TV guide: 22 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Keys to My Life, Too Close, Naked Attraction, Uimhir a 6, Frank of Ireland, Leonardo

Julie Graham and Nico Mirallegro in Penance, beginning Monday on Virgin One

Julie Graham and Nico Mirallegro in Penance, beginning Monday on Virgin One

 

The Burren: Heart of Stone
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
The mystic landscape of the Burren has fascinated folk for centuries, and filmmaker Katrina Costello has spent the past 13 years’ filming and photographing in this unique geological wonder in Co Clare. In her two-part documentary, Costello explores the karst limestone formations, the flora and fauna, the underground cave systems and the Burren’s mysterious turloughs (disappearing lakes). As well as capturing the stunning, evocative beauty of the Burren, Costello looks back in time to the early Irish hunter-gatherers, and asks the question: are we all descended from the people of the Burren? Nice thought.

Keys to My Life
Sunday, RTÉ One, 7,30pm

Mary Coughlin and Brendan Courtney in Keys to My Life
Mary Coughlin and Brendan Courtney in Keys to My Life

How often have you gone into a house and thought, “if these walls could talk”? In this new series of Keys to My Life, Brendan Courtney once again brings celebrities on a property tour of their past, visiting the places they used to live in, and triggering memories and insights along the way. The walls may not talk, but the celebrity guests will certainly have plenty to say as they revisit their old haunts and recall the good/bad old days. Courtney’s first guest is singer Mary Coughlan, who visits her childhood home in Galway, and also the house where she retreated to following the break-up of her second marriage and a very public spat with love-rival Sinéad O’Connor.

Reeling in the Years
Sunday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
It’s one of Montrose’s most successful and most-repeated shows, and pulls in a big audience each time it airs. You know the drill. Each episode trawls through the telly archives of a particular year, covering the big events in politics, sport, music, film, fads and world-altering events. This new series covers the decade just gone, beginning with 2010, the year of Ireland’s biggest freeze in 50 years and the year a massive ash cloud from Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull disrupted flights across Europe. It was also the year Rubberbandits unleashed Horse Outside, Love/Hate burst onto our screens, Ireland got bailed out by the IMF, and broadcaster Gerry Ryan died.

The British Academy Film Awards
Sunday, BBC1, 7pm
It’s been described as the most diverse list of nominees ever produced by Bafta, with 16 of the 24 actors in the running for awards coming from ethnic minority groups – that’s an astonishing amount when you consider that nobody of colour featured in last year’s lists. However, there is one notable absentee: Viola Davis’ stunning performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is missing, although the film is represented via by a posthumous nod for co-star Chadwick Boseman. Of the six Best Director nominees, an unprecedented four are female, including Nomadland’s Chloe Zhao and Rocks’ Sarah Gavron, whose films have garnered the most nods with seven each. Someone else expected to do well is the unstoppable David Attenborough, whose programme A Life on Our Planet is in the running for Best Documentary.

Penance
Monday, Virgin One, 9pm
This three-part drama (which first aired last spring on Channel 5) stars Julie Graham as Rosalie Douglas, whose family implodes after her son is found dead. In the months following the tragedy, Rosalie struggles to accept that his death was nothing more than a terrible accident, while her husband (Neil Morrissey) moves out and their teenage daughter Maddie (Tallulah Greive) seems to be going off the rails. But then, new hope arrives in form of the charismatic Jed (Nico Mirallegro), who helps them to deal with their grief. In return, the Douglases open their hearts and home. Before long, Jed is Maddie’s confidant and lover and Rosalie’s surrogate son. But just how well do they know the stranger they have let into their lives?

Too Close
Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, ITV, 9pm

Emily Watson in Too Close
Emily Watson in Too Close

Emily Watson stars as a forensic psychiatrist whose latest case threatens to engulf her family life in this thriller airing over three consecutive, hopefully nail-biting nights. Watson plays Emma Robertson, whose job is to get inside the minds of people accused of heinous crimes. But when she is assigned to assess Connie Mortensen, known as the “Yummy Mummy Monster”, who is in a secure psychiatric unit awaiting trial, she finds Connie has a Hannibal Lecter-like ability to get inside people’s heads. Soon, Connie is poking around in Emma’s cranium to unpick the secrets of her marriage to Si, and cruelly exploiting Emma’s own insecurities.

Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World
Monday, BBC2, 9pm

A mural of environmental activist Greta Thunbergby artist Emmalene Blake on Chanery Street in Dublin’s Smithfield. Photograph: Laura Hutton
A mural of environmental activist Greta Thunberg, by artist Emmalene Blake, on Chanery Street in Dublin’s Smithfield. Photograph: Laura Hutton

In January the BBC broadcast I Am Greta, a documentary about teenage environmental warrior Greta Thunberg. It could be regarded as the starter for this three-part main course, in which she invites viewers into her world to find out how she is trying to change ours. It was made when Thunberg was aged just 16; she took a year off school around that time to embark on a much-publicised world journey to spread her message, putting to shame many diplomats with wise words that were well beyond her years. Cameras also follow Thunberg as she visits places where climate change is undeniably having a negative impact before heading back home to Stockholm as the pandemic brings the world to a standstill.

The Truth about Police Stop & Search
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
A few years ago Jermaine Jenas fronted the BBC3 documentary Teenage Knife Wars, about the rise in knife crime in his native Nottingham. The former footballer now presents another programme focusing on a topic close to his heart – a police policy that’s always been controversial. Here he examines footage captured on secret cameras worn by black men, who are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts. They also share their experiences while experts discuss the issue’s wide-reaching social, psychological and personal impact.

Glór Tíre
Tuesday, TG4, 9.30pm
This is the delayed live final of Glór Tíre 2021. The last three contestants have put in the work and the winner will be announced tonight, featuring performances from each of the finalists as well as a special guest who will be taking to the stage. Back are judges John Creedon, Caitríona Ní Shúilleabháin and Jó Ní Chéide. Presented by Aoife Ní Thuairisg and Séamus Ó Scanláin.

Naked Attraction
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
In the first episode of the new run, we meet Iain (32) from Manchester. As “Jet Fashion”, this wrestler makes some showstopping moves in the ring, but always seems to get tapped out when it comes to women. Ian hopes that Anna Richardson can help find him the perfect partner to pin him down for good. Leon (31) from south London is a bi-curious graphic designer who has recently lost weight. He’s looking for the perfect partner – whether female or, for his first time, male – to share his new slimline body with.

Uimhir a 6
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Uimhir 6 Harcourt Street
Uimhir 6 Harcourt Street

Uimhir 6 Harcourt Street is one of thhe most historical houses in Ireland and its 230 years of fascinating history reflects a changing Dublin and Ireland. It has been home to British imperialists and Irish revolutionaries, a saint and his scholars. It saw action in 1916, election victory in 1918 and was the location where Michael Collins worked during the War of Independence. It’s where men and women rebelled and organised against religious, civil and political oppression to help mould life as we know it in Ireland today.

Modus
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Kim Cattrall in Modus
Kim Cattrall in Modus

Series two of the Swedish drama (which aired in Scandinavia way back in 2017) starts off as the American president, (Kim Cattrall) vanishes without a trace during the state visit to Stockholm. As the security force mobilise to find her, a power struggle emerges between a panic-stricken US and a liable Sweden. Inger Johanne (Melinda Kinnaman) and Ingvar (Henrik Norlén) are drawn into pursuing the truth, but it soon becomes clear that nobody can be trusted. At the same time, the couple are themselves are in the midst of the greatest change in their shared life; they have moved in together and are soon having a baby. Everything comes to a head upon the arrival of Warren Schifford (Greg Wise), Inger Johanne’s former FBI mentor and the president’s right-hand man. His unexpected arrival forces Inger Johanne to confront painful secrets from her past as Warren once again worms his way into her life.

The Great British Sewing Bee
Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm
Last year The Great British Sewing Bee reached a whole new audience when it made the jump from BBC1 to BBC2. This year it’s back on the main channel, but it has made another move: Joe Lycett is welcoming the latest bunch of talented home sewers to a new location on the banks of London’s river Thames. Luckily, judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young have come along, and in this opening episode they set challenges based on wardrobe staples. The contestants begin with a pattern for a versatile sleeveless blouse before transforming an old T-shirt into a whole new garment. Then for the made-to-measure, they have to whip up a post-lockdown essential, the buffet dress.

Bent Coppers: Crossing the Line of Duty
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
Who polices the police? In the hit drama Line of Duty it’s AC-12, but this new documentary series explores the formation of the first internal anti-corruption unit, A10, prompted by a story that went to the top of the Met. The first episode begins in 1969, a time when British police were held up as the most trusted and effective force in the world. A different picture began to emerge when a desperate south London villain went to a newspaper with claims that a detective in the Metropolitan Police was extorting money from him. That would have been shocking enough, but further investigation suggested that rather than just one bad apple, there was a secret network of corrupt coppers at the heart of the Metropolitan CID.

Frank of Ireland
Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

Brian and Domhnall Gleeson in Frank of Ireland
Brian and Domhnall Gleeson in Frank of Ireland

Brothers Brian and Domhnall Gleeson are the writers and stars of this new comedy series, about a self-centred kiddult who really does think it’s all about him. Brian plays the titular narcissist, a struggling rock musician with an ego as big a Croke Park, and Domhnall plays his best mate Doofus. The series opens with a bombshell: Frank’s ex-girlfriend Áine (Sarah Greene) has found a new boyfriend, Peter-Brian (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor). Unable to accept that Áine could get over him so soon (they only broke up six years ago), Frank gets himself a gig at Áine’s grandmother’s funeral, hoping to impress her with his rock star moves and win her back. But there’s another obstacle: the new boyfriend is a MMA expert – and if Frank wants to vanquish his rival, he’s going to have to learn some new moves.

Turas Bóthar
Thursday, TG4, 8pm

Grace Bonner and Danny Rua Ó Fearraigh in Turas Bóthair
Grace Bonner and Danny Rua Ó Fearraigh in Turas Bóthair

What do people caint about as gaeilge when they’re driving along in the car? Hop in to the fourth series of Turas Bóthar and have a good old earwig. Once again, a diverse bunch of Irish people allow the cameras into their cars to listen in to their conversations, which range from the drinking habits of the Irish, Greta Thunberg and the environment, drag queens, lockdown and who’s most likely to start World War II. The series is shot in counties Donegal, Mayo, Kerry, Galway, Waterford, Derry and Antrim; among the car occupants are college mates Sorcha and Seoirshín, school pals Caoimhín and Niall, sisters Nóra and Úna, and the welcome return of old schoolmates Muiris and Gabriel, whose witty banter will shorten any journey.

Gardeners’ World
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
Now that the soil has warmed up, Monty Don is ready to sow seeds for summer crops in the vegetable plot. In the cottage garden at Longmeadow, meanwhile, the focus is on what to plant under shrubs and roses. In East Sussex, a nurseryman with a passion for orchids shares some of his top tips, while an Oxfordshire couple talk about their enthusiasm for growing vegetables. Plus, Carol Klein checks out a spectacular display of tulips in Dunsborough Park in Surrey, and Kate Bradbury offers advice on starting a wildlife garden.

ON DEMAND

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
From Wednesday, Netflix

Jamie Foxx and Kyla-Drew in Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
Jamie Foxx and Kyla-Drew in Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!

So your kids think you’re uncool, and face-palm at your every awkward attempt to get “down” with the younger generation. How can you turn this situation around? Easy – just make a TV comedy about how your kids find you embarrassing. They’ll be sooo impressed they’ll soon be buying you “world’s coolest dad” mugs and getting you to guest on their TikTok videos. Hollywood star Jamie Foxx knows all about being ghosted by your offspring, and this new comedy series on Netflix is inspired by his relationship with his own daughter Corinne. He plays bachelor businessman Brian Dixon who has been landed with a new full-time project: being in charge of his teenage daughter Sasha. Foxx has been reunited with Bentley Kyle Evans, the showrunner for The Jamie Foxx Show, and guess who’s executive producing? His real-life daughter Corrine (probably wants to make sure dad doesn’t embarrass her).

The Hunter
From Friday, All4

Francesco Montanari in The Hunter
Francesco Montanari in The Hunter

We’re travelling to Sicily in the 1990s for the latest award-winning offering from Walter Presents (original title: Il Cacciatore). Provincial prosecutor Saverio Barone (Francesco Montanari) is young, ambitious and has been the brains behind several street-level arrests in Palermo for a number of years. But as blood continues to flow on the city’s streets, he realises it’s time to make a stand. In a move Line of Duty’s AC-12 would be proud of, he turns in which own corrupt boss, to the horror of his colleagues. The move does, however, earn Barone a promotion to a unit specialising in bringing the Mafia to book. He’s soon involved in spectacular arrests involving 300 organised crime members, but begins to pay a heavy personal price for his dedication to his work.

Floodland
From Friday, All4

Jasmine Sendar in Floodland
Jasmine Sendar in Floodland

Expect shades of The Bridge in this new eight-part EurDutch/Belgian thriller (original title: Grenslanders) that explores identity, immigration and cross-border relations. A mysterious and traumatised African girl is found wandering around the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, and Belgian court psychiatrist Bert Dewulf (Koen De Bouw) is asked to figure out what has happened to leave her in such a state. Meanwhile, Dutch police inspector Tara Dessel (Jasmine Sendar) investigates a shootout on a pleasure yacht, unearthing a link between the two cases. Tara and Bert work together to bring down a merciless gang of human traffickers from whom the girl escaped and who are seemingly responsible for the shootout, discovering in the process how those on the border have been dealing with incomers for centuries.

Big Shot
From Friday, Disney+
In this comedy-drama, John Stamos plays Marvyn Korn, a professional basketball coach whose volatile personality gets him ousted from his job. Desperate to find a way back into the game, Marvyn reluctantly agrees to a position at an all-girls high school, where he gradually learns how to connect with his vulnerable players. They, in turn, gain a new level of confidence due to Marvyn’s no-nonsense approach to his role. Watch out for The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle in a supporting role.

Leonardo
From Friday, Amazon

Aidan Turner in Leonardo
Aidan Turner in Leonardo

Poldark may be over, but Aidan Turner hasn’t let the grass, Cornish or otherwise, grow under his feet. He’s been busy filming this new eight-part historical drama based on the life of Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci. Its aim is to reveal how young Leonardo’s restless curiosity led him down many different avenues, from art to science and technology, as he attempted to unfold the mysteries of the world. “As an actor, to explore the inner workings of this great artist was a very exciting and humbling experience and I feel so fortunate to have worked with such a great team in Rome to make this series happen,” says Turner. Giancarlo Giannini co-stars as Leonardo’s master, Andrea del Verrocchio, while Freddie Highmore plays a young detective.

Contributing: PA

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