TV guide: 21 of the best shows to watch this week

The Young Offenders are reoffending and RTÉ clears the air on Ireland’s climate crisis

The Young Offenders
Monday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm (repeated Wed, RTÉ One, 10.35pm)
"The thing about myself and Jock is we stick together no matter how stupid a decision the other one makes." With this madcap mission statement, Cork's favourite juvenile delinquents announce their return, and if you think they might have grown up a bit since the first series, then you can rethink that one. Season two sees Conor and Jock (Alex Murphy and Chris Walley) still up to their aul' shenanigans, robbing bikes, shoplifting, exposing themselves in public, and generally getting on the wrong side of the guards, their family, their school principal and their girlfriends – who happen to be the principal's daughters. The series one finale was arguably the funniest half-hour of Irish comedy since the Father Ted milk float episode, and series two promises to be just as raucously hilarious, with Jock and Siobhan waiting for their unexpected arrival, and local psycho Billy Murphy still trying to work out who's impersonating him and framing him for crimes (you can guess). As they don their Billy Murphy masks for yet another crime spree, can these lovable langers steal our hearts yet again? Check your breast pockets.

Will Ireland Survive 2050?
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

In a dramatically constructed television documentary, Gerald Fleming and Dr Cara Augustenborg examine the disturbing consequences of extreme global weathe. Will Ireland Survive 2050? visualises the damage that increasingly extreme weather patterns are having on Ireland. To most of us, the effects have already become apparent and in some instances direct action is being taken. But the question begs to be asked: Are we doing enough? Despite this growing awareness, the answer seems to be a simple no. The documentary provides us with a brutal wake-up call. Mixing existing archive with new 3D representations of the country in 30 years, viewer will be confronted with a number of worst-case scenarios and be left wondering where and how it all went wrong: why we appear to be sleepwalking into potential oblivion.

Gary Lineker: My Grandad's War
Monday, BBC1, 10.35pm


The Match of the Day host explores a brutal but often overlooked chapter of the second World War as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather. As a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Stanley Abbs was involved in a key campaign in Italy. Using the unit’s war diary as a guide, Lineker traces the first landings at Salerno, which nearly ended in disaster, and the seemingly endless months of gruelling fighting. Throughout his journey, Lineker meets veterans from the Italian campaign, including William Earl (104), who shares his vivid and poignant memories of battling to save soldiers under fire. He also learns why the soldiers self-deprecatingly embraced the “D-Day Dodgers” label, which suggested they avoided real combat in Normandy, and comes to the conclusion that they now deserve massive recognition.

10 Things to Know About
Monday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea are back for a fifth series presents some of the most exciting and topical Irish scientific research. The first episode checks out offshore wind, which is destined to become the next big thing in the strive towards a cleaner, greener future. With innovative floating ocean platforms and cheaper technologies, the show investigates why it’s time for Ireland to go big and tap into the huge ocean energy resource on the doorstep. In Cork the presenters look at the latest Irish research into floating platform technologies, and in Portugal they meet engineers working on the WindFloat Atlantic project, which will see the largest turbine ever installed on a floating platform

Maiden – Storyville
Monday, BBC4, 9pm

Alex Holmes’ often moving documentary examines how 24-year-old Tracy Edwards became the skipper of the first all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. At 33,000 miles, it’s the longest and most challenging on Earth. Thirty years ago, chauvinism was also a major obstacle. “The press were bemused or outright dismissive,” Tara Brady described in her four-star review in The Irish Times last March. “Yachting journalist Bob Fisher called the team ‘a tin full of tarts’. The women soon proved them all wrong. In common with its subject matter, this is a real crowd-pleaser with a strong finish.”

Shortscreen: 53 Degrees 17 Minutes 40 Feet
Monday, RTÉ Two, 12.40am
From 2013, Vincent Gallagher's short short documents the bravery and resilience of the Irish spirit, focusing on the cultural phenomenon of jumping into the freezing waters of the Irish Sea on Christmas morning.

My Best Sustainable Life
From Monday, RTÉ Player

Several well-known faces take on the challenge to live a more sustainable life in this four-part series. When it comes to climate, we know it’s time to start walking the talk. But faced with such a big issue, where do we even start? In each episode a guest presenter commits to change one aspect of their life for the better of the planet. They examine their current habits and estimate how much of an impact they have on the environment through waste, emissions etc. They then decide on a number of simple changes they will make to try and change this. Over the period of a week, the film follow them as they adjust to their new routine. At the end of the challenge, it examines how much of a difference they made to their environmental footprint. Has the change been worth it? And are they willing to continue living their best sustainable life for good?

What Planet Are You On?
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm

You’ve seen Big Brother. Now meet Big Green Brother, who is monitoring every drop of water you use, every kilowatt of energy you burn, and every piece of refuse you throw away. To coincide with Science Week, RTÉ has come up with this environmentally friendly wheeze involving three families who have agreed to undergo deep home surveillance to see if they’re doing their bit to save the planet. The families – the Gannons from Tuam, Co Galway; the McKevitts from Mullingar, Co Westmeath; and the Cullens from Finglas, Dublin – will have their daily houshold activities closely monitored as they try their hardest to conserve energy, reduce waste and avoid being sent to the gulag. Okay, the last bit’s probably not going to happen, but at the end of their week’s surveillance, the families will be summoned to the sinister-sounding Tipping Floor at the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant, where four energy experts will pass judgment on their conservation efforts. The programme, presented by Maia Dunphy, promises to be lots of fun watching ordinary citizens lumped with the responsibility for saving the environment while governments and big business get away with climate murder.

Hot Air: Ireland's Climate Crisis
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

What will it take for Ireland to do its bit in the battle against climate change? Philip Boucher-Hayes promises to tell us – but will Government and industry listen? Don’t hold your breath (unless, of course, Ireland ends up getting swallowed up by the ocean). Hot Air features stunning footage of Ireland’s natural beauty, along with sobering figures suggesting we’re in danger of losing everything that makes the place a gem to be treasured. Boucher-Hayes looks at the environmental costs of data centres, and the terrible changes wrought on our seas over the past 30 years. He also casts a cold eye over the Government’s response to climate change and reveals the yawning chasm between what needs to be done and what is actually being done. Somehow, I don’t see big industry quaking in its workboots.

Gold Digger
Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm

Julia Ormond and Ben Barnes join forces for this promising six-part drama from Marnie Dickens, who cut her scriptwriting teeth on Hollyoaks and gained plaudits for creating Thirteen, an early vehicle for Jodie Comer. Ormond plays Julia, a wealthy 60-year-old who has spent her entire life putting other people first, including her ex-husband and their children: high-achiever Patrick, self-destructive Della, and baby of the bunch Leo. So Julia decides to prioritise her own happiness after falling for Benjamin (Barnes), who is 24 years younger. Will the couple live happily ever after, or can her loved ones prove that the new man in her life is only interested in her money? Alex Jennings and Julia McKenzie are among the supporting cast.

First Dates
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
New series. A 71-year-old widow goes on her first date in 51 years with a retired chief executive who enjoys life in the fast lane, and a woman with a liking for James Corden is shocked to discover her date looks just like him. A man caring for his sick mother goes on his first ever blind date with a law student. Both are looking for something long-term, but his inexperience threatens to trip him up. Finally, a single mother is less than impressed by a market trader in his best suit – until she discovers he enjoys working out at the gym.

My Yellow Brick Road
Wednesday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm (repeated Friday, 11.15pm)

Here’s a new life-makeover series with a difference: the advice comes from four ordinary people who have each successfully overcome their own issues. Between them, Claire, Greg, Jordan and Noel have battled Alopecia, depression, dyslexia and drug abuse, and helped give others strength by talking openly about where they found the strength to do so. They never claim to be experts but, in the series, share their personal stories and what helped them deal with the challenges they faced along their own Yellow Brick Road. In the first episode, Laura Gahan (27) was born with Nail Patella syndrome, which means she cannot extend her arms fully. Five years ago she suffered kidney failure and had to undergo dialysis. Laura is a born fighter, but her illness and the resulting gap in her employment has made it difficult to find a job. Our four guides step in to help Laura take some big steps on her Yellow Brick Road sourcing expert career advice, work experience and helping her prepare for interviews with a new look, nutrition advice and lots of encouragement. But will it be enough to secure her a role she would love?

Uchtú – Evanne Ní Chuilinn
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Sports journalist, broadcaster, mother and adopted child Evanne Ní Chuilinn explores the long and often difficult process of adoption in Ireland. She will meet with lawmakers, activists and people who have gone through this process as children and as parents. Herself adopted from one of Ireland’s notorious mother and baby homes in the early 1980s, Ní Chuilinn embarks on a very personal mission to fill the gaps in her own information and to try and find out where she was for the first four months of her life before she arrived at her parents’ home. However, she discovers that accessing basic information about yourself is far from straightforward when you are adopted. “The time is right for this,” says Ní Chuilinn, “because the Government is trying at last to grapple with the problems that the practice of adoption in this country has created over the years.”

RTÉ Investigates - Scouts Dis-honour
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Scouts Dis-honour examines widespread child sexual abuse and cover-ups in the former scouting organisations the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and the Scouting Association of Ireland, and how the statutory authorities were not alerted about alleged abusers.

DIY SOS: Children in Need Special
Wednesday, BBC1, 8pm
Fresh from celebrating their 20th anniversary back in September, the DIY SOS team descend on Blackburn to embark on a huge challenge in aid of Children in Need. Their mission: transform a rundown church hall, originally built in the early 1800s, into accommodation and a support centre for Nightsafe. The charity was established in 1990 to meet the growing needs of homeless young people in the Blackburn area. The infamous Purple Shirts come up with some big plans to renovate St Silas's Parish Room and, along with the support of hundreds of volunteers and tradespeople, they have nine days to transform the building into a purpose-built support centre and short-term accommodation.

Britain's Child Drug Runners
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
Throughout UK towns and villages are thousands of children trapped in the dangerous world of drug running, as they are made to sell large amounts of crack and heroin miles away from home. As more gangs move into the countryside, the competition, rivalries and violence have increased. This revealing documentary explores how the secretive and dangerous trade works, and the impact it has on the young runners at the heart of it, as well as the rural communities.

Bhailiúchán na Scol
Thursday, TG4, 8pm
Sláine Ní Chathalláin visits the National Folklore Collection in UCD to see how the Irish predicted the weather before the birth of modern meteorological services. In the School's Collection Ní Chathalláin finds material collected by her great-granduncle during the 1930s. She discusses the findings with today's experts in Valentia Weather Station; with a sheep farmer on the slopes of Mount Brandon; with Bríd Uí Mhaoileoin, an expert on local weather signs from west Kerry; and with local schoolchildren to see if any of the old signs are still used today.

Seal le Dáithí
Thursday, TG4, 7.30pm
Máiréad de Staic is Dáithí Ó Sé's guest. Originally from Killarney, she speaks about the lovely upbringing she had as a child on High Street, where her family have been in business for 75 years. Máiréad was a teacher before she married jeweller Brian de Staic. Together they created jewellery for many people, including a pope, American presidents and movie stars. The Dingle-based company is in business now for 38 years and employs a team of 26 people. Each piece of jewellery is handmade and each piece is a work of art.

Cat Hospital
Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Did you know there’s a veterinary clinic solely dedicated to cats? RTÉ’s cameras take us inside Cat Hospital in Glanmire, Co Cork, where Claire Meade and her moggy medics work hard to fix feline ailments and nurse their pussycat patients back to health. If cats give you the collywobbles, you may want to change over to the doggy channel, but cat-people will be glued to the stories of Paulina, who has a growth on her throat; Del Boy, who is terminally snobby; Curley, who has bitten off more than he can chew; and Whitney and Bobby, who are infested with “chiggers”. Charming.

BBC Children in Need
Friday, BBC1, 7.30pm
The annual telethon used to last one night only, but these days it's almost a festival. This week we've had a DIY SOS special and Rylan Clark-Neal performing a 24-hour karaoke marathon on BBC Radio 2, among other shows. A couple of weeks ago we were treated to Got It Covered, in which actors recorded a fundraising album, while It Takes Two announced which EastEnders stars were set to take part in a Strictly spin-off. Now the main event is taking place. Tess Daly, Ade Adepitan, Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc and Marvin and Rochelle Humes return as hosts, with comedian Tom Allen joining in the fun. Among the treats we can look forward to is that EastEnders-themed edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

Mountain Vets
Friday, BBC2, 8pm
The Mountains of Mourne have been declared an Area of Outstanding Beauty. They also contains more animal residents than people – humans are outnumbered six to one. As a result, the nine local vets and nurses are always kept busy, and in this new six-part series will show them in action. The Northern scenery is stunning and there are different problems to solve. For instance, Noel Fitzpatrick never had to treat a calf with five legs, which happens here. Throughout the run we'll also meet rescued seals, overweight cats, horses in need of emergency surgery and many other cases.

Contributing: PA