TV guide: 25 of the best shows to watch this week, including tonight
Ireland’s Illegal Adoptions, Eating with the Enemy, Goodbye House and Other Voices
Bryan Cranston in Your Honor, beginning Tuesday on Sky Atlantic
Attenborough’s Life in Colour
Sunday, BBC One, 7pm
Just when you thought there was no aspect of the animal kingdom left for Sir David Attenborough to cover, the veteran broadcaster pulls a rabbit out of the hat. Or in this case, a hummingbird, Bengal tiger, fiddler crab and a whole host of other eye-catching creatures. Attenborough has always been fascinated by colour in the natural world – and this new two-part series sees him travel from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the snowclad Scottish Highlands to indulge in his passion. In tonight’s opening part we find out how, millions of years ago, the first animals had eyes that were unable to distinguish colour. Gradually, however, this changed and “seeing in colour” gave creatures many advantages, whether to find food, attract a mate or warn off an enemy. Get ready for amazing footage of peacocks, mandrill baboons, birds-of-paradise, Andean flamingos and strawberry poison dart frogs.
All Creatures Great and Small
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
Ah, innocent times. We have sun-dappled memories of watching the original late-1970s TV series, all about a country vet working in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s (even more innocent times). Last year, Channel 5 decided to remake the series, so this will deliver a double dose of nostalgia-fuelled dopamine to the head. If you missed it when it aired last autumn, here’s a chance to catch up on this new adaptation of the beloved novels of James Herriot. Don’t worry: it hasn’t been updated to the present day, or set in a post-apocalyptic time when zombies roam the dales. We’re back in 1937 as newly qualified vet Herriot is having trouble finding work in Glasgow, and grabs the chance to take on a job vacancy as a veterinary assistant in the village of Darrowby in Yorkshire. There he must deal with a difficult new boss and some hard-to-please local farmers. But when Herriot meets local beauty Helen, he decides that it might just be worth sticking the course.
Gradam an Uachtaráin 2021
Sunday, TG4, 5.10pm
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the GAA. The prestigious President’s Award is presented annually to 11 volunteers for their long-standing commitment and dedication in their respective field within the association. This year’s winners discuss their involvement with the GAA and their passion and love for Gaelic games. Presented by Micheál Ó Domhnaill.
The Tonight Show Special Report: Covid, One Year On
Monday, Virgin One, 10pm
We’ve had Covid-19 up to here, so do we really want to sit down and watch more coronavirus stuff on the telly? This is where we go to escape from the pandemic: nice shows about zombie apocalypses and serial killers lurking in our wardrobes. This special report looks at how health staff in Dublin’s St Vincent’s Hospital are coping with the third wave of coronavirus, and at how the (slow) rollout of the vaccine is coming along. There will be interviews with health experts and politicians, and views from the frontline in the fight against the pandemic. But as for when we can start getting our lives back again, don’t expect any definitive answers here.
McDonald & Dodds
Sunday, ITV, 8pm
If you needed proof of how likable or popular this odd-couple murder mystery is, then look no further than the calibre of guest stars appearing in the second season’s first episode. Rupert Graves, Martin Kemp, Patsy Kensit and Cathy Tyson play a quartet of friends who achieved notoriety in the 1980s. They become the chief suspects after a hot-air balloon trip ends in murder. Meanwhile, Rob Brydon co-stars as the jobsworth Roy Gilbert from the Air Incident Investigation Agency. It’s his job to help the eponymous Bath detectives (Tala Gouveia and Jason Watkins) with their investigation, as they struggle to untangle a complex web of lies spanning 30 years.
Monday, BBC One, 9pm
The public can’t seem to get enough of MasterChef. The cookery series currently appears in four versions: Celebrity MasterChef, MasterChef: The Professionals, Junior MastereChef and the original, which John Torode and Gregg Wallace have fronted for 17 seasons and returns this week. Thomas Frake won last year’s show and returns as a guest judge tonight as five chefs compete for the four aprons that represent a chance of a quarter-final place. Two of those aprons will be granted after each chef has cooked their signature dishes; the three who miss out then vie to avoid elimination in a new “favourite ingredient” challenge.
Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
In 2013, comedian Eddie Izzard returned to stage with the biggest stand-up comedy world tour ever – and what many see as his best live performance yet. Force Majeure takes fans on a hilarious journey, offering a rare and often bizarre glimpse into the mind of the master of surrealism, a man who has inspired several generations of comics and is recognised as one of the world’s greatest-ever stand-ups. The topics he discusses vary from ancient civilisations and mythical creatures to Olympic dressage and creating a musical about a trouserless spider.
Max Clifford: The Fall of a Tabloid King
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
For many years, he was the man to call if you had a story to sell – preferably one involving sex, politics and a hefty tabloid payout. Then PR man Max Clifford became the story. This documentary looks at the life of the master media manipulator who would plant or prevent stories that could end the careers of politicians, sportsmen and celebrities. We hear from the survivors of Clifford’s crimes; he was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault in 2014. He died in jail three years later.
Tuesday, Sky Atlantic & NowTV, 9pm
We haven’t seen Bryan Cranston in a leading telly role since he blew our minds as Walter White in the hit Breaking Bad. He’s popped up in many a film and TV series since that ended in 2013, but now he’s set to head his own series once more, as a judge facing a huge moral dilemma. Michael Desiato is a prominent and highly respected wig in New Orleans, but his integrity and ethics are put to the test when his teenage son is involved in a hit-and-run that leaves another teenager dead. Desiato’s first instinct is to do the right thing, but when he learns that the victim is the scion of a major crime family, he must find a way to protect his son from the mob kingpin out for revenge,. Soon he is navigating a moral maze with peril around every corner.
Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour?
Tuesday, BBC One, 9pm
Last year it was reported that black, Asian and minority ethnic patients were dying in disproportionate numbers from Covid-19. In this documentary, actor David Harewood tries to find out why. It’s a mission that begins in Brent, northwest London, which is one of the most diverse areas in the UK and, during the first wave of pandemic, had the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the country. Harewood explores whether this was mirrored in other parts of the country, and in the process, discovers that your job can be a huge risk factor when it comes to coronavirus. So why are so many people from minority communities working on the frontline? He also explores the statistics which suggest that it isn’t only Covid where your race can affect your health outcomes.
DNA Family Secrets
Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm
More than 26 million people have taken a DNA test in the past decade, and the growing popularity in over-the counter kits has created a network of databases that can tell people more than ever before about their families, ancestry and health. In this new series, Stacey Dooley invites Britons who want to find out more to visit a one-stop-shop DNA testing clinic. In the first episode, she meets up with 75-year-old Bill, whose father was an African-American GI who returned to the US at the end of the war. All his son really knows about him is his name. Bill now hopes that his own DNA might be the key to finding out what happened to his father, and if he has any living relatives in the US.
Banksy & the Rise of Outlaw Art
Tuesday, Sky Arts, 9pm
A look at the mystery surrounding the anonymous street artist whose illegal stencils, pranks, invasions and interventions have outraged the establishment for more than two decades. Despite being one of the most important cultural figures of our times, Banksy remains an enigma. This documentary finally reveals his story, from his roots in a criminal subculture to his rise as the leader of an art revolution. Among the contributors are art promoter Steve Lazarides, Bristol graffiti pioneer John Nation, renowned street artists Ben Eine, Risk, Felix “Flx” Braun and KET & Scape, and a host of cultural commentators.
RTÉ Investigates: Ireland’s Illegal Adoptions
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
In the wake of the mother and baby homes scandal, this special programme from the RTÉ Investigates team looks at the shameful story of Irish children who were forced into illegal adoptions, and are now fighting to find out who they really are, and what happened to their birth families. On the other side of the coin, the long and difficult process of legally adopting a child is investigated. Also tonight at 9.30, TG4 will air a repeat of Uchtú – Evanne Ní Chuilinn, a 70-minute documentary presented by the broadcaster, who was (legally) adopted herself.
Eating with the Enemy
Wednesday, Virgin One, 9pm
In this social experiment, strangers with opposing views are paired together for a meal. Watched on by experts in the fields of psychology and human behaviour, topics and questions are presented to the table for each pair to discuss. In this debut episode, a priest has dinner with a drag queen, where they discuss everything from RuPaul’s Drag Race to the marriage referendum. Businessman Mattress Mick is paired up with his opposite to discuss issues such as homelessness and private education. Plus, a Donald Trump fan defends the ex-president to his dinner companion, and a bikini pageant judge meets someone who is very anti-pageant.
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
In 1845, two ships under the command of Capt John Franklin set sail from Britain on an ambitious voyage to the Arctic in order to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. Three years later, they had both disappeared, with all 129 crew members presumed dead. This menacing 10-part survival horror series (first broadcast in the US in 2018) tells a fictionalised account of what befell the men of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, headed up by the religious Franklin (Ciaran Hinds) and sharp-tongued alcoholic CaptFrancis Crozier (Jared Harris). Tonight’s opening episode is mostly set in September 1846, and sees Franklin’s Royal Navy expedition run into difficulty and both ships become irretrievably stuck on the ice.
The Pandemic at No 47
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
The anniversary of the first lockdown is looming, and to mark it director Paddy Wivell explores the impact of isolation on his own community. The film-maker knew few of his neighbours before the pandemic, and the new restrictions made it difficult to mix with them. So Wivell took to filming the diverse local community at a distance – through their doorways and windows. That may initially sound more sinister than sociological, but as the documentary shows, it gave him a chance to befriend people who were once strangers as they open up about their fears and anxieties, as well as some of the opportunities presented by the lockdown, and the ways in which it has made them reconsider what’s important.
Fergie’s Killer Dresser: The Jane Andrews Story
Wednesday, ITV, 9pm
In 2000, Britain was shocked and fascinated by the case of Jane Andrews, who was convicted of murdering Tom Cressman. Not only was she connected to the royal family (Andrews was Sarah Ferguson’s former dresser) but the press coverage portrayed her as a jealous obsessive who couldn’t take the rejection of her wealthy lovers. However, this documentary raises the question of whether, given changing attitudes, the media would have taken a different approach today. It features never-seen-before interviews with Andrews’s family and psychiatrist, and asks whether their lingering doubts about the case are justified, or if Cressman’s family and the prosecution are right to consider her a “danger to all men”.
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
With Home of the Year also in full swing, the property TV season is now well under way, so expect homes to be the big stars of the small screen this year. No doubt Dermot Bannon is preparing to unleash another slew of amazing homes shows, but meanwhile we welcome back the series that focuses on homeowners looking to change up or down and just need a little help choosing the right place. It could be a changed personal circumstance, or it could be that their home no longer serves their needs, but it’s time to say goodbye to the old house and search for something new. Think of it as a contest: three of the homeowner’s friends or family have to pick a suitable property which they believe will do the job, and the homeowner has to choose which one is right for them. They’ll also have to “consciously uncouple” from their old house, with all its attendant memories and associations.
First up is Ciara Byrne from Clonakilty, Co Cork, recently divorced and looking to find a home where she and her son Adam can comfortably entertain friends. Ciara is the MD of a global tech firm, and has about €350,000 to play with, so she recruits her three closest friends, Deirdre, Caroline and Niamh, to scope out a new gaff that will fit with her new life..
Thursday, RTÉ2, 11.05pm
As we head into a month of continued restrictions, what we need is some music to soothe the soul, and Other Voices is back with its 19th series, featuring some of the finest musical talents working today. This year’s series is, as usual, filmed in its spiritual home of Dingle in Co Kerry, but the show’s reach has also expanded over the past couple of years, with segments filmed in Ballina, Co Mayo and Cardigan in Wales. This season kicks off with the mighty Hozier taking us back to church, backed up by Crash Ensemble, who will add intricate string arrangements to this pared-down but very intimate performance. Also lined up, are the excellent Pillow Queens, who will perform tracks from their highly acclaimed 2020 debut, In Waiting, and Galway singer-songwriter Niamh Regan. Bring on the latest lockdown; we’re totally chilled now.
Piers Morgan’s Life Stories
Thursday, ITV, 9pm
Way back in 2012, Rupert Everett branded Piers Morgan “slobby”, “elephantine” and “pathological” when he recalled working with him on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice. It seems the duo have now put their differences aside as Everett becomes the latest celebrity to join the GMB host for an intimate chat about his life and career. They will discuss the caustic comments the actor has made about several co-stars, including Madonna and Julia Roberts. He also talks about the promiscuous life he led in the 1970s and 1980s, the impact of the HIV/Aids crisis, and his romantic relationships with women, including TV presenter Paula Yates.
Friday, More4, 9pm
The third and final series of the acclaimed drama begins. When the Berlin Wall falls on November 9tb, 1989, super spy Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay) and his fellow agents at the East German Foreign Intelligence are left reeling. Their government has collapsed, their organisation is in chaos and their futures are uncertain. With Lenora still locked up and everything on the line, Martin is ordered to prevent further liberal reforms from being passed by the GDR government. But as he follows his own plan, he gets caught up in a deadly chain of events. The full boxset will be made available on All 4 after the transmission of this first episode.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.45pm
The eagerly awaited sixth series of Line of Duty is due to start any time now, and Norton will be hoping stars Vicky McClure and Adrian Dunbar will give him the lowdown on what to expect when they appear on tonight’s programme. Daisy Ridley also promotes her sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking; Chiwetel Ejiofor waxes lyrical about romantic comedy heist Locked Down (a timely title if ever there was one); and Bryan Cranston discusses his role in the TV drama Your Honour. Plus, music from Imelda May.
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell
From Monday, Netflix
It’s almost 24 years since Christopher George Latore Wallace, aka the Notorious BIG or Biggie Smalls, was murdered in a drive-by shooting in LA. He was just 24 years old and already hailed as the greatest rapper of all time, despite the often controversial nature of his lyrics. This documentary, a collaboration between Sean Combs and Biggie’s mother, Violetta Wallace, offers an in-depth look at his life and career, charting his rise to success before being cut down so cruelly in his prime. It also features rare footage filmed by his best friend Damion “D-Roc” Butler as well as interviews with those who knew him best, revealing a side to the talented performer that the public never saw.
From Wednesday, Netflix
Amy Poehler directs and co-produces this comedy-drama, and also has a supporting role. The star is Hadley Robinson, who plays Vivian, a seemingly shy 16 year old who prefers to keep herself to herself. However, that all changes with the arrival of Lucy (Alicia Pascual-Pena), a new student who shakes things up. Vivian realises she’s tired of the ridiculous behaviour of her classmates, so begins anonymously criticising them in an underground magazine. Suddenly she’s at the centre of a school revolution, helping her form new bonds and friendships that help them all navigate the pitfalls of teenage life. Patrick Schwarzenegger and Marcia Gay Harden co-star.
From Friday, All4
Dutch cop-turned-author AC Baantjer remains one of the Netherlands’ most successful crime novelists; his series focusing on Inspector De Cock and his sidekick Sgt Vledder continues to be hugely popular 11 years after its creator’s death. This new eight-part series, a prequel to the novels, is set in 1980s Amsterdam. The central character is new homicide detective Judd Cox, whose first case takes him and his partner Montijn into something far more incredible than a murder: an attack set to take place on the day of Princess Beatrix’s coronation. Waldemar Torenstra, Tygo Gernandt and Yannick Jozefzoon star.