TV guide: 22 of the best shows to watch this week
New series of Top Gear and Ár gClub, Ireland’s Comedy Carnival, remembering the Holocaust, Nigel Farage profiled...and where has all the pubic hair gone?
Motormouths: Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness on Top Gear, Sunday night on BBC2
Sunday, BBC2, 8pm
The intrepid trio of Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness have got their feet behind the wheel of the long-running motoring show. After a couple of dodgy runs following the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, Top Gear is no longer stuttering like a clapped-out old banger, but purring like a brand new sports car. The 28th series will once again feature a mix of test drives and out-of-this-world adventures, beginning with a road trip in a trio of affordable second-hand convertibles. Also: Harris’s views on the new Ariel Atom and the sight of daredevil Flintoff bungee-jumping off a dam in an old Rover.
Win the Wilderness: Alaska
Sunday, BBC2, 9pm
Six couples are challenged to prove their survival skills in Alaska’s harsh wilderness, with the most successful pair winning a remarkable home miles from the nearest road, which was built from scratch by its original owners. In the first episode, they receive a crash course in what to do when encountering a bear before being sent into the woods to gather material and build shelters. They must then fell trees, make a fire and brave the freezing waters of Lost Lake.
Keeler, Profumo, Ward and Me
Sunday, BBC2, 11pm
If you watched BBC1’s The Trial of Christine Keeler, switch over immediately after the final episode ends for this documentary, which offers a personal insight into the 1963 scandal that brought down Harold Macmillan’s government. Journalist Tom Mangold reported on the story while working as a reporter on Fleet Street, and describes the atmosphere around the country at the time. There’s also a chance to hear secret audio recordings made by the producers of the 1989 film Scandal, in which both Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies discuss their weekends at Cliveden and their claims that they were pressured into giving evidence against their friend, society osteopath Stephen Ward.
Sunday, Channel 4, 11pm
Channel 4 premieres the first episode of this Swedish psychological crime drama (original title: Sthlm Rekviem), based on Kristina Ohlsson’s bestselling novels, with the entire 10-part series available online on All 4. After a tragic accident, unconventional criminologist Fredrika Bergman (Liv Mjönes) joins a special investigations team in Stockholm and is assigned to work with the leader of the unit, Alex Recht. He is resistant to Bergman’s intellectual presence but they needs her help in tracing the main suspect in the case of an abduction of a little girl: her apparently abusive father.
The Windermere Children
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
As the literary and cinematic worlds grapple with a glut of Holocaust-based fiction, is there room for a drama, based on a true story, about a group of children who survived the concentration camps and are brought to England’s Lake District in 1945 to try to rebuild their shattered lives? They’re helped in this slow, painful process by child psychologist (Thomas Kretschmann) and a team of counsellors who include an art therapist (Romola Garai). We’re not expecting any Beatrix Potter-style happy endings by Lake Windermere, but we may just see some glimpses of lost innocence. Followed at 10.30pm on BBC4 by The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words.
Holocaust Memorial Day
Monday, BBC2, 7pm
Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, more than 150 survivors attend a commemoration to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Through music, poetry and powerful personal testimony, all those who were persecuted by the Nazis, as well as those who were victims of later genocides are remembered. Among those taking part are cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason accompanied by his brother Braimah, actors Simon Russell Beale and Warwick Davis, and the Fourth Choir. Huw Edwards presents.
Bring Back the Bush: Where Did Our Pubic Hair Go?
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
There have been a lot of new trends in personal grooming over the past few decades, but there’s one very big (and very personal) one that doesn’t get talked about much, at least not on TV. In this documentary, Chidera Eggerue finds out why so many women are removing their pubic hair. As she discovers, you only have to go back a few decades to find a time when this wasn’t seen as necessary, so what caused the change in our attitudes to our bikini lines – and is it time for the bush to make a comeback? To find out, Eggerue challenges herself and her peers to grow theirs back as part of an exhibition where they will reveal their bodies to the world in their natural, naked state.
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.35pm
Dave Tynan’s Ifta-winning short from 2017, only seven minutes long, is a spoken word film originally commissioned by theatre company ThisisPopBaby. Heartbreak is written and performed by Emmet Kirwan, who narrates the story of a schoolgirl, Youngone (Jordanne Jones), from teenage pregnancy to raising a son as a single mother.
Great Asian Railway Journeys
Monday, BBC2, 6.30pm
Michael Portillo sets off on the first leg of a new quest as he travels around southeast Asia, guided by his 1913 Bradshaw’s Handbook on a 2,500-mile railway adventure across six countries. Beginning in Hong Kong, the former Conservative politician investigates how Britain won the island and Kowloon from China after two 19th-century wars over the trade in opium, before boarding the island’s most famous funicular to the Peak, and straddling a bamboo pole to learn the traditional Cantonese art of noodle-making.
Tuesday, TG4, 8pm
In the first programme of the series we join Naomh Anna ladies football manager Tony Lee as he prepares his newly promoted team for a season in the Galway Intermediate championship. In Rathnure, Wexford, all five O’Connor family sisters are involved with the club; but Claire has to decide if she will return to the playing fields after the birth of her second child. In Belfast, newly formed Laochra Loch Lao, which played their first game in the Antrim league in 2018, has big ambitions both on and off the field.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thurday/Friday, BBC2, 8pm
Time for a final walk in the winter wonderland that is the Dell of Abernathy in the Cairngorms; Springwatch will move to a new home later in the year. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke pack their thermal underwear, down-filled coats and hardiest walking boots in preparation for sub-zero temperatures. Perhaps they’ll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Britain’s only herd of reindeer, which have been residents in the park since 1952. Other creatures popping up include badgers, squirrels and pine martins, whose habits will be viewed via secret cameras. There are also various challenges and pre-filmed reports, with extra content available via the Winterwatch website.
Belsen: Our Story
Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
Documentary about the concentration camp in northern Germany, featuring personal accounts from the few remaining survivors and archive footage shot by the British forces that liberated them. Bergen-Belsen was used to hold prisoners evacuated from camps that had fallen to the Allied advance, leading its population to increase to nearly 60,000 by the winter of 1944. Thousands died at the camp from starvation and disease, their bodies left unburied. The British and Canadian forces who discovered the camp were left with no choice but to burn it to the ground.
Farage: The Man Who Made Brexit
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
With Brexit looming, here is a profile of the man many people believe is responsible for the UK leaving the EU. Nigel Farage is one of Britain’s most divisive politicians, but this documentary, which was filmed over the course of five months, initially finds him riding high after his Brexit Party’s historic success in last May’s European elections. However, as Britain heads into December’s general election, the poll ratings start to plummet. The documentary asks whether the election is a sign that while the UK voted for Brexit, they don’t necessarily want Farage. Or with a new government that appears to support much of what he stands for, can he claim a bigger victory?
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
An in-depth look at the alarming increase in allergies in Ireland. This informative programme blends observational documentary with scientific factual content to give the audience a comprehensive view of the impact allergies are having on Irish society.
Laughter in the Eyre – Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway
Thursday, RTE 2, 10.30pm
A sort of Other Voices of the comedy world, this one-off special is a showcase of the Vodafone Comedy Carnival, held every October in the City of Tribes. Last year the clever producers thought ahead and sent a camera crew into carnival to capture all the comedy action. Now the rest of the country gets to see what all the chuckling was about last autumn in the west of Ireland. An array of laugh-merchants will lay out their wares for the audience’s delight, and if the show’s punning title is anything to go by, there’s a serious danger we might die laughing on our couches. One of the comedians is Andrew Maxwell, but if you saw him looking glum on I’m a Celebrity . . . just before Christmas, don’t be put off. When he’s not being force-fed bugs and bullied by his campmates, he really can be quite funny. Other guffaw-inducing guests include Reginald D Hunter, Terry Alderton, Jo Caulfield and Seann Walsh.
Thursday, RTÉ One, 11.50pm
This twisty six-part drama, which originally ran on UTV last August, is set against the backdrop of England’s Lake District and based on the novels by Paula Daly. Deep Water follows the sometimes messy lives of three women as they navigate the choppy waters of family, friendships and finance. Anna Friel plays Lisa, a disorganised mum whose efforts to juggle family life with running her own business often result in chaos. Roz (Sinead Keenan) is a physiotherapist trying to repay crippling debts. And wealthy Kate (Rosalind Eleazar) appears to have the perfect life, the perfect husband and the perfect kids – but is it all just for show?
Save Money: Lose Weight
Thursday, UTV, 11.45pm
Sian Williams and Dr Ranj Singh takes two fresh diets (the Eat What You Like and Lose Weight for Life cookbook, and Noom, an app that is trending worldwide) and put them through their paces in a 28-day value-for-money road test. The programme also looks at the latest new diet products and finds out which are fleeting fancies and which are future foods worth splashing out on. Williams tests a new super grain, pea milk and a vegetable sheeter, while Singh investigates technology and gadgets designed to boost willpower when it comes to dieting. These include a state-of-the-art headset to fight food cravings and a low-tech fridge piggy gadget that actually oinks when you open the fridge.
The Late Tackle
Thursday, Virgin One, 10pm
Muireann O’Connell and last year’s Love Island winner, Greg O’Shea, host this new entertainment show focusing on the Guinness Six Nations Championship. Celebrity guests including past and present rugby players, while comedians and actors chat about rugby and life in front of a live audience.
Leaving the EU: BBC News Special
Friday, BBC1, 10pm
It’s a day some people were hoping would never come and others were getting impatient waiting for. But if all goes to plan, today Britain will leave the EU after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was backed by MPs in the wake of the general election. However, not everything is cut and dried, as Britain is now due to enter an 11-month transition period. Huw Edwards hosts a special edition of BBC News covering this momentous day and asking what Britain’s new relationship with the EU will look like.
The Last Leg: Countdown to Brexit
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
For a more comical — and opinionated — take on the big Brexit day, The Last Leg team of Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker are conducting their own countdown. They’re joined by writer and director Armando Iannucci, who knows a thing or two about satire via his influential news spoof The Day Today and the savage sitcom The Thick of It. So, if Iannucci was devising a Brexit satire, what angle would he take?
Friday, Virgin Two, 8.30pm
Lisa Cannon returns for another series of the movie-show. In advance of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival, Cannon speaks to festival director Gráinne Humphreys about the very best of world cinema and film talent in Dublin.
All Walks of Life
Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
As they wander part of St Kevin’s Way in the Wicklow Mountains, actor Amy Huberman talks to Mary McAleese about the importance of her mixed Catholic-Jewish roots and how she tries to balance her multiple careers with her more private roles as the wife of Irish sporting legend Brian O’Driscoll and the mother of two small children. Huberman is the proud daughter of a Jewish immigrant who came to Ireland in the 1960s to work as a designer. A few years ago, she and her father visited the Auschwitz concentration camp together. She reveals to McAleese what that experience meant to her and her thoughts on being Jewish.