TV Guide: 23 of the best shows to watch this week
24 hours in Ireland’s lockdown, plus becoming Irish, cooking with Mark Moriarty, reading with Richard & Judy, VE celebrations, and Captain Tom’s war
Amandla Stenberg and André Holland in new Netflix series The Eddy, streaming from Friday
Cloch le Carn: Bill O’Herlihy
Sunday, TG4, 5.40pm
One could say that the career of Bill O’Herlihy (1938-2015) was a game of two halves, played out between current affairs and sports broadcasting. Cloch le Carn casts an eye over the full match that was the life of the legendary RTÉ presenter, best known for his work on the station’s soccer panel with John Giles and Eamon Dunphy.
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
So, what have your kids been up to during lockdown? Creating giant leaf mosaics on a theme of climate change? Baking elaborate cakes in the shape of a Star Wars spacecraft? Writing a worthy successor to Harry Potter? Nah, they’ve been vegging out in front of the Xbox, building Doritos towers and posting stupid memes to their mates. But if you can get them to watch Creative Kids, hopefully they will be inspired to do something interesting in their downtime. This documentary follows the progress of the Creative Schools project, which aims to get kids tapping into their creative sides. Five schools from around the country took part, and the projects included a music and dance show on the theme of “breaking boundaries”, a festival on the theme of sustainability, and a project focusing on how to be an explorer in the world. Obviously, this was all done pre-coronavirus, but there’s no doubt creativity can be a handy thing to have in a crisis.
David Stratton’s Stories of Australian Cinema
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
The film critic takes viewers on a three-part journey through cinema Down Under, focusing on the films that captured the essence of the nation and helped shape the country’s idea of itself. Tonight, Stratton reveals how film-makers gained the confidence to tell their own stories with the boldness of mystery drama Picnic at Hanging Rock, the flamboyance of romantic comedy Strictly Ballroom, the raw authenticity of indigenous love story Samson & Delilah, and the commercial success of adventure Crocodile Dundee.
VE Day in Colour: Britain’s Biggest Party
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
On May 8th, 1945, the Allies formally accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, ending the war in Europe that had ravaged the continent for six long years. Using newly recorded accounts and previously unseen archive, this film tells the story of the day when the celebrations began and Britain rejoiced. The film hears the stories of ordinary folk as they celebrated in their own way. But alongside the happy tales of street parties, fancy dress and jelly and ice-cream, there are also reflections of those thinking of loved ones who wouldn’t return to enjoy a peace that they had helped achieve.
Sunday, BBC4, 11pm
A celebration of showbiz, family, forgiveness and hope, Angela Carter’s last novel is brought to life in this production filmed live at York Theatre Royal in 2019. In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance – twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 75th birthday. Over the Thames in Chelsea, their father and the greatest actor of his generation, Melchior Hazard, turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine – if, in fact, he’s still alive. Expect showgirls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music and mistaken identity.
Monday, RTÉ One, 7pm
On March 3rd, 5000 people from 135 countries became new Irish citizens. Many more applied, but didn’t get there this time. Becoming Irish follows three hopefuls. The first is Iraqi-born Zak Moradi, who fled with his family to Ireland in 2002, when he was 11. Hurling eased his transition into his new homeland, and last June Moradi was part of the Leitrim team that won the 2019 Lory Meagher Cup against Lancashire. Still, he is currently stateless and the last of his 11 siblings to get citizenship. He has spent the past 18 months working on his application in the hopes of getting an Irish passport. The second, Elinor Lyon, is a British citizen who moved to Ireland in 2010. Lyon found it difficult not to be able to vote in either the Repeal the Eighth or the marriage referendum, and was also concerned about the ramifications of Brexit. And so she, along with 981 other British people, hope to take the oath of fidelity to the Irish State in this round. For Carlos Gonzalez, the third the journey from Venezuela to Dublin has offered him a new-found love of dance and a road to self-discovery. Gonzalez no longer has a Venezuelan passport, and so for him, the stakes are high. If he doesn’t get Irish citizenship, he has no way of leaving Ireland.
Monday, BBC1, 9pm; Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
The telly adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel continues with another double bill. The night of the debs is fast approaching, but Marianne is not feeling particularly like the belle of the ball. When the girls at school organise a fundraising event, they ask Marianne to help out, but the evening quickly goes downhill when she is groped by one of the older boys. Connell offers her a lift home, and they end up spending the night together. But the course of true love etc etc, and episode four sees the story move forward a few months to Trinity College, where Connell is finding it hard to fit in with the fashionable Dublin crowd. A classmate invites him to a party and introduces him to another student from Sligo – no prizes for guessing who it is. Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones star as the star-crossed couple.
Richard & Judy: Keep Reading and Carry On
Monday, Channel 4, 5.30pm
Jamie Oliver has helped us to keep cooking; Kirstie Allsopp has offered advice on craft projects. Now it’s the turn of Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan to come up with some suggestions on how we can keep ourselves occupied during the lockdown – and as the title suggests, they’ll be recommending books. They won’t just be raiding their own well-stocked shelves, but will also hear from viewers, celebrity guests and well-loved authors.
Monday, ITV, 9pm
Actors and behind-the-scenes crew across the world are largely sitting around twiddling their thumbs at the moment. Some, however, have landed gainful employment thanks to this new drama created by acclaimed writer Jeff Pope (Philomena), who commissioned fellow scribes to devise 15-minute tales based on real events. A heavily pregnant Sheridan Smith stars as Mel, who is preparing to give birth alone. Robert Glenister and his son Tom play Ron and Russell, whose relationship becomes strained during lockdown. In Mike and Rochelle, Darren Boyd and Angela Griffin take on the roles of a hypochondriac and his psychiatrist. Finally, Eddie Marsan and his sons Blue and Brodie appear alongside David Threlfall in the story of a determined granddad.
The A Word
Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm
How does one family cope when their youngest child is diagnosed with autism? Not very well so far, by the looks of it. It’s season three of the drama, and this family is falling apart. Mum and dad are divorced, older half-sister is feeling alienated, and 10-year-old Joe (Max Vento) is having a hard time processing the seismic changes in his little world. Not even the headphones that have been stuck to his ears since he was five can bring him any comfort. Lee Ingleby and Morven Christie play his parents, and Christopher Eccleston his well-meaning but not-very-helpful grandad. The series is once again filmed against the stunning backdrop of the Lake District in Cumbria – wide-open spaces contrasting with the claustrophobia of the family’s life.
Cook-in with Mark Moriarty
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Hands up who’s well and truly fed up with home cooking – oh, sorry, you’ve got flour all over your hands. Well, just in case you need any more inspiration for your lockdown kitchen, chef Mark Moriarty is here to help you make the most of the ingredients in your cupboard with an eight-part series made in association with Bord Bia. Moriarty likes to champion Irish food producers, so he’ll be using mostly Irish ingredients in these simple, easy-to-knock-up recipes, and showing you how you can adapt using whatever is to hand. You will finally be able to open that rusty old tin of butter beans and make a delicious dish out of it.
Ciara Ní É: Saol Trí Ghaeilge
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
Until the 1970s, the relationship between the State and Irish-language speakers outside the Gaeltacht was always a strange one, an attitude of mere acceptance rather than devotion. But the development of the Gaelscoil movement helped rehabilitate the language – and, indeed, its communities across the country. In this documentary, poet and writer Ciara Ní É looks at the transformation of the Irish-speaking community outside the Gaeltacht.
MayDay: 24 hours in Ireland’s Lockdown
Thursday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
The Covid -19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live in Ireland, devastating thousands of lives and taking a wrecking ball to the economy. But it has also challenged us to rediscover our sense of community, togetherness and hope. Filmed in a 24-hour period across Ireland, this documentary examines the impact of the virus as well as the very real, and sometimes surreal and poignant, moments that make up life during an unprecedented nationwide lockdown. Filmed using a variety of storytelling techniques, including curated self-shot material from individuals and families, MayDay offers an eclectic assembly of stories from medics on the front line to people touting keep-fit classes to postmen, taxi drivers, hairdressers and funeral directors – and others for whom cocooning can’t end soon enough.
Fíorscéal: The Race to Forecast
Thursday, TG4, 10.30pm
Meteorology has made enormous progress in recent decades. To deliver the most accurate weather forecasts scientists are continually sending up new satellites, developing ever-more sophisticated computerised models, and taking more and more measurements. Today, 24-hour forecasts are 95 per cent reliable and three-day forecasts 80 per cent on the money. How do scientists predict the weather and improve their predictions? This documentary provides a unique immersion into the biggest weather study missions, complete with cutting-edge 3D modelling and graphic sequences.
Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience
Thursday, BBC2, 10pm
For many people, the idea of performing a stand-up comedy routine in a room full of strangers is enough to bring them out in a cold sweat. But Rhod Gilbert thinks there are lots of jobs harder than his – which is why he’s now on the ninth series of this show that sees him trying some of them out. In this opening episode, which was filmed before the Covid-19 outbreak, Gilbert takes on arguably his biggest challenge to date: becoming a carer. He discovers that one of the most important aspects of the job is getting to know the people he is caring for, but there are still plenty of challenges along the way, ranging from being nearly drowned by an octogenarian in a swimming pool to being upstaged by a poet with Parkinson’s. But it’s when he stages a talent show in a nursing home that things get really emotional.
Dame Vera Lynn: We’ll Meet Again
Thursday, BBC1, 7.30pm
For many, the song We’ll Meet Again evokes second World War Britain, but it has also taken on a new significance in recent weeks after the queen referenced it in her speech about the coronavirus crisis. This programme sheds some light on the song’s enduring power, as well as the woman who famously sang it, Dame Vera Lynn. Originally broadcast to mark her 100th birthday in 2017, it finds Katie Derham looking at archive footage and family records to tell Lynn’s story. There are also contributions from Vera herself, who reminds us that her achievements weren’t just limited to being the Allied forces’ sweetheart. In the 1950s, she became the first British artist to achieve a US No 1, and in 2009 became the oldest living singer to top the UK album charts.
Thursday, Sky One/Now TV, 10pm
It’s series two of the hit comedy set in the Lancashire suburbs, and the gang is back together again. All except Vinnie, that is. He can’t be there because he’s dead. At least that’s what he wants local gangster Terrance McCann to think. Vinnie’s actually been hiding out in his weed shed after faking his own death, but the gang have come up with a wizard caper to lure him back out: robbing a circus. Sounds like a plan – as long as they don’t get done for loitering within tent. (Boom! Boom!)
Thursday, More4, 9pm
It’s hard keeping up a long-distance romance – all that to-ing and fro-ing between time zones will wear you out. But what happens when the object of your affection lives in a completely different century? That’ll really leave you jetlagged. The swashbuckling sci-fi romance series returns for a fourth season (the fifth has appeared in the US), following the adventures of 20th-century army nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who is swept back in time to the 18th century, where she falls in love with and marries Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (not necessarily in that order). As season four opens, Claire and Jamie (Sam Heughen) are building a new life in the badlands of colonial North Carolina. They’ve a lot on their plates: keeping the British ruling class buttered-up, preparing for the impending American Revolution and dealing with the scurvy pirate and smuggler Stephen Bonnet. And that’s not to mention all the modern-day complications their daughter Brianna faces in the 20th century. Take my advice, kids: sick to snogging people from your own time.
Other Voices: Courage
Thursday, RTÉ2, 11.30pm
With the world’s musicians effectively trapped in their mansions, and unable to tour or even venture beyond their 100-acre estates, they need something to do to keep from throwing themselves into their swimming pools. Hence the glut of impromptu online gigs from the likes of John Legend, Chris Martin and Lady Gaga, entertaining the masses in lockdown from their own well-appointed livingrooms. We’ve had the One World: Together at Home concert and Andrea Bocelli singing in an empty Milan cathedral. Now Other Voices is bringing together some of Ireland’s finest independent artists to deliver uplifting performances from various landmarks, including Whelans and the National Gallery in Dublin (observing all health and safety guidelines, naturally). The shows will be broadcast on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the next four weeks; first up is trad-folk outfit Ye Vagabonds, led by Carlow brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn.
Thursday, RTÉ2, 12.30pm
RTÉ is rebroadcasting its acclaimed 2005 zix-part drama set in a midlands market town, neither urban nor rural, “a frontier land between the old and the new”. It was written by playwright Eugene O’Brien, whose award-winning Eden explored similar territory. Reviewing it then, The Irish Times said: “This is territory that feels painfully familiar, but what sets Pure Mule apart is the fluidity and confidence of the direction and the delicate intelligence of the acting (Tom Murphy, Eileen Walsh and Garrett Lombard are superb). O’Brien has created a moving, scrupulously observed character-based drama, where despair resides in what is left unsaid.”
VE Day 75: A Musical Celebration
Friday, BBC1, 8pm
They say timing is everything, and it certainly seems to have misfired when it comes to Britain’s efforts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the second World War. Numerous events should have been going on, with street parties, vintage rallies and memorial flights by vintage aircraft. Covid-19 having put paid to all that, the major festivities have been rescheduled to August. But the BBC is still determined to mark the date, beginning with an hour-long programme at 2.45pm. The real celebration begins at 8pm when Sophie Raworth introduces performances of songs from the era by a variety of modern-day stars including Katherine Jenkins. Then, at 9pm, viewers are invited to take part in a rendition of We’ll Meet Again.
Captain Tom’s War
Friday, ITV, 8pm
Just a week after his 100th birthday celebrations, NHS fundraiser extraordinaire and newly minted national treasure Capt Tom Moore marks another upcoming milestone: 75 years since VJ Day and the end of the second World War later this summer. Moore looks back on his time in the brutal Burma campaign and honours the soldiers who fought in what has since become known – with so much focus on the European battlefront and on today’s VE Day commemoration – as the “forgotten war”.
From Friday, Netflix
Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning director of La La Land, First Man and Whiplash, is the driving force behind this eight-part musical drama by Jack Thorne, the British writer whose key works include the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and recent Channel 4 hit The Accident. Set in Paris, The Eddy focuses on Elliot Udo (André Holland), a once celebrated New York jazz pianist who now runs a struggling club. His life is about to be turned upside down by the revelation that his business partner (Tahir Rahm) is involved in all manner of dodgy deals that threaten the club’s already uncertain future. Matters get even worse when Elliot’s teenage daughter (Amanda Stenberg) arrives, proving to be the catalyst for earth-shattering events.