TV guide: 20 of the best shows to watch this week
Daniel Radcliffe and Lulu get blasts from their passt, Keeping Faith and Lethal Weapon return, awfully cute critters, and Irish documentary The Man Who Wanted to Fly
Eve Myles in the second series of Keeping Faith, Tuesday on BBC1
Who Do You Think You Are?
Monday, BBC1, 9pm
Since hanging up Harry Potter’s cloak, Daniel Radcliffe has gone on to make a string of interesting movies. His big-screen alter ego travelled back in time for The Prisoner of Azkaban, and now it’s his turn as he delves deep into the lives of his ancestors. Radcliffe discovers that the robbery of his great-grandfather’s Hatton Garden jewellery business was more dark and dramatic than he imagined. He also takes a look at a collection of his great-great-uncle’s letters, which reveal a moving first World War love story.
The Man Who Wanted to Fly
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Bobby Coote (80) is a Co Cavan farmer who spends much of his spare time fixing clocks and making violins out of old furniture. But he’s always wanted to add another string to his bow: daredevil pilot. So Coote sets out to build a runway on his land and take off from it in a small plane – if it’s the last thing he ever does. This warm-hearted documentary, five years in the making, delighted audiences at the Galway Film Fleadh and IFI Doc Fest before enjoying a good run in cinemas; Irish Times critic Tara Brady called it both “a marvellous feel-good movie and a compelling portrait of life in rural Ireland”.
Shortscreen: How Was Your Day?
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.25pm
Damien O’Donnell’s award-winning 14-minute film from 2015 is a moving study of emotional trauma. Eileen Walsh stars as a woman excited about the approaching birth of her first child, only to be crushed by medical reality.
£2 Million Passport – Welcome to Britain: Dispatches
Monday, Channel 4, 8pm
Reporter Antony Barnett investigates the so-called “golden” visa scheme that offers British residency to wealthy foreign nationals who are willing to invest £2 million into the country. Since 2018’s Skripal poisonings, concern has focused on the hundreds of Russians who have been given golden visas. This film discovers what’s on offer for people with the cash and the know-how to buy themselves British citizenship.
America’s Abortion War – Panorama
Monday, BBC1, 8.30pm
Hilary Andersson reports from America’s Deep South, the frontline in the battle over abortion rights as 12 states attempt to push through new laws challenging American women’s rights. At one of the last abortion clinics in Alabama, Andersson talks to doctors and patients about what the ban would mean to them, and meets campaigners who believe abortion is evil. She then heads north to hear from those defending what they see as a constitutional right and meets a practitioner who carries out third trimester abortions.
Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm
The Welsh drama set amid the beautiful scenery of Carmarthen returns for a second series, starring Eve Myles as Faith Howells, a mother, wife and lawyer who has to fight for everything that’s dear to her. The series originally aired in Welsh, and was such a hit the BBC commissioned an English-language version. It’s 18 months since Faith’s husband Evan (Bradley Freegard) returned following his mysterious disappearance, and the Howells are trying to pick up their lives again. Meanwhile, Faith takes on an intriguing new case: a local farmer accused of murdering her husband.
How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain
Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
How did Britain end up in such a Brexity pickle? Comedian Geoff Norcott is in no doubt who’s to blame: the bloody middle class, with their avocado toast, privately schooled kids and pervading sense of privilege. And there were we thinking it was the upper-class twits and Old Etonian eejits who had brought down this once-great empire. But don’t mistake Norcott’s middle class villains for Ireland’s “squeezed middle”, struggling to keep the wolf from the front porch. These are more the upper middle-class, awash with cash, using their wealth and influence to get their kids into the best schools, and turning to dedicated dating apps to find partners with similar backgrounds and bank balances. Norcott goes back to his working class roots to show how the middle classes have conspired to keep his lot down for far too long. The revolution starts HERE.
I Am Nicola
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
After the success of the This Is England saga and Line of Duty, it seems Vicky McClure can do no wrong. Now she’s back on the box with one of the most anticipated dramas of the wee, a female-led drama anthology. In the first of the stand-alone tales McClure plays Nicola, a hairdresser dissatisfied with her life and envious of her customer’s exciting new experiences. Her partner views her desire for a change as a personal attack, sending their relationship into a downward spiral of arguments, guilt and reconciliation.
Orangutan Jungle School
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Given the fact one clip of an inquisitive simian can go viral in a few hours, there’s little wonder TV viewers lap up shows like this. Cameras return to follow staff at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Borneo. In the first episode, an anonymous tip sends the team to a remote Indonesian village. Later, three-month-old Monita joins the rest of the orphans at the unique school, teaching rescued orangutans the skills they need to survive in the jungle. Among them is snow white Alba, the world’s only known albino orangutan.
Animal Babies: First Year on Earth
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
Nothing like observing cute cubs frolicking about in the jungle, watched by their indulgent mammies. But beware: the first year of life for animals in the wild is fraught with danger, and at any moment these helpless youngsters could become a tasty snack for a predator. This three-part series follows six newborns as they navigate the perils of growing up and try to make it past their first birthday.
Our Cops in the North
Observational documentary following the work of Northumbria police across Newcastle, Sunderland and beyond, telling stories of the force’s officers and victims of crime. In the second edition, police officers in Sunderland respond to the fatal stabbing of 62-year-old grandmother. Meanwhile, detectives work tirelessly on a complicated crime spree: the offenders have stolen a pub jukebox, tip jar and charity box, and while attempting to flee steal a car and mug a passer-by.
Inside the Bruderhof
Thursday, BBC1, 11.05pm
Imagine a place untainted by Brexit, Love Island or Twitter. Deep in the heart of Sussex lies just such a community, where the citizens lead simple lives in the service of Jesus, and where crime, unemployment, homelessness and trolling are nonexistent. The village of Darvell is run by the Brudherhof, a religious group that is a distant cousin of the Amish. Everyone has a job, but no one earns a salary. Everything they need is provided for them, and, since there are no tellies, smartphones or Playstations, and no designer gear or other bling, their needs are pretty basic. The community runs its own farms, schools and kitchens, and even its own multimillion-pound toy business.
Thursday, RTÉ2, 9pm
In the opening episode of the third series (originally broadcast on Channel 4 in 2017), Rob and Sharon have faced down unexpected pregnancy and abrupt parenthood. But can they survive an unexplained receipt for the morning after pill? With their relationship on shaky ground, they attempt to weather unemployment, mortgages, children who bite, Brexit, jealous coworkers, drunken mistakes, friends in rehab, disastrous job interviews, insane family, and, of course, keeping the children alive.
Ross Kemp Living with Homelessness
Thursday, UTV, 7.30pm
In this new four-part series, the actor and reporter travels across the UK to immerse himself in situations in order to gain a taste of the difficulties people face – and highlight what is really going on, often unnoticed, under the nose of mainstream society. To kick things off, he endures the coldest night of the year with some of Cardiff’s rough sleepers. He also meets people from families ripped apart by homelessness, and uncovers alarming facts about the British government’s understanding of the size of the rough sleeper population.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Perennially popular Lulu goes back to Glasgow to try to find out more about her mother’s birth and early years as she was not raised by her birth parents. Her questions about her family’s past all start with her mother. “The story of my mother is big secret. Basically she had been given away as a baby.” Lulu never met her mother’s real parents; she isn’t even sure she’s ever seen a picture of them. “The real essence of this is why did they give my mother away? That’s the real thing. That’s what’s so confusing.”
Rescue: River Deep, Mountain High
Friday, UTV, 8pm
Documentary series focused on rescue efforts across Britain and Ireland, featuring access to mountain rescue teams, coast guard and air ambulances. In the first edition, a rescue team in Kerry is called to Carrantuohil, the highest mountain in Ireland, to rescue an American couple who have got lost and are experiencing some of the worst weather Ireland can produce. And on the Humber estuary in nothern Englnad, the Humber Inshore Lifeboat is called to a reported body on the banks of the river, but the job turns out to be a false alarm.
Friday, UTV, 9pm
Since the saga launched in 1987, Lethal Weapon has revolved around mismatched LA cops Riggs and Murtaugh. Now the showrunners have made the bold move of killing off Riggs and creating new character, Wesley Cole, a former CIA agent who returns home and assumes duty as an LAPD officer. Cole soon finds himself navigating a new partnership with Murtaugh as he adjusts to life in LA. Damon Wayans returns as Murtaugh, while American Pie veteran Seann William Scott plays his new partner.
Hippos: Africa’s River Giants
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
With incredible underwater footage, guide David Attenborough takes us into the world of an animal that cannot swim yet is utterly dependent on water. Cameras focus on Botswana’s Okavango delta, where hippos face a major challenge as deep floodwaters evaporate in a matter of months. During one incredible season, we see these creatures protect their families and face enemies as they deal with the drought. Though they might have a dangerous reputation, the hippo is compassionate, sensitive and highly intelligent.
Celebrity 5 Go Barging
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
Michael Buerk, Shaun Williamson, Amanda Barrie, Anita Harris and John Prescott trade the countryside for cityscapes, drifting toward the industrial heart of the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent. As well as learning about the area’s rich history along the way, they share some revelations of their own, such as who has showered the least, how to eat mushy peas without cutlery, and why ducks are scared of journalists. It’s not all plain sailing: and after spending a rough few nights sleeping in the kitchen, Prescott abandons ship to find an alternative.
Freddie Mercury: The Greatest Showman
Friday, Channel 5, 10pm
We didn’t need a blockbuster biopic to remind us that Freddie Mercury was one of rock’s greatest showmen. Twenty-eight years after his death, interest in the self-conscious guy from Zanzibar has never been greater. In the latest of many profiles of the larger-than-life star, we hear from those who knew him, including his friends, lovers, collaborators and his most devoted fans. From the basements of 1960s London to the pinnacle of global success, this film charts the extraordinary moments that created the phenomenon of Freddie Mercury and Queen.