TV guide: 18 of the best shows to watch this week
Nationwide at the Fleadh Cheoil, plus Olivia O’Leary on the great Emancipator, Ireland’s first exorcist movie, surfing life in Lahinch, and how to train your baby . . . like a dog?
The next generation at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019: brothers Bobby (7) and Finn (10) Hand from Dunleer, Co Louth on August 11th. Photograph: Tom Honan
Mary McCaffery (5) from Trillick, Co Tyrone on August 12th. Mary has only been playing the violin for about six months. Photograph: James Forde
Siblings Naoise (8), Eorann (10), Fionn (6) and Caoimhe (11) Hegarty from Newmarket on Fergus, Co Clare on August 12th. Photograph: James Forde
Clodagh (11) and Tomas (9) Harney from Bettystown, Co Meath on August 11th. Photograph: Tom Honan
Monday, RTÉ One, 7pm
Nationwide heads to Drogheda, Co Louth for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019, the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance. The team hears about the great musical heritage of Drogheda and gets a sneak preview of some of the performances. And, as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the pinnacle of the year for musicians and performers from all over the world, reporter Colm Flynn goes to visit a group in New York City to find out all about their preparation for this year’s Fleadh Ceoil. Also on the programme: Donal Byrne meets with sailors who survived the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster as this week marks the 40th anniversary of the tragedy; and the Muster Vales, a new tourism initiative incorporating the counties of Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Tipperary, is examined.
Keepers of the Flame
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
How do ordinary Irish people deal with the traumatic aftermath of war? Go back 100 years to the turbulent period between the 1916 Rising and the Civil War. Keepers of the Flame shines a light on generation that was left to cope with the mental and physical wounds suffered during the violent birth of the nation. It’s a side of Ireland’s battle for independence we don’t hear much about. In the years following the Civil War, families remained torn apart and people suffering post-traumatic stress were expected to just say nothing, get on with it and move forward toward a glorious future. This documentary digs into the archives to uncover painful stories from the past and lift a lid on the conspiracy of silence that left many people to suffer alone and unaided. Keepers of the Flame is directed by Nuala O’Connor and includes contributions from Diarmaid Ferriter, Mary Black, Aiden Gillen, Joseph O’Connor and Olivia O’Leary.
Stath Lets Flats
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
It’s the second season of the comedy about a hopeless lettings agent and, amazingly, Stath hasn’t been fired yet. But he has suffered the humiliation of being overlooked for a promotion by his own dad, Vamos, the owner of Michael & Eagle Lettings. As season two opens, Stath’s arch-rival Julian has been given the manager’s job, and he will now have to work under his sworn enemy. Created by and starring Jamie Demetriou, Stath Lets Flats fell flat in the ratings in its first run, but was subsequently nominated for a British Academy Television Award, so this could be a sleeper.
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.25pm
In Brian Deane’s dark 2015 drama, set in the 1950s, a priest (George Blagden) arrives on a remote Irish island where a young pregnant woman (Alicia Gerrard) is said to be possessed by a demon. Blight, which could well be Ireland’s first exorcism movie, was a finalist for best Irish short at the 2015 Cork Film Festival and was named best short at the 2016 Fantasporto fantasy film festival,
Rams: Principles of Good Design
Monday, BBC4, 9pm
You may not know German designer Dieter Rams, but if you’ve used any Apple products over the years, you will have seen his influence. In the 1970s, Rams became disillusioned by the “impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises” that passed for design, so he set about compiling his 10 commandments for good design, which he put to good use in his work for Braun and the furniture company Vitsoe. Now 87, Rams has left an enviable legacy of great design, so it’s surprising to hear that he now regrets becoming a designer. It’s no surprise, though, to find that this documentary features a musical score by that great sound designer, Brian Eno.
The Day Mountbatten Died
Monday, BBC1, 9pm
On August 27th, 1979, Prince Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas of Battenberg – Lord Mountbatten – cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, great uncle to Prince Charles, and the last Viceroy of India was blown up at sea by the IRA off the west coast of Ireland. Three others were killed on the boat, including two teenagers. Later that afternoon, in a second strike, the IRA killed 18 British soldiers across the Border in Northern Ireland. Four decades on, this is the story of that horrific bank holiday Monday — movingly told by those directly affected by the atrocities.
Call the Cops
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
Documentary series going behind the scenes with the Devon and Cornwall police force, showing the critical decisions that the communications and control centre team makes each day. The first edition covers the Easter bank holidays, when incident manager Adele must decide which jobs to prioritise with limited resources at her disposal. The weekend begins with a violent arrest, which uses up all of Paignton’s available response officers, while the only dedicated traffic officer is called to an accident in Exmouth.
Between Land and Sea
Tuesday, RTÉ2, 10.15pm
This visually stunning observational documentary, both intimate and epic, embeds itself in the Big Wave surf community of Lahinch, Co Clare, a surfing town at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean. The film digs deep into the day to day lives of the surf community, taking the audience beyond the bluster of the typical adrenaline-fueled film to create a very real portrait of those who choose the lifestyle. Featuring some of the biggest waves and best surfers in Ireland – as well as a thrilling cameo by Hawaiian legend Shane Dorian – Between Land and Sea gives an exhilarating yet moving, humourous and thought-provoking account of the ocean-going natives of west Clare.
Train Your Baby Like a Dog
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
The title sums up an apparent revolution in parenting. Sounds barking? Well, Jo-Rosie Haffenden believes that rather than telling kids what not to do, motivating and helping them to understand what they should do is far more important. Haffenden, an animal behaviourist, says that if everyone parented their child the same way many train their dogs, we’d help raise more compassionate human beings. Cameras follow her as she works with Greydon (3), whose tantrums are driving his parents up the wall. The host also tests her canine-training techniques with Dulcie (18 months), whose screaming fits and refusal to sleep in her own cot are pushing her tired mum to breaking point.
Kathy Burke’s All Woman
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
Burke discusses attitudes to motherhood, discovering why the average age of first-time mothers is rising and contemplating the reasons why women choose whether or not to have children. She talks to a London financial analyst who has decided to freeze her eggs, and discovers the likelihood of the procedure resulting in a successful conception. Burke also talks to movie star Samantha Morton and comedian Katherine Ryan about their experiences of parenthood, and has her first experience of attending a birth.
Fighter Pilot: The Real Top Gun
Tuesday, UTV, 9pm
Camera crews spent a year inside Britain’s elite fighter pilot school, where they follow three young recruits, including the school’s only female student, as they compete to become the best of the best. Aside from learning how to fly fast jets, they carry out bombing missions and dogfight with the enemy. Their ambition is to be selected to fly the new F35 Lightning Stealth Jet. In the first of three episodes, former windsurfing instructor Sedge and young dad Andy must sit their fast jet driving test at the fighter pilot base at RAF Valley in Anglesey.
Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef Bares All
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
It’s been two decades since Jamie Oliver went from relatively obscure Essex lad to overnight star. He arrived on TV with The Naked Chef, shook up culinary culture, and changed how many of us have cooked and eaten. But how has that time changed him? Davina McCall looks back at memorable Oliver moments from over the years, beginning with his accidental discovery at The River Cafe and his rise to fame as iconic Brit-pop chef. There’s also a look at his campaign to improve the food system, and the more recent closure of his restaurant group. Viewers are promised emotional revelations and personal insights.
Wednesday, BBC4, 9pm
A century ago, Germany’s Bauhaus art movement revolutionised the way the world looked at art, design and architecture. This documentary focuses on the story of architect Walter Gropius, who founded the school, and the teachers who helped him create a whole new design for life, including artists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The movement eventually fell foul of the Nazis – the school was raided by stormtroopers, then closed down altogether. The programme is followed at 10pm by Bauhaus Rules with Vic Reeves, in which the surreal comedian brings together six graduates from Central St Martins in an experiment to see if they can create new work of art, design or performance by strictly following the principles of Bauhaus.
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
The show which stops channel-hoppers dead in their tracks is back for a new run. Daring to bare all in episode one is Stephanie (30), a self-confessed dating disaster who rarely gets past a first date. Stephanie hopes she will finally get to second base with a little help from the Naked Attraction team. Also flashing the flesh is Bethany (28) from Essex, a free-spirited artist who wants to find her first girlfriend. Anna Richardson will guide the contestants through the process of choosing a partner, minus their clothes, while whittling six people down to one. One of the pods contains a celebrity, but who will it be?
Daniel O’ Connell: Forgotten King of Ireland
Thursday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
He was known as “the Liberator” and “the Emancipator”, and described by King George IV as “the uncrowned king of Ireland”. But according to writer and broadcaster Olivia O’Leary, the memory of Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) has been left to gather dust in a forgotten corner of Irish history. In this two-part documentary, O’Leary sets out to reinstate O’Connell’s reputation and restore his crown as one of Ireland’s greatest heroes. Should be a doddle. O’Leary goes from Kerry to Rome as she chronicles O’Connell journey to secure emancipation for Ireland’s Catholics. O’Leary believes his nonviolent approach is out of favour in these centenary years, when Ireland is more focused on celebrating those who took up arms in the fight for freedom. She interviews people of all political and religious persuasions to build up a portrait of the great man, and asks if his life story is still relevant in today’s pluralist Irish society.
Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer return to find out how some of the families they have helped are getting on since they decided whether to redesign their problematic homes or sell up and move on. They begin with Paul and Dawn from the first edition back in April 2015, who were at loggerheads over what to do with their detached country home. Its isolated location on the outskirts of Huddersfield made it perfect for astronomy fanatic Paul, but Dawn was desperate to move, hating its dysfunctional layout.
The Octopus in My House
Thursday, BBC2, 9pm
Imagine living with a creature that has nine brains, three hearts and blue blood running through its veins. That’s what happens to Prof David Scheel, who develops an extraordinary relationship with an octopus when he invites it to live in his home. The cephalopod, called Heidi, unravels puzzles, recognises individual humans and even watches TV with the family. This film also shows remarkable behaviour from around the world – from the day octopus, which can change colour and texture in a split second, to the coconut octopus, which carries around its own coconut shell to hide in. Most fascinating of all is seeing how Scheel and daughter Laurel bond with this incredible eight-legged guest.
BBC Proms: Rattle Conducts Belshazzar’s Feast
Friday, BBC4, 7.30pm
The annual Henry Wood Promenade Concerts hit a glorious high with Public Service Broadcasting’s tribute to the heroes of space flight and those first moon landings. There’s more out-of-this-world goodies to come before the iconic last night, and this edition promises to be a cracker. Suzy Klein explores the percussive sounds of jungles in Charles Koechlin’s Les bandar-log; city life in Varese’s Ameriques, and Walton’s cantata of biblical proportions, Belshazzar’s Feast. Simon Rattle will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra, the LSO Chorus, Orfeo Catala and the Orfeo Catala Youth Choir.