TV guide: 20 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Room to Improve, Contractors, The Walking Dead, The Proud Family, Vikings: Valhalla

Call the Midwife
Sunday, BBC One, 8pm
The current series comes to a dramatic conclusion as a tragic incident strikes at the heart of Poplar, sending shockwaves through the community. The team at Nonnatus House try to rally together to help the injured, but that means putting their own anguish to one side as Sr Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Dr Turner's (Stephen McGann) fates remain unknown. However, Timothy is feeling guilty following his argument with his father and decides to search for him. Meanwhile, Sr Hilda is unaware of the emergency as she guides a patient through the birth of her second child, but the joy of a successful delivery is set to be short-lived. and Sr Frances supports a teenage mother.

Room to Improve
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

We’ve had to put our favourite home improvement guru on the shelf along with the dancing shoes, but with Covid restrictions ended it’s okay to let Dermot Bannon back into Irish homes to take a lump hammer to our design delusions. The Irish starchitect returns with a new series after a two-year hiatus; he hits the ground running and gets his teeth into a whole new bunch of home improvement projects. He will also have to deal with a whole new set of challenges, such as the spiralling costs of construction and materials, not to mention those stubborn homeowners who are reluctant to bow to his superior judgment. Bannon’s first port of call is Stillorgan in south Dublin, where he builds a brand new home for Marc and Lisa Daly and their three young boys – and is immediately taken outside his comfort zone, as part of the brief is to build a sensory room for the couple’s son Liam, who has autism.

Vincent Hanley: Sex, Lies and Videotapes
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm


In the 1980s, Fab Vinnie brought a ray of pop sunshine to an otherwise drab broadcasting landscape with his weekly glimpses into the wonderful world of pop videos via MT USA. But his untimely death in 1987 also brought home the stark reality of the Aids crisis. This deeply personal documentary by his close friend Bill Hughes tells the story of Hanley’s life. It reveals the persecution and violence endured by gay people in Ireland, and the added stigma and suffering brought by Aids. Hanley’s housemate Charles Self was one of three gay people murdered in Dublin in 1982, and gay activist Cathal Kerrigan and journalist Una Mullally discuss the state of fear that prevailed in Ireland at the time, forcing many people – Hanley included – to remain in the closet. This is Ireland’s own It’s a Sin, complete with fab 1980s soundtrack.

Moors Murders: The Witness
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
Almost 60 years after they carried out a string of murders that shocked Britain, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady remain for many people the embodiment of evil. This new three-part documentary series draws on never-before-seen letters from the killers to '60s pop singer Janie Jones, who befriended Hindley in prison, to cast new light on their relationship and background, as well as the motivation behind their horrifying crimes. The first episode also draws on an eye-witness account of their last murder by Hindley's then teenage brother-in-law David Smith, who alerted the police. Journalist Clive Entwistle picks up the story to discusses the subsequent investigation, including the shocking discovery of a tape recording revealing that the police were dealing with serial child killers.

Kate Garraway: Caring for Derek
Tuesday, ITV, 9pm

In March 2020, broadcaster Kate Garraway’s life changed irrevocably when her husband, Derek Draper, a former political aide to Peter Mandelson, contracted Covid-19, and spent the next year in hospital. In this documentary, a follow-up to the award-winning Finding Derek, Garraway takes viewers on the next stage of her family’s journey, as Derek comes home from hospital in April 2021 but is still completely debilitated by long Covid and in need of constant care. Garraway gave a recent update on Draper’s condition, saying he was still “phenomenally fatigued”, but able to go to the Christmas panto with the family. Small victories indeed, and a reminder how lucky many people are to escape with just minor symptoms.

Glór Tíre
Tuesday, TG4, 9.30pm

The live final of Glór Tíre 2022. Eight contestants began this year’s competition and are now down to three finalists. Tonight voting continues, there will be some guest performances and performances from each of the remaining contestants before the winner is crowned. Presented by Aoife Ní Thuairisg & Séamus Ó Scanláin.

Wednesday, Sky Max/Now TV, 10pm

Sarah Kendall returns as desperate former housewife Sammy in this cringe comedy that jets between the UK and Australia and back again. This riches-to-rag order story begins in London in the 1980s, when minted mum Sammy suddenly finds herself penniless following her husband’s death. She’s forced to move back to her home town of Newcastle in Australia with her kids, and forced to confront past events that prompted her to leave home in the first place. Life back in Oz, though, is far from an episode of Home and Away, and in series two, Sammy and the kids are back in London, living in a tiny flat, while Sammy juggles secretarial work with setting out to get her former high life back, and get her house back from her lawyer Rufus (Robert Webb), who she’s convinced has stolen it.

Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Kerryman Seán Binder was working as a volunteer rescuer on land and in the sea in Greece in 2018 when he was arrested for his humanitarian work and spent 106 days in pre-trial detention. The charges against him include money laundering, espionage and illegal smuggling. The case remains ongoing and Binder could face 25 years imprisonment.

We Are Black and British
Wednesday/Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm
What does it mean to be black in Britain today? In this two-part film, six black Britons from very different backgrounds and with varying viewpoints come together to grapple with tough, unsettling and emotional questions and search for a way forward. In the first episode, Dominique (22), a political commentator from Manchester who was excluded from school, prompts a heated discussion on whether the school is to blame when black children fail. Security guard Michelle, whose teenage son was searched after he was knocked off his scooter by a car, raises the issue of stop and search. And drill rapper Misla Strange (22), who faced online abuse himself, asks why it's particularly hard to come out as a gay black man.

Mission: Joy – With Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama
Wednesday, BBC Four, 10pm

Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos teams up with co-director Peggy Callahan for this documentary exploring the remarkable friendship between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, two men whose resistance against adversity marked modern history. Filmed over five days at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, the film invites viewers to join these luminaries as they recount stories from their lives, each having lived through periods of incredible difficulty and strife, while stressing the importance of finding joy in a troubled world.

Today at the Caravan Show
Wednesday/Thursday, Channel 5, 8pm
All this week lovers of the great outdoors are gathering at the NEC Birmingham to see the latest in mobile accommodation. Over the next two nights, Rufus Hound and Gemma Hunt will be admiring the biggest, the smallest, the coolest, the cutest, the most expensive and the quirkiest caravans, campervans, motorhomes and tents. Tonight they look at the latest products that save space or add a touch of luxury to the caravan interior as well as items that add space to the outside. The team road tests one of the smallest and coolest caravans on the market to see if its teardrop design lives up to the hype. Plus, four lads head to Scotland in search of gold as they road test a variety of tents. And influencer Andrew Ditton takes to the road with Dougal the dog in his iconic Airstream caravan.

Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders
Wednesday/Thursday, ITV, 9pm
Peter Sutcliffe, the man dubbed The Yorkshire Ripper, was found guilty of murdering 13 women and attempting to kill another seven between 1975 and 1980. But was he responsible for more deaths and attacks? This disturbing two-part documentary attempts to answer that. Over the years, some investigators and those who have examined Sutcliffe's crimes at close quarter have claimed that his methodology – including striking his victims on the back of the head – have been used in other violent crimes. The opening episode takes a look back at the murders of Judith Roberts in 1972 and Carol Wilkinson five years later, and the two innocent men wrongly convicted for the crimes.

Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm

Sounds like a good title for a thriller series about hitmen for hire. But these contractors are armed with tractors, JCBs, balers and harvesters, and their target is completing the heavy-duty work of chopping silage, spreading slurry, baling hay and ploughing vast acreage for seeding on Irish farms. The series focuses on seven agricultural contracting families who provide a valuable service for farmers up and down the country, looking at their busy working day, and giving an insight to what it really takes to keep the country’s agricultural wheels rolling. The slurry season has just begun for Alistair in Donegal while down in Meath the Farrelly brothers are erecting a shed. Peadar in Galway has checked on the sheep and is heading off to spread some lime. It’s all hands on deck as the Collins family in Clare round up some cattle and Eoin checks on the new house being built. In Limerick, Karen with baby Clodagh in tow checks in with her dad on how the work is going. Eoin in Kerry is thinking of the season ahead and the grass growth as he spreads fertilizer.

Unreported World
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
Jonathan Miller reports from the forefront of Thailand's cryptocurrency boom. In Bangkok, a young multimillionaire is pushing for his country to embrace the crypto revolution. He has influential allies, but he's also up against adversaries who warn of looming financial catastrophe. British-educated "Topp" Jirayut Srupsrisopa (31) is founder and chief executive of Bitkub, valued at more than $1 billion. Miller also travels to the rice paddies in the northeast, where he meets a farmer who trades crypto from his hammock in a field, and speaks to a man who made and lost nearly a $1 million.

Inside Culture with Mary Beard
Friday, BBC Two, 7.30pm
The hitorian begins a new series by chatting to Baroness Valerie Amos. The pair explore how thousands of years of stories and images stereotyping females have shaped our thinking, and what this means for women who are in positions of power today. Beard also meets former Conservative MP, novelist and broadcaster Edwina Currie to discuss how art has treated women who either had or sought power throughout history. And Royal Shakespeare Company actress Adjoa Andoh gives her opinion on the portrayal of power on stage and screen.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm
Norton is joined by one of his close showbiz pals as RuPaul sits down for a chat. The celebrated drag queen, model and recording artist will discuss the new BBC Three show RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs the World, which routinely features Norton on its judging panel. They will also look back on the success of the original RuPaul's Drag Race, which was was created in 2009 and has run for 14 seasons in the US, spawning several international variants. Also tonight, Regard x Years & Years perform Hallucination. The single is Olly Alexander's first outing since last month's Night Call album, and follows Regard's collaboration with Kwabs, Signals.


The Walking Dead
From Monday, Disney+

The 11th and final series of the hugely popular post-apocalyptic horror series returns following a long mid-season break. Recap: Maggie led a group hoping to retake the community of Meridian from a bloodthirsty gang of war veterans known as The Reapers. Daryl was forced to join the villains after learning his ex-lover Leah was living with them. She then took control of The Reapers and led the fight against Maggie. Meanwhile, Eugene and his cohorts entered the prosperous Commonwealth, soon realising it wasn’t the paradise they had hoped for. The forthcoming six episodes will hopefully tie things up nicely, ahead of next year’s spin-off featuring Daryl and Carol.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder
From Wednesday, Disney+
The Proud Family (2001-2005) was an animated series on the Disney Channel focusing on one particular clan. Now the show has been dusted down and given a reboot, picking up more or less where its predecessor left off, albeit with a few updates, including new kids Maya and KG, who are being raised by two dads (played by Zachary Quinto and Billy Porter). Kyla Pratt voices Penny, who spends a lot of time being embarrassed by her father Oscar. She loves hanging out with her friends, although they often get her into trouble. Soleil Moon Frye, Eva Longoria, Jaden Smith Jane Lynch and Gabrielle Union are also among the vocal cast.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Homecoming
From Friday, Netflix
For the uninitiated, Mabel "Madea" Earlene Simmons is one of Tyler Perry's most enduring characters. The actor-writer-director was inspired to create her by his mother and aunt, and every project she's appeared in, from the 1999 play I Can Do Bad All By Myself to this latest, have been comedies with an underlying serious theme. Perry had planned to retire the character after 2019's A Madea Family Funeral, but he's brought her back to throw a celebratory dinner for her great-grandson's graduation. But the unearthing of family secrets looks set to ruin everything. Brendan O'Carroll and Jennifer Gibney pop up as Agnes and Cathy Brown.

Vikings: Valhalla
From Friday, Netflix

This long-awaited sequel series to the hugely successful Vikings was also filmed in Wicklow, so you should recognise some of the scenery on view. The series prides itself on historical accuracy, but really, we’re just here for the bloody battles and power plays, so we won’t be checking our Norse sagas for inconsistencies. This series fast-forwards more than 100 and follows the exploits of legendary explorer Lief Eriksson (Sam Corlett), his feisty sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) and Nordic prince Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter). So, what’s happening in Viking world? Diplomatic relations between the Norsemen and the English are beginning to buckle, and the Vikings are being torn apart by conflicting Christian and pagan beliefs. Will the delicate balance snap, leading to all-out war? Hell, we’re banking on it.

Contributing: PA