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

Jim Sheridan’s Murder at the Cottage, Border Lives, The Shape of History, Bosch

Gabi, Joni, Dylan, Ciara, CJ and Sammy on the Bray seafront in Our Town, Thursday on RTÉ2

Gabi, Joni, Dylan, Ciara, CJ and Sammy on the Bray seafront in Our Town, Thursday on RTÉ2

 

Taithí gan Teorain
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
Fashionistas Siobhán Heffernan and Aoife Nic an tSaoir travel to Cambodia to experience the realities of cheap labour in the fashion industry. Siobhán (20) from Listowel and Aoife (29) from Belfast spend the first two days working 12-hour shifts in Phnom Penh in a “home production”. These operations work as subcontractors to the big sweatshops. They spend a day in the workshop of Tonlé, an American fashion brand that uses waste material from the big factories as material for their high-end fashions.

Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie
Sunday, Sky Crime/Now TV, 9pm

Jim Sheridan in Murder at the Cottage: The Search for justice for Sophie.
Jim Sheridan in Murder at the Cottage: The Search for justice for Sophie.

It’s been 25 years since Ireland and the world were shocked by the brutal murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier at her home in Schull, west Cork, but it still feels fresh in our minds. We’ve followed the investigation over the past quarter-century, as English journalist Ian Bailey emerged as the chief suspect but was never charged, the family of the French film director campaigned for justice, and French authorities convicted Bailey in absentia. You might think we’d have cooled off on the story by now, since it ran into a dead end. But the success of the West Cork podcast shows that interest is still intense. Now, film-maker Jim Sheridan has directed this five-part series taking a fresh look at the case, and examining how two justice systems in two different countries came to such polarised conclusions. He will revisit evidence, dig up never-before-seen footage and interview several people close to the case to try to uncover what really happened at that cottage in 1996.

The Handmaid’s Tale
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm

Alexis Bledel and Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale
Alexis Bledel and Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale

The last time we saw June, she had been injured and was fighting for her life. Now the fourth season of the dystopian drama inspired by Margaret Atwood’s novel picks up where its predecessor left off, with June installed in a safe house by the other women. The site is actually a farm belonging to Commander Keyes, but his 14-year-old bride Esther has been sedating him, enabling her to help and harbour those on the run. As June regathers her strength, she learns of Esther’s ordeal at the hands of her husband’s associates and promises retribution. Meanwhile, an imprisoned Lawrence tries to avoid a death sentence, Aunt Lydia is stunned by the loss of 86 children, and the Waterfords receive news that leaves them reeling.

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: Joan Collins
Sunday, ITV, 9pm
If you’re getting a nagging sense of deja vu about the latest edition of the former GMB presenter’s series, don’t panic. Eleven years ago, Dame Joan Collins made her first appearance on the programme, during which she chatted openly about her life and career. Her children Tara and Sacha, from her marriage to Anthony Newley, also appeared, as did her former Dynasty co-stars Emma Samms and Kate O’Mara. Collins clearly feels lots has happened in the ensuing years, because she’s back again. We’re promised new anecdotes, laughter, tears and more celebrity messages throughout.

Border Lives
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Miriam O’Callaghan in Border Lives
Miriam O’Callaghan in Border Lives

On the 100th anniversary of Partition, Miriam O’Callaghan breaks for the Border to meet ordinary families trying to get on with their lives amid social upheaval and conflict. For many living in Border areas, partition changed their lives forever, and left a legacy that affected subsequent generations. O’Callaghan will meet Joan and Maureen, two sisters who recall the Belfast Blitz of the second World War; Billy Kohner, whose Jewish parents fled the former Czechoslovakia to settle in Northern Ireland; journalist Darach MacDonald, whose grandparents were split by the Border; and writer and film-maker Barry Devlin, author of My Mother and Other Strangers. “I’m interested in those experiences of survival, endurance, just trying to get by… and of two very different worlds on this one shared island,” says O’Callaghan. “You really have to appreciate how that Border changed lives – not just recently, not just during the Troubles, but for the past 100 years.”

Nationwide: A Week on the Royal Canal
Monday/Wednesday/Friday, RTÉ One, 7am

Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh with Clare Crinnegan in A Week on the Royal Canal
Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh with Clare Crinnegan in A Week on the Royal Canal

All this week Anne Cassin and Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh travel the Royal Canal meeting the communities who live and work along the 146km stretching from Spencer Dock in Dublin to Clondra, Co Longford. Cassin starts in Dublin, heading west, and Chofaigh begin in Clondra, going east, towards Mullingar. Cassin takes a barge trip through the unique landscape of the Deep Sinking, to Leixlip, rambles on to Maynooth, where the Royal Canal greenway begins. From there she visits an art gallery in Kilcock, runs a bit with a running club, and meets some canoeists at Ribbontail. Ní Chofaigh goes to Strokestown House and learns about the National Famine Way, visits Tidy Towns-winning village of Abbeyshrule, joins a rambling group in Ballinacarrigy, and meets Clare Crinnigan, who was born in a lock house on the canal.

Britain’s Most Beautiful Landscapes: The Causeway Coast
Monday, More4, 9pm
In this episode, we journey along the North’s Causeway Coast, starting in Derry and ending in Belfast. The soaring heights of Mount Binevenagh, with a lake perched on its summit, takes us down to a coastal trajectory that leads us eastwards to that great natural phenomenon, the Giant’s Causeway. We then head to a part of the coast that has posed great dangers to seafarers for many centuries and almost seems to touch the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. Then, arriving in Belfast, we visit the site where the Titanic was constructed.

Great British Gardens with Carol Klein
Monday, Channel 5, 9pm

Carol Klein in Great British Gardens
Carol Klein in Great British Gardens

Colton Manor in the Northamptonshire countryside is the green-fingered guru’s latest destination. In 1990, the 17th-century property and its 10 acres of gardens were inherited by Susie Pasley-Tyler, who, despite having virtually no gardening experience whatsoever, transformed the place into an exhibition of creative and dramatic planting schemes that change with the passing seasons. She offers Klein a tour of its wild and more formal areas, which are home to wild fowl and flamingos. The Gardeners’ World star also learns more about the history of the site; it’s been owned by the family of Susie’s husband for several generations, all of whom have left their mark.

Do Black Lives Still Matter?
Monday, BBC1, 11.15pm
A rather timely episode focuses on football. Some fans were criticised recently for booing when England players took the knee before kick-offs, an action introduced following the murder of George Floyd. His death and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement also prompted the FA to make a pledge on diversity and inclusion. Grime star Saskilla meets Premier League footballers, coaches and managers to find out if it has made any difference while investigating whether a generation of black talent has already been lost to the supposedly beautiful game.

Philly DA: Breaking the Law
Tuesday, BBC4, 10pm/11pm
This gripping eight-part documentary series from Storyville follows US “progressive prosecutor” Larry Krasner, the controversial and uncompromising Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer who was elected district attorney in 2017. From the outside, Krasner had crusaded against mass incarceration and excessive sentencing, which he argued disproportionately burden poor and minority citizens. Now he sets out to reform the US criminal justice system from within. We begin in the early days when Krasner and a new team begin their radical experiment and overhaul by poring over a cache of police misconduct archives.

Location, Location, Location: 20 Years and Counting
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer reminisce on 20 years of trying to find homes for people with very specific criteria and must-haves. Ghika and Ronnie’s search area is roughly two square miles, and they’ve been looking for the perfect house for a decade. Surfing is Jamie’s passion, so he and wife Sam are looking for somewhere that’s a stone’s throw from the beach. Nicola and Anthony’s must-have is a dining room, but they’re also coming unstuck on cost. And finally, musicians Me’sha and Darren have viewed 70 properties, but can’t seem to let go of anything on their wish list.

Our Town
Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm
It could be any small town in Ireland, but the makers of this three-part series have focused on the seaside town of Bray for this profile of a disparate group of young people trying to make their mark in the wider world. Among them are Dylan (23), who fulfilled his boyhood dream of playing for English clubs but had to deal with his own demons before finding his place as part of Bray Wanderers; and Malawi-born rap duo CJ and Sammy aka Brayside Boyz, who draw inspiration from their adopted home but also have to contend with racism. We also meet Gabi (22), who has struggled to get past a serious assault at 17, and boxer Regan (22), who has made some serious sacrifices to pursue his dream of reaching the Olympics. The series was filmed over 18 months between the middle of 2019 and the end of 2020, so we see how these young people deal with the arrival of Covid-19 into their lives.

The Shape of History
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Rowan Gillespie in The Shape of History
Rowan Gillespie in The Shape of History

Sculptor Rowan Gillespie takes the helm in this special documentary about his efforts to create statues representing Irish women who were transported to Van Diemen’s Land on prison ships during the first half of the 19th century. Gillespie is an acclaimed sculptor who has created the famous Famine sculptures on Custom House Quay in Dublin. For this project, he painstakingly researched the lives of these women convicts, many sentenced to years of penal servitude for minor crimes such as stealing a handkerchief, and many of whom perished on the gruelling journey from Kingstown harbour (now Dún Laoghaire) to Tasmania. More than 13,000 women were sent to Van Diemen’s Land between 1803 and 1853, along with 2,000 children, another shameful episode in Ireland’s long history of cruelty towards women and children. Gillespie tracks down the descendents of some of these women, who become the models for his sculptures, and works hard to ensure that the finished sculptures represent real people and not just ideas or historical facts.

Diana
Thursday, ITV, 9pm
She died in 1997 at the age of just 36, but Diana, Princess of Wales is still making headlines. She was recently back in the news due to the BBC’s apology over the methods used to secure her infamous Panorama interview and the middle name of Prince Harry’s newborn daughter, Lilibet Diana. There was also a renewed interest in her story after she was portrayed in the fourth season of The Crown. Now, to mark what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday on July 1st, this feature-length documentary sets out to tell the definitive story of how a teenage nursery assistant (albeit an aristocratic one) became a global superstar who still holds a place in the nation’s heart nearly a quarter-century after her death.

Glastonbury in the ’90s
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
With Glasto having another forced fallow year, the festival went virtual in May to bring a special livestreamed version from Worthy Farm in Pilton, Sussex, starring Coldplay among others. But just to keep the memory of this fab fest alive, the BBC is broadcasting a look back at the decade, which saw Glastonbury redefine itself to become the key musical event on the calendar, as well as a cultural force to be reckoned with. The programme looks at some of the big acts who headlined during that decade, from Britpop bands to solo stars such as Robbie Williams. After that, the Beeb will screen two of the greatest headliner sets ever performed on the Pyramid stage, starting with Radiohead’s set from June 1997, when OK Computer had just been released to huge acclaim, and featuring tracks from the album. That’s followed by REM’s 1999 appearance, when they performed some of their biggest tunes.

Scotland: A Year in the Wild
Friday, Channel 5, 7pm
A new series exploring the wildlife and nature of Scotland over the course of a year begins in spring, when the countryside bursts into life. There’s impressive footage of a female mountain hare, which tests the virility of male contenders by letting them chase her over the mountains. It’s also the time of year when emperor moths emerge from their silk cocoons, and the males waste no time in searching for a mate as they pick up the females’ scent, which is emitted from a gland on the tip of their abdomen.

Unreported World
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
The EU once had a reputation for welcoming migrants but, as Seyi Rhodes discovers, that’s now changing, and Serbia has become a bottleneck for the thousands of people a month travelling along the notorious Balkan route. The reporter meets the men who are trying to leave Serbia and the families who are living in government camps, too scared to make the journey. He also finds out why Serbia’s usually accommodating approach to immigration is now starting to mirror that of its more hardline neighbours, with large border walls being erected.

Gardeners’ World
Friday, BBC2, 8pm
Adam Frost demonstrates how to lay turf and plant succulents before adding some perennials to his kitchen garden. Ater the heavy rainfall in May, Joe Swift travels to Marwood Hill Gardens in Devon to explore the plants that thrive in moist conditions. In Buckinghamshire, we uncover a hidden collection of irises. In Midlothian, we visit a nursery where the Himalayan blue poppy is a speciality, before Frances Tophill meets a florist who has a passion for growing cut flowers on her allotment.

ON DEMAND

Battle of the Food Trucks
From Tuesday, RTÉ Player

James Patrice in Battle of the Food Trucks
James Patrice in Battle of the Food Trucks

Food truck chefs from across Ireland go head-to-head to be crowned the island’s finest food truck. But they need to impress judges Eric Matthews, head chef at Michelin-starred Chapter One Resturant, and Instagram sensation/cookbook author Gina Daly of The Daly Dish. Over the course of six weeks, six contestants compete against one another in a series of challenges to see who can win the crown and the coveted title of “Irelands Finest Food Truck” and drive away with €5,000 prize money. Hosted by comedian James Patrice, each episode sees the food trucks set a cooking challenge, with the judges deciding who goes home and who stays to battle it out for another week.

Bosch
From Friday, Amazon Prime

Titus Welliver in Bosch
Titus Welliver in Bosch

Titus Welliver returns as LA detective Harry Bosch in the seventh and final series of the drama based on the acclaimed crime novels of Michael Connelly. This last season was taken from Connelly’s 2014 novel The Burning Room, itself inspired by a real-life arson case, with Bosch going all-out to bring down an arsonist following the death of a 10-year-old girl in a fire. But, as usual in Bosch’s world, things are more complicated than they seem, and powerful political forces are trying to extinguish Bosch’s efforts to solve the case, forcing him to weigh up the true cost of doing the right thing. Connelly’s novels The Concrete Blonde and The Burning Room provide the basis for this season. Harry and sidekick Jerry (Jamie Hector) tackle two tricky new cases, one involving a serial killer known as The Dealmaker, the other the murder of a mariachi performer. A spin-off focusing on Harry’s daughter Madeline is now in the pipeline.

Sex/Life
From Friday, Netflix
In this saucy drama series, Billie (Sarah Shahi) is an exhausted mother of two who lives tucked away in the suburbs with her loving, good guy husband Cooper (Mike Vogel). But she wasn’t always this way. Nostalgic for her wild child past in New York City when she and her best friend Sasha (Margaret Odette) worked hard and played even harder, Billie starts writing down fantasies involving her bad-boy ex. As his wife starts to question how she ended up with such a humdrum existence, Cooper stumbles across her diary. Before long, matters are made even more complicated when the man at the centre of her raunchy writings walks straight back into her life.

Central Park
From Friday, Apple TV+

Central Park
Central Park

The Emmy-nominated animated musical comedy is back for a second run. T the Tillerman family are continuing their efforts to keep the famous park in tip-top condition, but it won’t be easy as Molly experiences the trials and tribulations of adolescence, an embarrassing moment at school torments Cole, and Paige continues to chase a story about the mayor’s alleged corruption. With all that going on, Owen may struggle to keep a smile on his face, particularly with Bitsy continually trying to get her hands on the park. Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Stanley Tucci, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell are among the vocal cast.

Contributing: PA

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