TV Guide: 24 of the best shows to watch this week
Passing It On: Ballymun Kickhams, The Life & Times of Captain Sir Tom, Ted Lasso
Kathryn Thomas in Cobh for No Place Like Home
No Place Like Home
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
Spare a thought for the travel show presenters, forced to cancel their all-expenses-paid jollies to exotic destinations due to coronavirus. This time of the year they’d usually be enjoying a luxury five-star holiday with their families, courtesy of some travel company or other, and all they’d have to do in return is a couple of segments to camera telling us what a great time they’re having (for free). Now is when travel show presenters have to get creative to come up with a destination that is not subject to travel restrictions.
There is one place they can go – a strange, alien land where the natives are “friendly” and there’s an abundance of a substance known as “craic”. But when you’re used to flying off to the Far East or disappearing into the depths of the Amazonian rainforest, where do you begin with an Irish staycation?
Never fear: in this new series, Kathryn Thomas – who, let’s be fair, goes the extra mile to bring us the best in travel telly – gets into her family camper van and sets out to explore Ireland. Over the next four weeks, Thomas will visit Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Mayo and Sligo, ferreting out the best places to visit, and finding out how the tourism industry in these counties is adapting to the new reality. Look out for a celebrity guest presenter each week, and listen out for some useful travel tips in the era of Covid-19.
Sunday, Sky Nature & Now TV, 8pm
Sun holidays may be off the menu for many, but you can still visit some of the hottest places in the world, all from the comfort of your Irish climate-controlled home. Equator is a new six-part series exploring that part of the world where the sun burns at its hottest and evolution moves at its fastest. The line dividing Earth in two is a hotbed of nature, and home to 50 per cent of the world’s animal and plant species. The series takes us to six of the equator’s hotspots, including the Rift Valley in Africa, the Amazon Basin, the peaks of the Andes and the Galapagos Islands. You might find yourself thirsting for a cool beer after watching this.
Inside Legoland: A World of Wonder
Sunday, Channel 5, 8pm
Legoland Windsor is one of the UK’s most popular theme parks. But what does it take to keep this attraction running, and where can we find a four-part documentary that goes behind the scenes of said attraction? Well, look no further as this new strand does just that. Viewers follow some of the workers, including Paula, who is in charge of the park’s Lego model workshop. She leads a team of model makers, continually building, refining and updating the models around the park. Jobs here are the most sought after in the park, with 60 applications for every vacancy. One of the lucky chosen few is rookie model maker Will, who stopped training to be a teacher to follow his first love: building Lego models. There’s also a look at the park’s two hotels, which have 200 Lego-themed rooms. Cameras focus on manager Cameron, who helps keep the establishments running.
The Australian Dream
Sunday, BBC2, 10pm
This one-off film focuses on Indigenous Australian Football League star Adam Goodes. A powerful story about race, identity and belonging, it centres on an incident where a 13-year-old opposition supporter called Goodes “an ape” during a football match. Pointed out by Adam, the girl was ejected from the stadium by officials. The event went on to divide a nation, with Goodes booed by opposition fans at subsequent matches. It generated huge public debate and dominated media coverage, exposing an ugly seam of racism running through the nation. The documentary unpicks the unfolding events from 2013 to 2015, raising fundamental questions about the nature of racism and discrimination in society today.
Sunday, Channel 4, 11.35pm
Frank Nordling is reinstated as a lawyer after his release from custody with all charges dropped, and he and Patricia have a baby daughter and hope to move on with life. However, Thomas Waldman survived the shooting at the funeral and there has already been one attempt to break him out of prison, while Sara gains information suggesting that Therese’s death might not have been suicide after all, which shocks everyone. Return of the Swedish-Danish crime thriller (original title: Advokaten), starring Alexander Karim and Malin Buska. The full series is available from August 7th, free to view or download, on All 4.
Monday-Thursday, ITV, 9pm
This series of short dramas, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, explores race issues through conversations between couples, families and ex-lovers. The first episode, Generational, sees a black father come into conflict with his teenage daughter, who has been sneaking out of the house to attend Black Lives Matter protests. I Don’t Want to Talk About This finds a former mixed-race couple bumping into each other at a party, and being forced to look back at their relationship and the insidious racism that drove them apart. Look at Me chronicles the devastating effect on a young professional couple who are subjected to a humiliating stop and search by police while out on a date. And Lavender details a difficult conversation between a white woman and her mixed-race daughter, who has just had a baby with a black man. Cast members for this quick-turnaround series include Nicholas Pinnock, Paapa Essiedu and Joe Cole.
A Place in the Sun
Monday, Channel 4, 4pm
The return of the programme in which a property expert offers advice to British householders aiming to buy a home abroad. Jasmine Harman is on Spain’s Costa Blanca to help Wendy and Lee find a traditional countryside property. The couple, their two children, their Doberman and their parrot are planning a permanent move to Spain and would like a four-bedroom detached house with plenty of outside space, all for their budget of £150,000. Can Harman find their perfect place?
Maura Higgins: You’re Joking Me!
Monday, Virgin One, 9pm
Documentary following the Love Island star as she prepares to compete in the Spartan Race, a gruelling 5km extreme obstacle course around Twickenham rugby ground.
Monday, RTÉ One, 10.55pm
Robert Sheehan is currently strutting his stuff in the Netflix The Umbrella Academy, but you can catch him here in his earlier role as Darren in the classic Irish gangland series. Tonight is the finale of season two, as Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) takes over as leader of the gang following the killing of John Boy (Aidan Gillen). Having double-crossed his former boss, Nidge is determined to fill the power vacuum and ensure that it’s crime business as usual for the gang. Meanwhile, Rosie has twigged that Darren is a killer and breaks up with him (that’s a bit harsh). Darren is devastated, but his killing days aren’t over yet. There’s still the matter of what to do about the increasingly psychotic Luke.
Coronation Street: Battleaxes
Monday, ITV, 8.30pm; Wednesday, Virgin One, 7.30pm
The soap was founded on its dominating matriarchs and strong northern working-class woman, and this edition celebrates the best of them, including the likes of Ena Sharples, Ivy Tilsley, Vera Duckworth, Blanche Hunt and Evelyn Plummer. Comedian Jason Manford narrates the programme, which trawls the archives of the soap for its most memorable storylines, moments and characters from the past 60 years, with each episode carefully curated to bring alive each theme via specially selected highlights.
How to Beat – Pain
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Kate Quilton and Dr Javid Abdelmoneim enlist nine volunteers from around the UK to take part in a six-week experiment to see what simple techniques can help treat chronic pain. The programme tries out various methods including yoga, t’ai chi, acupuncture and cold-water swimming, and questions how much of the experience of pain is psychological. The programme also features the story of a woman who is unable to feel pain due to a genetic mutation – she may hold the key to the future treatment of chronic pain.
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
When writer Paul Abbott created this comedy-drama, he had no idea it would run for nine years (2004-2013) and inspire an equally successful US version (the latter’s 11th final season is on hold due to Covid-19). For newcomers, the UK version centres on the Gallaghers. Mum went missing years ago, and dad Frank hit the bottle with six kids at home. Mouthy 16-year-old Lip is one step closer to losing his virginity when he offers to help Karen J with her homework, while newcomer Steve makes a beeline for big sister Fiona. With top turns from stars on the rise Anne-Marie Duff and James McAvoy, not to mention a stunning turn from David Threlfall as Frank, this is well worth another look.
Tuesday, BBC1, 11.20pm
The Call Centre was one of the most offbeat documentaries of the past decade, and tea lady Hayley Pearce was one of its brightest stars. Little wonder she was given her own show. In the latest episode she is challenged to live with a capsule wardrobe – selecting a mere 14 items from her vast collection of clothes and wearing nothing else for two weeks. Ms Pearce discovers what becomes of discarded clothes with a visit to a landfill site, and she also investigates the work of online influencers in keeping the public hooked on buying the latest new look.
Desperate to Drive: Our Lives
Wednesday, BBC1, 7.30pm
In a quiet corner of Cardiff is a unique driving centre where lives are transformed every day. Here, higher risk drivers, who through illness or accident have been stopped from driving, have the chance to prove they’re safe to be on the road. Cameras follow the fortunes of four drivers: mum-of-four Fand, who had to surrender her licence after a debilitating stroke at 38; former lorry driver Glyn, who has been diagnosed with dementia; Huw, who lost a leg following a life-threatening infection; and Emily (17), who lives with cerebral palsy and would love to be the first of her friends to get her licence.
Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm
Indira Varma narrates the first in the returning series about missing people. One Sunday evening, Cheshire Police get a call from Mark Moran of the Blue Apple Veterans Association, a charity. Following an argument with his wife, Mark Smith, the charity’s founder and a former soldier, has not been seen for almost 24 hours. Moran has spotted that Moran reports that Mark suffers from PTSD and has been behaving increasingly erratically for weeks. Most ominously, Mark has posted on social media that he wants to end it all. A major search operation begins in the hope of finding Mark. Sgt Paul Chadwick assesses the case and is concerned that a trained soldier in such a volatile state could pose a high risk.
Thursday, BBC2, 9.30pm
It began as a comedy pilot about one woman and her obsession with a new sofa. Now Diane Morgan’s clueless character is getting a six-part series, so she can really pursue her dream of breeding Dobermans, getting healthy and becoming Britain’s best Airbnb hostess. Morgan writes, directs and stars in the series, with Michelle Greenidge as her bezzie Lola, with whom Mandy spends quality time at the local nail bar.
Passing It On: Ballymun Kickhams
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.10pm
Formed in 1969 from the merger of two clubs, Ballymun Gaels and CJ Kickhams, the north Dublin club has been on a mission to build the community through sport. It’s been a mainstay of youth sport in Ballymun through hard times and even harder times, and this documentary as Gaeilge looks at the history of the club and how it nurtured some of the finest talents in Gaelic games over the years, and includes guest slots from six-time All-Ireland winner Philly McMahon and scorer extraordinaire Barney Rock. If you doubt the positive impact sport can have on young people, then watch this and be enlightened.
The Life & Times of Captain Sir Tom
Thursday, ITV, 9.15pm
It was a story that touched the hearts of millions. Tom Moore, a humble ex-soldier from Yorkshire who, aged 99, wanted to raise a few quid for the NHS just by walking laps of his garden. And as the news crews descended on his home to film the the retired officer, that few quid eventually turned into a phenomenal £30 million. Given that achievement, there was little wonder Moore was recently knighted by the queen in a ceremony which left countless viewers more than a little teary. This documentary features the man himself, telling for the first time his life story and the key events in his 100 years. He speaks about his young life, and the impact his grandfather, father, and his uncle had while he was growing up.
Inside the Bruderhof
Thursday, BBC1, 11.15
Documentary telling the story of a community of radical Christians living a remarkable back-to-basics life in a quiet British village. The 300 residents of Darvell in Sussex, one of 23 Bruderhof communities around the world, live outside mainstream society. They have relinquished money and possessions to live as disciples as Jesus, running an almost self-sufficient community. The film follows three of the residents, including inquisitive 18-year-old Hannah, who is starting to question her way of life. Before making a lifelong commitment, she journeys to London to find out how others live.
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
As Donald Trump faces re-election, his campaign is particularly targeting white women voters. Filmed prior to the coronavirus pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, Karishma Vyas travels to California to meet the “TradWives”, a growing movement of US women who idolise Trump and have put him at the heart of their anti-feminist, traditional family values as they work to get him re-elected. This is despite the fact that women have often borne the brunt of the president’s political and personal barbs.
World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji
From Friday, Amazon Prime
You thought Ireland’s Fittest Family was tough? You ain’t seen nuthin yet. This extreme fitness series promises to test people’s endurance to the limit, as 66 teams from around the world take part in the ultimate expedition race across the treacherous terrain of Fiji. Insurance costs alone must be giving even Jeff Bezos sleepless nights – 330 people racing non-stop for 11 days across 671 kilometres, with no guarantee of getting to the other side alive. The series was filmed last autumn, so at least there’s no danger from Covid-19, but the contestants will face plenty of other threats as they negotiate jungles, mountains and other obstacles. No surprise to learn that the celebrity taskmaster is none other than Bear Grylls.
From Friday, Netflix
This new drama, which sounds like a cross between Limitless and The Boys, is about a mysterious new pill doing the rounds on the streets of New Orleans. The drug unlocks superpowers unique to each user, but the catch is you don’t know what will happen until you take it. Some might develop bulletproof skin, others invisibility or super strength. When the drug leaves crime rates soaring, a local cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teams with a teen dealer (Dominique Fishback) and an ex-soldier (Jamie Foxx) to track down and stop the group responsible for creating it.
From Friday, Apple TV+
Fish-out-of-water comedies about coaches from different backgrounds sent to whip teams into shape are one of the most reliable formulas in the book. You can imagine the culture clash that kicks off (pun intended) when a small-time college football coach from Kansas is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England. Jason Sudeikis plays the eponymous character which was first created in 2013 as part of promotional videos for NBC Sports. Sudeikis, who developed the series with Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence, hasn’t worked on a regular TV series since leaving Saturday Night Live seven years ago, so it should be interesting to see how this goes down with fans and casual observers alike.
From Friday, Apple TV+
What happens when a thousand Texas high school seniors build their own state government? That’s the focus of this critically acclaimed documentary, which closely tracks the rising tensions that arise within a particularly riveting “gubernatorial” race. (In case you’re in the dark, gubernatorial relates to a governor, particularly that of a state in the US.) Among those featured is Ben, a confident, Reagan-loving arch-conservative who has had no shortage of problems; and Steven, a progressive-minded child of Mexican immigrants. It’s an often compelling portrait of contemporary American masculinity as well as just a fascinating watch.