TV guide: 23 of the best shows to watch this week
A new run of Roisin Conaty’s GameFace, plus plenty of moon walking, the Bros are back, art in Leinster House, male circumcision . . . and Boris Johnson in word and deed
Roisin Conaty as Marcella in GameFace, Wednesday on Channel 4
Stargazing: Moon Landing Special
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
Fifty years ago this week, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its way to a historic moon landing, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface. To celebrate this seminal moment in history, Prof Brian Cox and comedian/polymath Dara O’Briain guide us through the key events that led to that first giant step for mankind. The starmen visit Cape Canaveral Spaceport, where Nasa is preparing to send out a new generation of astronauts in a brand new spacecraft known as the Starliner. Cox and O’Briain will get to play with all sorts of hi-tech equipment along the way.
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
We don’t need to be told the surname to know who this is about. Champion boxer Katie Taylor allows unprecedented access into her life for this riveting documentary, which follows her as she begins a long journey back from the lowest point in her life and career. We know the story of Taylor’s rise to become the world’s greatest amateur female boxer and an Olympic gold medal winner, but Katie delves into the dark side of her life, when her father and trainer, Pete Taylor, left the family home for another woman, sending his daughter into a tailspin that saw her getting knocked out of the 2016 Olympics and beaten by boxers she had formerly vanquished. The documentary enjoyed a successful theatrical release last year and was first broadcast on RTÉ in January.
Shortscreen: The Betrayal
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.45pm
Polish actor Kamila Dydyna co-produces, co-directs, scripts and stars in this 26-minute Irish LGBT drama from 2016. She plays Nel, who grapples with feelings for her best friend as her husband’s insecurities erupt into violence. Miriam Devitt and Mark McAuley costar.
The £100k Drop
Monday, Channel 4, 4pm
Davina McCall is back with the game show in which pairs of players start with £100,000 in real money and must prevent it from literally dropping out of the game by avoiding the wrong answers to general knowledge questions. In this first episode, Davina is joined by Cambridge friends Cat and Oli plus Jo and David, a couple from Glasgow.
Nadiya’s Time to Eat
Monday, BBC2, 8pm
The BBC can’t get enough of Nadiya Hussain’s smiley face – it’s easy to see why the Beeb snapped her up and turned her into a star after her success on The Great British Bake Off. As a working parent herself, Hussain understands how difficult it can be to juggle family life with jobs and other commitments, so has come up with various recipes to help us cut down on the amount of time we spend behind a hot stove. She begins by demonstrating an innovative approach to the traybake before showcasing an omelette wrap, a zesty haddock (whatever that is) and the fastest-cooking roast potatoes in the west.
Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag
Monday, UTV, 10.45pm
One-off documentary aims to shed light on the Chinese government’s work with technology companies. This isn’t a cheerful story of innovation and advancement – it accuses China of controlling its citizens and exporting them around the world, challenging human freedom and liberal democracy in the process. It also reveals that an estimated one million Muslims are being held in detention camps without trial, believed to be the largest incarceration of an ethnic group since the Second World War. But the story doesn’t end there: campaigners claim another 12 million Muslims are living in what could be described as open prisons.
House of Art
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.35pm
Go on, admit it: you’ve always wondered what wonders of art are hidden within the hallowed halls of Leinster House. What old masters gaze down at the politicians as they shuffle through the corridors of power, and what must they think of today’s shenanigans in Government Buildings? Take a tour of the Leinster House art collection in the company of renowned artist Mick O’Dea, and see works by the likes of William Orpen, Leo Whelan, Maurice MacGonigal and Sean O’Sullivan, and view little-seen portraits of De Valera, Austin Stack, Michael Collins, Seán Lemass, Jack Lynch, Charles J Haughey, Garret FitzGerald and Bertie Ahern. Along the way, O’Dea will give a sneak peek into his own work in progress: a portrait of President Michael D Higgins. Who says politicians are philistines?
Naughty!: The Life and Loves of Boris Johnson
Tuesday, Channel 5, 9.15pm
Next week, one-time London mayor and foreign secretary Boris Johnson will find out if he is Britain’s next prime minister. But how well does the public know the man himself? This programme examines the life and career of the politician, featuring interviews with people who know him and journalists who have reported on him. It also asks whether some of the gaffes, scandals and amiable buffoonery associated with Johnson represent the real person, or if they are part of a well-constructed act.
The Day We Walked on the Moon
Tuesday, UTV, 9pm
Following on from BBC2’s 8 Days: To the Moon and Back and Stargazing: Moon Landing, as well as Channel 4’s Moon Launch Live, UTV gets in on the moon act with this documentary narrated by Mark Strong. It combines spectacular footage with interviews from some key figures in the Apollo 11 mission, including astronaut, Michael Collins, who was the command module pilot, orbiting the moon as his colleagues Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their first steps, and flight director Gene Kranz. There are also contributions from Prof Brian Cox and Dr Brian May (appearing here in his guise as an astrophysicist, rather than as the guitarist in Queen).
Inside the Social Network: Facebook’s Difficult Year
Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
Documentary going behind the scenes at Facebook, the world’s biggest social media company, with nearly a third of the planet’s population connected to its networks. However, the company has suffered a series of deepening scandals and intense media scrutiny, with data leaks, fake news and security hacks all threatening to destroy everything Mark Zuckerberg has built. Throughout this difficult time, Facebook allowed the BBC to follow key members of the team trying to fix the problems and secure the platform.
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm (repeated Friday, 1.40am)
Marcella’s just a regular girl who wants the usual things from life: true love, a successful acting career, and a full driver’s licence. Not much to ask but, as we find out in this second season of the comedy starring Roisin Conaty, nothing comes that easy. After a predictably disastrous first series, Marcella puts on her gameface once again and sets out to conquer the world, one mishap at a time. She’s helped along by a cast that includes Pauline McLynn from Father Ted and Shameless, and Francis Magee from Game of Thrones and Rogue One, but you can bet there’ll be no second acts here. As series two opens, Marcella manages the seemingly impossible – passing her driving test. But the brakes are quickly put on her celebrations when she catches the boyfriend tooling down a forbidden side road.
The Invention of Boris Johnson
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
Millions of words have been used to describe Boris Johnson and his suitability or not to be the UK’s next prime minister. However, arguably none are more illuminating than those spoken and written by the man himself. As he competes with Jeremy Hunt to become the leader of the Conservative Party, this documentary sifts through hours of archive interviews and newspaper columns to build a picture of the man and his track record, largely through his own words.
Remarkable Places to Eat
Wednesday, BBC2, 8pm
Leading chefs take maitre d’ and First Dates star Fred Siriex to experience dining at their favourite restaurants and explore what goes into making them so special. In the first edition, Siriex heads to Venice in the company of chef-restaurateur Angela Hartnett, whose Italian family heritage has given her a lifelong love of Italian food. She takes him to enjoy the simple but stunning food at her favourite restaurant, Osteria Alle Testiere, and the unforgettable service at Caffe Florian – one of the oldest cafes in Europe.
Wednesday, BBC2, 10pm
The comedy-drama, created by and starring Pamela Adlon, returns for a new season. Sam (Adlon) is concerned that teenage daughter Max is seeing 35-year-old Arturo. Realising that she can’t stop her from doing so, Sam decides to use the situation to her advantage. Arturo’s brother Pedro seems to have the hots for older women – namely Sam. So how will Max react to her mum flirting with her boyfriend’s sibling at a party? Meanwhile, at the same get-together, Duke and her friends are playing a game of truth or dare, which takes a strange turn.
Extinction Rebellion: Last Chance to Save the World?
Wednesday, BBC1, 10.55pm
Reporter Ben Zand follows climate-change protest group Extinction Rebellion for four months as they build toward “The Rebellion” – 11 days of protest in April with the aim of taking over and occupying various locations in London. The film also focuses on three young people who have been inspired to join and lead the protests, and Zand speaks to the leader Roger Hallam, who has spent years academically researching tactics for social change. Hallam is challenged him on his methods and asked if it is justifiable to encourage young people to break the law.
Spéis sa Spás
Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm
50 years ago this week the first humans landed on the moon. Those Apollo 11 astronauts, who set off on their pioneering mission, built on the research of generations of scientists and the fascination of humanity with the moon and all that lies beyond in our dark night skies.Their lunar voyage caught the world’s imagination in 1969, the Cold War space race was a very tangible result to the huge scientific effort, but also it broadened everyone’s horizons, the sky was no longer the limit!
Who Do You Think You Are?
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Dancer and choreographer Craig Revel Horwood, most famous for being a judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, was born and raised in Australia but moved to Britain 26 years ago. Since his father passed away, Horwood has wanted to find out more about his ancestry on that side of the family. So back in Australia he visits his home town of Ballarat for the first time since his father died. He meets up with his mother Beverley and his sister Sue – who has done some work of her own on their family tree. He learns that great-great grandfather was an English petty-criminal called Moses Horwood who was transported as a convict in 1841.
Britain’s Brexit Crisis
Thursday, BBC1, 9pm
How and when the UK leaves the EU is still unknown, and it is difficult to tell if and when we may get some clarity. In this report, the Panorama team investigates the complex politics surrounding Brexit and the possible outcomes of the current deadlock facing the government and what it could mean for the people of the UK. As most MPs have said they do not want to leave the EU without a deal and to avoid a no-deal exit, the programme asks whether a public vote might the only way to break the stand-off. Also, with the identity of the country’s new prime minister being announced next week, the reporters analyse Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s policies and attitudes to Brexit.
A Cut Too Far? Male Circumcision
Thursday, BBC1, 10.55pm
An investigation into the rights and wrongs of male circumcision, one of the most common surgical procedures in the world. In the UK, thousands of baby boys are circumcised every year for religious or cultural reasons. But it is becoming increasingly controversial. Journalist Adnan Sarwar, who was circumcised by his Muslim parents as an infant, presents this investigation into the operation and its safety, finding out whether it is an outmoded practice or a harmless expression of cultural and religious freedoms.
First Night of the Proms
Friday, BBC2, 7.30pm
The new Proms season gets under way with the finale of the BBC’s year-long Our Classical Century series at London’s Royal Albert Hall. There is the world premiere of Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri’s new work, Long Is the Journey – Short Is the Memory, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. After that, Antonin Dvorak’s fairy-tale tone-poem The Golden Spinning Wheel, which was composed in 1896 and inspired by the verse found in a collection of folk ballads, is performed. Finally, conductor Karina Canellakis and the massed forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and BBC Singers take to the stage for one of the 20th-century’s great choral masterpieces, Leos Janacek’s monumental and thunderous Glagolitic Mass.
A Night in with Bros
Friday, BBC4, 10pm
Last year’s documentary Bros: After The Screaming Stops made 1980s pop icons Matt and Luke Goss household names again. Now the brothers are back at the BBC to curate an evening of programmes inspired by their childhood, their musical influences and long careers. Matt and Luke will reveal the shows and artists that inspired them growing up, introducing nostalgic clips from the BBC archive, as well as interviewing specially invited guests. There is also be new footage of the brothers in the aftermath of their rise back to the top, as they continue rebuild their often fractured relationship.
The Death of Amy Winehouse: 13 Reasons Why
Friday, Channel 5, 10pm
Amy Winehouse was an extraordinary musician with an unforgettable voice, and her meteoric rise saw her blossom into a truly global star who changed the landscape of modern pop culture. However, the world also witnessed her drug and alcohol addiction, dramatic weight loss and involvement in a destructive relationship. These factors led to her premature death in July 2011, aged 27. This film features contributions from some of those who knew Winehouse well as well as those who tried to help her, telling the story of a towering but troubled talent.
The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan
Channel 4, 10pm
Bafta-nominated comedian and actor Mo Gilligan shot to fame with his sell-out Coupla Cans tour across the UK. After his success, he went on to co-host The Big Narstie Show. Now, singer Jessie J and comedy actors Steve Coogan and Asim Chaudhry join Gilligan for the first edition of his own show, in which he chews the fat over celebrity culture and fronts iconic studio games in which viewers at home have a chance to win prizes. The audience-driven show also promises hilarious sketches and superstar performances.