TV guide: 18 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

The Righteous Gemstones, 100 Years of Ulysses, Mary Beard’s Forbidden Art, Reacher

Celebrity Hunted
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
Keeping yourself hidden from prying eyes can't be easy if you've got a famous face. Good job then that the fourth series of Celebrity Hunted includes several celebs many of those tuning in have probably never seen or heard of before. It should be interesting to find out how Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne gets on too – hiding in bushes while wearing 6-inch heels and a skin-tight frock doesn't sound like someone who's going to win; perhaps she'll revert to being the largely anonymous James Lee Williams for the duration instead, which she'll spend alongside reality star Chloe Veitch. Also taking part are Olympian silver medallist Iwan Thomas and two-time Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead, Made in Chelsea stars Ollie and Gareth Locke, and actor Chizzy Akudolu, who teams up with queen of UK garage Lisa Maffia.

The Great Cookbook Challenge with Jamie Oliver
Monday, Channel 4, 8pm
There's no shortage of cooking competitions on TV, but Jamie Oliver has managed to put a new twist on the format. This series isn't just looking for someone who can rustle up an appetising plate of food – it wants to find someone who could also make it sound mouth-watering in print as it searches for the next big cookbook author. Hundreds applied, and 18 would-be food writers made the cut, with concepts ranging from meals that can be mopped up with bread to nose-to-tail recipes and a love letter to Austrian food. Restaurant critic and food writer Jimi Famurewa; award-winning recipe writer and author Georgina Hayden; and head judge Louise Moore, managing director of Penguin Michael Joseph, will whittle down the contestants each week, while Jamie and his team will offer them advice – and setting them challenges.

The Teacher
Monday-Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm

With two Olivier awards and a Bafta to her name, Sheridan Smith is one of Britain’s most popular and successful actresses, so bagging her for the lead role in this new drama, which is stripped across the week, is something of a coup for Channel 5. It also gives Smith a meaty role as Jenna Garvey, a teacher whose troubled personal life and tendency to numb her emotional pain with alcohol and promiscuity are beginning to encroach on the classroom. Her desire to be a friend to her students has also led to some blurred boundaries, but things are about to get much, much messier when she heads out on a drunken night out to celebrate a promotion and ends up being accused of sleeping with a 15-year-old student.


Race and Medical Experiments: What's the Truth?
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Presenter Seyi Rhodes is vaccinated against Covid but his mum was initially hesitant to do the same, and her reluctance points to a wider trend among some people from ethnic minorities. Rhodes sets out to find out why as he investigates how vaccine hesitancy may have been influenced by a toxic history of racially charged experiments. One of the most notorious cases took place in Tuskegee, Alabama, where black men were denied treatment for syphilis as part of a study to see how the disease progressed, but Rhodes soon finds other examples.

Great British Menu
Tuesday, BBC2, 8pm
The cooking competition is back, this time with a slightly changed recipe. Once again some of the county's most talented professional chefs will be battling it out for the chance to get one of their dishes to a prestigious banquet, which this year will mark 100 years of British broadcasting, and Andi Oliver returns as the presenter. This time cooks who make it through to the regional finals will be trying to impress two-time Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, chef and restaurateur Nisha Katona, and comedian and host of a popular food podcast Ed Gamble. To get to that stage though, today's chefs from the central region must impress with their canapes, starters and fish courses.

Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

The award-winning documentary series returns for a fourth run, telling the personal stories of people who have lived through trauma or trying times. Each episode features a single guest who will be given the time and space to recount their experiences, beginning with Lisa Lawlor aka the Stardust Baby, both of whose parents were killed in the Stardust fire in 1981. Lawlor recalls growing up in a north Dublin community living under the shadow of Stardust, and of her struggle to find her own identity after years of being seen as a symbol of the tragedy. The series is presented by Orla O’Donnell; other episodes will feature environmental activist Úna Ní Bhroin, who lived in a tree in the Glen of the Downs in Wicklow to protest against a road development; Rachel Moran, who worked as a teenage prostitute; and Roy Galvin, Limerick’s own Billy Elliot, who emerged from his inner city upbringing to become a ballet dancer.

Misha and the Wolves – Storyville
Wednesday, BBC Four, 10pm

This powerful documentary, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, was first broadcast in Ireland and Britain last month on TG4. It tells the dramatic tale of a woman whose Holocaust memoir took the world by storm. Misha Defonseca described fleeing her home in Belgium after the Nazis apprehended her resistance-fighter parents and went on gruelling odyssey on foot across occupied Europe. Then one day, walking through the woods, she was helped by a pack of wolves. She recounted her extraordinary tale in Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, which prompted a deal with Oprah Winfrey, a French film adaptation and a possible Disney movie. But was it all too good to be true? Defonseca’s fallout with her publisher revealed an audacious deception created to hide a darker truth.

The Righteous Gemstones
Thursday, Sky Comedy, 10pm

Prepare for the second coming of TV’s most dysfunctional evangelical family, featuring all seven deadly sins in quick succession. John Goodman returns as preaching paterfamilias Eli Gemstone and the show’s creator Danny McBride as Eli’s debauched eldest son, Jesse Gemstone. The Gemstones are a world-famous televangelist family, but they didn’t get where they are by obeying the Ten Commandments. In the second series, the vice levels get ramped up along with the speaking in tongues, as the family circle the wagons to protect against threats from both the past and the present. Hallelujah!

100 Years of Ulysses
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

It’s considered the greatest novel of all time and, 100 years after its first publication in Paris by bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, there’s still no novel that comes near it in terms of cultural and societal impact – not to mention sheer literary heft. This special documentary, created by late historian Frank Callanan and directed by Ruán Magan, marks the centenary of its publication. It features interviews with prominent Joyceans and scholars, including Eimear McBride, Paul Muldoon, John McCourt and Margaret O’Callaghan, who will delve into the enduring mysteries and puzzles of this most impenetrable work. After its publication on February 2nd, 1922, Joyce was accused of betraying the Irish people and ignoring Ireland’s struggle for independence. More recently, Ulysses is seen as proof of Joyce’s deep love for his country and a forecast of a better future for the nascent State. Maybe this will be the year we finally tackle this impregnable mountain of a book.

Mary Beard's Forbidden Art
Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm
Sometimes it feels as if modern artists are deliberately being controversial, simply to get their name in the media and, hopefully, raise their profiles. But it seems that courting trouble isn't a 21st or even a 20th-century phenomenon – it's been happening in the art world for centuries. Proof? Prof Mary Beard is on hand to give it to you via a new two-part documentary. Using her usual wit, warmth and forthright attitude, the classicist delves into works tackling unsettling subjects, some of which have, at times, been banned from public view. In the first programme she takes us back to the Romans to view an eyebrow-raising sculpture, then turns her attention to the Renaissance and beyond.

Hollington Drive
Thursday, Virgin One, 9pm

Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachael Stirling, who costarred in The Bletchley Circle, reunite for this new four-part series, first broadcast last autumn on ITV. They play sisters Theresa and Helen, respectively, and the drama opens as they and their families enjoy a relaxed afternoon and barbecue together. When Theresa’s son Ben asks to play in the nearby park with his cousin Eva, Theresa is not keen but her partner dismisses her concerns and waves them off. However, when the children are late returning home, Theresa goes in search of the youngsters. When she finds them, her instincts tell her something is not right and, sure enough, later in the evening a distraught neighbour calls round with terrible news.

Britain's Novel Landscapes with Mariella Frostrup
Thursday, More4, 9pm
The book lover and literary expert explores the life and times of classic English women writers. In the first episode she heads to Hampshire to discover how its distinctive landscape influenced Jane Austen when writing landmark novels such as Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. Frostrup visits a former home of the wealthy landed gentry to find out how their ancestors may have been the basis for characters like Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, and discovers how living in 18th-century Hampshire means Austen could potentially be considered a war novelist.

Your Garden Made Perfect
Friday, BBC Two, 8pm
Angela Scanlon is back with the series that gives homeowners the opportunity to see their outside spaces transformed using the latest visual technologies before any work is started. Debi and Des's family home in Enfield has a generous urban plot but sits on a massive slope, and they would both love to transform the plot into a family space. Garden designers Oliver Bond and Helen Elks-Smith pitch their ideas to them, with Ollie wanting to create four garden rooms and Helen using tiered planting to soften distinct and luxurious areas. Which one will the couple go for?

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm
The host is joined by two popular actresses. First up, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill star Uma Thurman talks about her new Apple TV+'s Suspicion (see below). The drama follows five people who have their lives turned upside down after being identified by London police as suspects in the kidnapping and subsequent disappearance of an American media mogul's son. Plus, Ariana DeBose discusses her Golden Globe-winning role as Anita in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story as well as the upcoming American sci-fi thriller ISS.


Pam & Tommy
From Wednesday, Disney+ Star
A decade before her attempted abduction by a crazed Kazakhstani TV presenter named Borat, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson was the most famous woman in the world. She and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee were the Kim and Kanye of their day, and their tempestuous marriage provided endless fodder for the tabloids in an age before Instagram. But when news of a leaked sex tape made on the couple's honeymoon came out, the gossip machine went into overdrive. The series focuses on the fallout from what was the world's first-ever viral video, but there'll be no shortage of mad antics and bonkers Hollywood hi-jinks. Lily James stars as Pammy and Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee in a wild and wicked romp through the era of Californication.

From Friday, Amazon Prime

Tom Cruise has made the Mission: Impossible series his own, but he found it more difficult to fit into the imposing frame of maverick crimefighter Jack Reacher – and fans of the Lee Child thrillers had a hard time suspending their disbelief. For Amazon’s new Reacher series, the producers have cast the less well known Alan Ritchson, who makes up in sheer bulk what he lacks in fame. He has previously played Hawk in Titans, and is basically built like a tank, so you can easily imagine him dispatching a gang of hoodlums without even breaking sweat. The eight-episode series is based on the first Reacher novel, Killing Floor, and sees the decorated army hero turned drifter arriving in the small town of Margrave, Georgia, where he is immediately arrested on suspicion of murder.

Raising Dion
From Friday, Netflix
If you missed the first series of this superhero drama when it premiered back in January 2020, then do yourself a favour and stream it. For the uninitiated, Dion (Ja'Siah Young) is a little boy being raised by his devoted mother (Alisha Wainwright) following the death of his father. But Dion is no ordinary youngster – he has special powers. Now, after befriending new student Brayden, who also has magical abilities, a series of alarming events unfold, and Dion learns that danger is everywhere. Cue a series of twists, turns, as he and mum must not only save themselves, but the entire city of Atlanta.

From Friday, Apple TV+

Uma Thurman has certainly been busy. As well as filming teen romcom Hollywood Stargirl, she has two TV series that are also heading our way this year. Super Pumped will see her play Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington. And Suspicion is the latest in a long line of Israeli shows to be remade for the English-speaking market. Thurman stars as a prominent businesswoman whose 21-year-old son is kidnapped. The abduction from a large, upmarket hotel in New York is captured on video and goes viral. Swiftly, four Brits staying there become the prime suspects — but are they guilty of anything more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Contributing: PA