TV guide: 23 of the best shows to watch this week
Honour, Life, The Comey Rule, The Next Normal, Graham Norton, Emily in Paris
Jessica Brown Findlay in Brave New World, starting Friday on Sky One
Sunday, Virgin One, 7pm
Gino D’Acampo takes over hosting duties on this revamped version of the popular game show, which sees two families trying to guess the answers to survey-based questions posed to 100 people. And for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the family who score the most points go through to the final round, where they play for the a £30,000 jackpot.
Monday-Tuesday, ITV, 9pm; Tuesday,Virgin One, 9pm
Keeley Hawes is no stranger to playing police officer – two of her most acclaimed roles came in Ashes to Ashes and Line of Duty. However, this new two-part drama brings her a new challenge as it looks at the heart-breaking true story of Banaz Mahmod. Hawes plays real-life officer DCI Caroline Goode, who becomes involved with the case after Banaz’s boyfriend reports her missing. The detective is shocked to discover that the young woman had been to the police five times to report threats to her life and had even shared a list of people that she believed wanted to kill her. As Goode begins to question the people on the list, she realises she could be dealing with a murder enquiry.
Blasts from the Past
Monday, RTÉ2, 3.50pm
In this episode of Blasts from the Past, pirate queen Grace O’Malley is seeking her pardon in London but a missing crown means her life is in danger and only Emily Blast can save the day. Emily is an ordinary teenager with an amazing secret: she is a trainee time traveler whose mission is to recover historical objects that have gone missing. With the help of a unique Time Surfer App on her phone, Emily is able to time jump through Irish history to pursue the missing items and return them to their correct place and time. As Emily zips back and forth along the timeline of our history, she comes in contact with an array of engaging characters who play their part in helping her complete her task.
The Shipman Files: A Very British Crime Story
Monday-Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
In January 2000, GP Harold Shipman was convicted of murdering 15 of his patients. However, an inquiry launched after the trial concluded that he had probably taken the lives of around 260 men and women over the course of two decades, which is thought to make the family doctor Britain’s most prolific serial killer. This new documentary, which is showing over consecutive evenings, re-examines the case to find out how he got away with his crimes, especially as, despite some of the reports at the time, not all of his victims were elderly and ill.
Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm
One house, four flats and any number of domestic dramas and tangled love stories. This six-part series comes from the team behind the hit series Doctor Foster, and sees Victoria Hamilton reprising her role from that series, alongside a cast that includes Alison Steadman, Peter Davison and Susannah Fielding. It’s set in a house in Manchester which has been divided into four flats, and tells four interweaving stories. There’s Gail, whose marriage to Henry is cast into doubt by a chance encounter with an old friend; Bella, whose ordered life is upturned by the arrival of her wayward niece; David, who faces unexpected temptation while on holiday without his wife; and Hannah, who is torn between her new partner and the father of her unborn child. As they say, that’s life.
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm
Cosc (Banned) is a new short series from RTÉ’s Irish-language team that looks back at some of the interesting and often surprising instances of banning in Ireland. Nearly a century ago, even while in the midst of a bloody civil war, one of the first laws passed by the Oireachtas was the Censorship of Film Act. A priority of the new Free State and the Republic that followed would ironically be to limit the freedom of its citizens – for their own good of course! But it didn’t just stop at the new and obviously dangerous medium of film (which, remember, was silent at the time). Ireland has banned books, magazines, newspapers, contraceptives, divorce, and even music and dances. This first episode looks back at the anti-jazz campaign of 1930s Ireland.
The Comey Rule
Wednesday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
Donald Trump’s lawyers will be getting the popcorn in for this gripping political drama based on the bestselling book A Higher Loyalty by former FBI director James Comey. Jeff Daniels stars as Comey and Brendan Gleeson as the president in this study of the fraught relationship between the two men. Gleeson’s portrayal has been hailed as going beyond the usual comic caricature to nail the dark, amoral heart of the 45th president of the United States, and the two-parter pulls no punches in detailing the White House’s descent into lawlessness under Trump. Will this put the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s re-election? I’m keeping my tiny fingers crossed.
Wednesday, BBC1, 11.45pm
Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) stars in this 10-part romcom narrated by Lesley Manville. Love Life follows the journey from first love to last love, and how the people we meet along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever. We follow a different protagonist’s quest for love each season, with each episode telling the story of one of their relationships. In the opener, Darby (Kendrick) meets Augie Jeong (Jin Ha) at a karaoke night in 2012. The pair spend the night together, and she gives him her number before he leaves the next morning. After several agonising days in which Darby debates whether or not to contact him, he finally texts her. But the course of true love never did run smoothly...
Wednesday, ITV, 9pm
It has hosted rock stars and royalty, Oscar winners and world leaders. And now, Britain’s most famous hotel is opening its revolving doors to TV cameras that capture the most dramatic period of its history. From the busy winter season to its devastating coronavirus shutdown, this is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those lucky enough to be able to afford this iconic slice of luxury, and those who make the magic happen. In the first episode, there are nerves in the basement florists as a young trainee attempts to create her first bouquet for a VIP guest. And Savoy Grill manager Thierry is determined not to disappoint when owner Gordon Ramsay arrives to do a menu-tasting.
Lawrence of Arabia: Britain’s Great Adventurer
Wednesday, Channel 5, 9pm
He was immortalised by Peter O’Toole in David Lean’s epic 1962 movie, but who was the real Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935)? This documentary looks at the life of the first World War military officer who united the tribes of Arabia against the Ottoman Turkish army, but was also a deeply troubled man. Revealing his early years and following his life, the film delves in to Lawrence’s personal torment, the secret his family were hiding, the punishment he endured, and the idea that much of what drove Lawrence was a need to escape into a fantasy world.
Man with a Plan
Wednesday, E4, 2pm
The US sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc returns for its fourth and final season. When Andi complains of persistent headaches, her doctor thinks it might be hormonal and suggests she stop taking birth control pills. As Adam’s sex life with Andi declines, Lowell suggests that he get a vasectomy – but Adam is far from keen and does all he can to avoid it. Then, after having a conversation with Teddy about his lying, Andi tells Adam he sets a bad example with all his little white lies. Adam promises to stop, but Joe soon puts him in a bad position.
The Next Normal
Thursday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
We’re more than six months into the Covid-19 crisis. Remember those innocent days when we hoped everything would be back to normal by Easter? Now we’re looking at cancelling Christmas. Half a year in, and the folk at Montrose have decided it’s time to take a national poll and find out how we feel about the whole Covid thing. I’ll tell ya how we feel, lads: bleedin’ fed up so we are. We’re sick of constantly washing our hands like Lady Macbeth, going around in a mask like Zorro, and having to put clothes on for Zoom meetings. Miriam O’Callaghan and Mark Coughlan are the presenters charged with taking the nation’s temperature and finding out how we have adapted to the new normal, and what our priorities will be as we face into an uncertain future. Ah, sure, don’t go to any trouble – we’ll be grand.
Seal le Dáithí
Thursday, TG4, 7.20pm
Eibhlín Ní Lionáird is Dáithí Ó Sé’s guest this week. A nurse from Baile Bhuirne who spent time working in England, Ní Lionáird also spent 13 years working for Aer Lingus. With a keen interest in music and drama, she is a founding member of Aisteoirí Ghobnatan and is involved with drama competitions and festivals. She has taught about traditional oral arts in schools in the Muskerry region as well as Irish to adults.
The Apprentice Best Bits
Thursday, BBC1, 9pm
In August it was announced that the boardroom remains closed and that business reality show will not be airing this year. To give us our Apprentice fix, the BBC has strung together six compilation shows of memorable tasks and boardroom bust-ups from the past 15 years. There will also be brand-new insights from Lord Sugar and his lieutenants, Karren Brady and Claude Littner. The series begins tonight by remembering some of the most unforgettable candidates, the sharp-suited entrepreneurs who made fans laugh, cry and cringe with their unfailing self-belief.
Brave New World
Friday, Sky One, 9pm
Imagine a world where everyone looks the same, pops no end of happy pills and has sex with anyone they like. Yes, the students have all gone back to college...But I digress. Brave New World is a new futuristic series based (loosely) on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel, set in the socially engineered bubble of New London, where monogamy is an old-fashioned concept, privacy no longer matters, and if you’re feeling any less than 110 per cent blissful, there’s a pill to fix that. Beyond New London is a scary place called the Savage Lands, which looks more like downtown Detroit, and where babies come out of actual wombs (eurgh!) instead of a test tube. On an adventure trip to the Savage Lands, one of New London’s perfect couples (Harry Lloyd and Jessica Brown Findlay) encounter John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich) and bring him back to their precisely programmed paradise. Cue culture clash of apocalyptic proportions.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.45pm
Telly’s incomparable compere returns. The good news is that Graham can once again have guests live in the studio in front of a limited studio audience. Covid-19 restrictions have meant a few changes to the show’s format. Instead of cosying up together on the big red couch, the stars will sit in their own socially distanced chairs. And not all the guests will be in the studio. In the opening show, Norton will interview country music legend Dolly Parton and Rogue One star Riz Ahmed by video link, and meet actor Rupert Everett and comedians Lolly Adefope and Sara Pascoe in person, while Roisin Murphy will be there to deliver what is sure to be a superb musical performance. And, happily, the Big Red Chair is back in action, ready to flip over any member of the audience whose story fails to entertain.
Friday, BBC2, 8pm
We’re back in the spectacular Kingdom of Mourne in Northern Irelandfollowing the vets who are the lifeblood of this unique country community. In Downpatrick, Cahir races to an urgent call-out from a local pedigree sheep breeder, whose prize ewe is having difficulty in labour. Meanwhile, Nuala is the longest serving vet in the practice and she arrives to tend to a calf with an infected hoof. Diagnosing a deep-rooted infection, she faces a tough choice: put the calf down or take on a challenging amputation.
Have I Got News for You
Friday, BBC1, 9.30pm
The 59th series of HIGNFY, broadcast at the height of lockdown, was more remarkable than any of the others. The show was filmed remotely, and the likes of Steph McGovern and Charlie Brooker guest-hosted from their own homes, with Ian Hislop and Paul Merton remotely joined by a host of team-mates. However, without an audience to laugh at the jokes, it’s safe to say not all viewers were impressed by the experiment. The show returns for its 60th series tonight, with actor Damian Lewis making his sixth appearance as guest host, and The Last Leg comedian Josh Widdicombe and deputy political editor of The Spectator Katy Balls helping Ian and Paul supply the answers.
Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens
Friday, BBC1, 11.30pm
Rapper/comedian/actor Awkwafina plays a semi-fictionalised version of herself growing up in New York in this scripted comedy series. Nora lives with her sparky non-PC grandmother (Lori Tan Chinn) and aloof father (BD Wong) in an apartment in Queens, where she is trying to work out what to do with her life. In this opening episode, she takes her first steps towards financial independence in an attempt to move out of her childhood home. Then, Nora and Grandma go to Atlantic City, where Nora runs into an old acquaintance on the boardwalk.
American Murder: The Family Next Door
From Wednesday, Netflix
On August 13th, 2018, Shan’ann Watts, 34 and pregnant, and her daughters Bella (4) and Celeste (3) vanished from their family home in Frederick, Colorado. Two days later, Shan’ann’s oil firm worker husband Chris was arrested and charged with their murders; he is currently serving five life sentences without the possibility of parole. This documentary takes an in-depth look at this heartbreaking case using archival footage, including social media posts, text messages and previously unseen home videos, to shed new light on the tragedy and the possible reasons behind it, including the state of the Watts’ crumbling marriage.
Emily in Paris
From Friday, Netflix
Looking for a gritty drama about the struggles of a young woman trying to survive on the mean streets of Paris? Then sashay on by, because this new Netflix series is high-end all the way, with champagne running like tapwater and outfits that will never see the inside of a thrift store. This new series is created by Darren Star, the man behind Sex and the City, Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210, and he doesn’t do downmarket, dahling. Lily Collins plays the titular Emily, an ambitious twentysomething from Chicago who lands her dream job in the French capital, developing the social media strategy of a French luxury brand marketing company. But it’s not all rosy in the jardin: Emily’s new bosses are a bit sniffy about her brash American style of marketing, and there’s bound to be boyfriend trouble in a city filled with bestubbled, smooth-talking hunks.
From Friday, Apple TV
Apple TV is releasing three documentary series in the run-up to Christmas. Becoming You, about a child’s first 2,000 days, streams next month, with Earth at Night in Colour debuting in early December. Before that, the Paul Rudd-narrated Tiny World takes centre stage. Humans large and small have their very own perspective on the world, but what is it like to view the planet if you’re no bigger than a thumbnail? This programme uses state-of-the-art camera equipment to capture some of nature’s lesser-known minuscule creatures and the extraordinary challenges they face to survive. Expect surprising stories and some amazing cinematography.
Dick Johnson Is Dead
From Friday, Netflix
Acclaimed cinematographer and film-maker Kirsten Johnson has worked on numerous acclaimed project over the years, including her directorial debut Cameraperson, which told the story of her own career. Her follow-up is just as personal – Dick Johnson is Kirsten’s father. He’s also a retired clinical psychiatrist suffering from dementia. The idea for the film came to her in a dream and see her involving Dick in fantasy stagings of his death. That may sound bizarre, but the result is a moving attempt of a loving daughter to buy more time with her dad while exploring how film can help us deal with some of life’s most difficult moments.