TV guide: 18 of the best shows to watch this week
I, Dolours tells the story of IRA activist Dolours Price, comedian Oliver Callan on the God question and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's war on plastic
Dolours Price interviewed for the documentary I, Dolours
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Should notorious enemies of society be allowed to tell their own stories? This documentary on the late IRA activist Dolours Price is based on an interview she gave to journalist Ed Moloney in 2009, and charts Price’s own journey to becoming a paramilitary, giving an insight into the inner working of the IRA. The story of her life is told through dramatic re-enactments, with Lorna Larkin playing the part of a young Price, showing how she went from a passionate idealist to joining the active IRA unit that was behind the Old Bailey car bomb attack in 1973 and the murders of Jean McConville and many of the “disappeared”. In his four-star review, Irish Times critic Donald Clarke said the film “confirms the subject as a fiercely articulate woman with a chilling certainty of purpose . . . an essential watch for anyone with even a faint interest in the Troubles”.
The 1900 Island
Monday, BBC Two, 7pm
Four families with a longing to escape the demands of the modern world experience life in a fishing community as it was at the turn of the 20th century, heading to the small island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey. In the opening programme, the Powers, the Davies, the Barkers and couple Kate Evans and Arwel John all come together and realise they must adapt quickly – but bad weather, lack of experience and limited rations lead to hunger and frustrations. Can a last-minute effort by the women save the day?
Year of the Rabbit
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Those still lamenting the end of Toast of London will be pleased to know that Matt Berry is back on Channel 4. Set in the Victorian era, Year of the Rabbit focuses on a hard-drinking, old-fashioned copper who’s seen it all and done it twice. Unfortunately, he’s not in the best of health. So Rabbit’s boss makes him work with a younger, fitter (and completely useless) new partner and together they set about finding an East End murderer. However, it’s their boss’s adopted daughter who proves invaluable to their quest. Alun Armstrong, Freddie Fox and Susan Wokoma co-star.
Britain’s Toxic Air Scandal: Dispatches
Monday, Channel 4, 8pm
One in three children in the UK is growing up inhaling unsafe levels of air pollution. Dispatches runs a world-first experiment to reduce hundreds of primary school children’s exposure to toxic air. Reporter Morland Sanders reveals that it’s not just exhausts that produce dangerous emissions, with previously unidentified toxins coming off every vehicle, even electric ones. Dispatches asks: Is the government doing enough to protect our children’s health? Is the motor industry to blame? And what can we do to prevent dangerous exposure to children now?
War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita
Monday, BBC One, 9pm
Every minute of every day the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans. That’s a shocking statistic, and we’ve seen the effect such behaviour is having on the world’s wildlife via programmes such as Blue Planet. In a new three-part series, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani take an in-depth look at the issue and, perhaps more importantly, look at ways in which we can try and alleviate it. They challenge big businesses to do more to reduce the plastic in their products and ask the British government about addressing recycling and plastic production. But perhaps the most interest segment involves an entire street in Bristol whose householders are challenged to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use.
Prime Time Special: Facing Up to Loneliness
Tuesday RTÉ One, 9.35pm
The rise of social media may give the impression that we’re all having a big love-in with our countless friends and followers, but the reality is that people are becoming more isolated and disconnected from the rest of humanity. Loneliness is now considered by many a serious public health issue, and this Prime Time report will look at how loneliness affects us all, even if we all seem to be having a jolly good n Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Her Majesty’s Cavalry
Tuesday, UTV, 8.30pm
Behind the scenes of the wedding of 2018, as Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle with the world looking on, and the groom’s former regiment prepares for a starring role. Corporal of Horse Frankie O’Leary served on the frontline with Harry in Afghanistan, and must now rally his troop to ensure their procession is flawless for his former boss’s wedding. There is also a look at how the trainees form friendships with their horses while mastering the art of jumping.
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Has our love affair with the Man Above irrevocably broken down? Have we given Jesus his walking papers? Are we no longer interested in being shockin’ holy? Comedian Oliver Callan travels around the country to explore how our relationship with religion and God is changing and asks: should we be divorcing the deity, or should we give him (or her) another chance at redemption? Ireland is becoming a more secular society, and religion no longer has the same grip on our lives. But are we too much in a hurry to abandon our faith, and is there still some space for religion in our increasingly busy lives? Callan meets people devout and agnostic and in-between, those whose lives have been enhanced by their religious beliefs, and those who have been blighted by clerical abuse. Is it possible to find a middle holy ground that modern Ireland can be comfortable with?
Wednesday, UTV, 9pm
Rob Lowe stars as US cop Bill Hixon, who must adjust to a new life when he’s transferred to the alien environs of Boston. That’s Boston, Lincolnshire. Hixon heads to the UK with his daughter to take up the job of chief constable with the East Lincolnshire police. Will he shake up the force with his strange American ways, and will the locals accept this transatlantic blow-in into their community? Well, not if he keeps calling Lincolnshire a “godforsaken cabbage patch”.
Secrets of Sugar Baby Dating
Wednesday, BBC One, 11.35pm
Tiffany Sweeney investigates “sugar dating” websites that connect attractive young women with wealthy older man known as sugar daddies, who, in theory at least, shower them with cash and gifts and potentially give their careers a boost by opening up a world of business opportunities. Sweeney meets 18-year-old Valentina, who has seven sugar daddies who each give her a monthly cash allowance, before going undercover to find out for herself about the reality of sugar dating and the potential risks involved.
The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
This four-part series follows a daring experiment that sees the UK’s first ever restaurant staffed by people living with dementia. Fourteen volunteers, all living with some form of dementia, run the restaurant in Bristol, hoping to raise awareness of the disease and the impact it can have on those still of working age. In the first episode, 23-year-old Jordan, gynaecologist and obstetrician Avril, and legal representative Jacqui embark on a shift in the high-pressure restaurant, under the guidance of Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton.
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
A two-part living history series that sees local recruits in west Cork chosen to live like Tom Barry and the Flying Column during the War of Independence in 1920-1921. The Brigade members (12 local men, mostly in their late teens and early 20s) are put through the paces by former members of the Irish Defence Forces who instruct in drilling, shooting, military tactics, night trekking, weapons handling and cleaning, signals and general military tactics as well as imparting historical facts about the flying column. The recruits get their kip in either a tent or hay barn, and all night locations are related to the locations the Brigade and Tom Barry would have slept in 100 years ago. One such place is O’Brien’s farm in Clonbuig near Kilbrittain, which was a secure safe house. The Brigade recuits are Stephen Maloney, Eoin Sexton, Tómas White, Declan McCarthy, John O’Flynn, Michael Crowley, Ken O’Neill, Dáire O Ceallacháin, Joey Tawardos, Evan Kelleher, Liam Murphy and Joseph Twomey.
Battle of the Super Eaters: 3,000 Calories a Minute
Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm
In competitive eating, all you have to do is eat as much as you can, as fast as you can, in order to win thousands of pounds or dollars. But the “sport” requires rigorous pre-competition training, including teaching your body to suppress the gag reflex, as well as the very real possibility of choking to death while wolfing down dozens of hot dogs in 10 minutes. This one-off programme provides an insight into this bizarre world, with cameras following three of Britain’s top eaters as they complete food challenges and strive for international fame and fortune. Adam Moran, the UK’s No 1 professional eater, travels to the US to compete in a tournament.
Who Should Get To Stay in the UK?
Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm
With Britain’s immigration system under scrutiny, this series tells the stories of those desperate to stay and the lawyers tasked with helping them. Some immigrants bring with them the prospect of investment and job creation; others come for asylum and sanctuary. All are determined to make Britain their home – but it is up to their lawyers to convince the Home Office to let them stay. Among those hoping to live here is 27-year-old Russian student Valeriya, who moved to the UK when she was 15. Valeriya is on her fifth student visa and now applying for an entrepreneur visa.
Bake Off: The Professionals – The Final
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
The three remaining teams must fight tooth and mixing bowl to be crowned the winners of this incredibly tough patisserie competition. Judges Benoit Blin and Cherish Finden have for the first time set two challenges for the final: four hours to create a stunning afternoon tea and seven hours to create mind-blowing wedding feast. So which team will impress the judges with their precision, passion and patisserie prowess?
I Can Go for That: The Smooth World of Yacht Rock
Friday, BBC Four, 9pm
Although the 1970s radio-friendly sounds of the likes of Steely Dan and Hall & Oates were often dismissed in the heyday of punk, their sophisticated arrangements and sharp lyrics have been reappraised and dubiously labelled “yacht rock”. As well as looking at the influence of Bread, Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers, American broadcaster and writer Katie Puckrick reveals how these smooth sounds provided welcome relief for an America in turmoil after the Vietnam War and Watergate scandal.
Friday, Channel 4, 9pm
The rolling cast of celebrities featured in this new series already know what it’s like to be in the public eye. So will they sugarcoat their opinions a bit when they give their verdict on the week’s TV? The first group of famous(ish) armchair critics include Rylan Clark-Neal and his mum Linda, Nick Grimshaw and his niece Liv, Gyles Brandreth and Sheila Hancock, and Little Mix. They will let us know what they think about some of the big shows of the week – and a few of the small-screen gems you might have missed.