TV Guide: 26 of the best shows to watch this week
Steve Carell takes command of Trumpian Space Force, plus Kevin paints celebs, dystopian Snowpiercer on Netflix, and a football comedy from the Inbetweeners team
Steve Carell in Space Force, streaming from Friday on Netflix
Sunday, BBC4, 10pm
A chance to see the latest collaboration between choreographer Crystal Pite and playwright Jonathan Young, recorded during its run at Sadler’s Wells in March this year. Revisor is derived from the archetypal comic plot of Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 play The Government Inspector, blending contemporary theatre and dance to explore the conflict, comedy and corruption in the potent relationship between language and the body, as the dancers lip-sync to a soundtrack recorded by Canadian actors.
Slí na mBeaglaoich
Sunday, TG4, 9.30pm
Father and Son musicians Cormac and Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich continue their journey up the West coast of Ireland. This week Beauty is back on the road with the lads. They travel to Sligo and celebrate the county’s music, meeting with friends, artists and local musicians along the way. Road weary, they treat themselves to a seaweed bath in Strandhill before exploring Coleman country with Óisín Mac Diarmada and the Hurleys. In Grange they learn of Sligo’s blowing sands with author Brian Leyden, meet the legendary Séamus Tansey and find concertina player Rick Epping in an antiques shop.
Sunday, BBC2, 10.55pm
The return of the US crime drama from the makers of Sons of Anarchy about a Californian biker gang with a strict hierarchy and its own way of doing things. As the third series opens, eight months have passed since Angel learned of his brother EZ’s deal with the DEA, prompting a feud that only worsened when EZ decided to stay in the club. Now, the brothers are barely speaking, even when club business forces them into the same room. Meanwhile, a murderous raid backfires. JD Pardo and Clayton Cardenas star as the feuding siblings, with veteran actor Edward James Olmos as their father.
Nina Simone – Live at Montreux 1976
Sunday, TG4, 11pm
Filmed live in 1976 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, this is a powerful performance from one of the great jazz singers and one of the greatest female vocalists of the 20th century. Nina Simone sings a selection of great songs, including Little Girl Blue, Backlash Blues, Stars and I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free).
Jay Blades’ Home Fix
Monday, BBC1, 10am
Jay Blades is best known as the host of The Repair Shop as well as the go-to expert on Money for Nothing when it comes to renovating chairs. It turns out he has another string to his bow: he’s a bit of a dab hand at general DIY. Aand now, with the general public spending more time behind closed doors than ever, he wants to pass on his skills, using clear step-by-step instructions to help people master the basic skills and get more handy around the home – backed up by archive clips from BBC home and gardening programmes. So if straightening a wonky shelf or perfecting your painting technique is still a bit of a mystery, this is the programme for you.
Grow Your Own at Home with Alan Titchmarsh
Monday, ITV, 8.30pm
At a time when people need their gardens more than ever, Alan Titchmarsh becomes the latest presenter to prove that a pandemic is no obstacle to sharing knowledge with this weekly guide to growing fruit and vegetables from his own plot, filmed by his wife Alison. In addition, his Love Your Garden team-mates (Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and David Domoney) provide progress reports from their own different kitchen gardens, showing how to get gardens bursting with fruit, salad, herbs and vegetables for the year ahead and beyond.
Shortscreen: Smithy & Dickie
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.45pm
From 2018, Hannah Quinn’s 10-minute docu-drama is “about love letters written in the 1940s, young people’s reactions to them, and an exploration of how the current explosion of digital information may be obliterating our most precious memories, making them less accessible in another 70 years”. Toni O’Rourke and Killian Coyle feature.
Giant Lobster Hunters
Monday, ITV4, 9pm
Documentary following the real-life dramas of six lobsterboat captains over the last 10 weeks of the winter hunting season as they risk it all in search of the world’s most prized seafood delicacy. It’s the lobstermen’s last chance to put money in the bank until the fishing grounds reopen in spring. Spuizzy, skipper of the Bold Contender, hopes to capitalise on the season-high lobster price. He hunts around Bruny Island in southern Tasmania, targeting 1,900 brindle lobsters, and is under huge financial pressure to be successful.
Bake Off: The Professionals
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
While Matt Lucas twiddles his thumbs at home waiting to join Noel Fielding as the new Bake Off copresenter, former contestant Liam Charles and comedian Tom Allen return with the third series of this spin-off. It sees professional patisserie chefs from leading hotels, restaurants and small businesses competing in pairs in a bid to take the crown. Their talents are not in question – it’s a case of finding the best of the best. So no soggy bottoms here. Or at least, if there are, you can bet their managers will be having a stern word tomorrow. For their first challenge, six teams must make 24 miniature strawberry tarts and fruit salads. Then they reinvent the classic pineapple upside-down cake, turning it into a fine dining experience.
Tuesday, BBC2, 8pm
A new format of the annual wildlife series in keeping with Covid-19 lockdown conditions see the presenters broadcasting live from locations around the UK. Chris Packham is in the New Forest, Iolo William is in the heart of west Wales, and Gillian Burke is at the Beaver project near her home in Cornwall. In this first episode, they are joined by guest presenter Steve Backshall at his home on the banks of the Thames. Plus, Michaela Strachan calls live from South Africa to present some of her favourite moments from past series.
A House Through Time
Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
David Olusoga goes back in time to trace the history of a house in Bristol through the lives of the people who lived there. The story unfolds that No 10 Guinea Street was built by a sea captain in 1718, when Bristol was a major port in the transportation of slaves from Africa’s Guinea Coast to the Caribbean. Both the man who built the house and its first full-time resident were heavily involved in the slave trade. Olusoga uncovers stories of piracy, abandoned babies, a household slave who made a daring escape from the property, and a protest on the doorstep as the abolitionist movement gained momentum.
Gangs of Lemur Island
Wednesday, Sky Nature & Now TV, 7pm
The appetite for gangster telly series has never waned – we’ve had Mexican gangs, Colombian gangs, Birmingham gangs, London gangs and now, on the island of Madagascar, comes the most fearsome gangs of them all: ring-tailed lemurs with an appetite for destruction. Sky launches its new Nature channel with a bang, as two rival gangs of lemurs face off with their very survival at stake. Heading the Ruins Gang is fierce matriarch Crystal, while the Museum gang is led by the battle-shy queen Kati. If you thought The Sopranos were ruthless, you ain’t seen these lemurs duke it out. Bada bing!
Soul Boy – Our Lives
Wednesday, BBC1, 7.30pm
Nottingham teenager Anthony Favin has been in care since the age of six. He loves the music, fashion and films of the 1960s and 1970s, and his heroes are Steve McQueen and Jimi Hendrix. But his love for northern soul music tops them all. This heart-warming documentary follows Anthony in the run-up to his 18th birthday party, where he is due to make his debut as a DJ. More importantly, it will see him take the first steps towards an independent life. Helping Anthony are his key worker Luke, cobbler Pete, who kits him out with some hot-stepping shoes, and northern soul DJ Richard Searling, who gets Anthony on the decks and the dancefloor at Blackpool’s famous Tower Ballroom.
Wednesday, Channel 5, 9pm
The staff at Barnsley A&E in South Yorkshire are back for another shift but things don’t get off to a great start when all but two of the computers crash. As the IT staff set to work diagnosing the problem, the emergency phone keeps ringing. Registrar Rob Cornford heads to Resus, where a 58-year-old window fitter has been brought in, having fallen from a ladder. Staff are concerned he may have seriously injured his neck and spine. Nurse practitioner Dave Sagol meets a 61-year-old who has swollen legs and is having difficulty breathing, while volunteer Jane sets out to return lost property to its owners.
Wednesday, BBC4, 10.30pm
Acclaimed dance group BalletBoyz celebrate their 20th anniversary with a new two-act show, Deluxe. The first act, Bradley 4:18, choreographed by Punchdrunk’s Maxine Doyle, is inspired by the lyrics and story of spoken word artist Kate Tempest’s Pictures on a Screen, and tells the story of a seemingly successful young man struggling to connect with the world around him. It is set to a score by Mercury Award-nominated composer and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi. It is followed by the second act, Ripple, which explores movement inspired by the memory of a person.
The First Team
Thursday, BBC2, 9.30pm
We don’t know when or if the Premiership will resume, but one fixture we can look forward to is this new footie comedy series from the creators of The Inbetweeners. The series revolves around a fictional Premier League club and its newest signing, Mattie (Jake Short), who is like a fish out of water in the cut-throat environment of top tier football. Mattie has got to deal with the team’s hard-nosed Roy Keane figure, their feckless Italian manager and their mercurial American chairman (played by Bojack Horseman star Will Arnett). You want to see what happens off the pitch at your typical Premiership club? This probably won’t come anywhere near the crazy reality.
The Works Presents
Thursday, RTÉ One, 11.10pm
The work of Limerick-born, internationally renowned artist Donald Teskey captures landscapes in all their moods and drama, with bold, brave paintings. Architectural in their origins, studies from all over the world and in Ireland, are somehow instantly familiar and actively transport the viewer into the place that inspired them. Water has become an integral element of his work. His works features scenes ranging from remote areas of Ireland’s west coast, a creek in Pennsylvania and the river Dodder, which is located near his studio in south Dublin.
Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health
Thursday, BBC1, 8.05pm
The Duke of Cambridge is on a mission to open the biggest-ever conversation on mental health, using football as a way of kicking things off. Over the course of a year, Prince William speaks to players, fans and managers from grassroots to the elite. Former Premier League footballer Marvin Sordell opens up about his struggles with depression and Chelsea manager Frank Lampard reveals how there is still a long way to go in how clubs deal with mental health. Other stories include that of former England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has been forced to cope with a decline in his career and is now struggling to get into the first team at Burnley, and a group of bereaved fathers who use their local team as a support network.
Britain’s Best Parent?
Thursday, Channel 4, 8.05pm
Twelve families with differing parenting styles compete against each other, hoping to prove that their methods and techniques are the right way to raise children. Those taking part in the first episode include Joana, who believes children shouldn’t be confined to traditional gender stereotypes and is raising her five-year-old with a gender-fluid approach. Self-titled lazy parents Kevin and Kerry believe that their hands-off style makes their two boys self-sufficient and aware of the consequences of their actions, while Rin and Robin’s parenting style is inspired by the culture and philosophy of the East, as they aspire to make “scholar-warriors” of their son and daughter. Presented by Anita Rani.
Thursday, BBC2, 9pm
Sandi Toksvig is back to host the return of the quiz with a difference, in which the questions are so difficult points are awarded for the answers she finds most interesting. The show has now reached the letter R, and begins with a rather Rude episode. Joining Sandi are John Barrowman, Phill Jupitus, Aisling Bea and regular panellist Alan Davies.
Later – with Jools Holland
Friday, BBC2, 10pm
The music programme continues in its lockdown incarnation as Jools chats from his south London studio via videolink to Golden Globe-winning actor, comedian, musician and writer Hugh Laurie, inviting him to recount his musical journey. Laurie’s picks reflect the influences that can be found on his own two records, Let Them Talk and Didn’t It Rain, the former featuring collaborations with Tom Jones, Irma Thomas and Dr John. As usual, there’s also time for Jools to focus on new music, with a unique performance by multi-instrumentalist and singer Jacob Collier, who is making his debut on the show.
Monday-Thursday, RTÉ Player, 9am
We know Kevin McGahern as the host of Republic of Telly, the show that turned the cameras back on Ireland’s TV personalities and painted them in a very unflattering light. So what’s he been doing since RTÉ cruelly axed the show? He’s not been sitting around the house, that’s for sure, but in the past couple of months he’s been forced to spend more time at home, and he’s rediscovered another talent that got buried beneath his burgeoning comedic genius: painting. To pass the time in lockdown, McGahern has come up with a new series, but don’t worry – it won’t be like watching paint dry. In each of four 10-minute episodes, McGahern interviews a famous personality and paints their portrait while they chat. So it’s like a virtual sitting with added conversation. First up in the hotseat is Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who gives McGahern a virtual tour of her London home before letting him at it with the paintbrushes. He admits he’s not very good at capturing female beauty, so don’t expect the Mon(ic)a Lisa. His other guests are actor and comedian Pat Shortt, comedian Joanne McNally and – the biggest challenge of them all – king of the telly artists Don Conroy.
From Monday, Netflix
Bong Joon-Ho is one of the hottest directors around thanks to his Oscar-winning black comedy Parasite. This dystopian thriller, a spin-off from 2013 epic, takes place on a huge, perpetually moving train that circles the planet transporting every remaining member of the human race. Class warfare, social injustice and politics are just some of the heavy, thought-provoking subjects tackled by the programme, which spent three years stuck in development hell. Just when it seemed as if the small-screen Snowpiercer would never see the light of day, everything fell into place, including an outstanding cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Mickey Sumner; a second series, which will feature Sean Bean, is in preproduction.
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
From Tuesday, Netflix
For many years, Tasmanian-born stand-up Gadsby ploughed her trade in her native Australia, building a loyal following. She also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but it wasn’t until her first Netflix special, a filmed version of her 2017 tour Nanette, that her audience began to expand. It went on to win an Emmy as well as numerous plaudits from critics impressed by her openness and honesty. Gadsby’s follow-up project, Douglas, named after one of her beloved dogs, is now making its debut on the service. As before, the comedian will be sharing personal stories, observations and insights. Some of her views and perspectives may surprise onlookers, but they’re certainly never less than entertaining.
Marty & Bernard – On the Road Again
Wednesday, RTÉ Player, 9.35pm
There comes a time in every bromance when you must bring your bro home to meet the folks. In this third and final episode of their new series, Bernard O’Shea brings Marty Morrissey back to his hometown of Durrow, Co Laois, but Marty’s not meeting the O’Shea family. Instead, they’re hooking up with members of the local Fire and Rescue services to take up a new fundraising challenge. Marty and Bernard will don the firefighting gear and learning all the skills needed to work on the front line of public safety. So when you’re trapped in a burning building, and you see Marty and Bernard’s faces grinning at you through the smoke, you’ll know you’re in safe hands. The programme ends with a raucous fundraising night that leaves everyone laughing so much, they might need resuscitation.
From Friday, Netflix
Coronavirus may be raging throughout the planet, but US president Donald Trump has his eye firmly set on the stars. He’s formed his own space force, with a logo that looks oddly like the Star Trek badge, and with the mission statement of making space great again. Maybe he’s hoping his astronauts can find a cure for Covid-19 on the moon. In response to this real-life lunacy, Steve Carell and Greg Daniels have come up with a satirical series imagining how this space force might actually work in practice. Needless to say, as one character blurts out, it’s a “sh*tshow”. Carell plays four-star general Mark R Naird, who has been handed the poisoned chalice of running this new branch of the military, despite his deep reservations. Dutiful and dedicated, Naird bites the bullet and uproots his family to a remote base in Colorado to begin the task of getting the president’s pet project off the ground. As we know from the American version of The Office, Carell is a master of cringe comedy and, with help from costars John Malkovich and Lisa Kudrow, he’s sure to take us to new frontiers of discomfort.