TV guide: 25 of the best shows to watch this week
Controversial Michael Jackson film plus returning Derry Girls, Monty Don and Fleabag
Dylan Llewellyn, Saoirse Monica-Jackson, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Nicola Coughlan and Clare Harland in Derry Girls, Tuesday on Channel 4
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Monday, UTV/Virgin One, 9pm
Ten months after taking over from Chris Tarrant, former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson still hasn’t been able to guide anyone to the £1 million jackpot, and Ingram Wilcox remains the last contestant to win the huge prize way back in 2006. If anyone does make it all the way to the last question this week, they’re sure to need those trusty lifelines Ask the Audience, Phone a Friend, 50:50 and Ask The Host. So let’s hope Clarkson is as adept at answering questions as he is at asking them.
The Looming Tower
Monday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm
What happens when America’s two biggest law-enforcement agencies, the FBI and the CIA, go to war with each other? The answer: 9/11. The Looming Tower tells the story of how two rival agencies, both ostensibly working toward the same goal, ended up working against each other in the years leading up to the 2001 attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon. Jeff Daniels stars as John O’Neill, head of the FBI’s counter-terrrorism unit, and Peter Sarsgaard plays his arrogant CIA counterpart who believes that only his agency can properly tackle terrorism. So while O’Neill and his team doggedly travel the world picking up intelligence on an imminent attack on US soil, the CIA crucially withhold knowledge that known al-Qaeda operatives have already entered the US.
Bordering on Brexit
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
With just four weeks to go until Britain either leaves the EU in an orderly fashion or crashes out like a drunk ejected from a party, the people living along the Border are in limbo. In this documentary, people living on both sides of the Border tell their stories of why the Brexit outcome is crucial to their lives. They include a sheep farmer and political lobbyist on the Cavan-Fermanagh border, an idealistic young Republican who is determined to make his voice heard in Westminster, and 15-year-old twins who cross the Border every day to school.
Monday, BBC1, 10.35pm
The return of the acclaimed comedy written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who, since the first series aired, has also brought us Killing Eve), following a woman wrestling with the demands of modern living. Tonight, Fleabag find herself intrigued by a priest while attending an uncomfortable family dinner to celebrate her godparents’ engagement. The evening comes to a tempestuous end however, when an unexpected attack brings old tensions bubbling to the surface. With Bill Paterson, Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott.
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.30pm
In Brian O’Neill’s short drama, two low-level mobsters embark on their toughest challenge yet: popping out to the shop in the middle of a homicide.
Louis Theroux: The Night in Question
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
In this new documentary, Theroux interviews victims and alleged perpetrators of sexual assault on American university campuses. Movements such as #MeToo have made it frightfully apparent that the lines of consent are still blurred for too many. At the start of this journey, Theroux meets a neuroscience major who is accused of raping a fellow student. His university is investigating the claims separately even though the man was found not guilty in court. He also meets young women whose claims of sexual assault have previously fallen on deaf ears.
The Bachelor UK
Monday, Channel 5, 10pm
The reality show returns, with 15 single women competing for the affections of Alex, the owner of a personal training business. Dates take place in breathtaking locations in South Africa, Antigua and the UK. The contestants arrive at Cape Town airport, but before any of them get near Alex, host Mark Wright throws them a massive curveball. Next, the women must impress the bachelor as they finally meet. How will they catch his attention before the first rose ceremony?
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9.15pm
How did four schoolgirls from Derry conquer the massed hordes of Westeros? Derry Girls has toppled Game of Thrones as Northern Ireland’s new favourite show. The series follows the misadventures of Catholic girls Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), Clare (Nicola Coughlan) and Orla (Louisa Harland) as they navigate the tricky terrain of growing up during the Troubles. They have to deal with sectarianism and the ever-present threat of violence, but their biggest threat is from raging hormones. Series one ended with a shock, as Clare came out to Erin; but an even bigger shock was in store as the community watched TV reports of 12 people killed in a bombing. Series two opens with the girls getting ready for an outdoor pursuits weekend aimed at bringing Catholic and Protestant schoolkids together in peace. But the girls are more interested in indoor pursuits with the Protestant boys.
Class of ’92: Still Out of Their League
Tuesday, RTÉ2, 10.10pm
Life in the new League is not going to be the same fairytale story as last season for co-owners of Salford FC Ryan Giggs, Phil and Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt. After last year’s roller coaster ride, the ex-Manchester United stars and Salford co-owners have set their sights on winning the league again. But an amazing FA Cup run could be the best and worst thing that happens to them as the team slide in the league – and Salford life, away from the pitch, proves to be just as dramatic.
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9.45pm
Following his scene-stealing turn as Bernard Delfont in Stan & Ollie, Rufus Jones is back in this new comedy which he also penned. The premise: Peter Guest, his new partner Katy and her son John arrive back in Dorking, Surrey from their first holiday together. As they unpack the car, they are in for a big surprise. Somehow they must come to terms with the loss of their luggage, the arrival of something that will change their lives forever, and the chance of criminal charges for people smuggling. Youssef Kerkour and Rebekah Staton also star.
London: 2,000 Years of History
Tuesday, Channel 5, 9.15pm
Despite all the wrangling over Britain’s future, London remains a powerful and thriving megacity. Not bad for somewhere that started out 2,000 years ago as an uninhabited swamp before becoming a small Roman trading post. This new series traces the capital’s rise, a story that takes in invasions, devastating fires and plague outbreaks. The opening episode focuses on London’s first 1,000 years, as the presenters look for evidence of the ancient city.
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
Hold onto your hats: Hollywood legend Richard Gere has decided to walk the earth with us ordinary humans by starring in a telly series. Gere play media mogul Max, whose vast empire – which includes newspapers and TV stations – puts him in a powerful position in British politics. Max’s ex-wife Kathryn (Helen McCrory), meanwhile, works hard to look after the poor and homeless. Their son Caden (Billy Howie) is being groomed to take over Max’s empire, but with too much responsibility heaped on his young shoulders, he suffers a nervous breakdown, forcing Max and Kathryn to put aside their own self-interest to save their son. Ciaran Hinds, Sinéad Cusack and Sarah Lancashire costar.
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Two years ago, Travellers were officially recognised as a distinct ethnic group. This documentary series sees two Travellers spend 10 days with other ethic groups from far-flung places to get an insight into life for other people on the margins of mainstream society. In the first episode, Paddy Collins leaves his halting site in Finglas and heads to Brazil’s Amazon basin to live with the Wauja people of the Xingu river, where he will immerse himself in the rituals and rites of this isolated tribe.
Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me
Wednesday/Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm
Two-part documentary explores accounts of the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, Jimmy Safechuck and Wade Robson, who were befriended by Michael Jackson when they were 10 and 7 respectively. They and their families were invited into Jackson’s singular and wondrous world, entranced by the singer’s fairytale existence as his career reached its peak. Through interviews with the adult Safechuck and Robson, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, director Dan Reed presents a portrait of sustained abuse, and explores the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences.
Wednesday, TG4, 10pm
Premiered last year on Netflix, The Sinner stars Jessica Biel as a young wife and mother who suddenly and inexplicably commits a violent crime while at a public beach with her husband and child. Cora does not deny responsibility but claims to have no idea why she did it. Why would this seemingly normal woman commit such a random and senseless act of violence? While the facts of the crime appear to be indisputable, a police detective (Bill Pullman) suspects that there is more to the case than meets the eye and begins to thoroughly examine Cora’s past in search of an explanation.
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
Rena Buckley broke some of the biggest records in the GAA. She won 18 All-Irelands between camogie and the ladies football, more than any other player male or female. She won 10 All Stars and when she lifted the Brendan Martin Cup in 2017 she became the first person to captain an All-Ireland-winning team in two codes. This is the story of an ordinary girl from Inniscarra, Co Cork who has changed the landscape of women’s sport in Ireland and inspires a new generation of girls’ participation.
James May’s Big Trouble in Model Britain
Wednesday, BBC4, 9pm
With its roots dating back to 1901, Hornby Hobbies is a world leader in developing, manufacturing and supplying model railways and other toys and kits. However, two years ago, the Kent-based company faced falling sales, problems with suppliers in China, and disruption from upgrading its computer and stock management systems. Here, The Grand Tour presenter chronicles a year inside the iconic firm as it looks to avoid collapse.
Wednesday, BBC2, 11.15pm
It’s been almost two years since the first series of this likable 1980s-set sitcom aired. Once again double-glazing salesman Vincent Swan (Ed Westwick) is up to mischief – although his schemes may be about to backfire on him. The last time we saw him, Vincent had teamed up with local villain Ronnie to force his boss to sell the firm to him for a measly pound. He’s now living in the lap of luxury, but the smarmy smile may be wiped off his face when Ronnie wants his £50k investment back. Meanwhile, coworkers Lavender and Fitzpatrick are facing their own problems. Former Inbetweeners Joe Thomas (who co-writes the series) and James Buckley costar.
Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star
Wednesday, BBC1, 11.35pm
Stacey Dooley presents a brand new competition series pitting aspiring make-up artists against each other. The competitors are tested in a range of real-world professional assignments, as well as with creative make-up transformations in Glow Up HQ. Each week the weakest two face elimination from judges Val Garland and Dominic Skinner. In the first episode, the make-up artists face their first professional assignment: a beauty editorial shoot.
Bobby Sands: 66 Days
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Here’s another chance to see Brendan O’Byrne’s acclaimed documentary on Bobby Sands, which looks at the events leading up to the 1981 hunger strikes and the final 66 days of Sands’s life. The film provides a huge insight into Sands as a person rather than a symbol, and features excerpts from his diary read by Martin McCann, plus analysis and comment from Fintan O’Toole, Tim Pat Coogan and Gerry Adams. When it was released theatrically in 2016, Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke called the documentary a “comprehensive, balanced, gripping tale of terrible times”.
Truckers na hÉireann
Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm
Every day when travelling the roads of Ireland, chances are that you’ll get stuck behind a lorry of some description. Have you ever wondered where that lorry is going? What’s on board? Is a Smokey & the Bandit-type character behind the wheel? This new four part series provides new insight into the sub-culture of truck driving in Ireland. It captures the daily ups and downs of truck drivers, featuring experienced old hands who have seen a lot and younger drivers who are in their first flush of truck driving “heaven . . . or hell”.
Thursday, BBC2, 8pm
Though blind, Amar Latif has managed to travel the world. He has visited more than 100 countries and taken up skydiving, bungee jumping and skiing. In this one-off film, he is joined by comedian Sara Pascoe on a trip to Turkey, where they intend to go off the beaten track and explore the country’s remote and extraordinary mountains. However, it soon becomes clear they have very different ways of travelling, and the journey becomes as much about their relationship as it is about the country.
Friday, BBC2, 7pm
Monty Don and his squad of horticultural experts return to offer viewers at home more gardening advice, such as how to plant spring flowering perennials for instant impact, and recommendations for planting bare root roses full of fragrance in borders and pots. Monty also begins planning the vegetable garden for the year ahead. Plus, Carol Klein visits Bressingham Gardens’ stunning Winter Garden in Norfolk, where she celebrates the beauty of conifers and discovers their perfect planting partners.
Gradaim an Uachtaráin 2019
Friday, TG4, 7.30pm
From Áras un UachtarÁn, the annual GAA President’s awards acknowledge people’s outstanding commitment and long service across the club and county network. Presented by Micheál Ó Domhnaill.
Flight MH370 Five Years On: The Mystery Continues
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar screens and seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Many theories have since been proffered about its fate and that of the 239 people on board, but nothing concrete has emerged. This documentary charts the search for the aircraft, from teams using hi-tech hydrophones to listen for the black box recorders, to cutting-edge submersibles mapping the ocean floor for clues.