage
Monday, TG4, 9.30pm
A crew embarks on the Camino by sea on an inspiring and dangerous 2,500km modern-day Celtic odyssey. Reviewing this popular documentary in The Irish Times, critic Donald Clarke wrote: “It takes some class of determination to row all the way from Ireland to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. It takes more to do so in a traditional naomhóg. Yet four brave men – late poet Danny Sheehy, artist Liam Holden, musician Brendan Begley and stonemason Brendan Moriarty – set out to do just that in three gruelling yearly stages, beginning in 2014. Musician Glen Hansard joined them later. Ó Céilleachair’s film records the journey with care and grace. You’ll feel uplifted and a little exhausted by the close.”
Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema
Monday, BBC4, 9pm
Mark Kermode grew up in the 1970s, the heyday of the all-star Hollywood disaster movie, and he’s always been fascinated by the genre, which continues to thrive today. Here, the critic shows how disaster movies use stunts and sound, editing and special effects to bring us jaw-dropping visions of earthquakes, explosions and eruptions, and how film-makers rely on recurring story devices, themes and characters to maintain our sense of jeopardy. Kermode also showcases the remarkable range of disaster movies, from claustrophobic solo survival stories, to films that explore the ultimate catastrophe: the end of the world.
Food Unwrapped Goes Vegan
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
In this special episode of the series, meat-loving and meat-rearing Jimmy Doherty attempts to go vegan for a week and asks if we should all adopt a lifestyle that is gaining popularity. In the US, he sees if there’s a solution to carbon emissions from belching cows, and samples the latest fake meats on offer, including chicken nuggets grown in a lab. Meanwhile, Matt Tebbutt sets out to discover why some vegan products are more expensive than their meaty equivalents, Dr Helen Lawal asks if we should raise children as vegan, and Kate Quilton delves into the secret world of the vegan cheese melt.
Run for Your Life
Tuesday, UTV, 10.45pm
As worries about gun crime grow, many people are wondering what can be done to prevent youngsters from being drawn into a life of crime and gang culture. This documentary meets former Commonwealth Games triple jump medallist Connie Henry, who believes that sport could offer an escape route. She founded Track Academy in north west London in 2007, which is aimed at helping youngsters who, by their own admission, might otherwise have gone off the rails. Sebastian Coe, Kelly Holmes and Daley Thompson are among the contributors to this film looking at how Connie’s work has changed lives.
Find It, Fix It, Drive It
Wednesday, More4, 9pm
It is hard to argue that any type of vehicle is more uniquely American than the pick-up truck. Once embraced only by farmers and tradespeople, pick-ups have become the personal choice of millions, and the bestselling vehicle in the US for decades has been the Ford pick-up. Here, car restorer Henry Cole explores the history of the pick-up wagon and takes a drive in an original Model T Ford. Then, Sam Lovegrove joins him as he hunts for a classic truck to restore with a custom “rat rod” finish to use as a daily driver.
Old Wife, New Wife
Wednesday, Channel 5, 9pm
Last year, Channel 5 brought us the documentary The New Wife, in which a new coule moved in with the man’s ex for a week to see if it would help them to heal old wounds and make their co-parenting more amicable. The experiment was apparently such a success that more former couples (and new partners) have signed up for this three-part series. In the first episode we meet Cyren, who claims that his ex Laura restricted his access to their three-year-old son when he got together with Meaghan, although Laura has a different version of events. Will spending a week living together help the three adults resolve their issues?
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Fancy designing your own garden to showcase at this year’s Bloom? You better get the green finger out, because there’s only a few weeks left until the annual festival of horticulture opens on May 30th. And you’d better have some great garden ideas to impress the judges in the latest series of Super Garden. Once again it’s secateurs at dawn as the gardeners go head to head to grab a much-desired spot at Bloom 2019. First up is Dermot Davis from Greystones, who hopes the judges (Bord Bia’s Gary Graham, design lecturer Monica Alvarez and former Super Garden winner Brian Burke) will be open to his quirky style of garden design. Davis ran his own landscaping company before the economic crash saw him lose his business and his home. He’s hoping a win here will revive his fortunes.
Thursday, BBC1, 9pm
This moving and eye-opening programme has delivered an unflinching but humane insight into the frontline of emergency care in the UK, winning the 2018 Bafta for best factual series. This new fifth series expands its remit by covering the work of ambulance crews across the northwest of England. Regular viewers will be pleased to know that there will also be updates from the Greater Manchester team, so we’ll all be able to see how they’re getting along. Expect uplifting stories counterbalanced by those that are genuinely moving and tragic.
Jill Dando: The 20 Year Mystery
Thursday, UTV, 9pm
A couple of weeks ago, the BBC broadcast The Murder of Jill Dando, which examined the death of the Crimewatch presenter. The documentary was criticised by some viewers for lacking answers – Dando’s murder remains unsolved. Now UTV delves into the case, a day before the 20th anniversary of the crime. The major difference between takes is that UTV has secured an interview with Barry George, who was wrongfully imprisoned for the murder for eight years, as well as with his sister Michelle. Presenter Julie Etchingham also spends time examines documents and photos while revealing the theories and leads connected to the case.
Paul Treyvaud’s Kitchen
Thursday, Virgin Two, 8pm
In this episode the Kerry chef demonstates that with simple techniques and perfectseasoning, you can create amazing recipes at home with easy to find ingredients. If you can’t find one type of pasta, just use another. If you see something you like, just add it in to your favourite recipe. That’s the beauty of food – there are no limitations as to what you can cook.
Happy Birthday OU: 50 Years of the Open University
Thursday, BBC4, 9pm
The Open University is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since its founding in 1969, the OU has taught more than two million individuals and has almost 250,000 current undergraduates, including more than 15,000 overseas. Among its alumnae is Sir Lenny Henry who graduated with a degree in English literature (BA Hons) in 2007. Here the comedian and actor tells the story of the groundbreaking institution, whose motto is “Learn and Live”, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Looming Tower
Friday, BBC2, 9.30pm
What happens when America’s two biggest law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and the CIA, go to war with each other? The answer: 9/11. The Looming Tower tells the story of how two rival agencies, both ostensibly working toward the same goal, ended up working against each other in the years leading up to the 2001 attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon. Jeff Daniels stars as John O’Neill, head of the FBI’s counter-terrrorism unit, and Peter Sarsgaard plays his arrogant CIA counterpart who believes that only his agency can properly tackle terrorism. So while O’Neill and his team doggedly travel the world picking up intelligence on an imminent attack on US soil, the CIA crucially withhold knowledge that known al-Qaeda operatives have already entered the US.
Na Sár-Laochra Spóirt
Friday, TG4, 8pm
Four immortals from different sports are profiled: the l road cycling warrior Vincenzo Nibali; Britain’s poster boy diving world champion, Tom Daley; the woman who invented the perfect 10 in gymnastics, Nadia Comaneci; and cricket’s greatest-ever, Sir Donald Bradman.
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
The return of the fly-on-the-wall reality programme, in which three couples suffering relationship problems take part in a social experiment, filming their most intimate moments for one week, before sharing their “sex tapes” with the other couples as well as relationship therapist Anjula Mutanda. The aim is to see whether what they see on camera and hear from the others will change their relationship.
Rick and Morty
Friday, E4, 10.55pm
A new series of the animated sitcom begins with a chaotic episode in which Rick decides to unfreeze time six months after it was stopped. He warns his grandkids, Morty and Summer, that time could initially be unstable, but their uncertainty tears time apart into two realities. Despite Rick using a crystal to try to mend the timelines together, a Fourth Dimensional Being with a testicle for a head appears and tells Morty and Summer that they are going to Time Prison for eternity.
Cruising with Jane McDonald
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
The first of a two-part Indian adventure finds McDonald amid the colourful chaos of the city of Kolkata, where she visits the largest flower market in Asia, before being treated to a ringside view of some traditional wrestlers in action. She then sets sail on India’s most holy river, the Ganges, on board a five-star ship. Stop-offs include the temple city of Kalna and the former home of the historic East India Shipping Company, Murshidabad. While in Murshidabad, McDonald explores the grand palaces of the city, before going off the beaten the track to see some local artisans at work.