TV guide: 26 of the best shows to watch this week

Ghosts, Four Season in One Day, Heartlands, The Derry City Story, What If...?, Beckett

The Secret World of Chocolate
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
Dawn French has never hidden her love for chocolate, whether that's in real life or while starring in The Vicar of Dibley, so she's the ideal person to narrate a one-off documentary examining the rivalry between some of Britain's biggest manufacturers. These are battles that have sometimes gone on for decades, with each side determined to make their product the nation's favourite. Those working for the brands in question offer their opinions while revealing the lengths they're willing to go to remain at the top.

The Sky at Night
Sunday, BBC Four, 10pm

This month marks 10 years since Nasa’s mission to Jupiter was launched. Juno’s mission – to uncover the mysteries surrounding Jupiter’s formation – was expected to end this year with the 1.1billion satellite deorbiting into the planet’s gassy atmosphere. But thanks to the ingenuity of its engineering, the robust spacecraft has surpassed expectations and been granted an extension to its life. The Sky at Night team looks at the amazing research resulting from this mission, expanding our understanding of the gas giant.

Sunday, BBC Two, 10.30pm


The drama set within New York’s African-American and Latino underground drag ball scene is back for a third and final run. It’s now 1994, and Blanca is working as a nurse aide while dating Christopher, one of the hospital’s doctors. The city’s new mayor, Rudy Giuliani, is cracking down on sex work, which leaves Elektra in a difficult position, and Angel’s modelling career has stalled. The House of Evangelista, meanwhile, is no more – until its former members are drawn back together by OJ Simpson’s slow-speed chase and the death of Cubby following a battle with Aids.

Monday, BBC One, 8.30pm
The spooks of Button House are back for a third season of hilarious hauntings, and you don't have to worry about any of the characters being killed off: they're all dead already. The living owners, Alison and Mike (Charlotte Richie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe), are long over their initial shock at discovering the crumbling pile they inherited is riddled with wraiths, and are well settled in with their incorporeal housemates at this stage. But when a TV crew wants to film a historical documentary about Button House, Mike sees his chance to get some free publicity for the place. But there's a problem: Alison is camera-shy. Thomas (Matthew Baynton), the ghost of a failed Romantic poet who has fallen in love with Alison, sees his chance to win the living lady's heart, and offers to coach her in the art of public speaking.

Celebrity MasterChef
Monday, BBC One, 9pm
The cooking contest return with a line-up eclectic even by Celebrity MasterChef standards; this first episode alone features a rare chance to see actress Su Pollard and Happy Mondays legend Bez together. They're joined in the opening heat by former EastEnder Rita Simons, actor and pop band Blue's Duncan James, and comedian and digital creator Munya Chawawa. Their first challenge is the brand new Under the Cloche. As the name suggests, each celeb will be given a cloche, under which is a different ingredient. They must then rustle up a dish showcasing that ingredient. Their next chance to impress comes with the new Street Food Challenge, where the celebs are asked to identify the ingredients in a popular street food before making their own version.

The Riots 2011: One Week in August
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
From August 6th-11th in 2011, rioting broke out across England in the largest wave of disorder in the UK since the 1980s. Ten years on, many struggle to understand just what happened and why. This documentary tries to supply the answers and piece together the events of that summer by hearing the story from all angles, speaking to convicted rioters, frontline police, a judge, a government adviser and a grieving father. For many of them, their lives were changed forever by the events of August.

Four Seasons in One Day
RTÉ One, Tuesday, 11pm

Every day, people from both North and South take the ferry across Carlingford Lough, traversing the part of the Border marked by this scenic glacial fjord. For many, the short journey is a chance to grab a few minutes’ relaxation on their way to or from work,; for others it’s a chance to reflect on life and ponder the wider questions of community and belonging in a country divided by borders both real and perceived. In this thought-provoking documentary, we meet people from all walks of life and from both sides of the Border. They make the crossing over the deep water, in all sorts of weather conditions, from wind to rain to glorious sunshine, and briefly leave behind the everyday divisions and ideological differences.

The Secret Life of the Zoo
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Cameras return to Chester Zoo to observe the behaviour of the animal inhabitants and their relationships with their keepers. In the first episode, we're introduced to Margery and Betong, the Malayan tapiers. The semi-aquatic mammals, among the zoo's odder-looking residents, can weigh in at 500kgs each and put away an impressive 40kg of food daily. However, there are suspicions that Margery is now eating for two. Meanwhile James Bond, the hyacinth macaw, is in quarantine after his partner dies of a virus, while the zoo's golden mantella frog family is need of brooding boost – and it's hoped that miniscule male Eddie can be the amphibian for the job. Finally, Thi, the matriarch of the Asian elephant herd, seems to be feeling her age.

Jonnie's Blade Camp
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games just a fortnight away, this two-part documentary follows champion Paralympic 100m sprinter Jonnie Peacock helping five young amputees to realise their own sporting potential. In the process, he hopes to boost their confidence and self-worth, as well as their fitness. The youngsters will take part in a year-long training camp, where Peacock draws on state-of-the-art technology, inspirational guest coaches and his own experiences to help the youngsters accomplish things they never thought possible. He begins by meeting the kids and asking them to set their own goals. Jonnie also prepares them to sprint their first-ever 100 metres on their prosthetic blades.

Daisy Maskell: Insomnia and Me
Tuesday, BBC One, 11.05pm

For as long as she can remember, Daisy Maskell has lived with insomnia, getting by on as little as a couple of hours of sleep every night. However, being awake until the early hours is taking its toll on her, especially given her increasing workload – she’s the UK’s youngest-ever breakfast radio host. Maskell is not alone, with hospital admissions due to sleep disorders among young people almost doubling over the past years. Here Maskell meets with experts and other sufferers, and tests a multitude of remedies and treatments to try to finally get a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday, TG4, 8.30pm

Three mighty Irish institutions – Fáilte Ireland, TG4 and Sharon Shannon – have joined forces for this part-travelogue, part musical exploration showcasting the hidden heartlands taht lie along the river Shannon. Shannon and her niece Caoilinn Ní Dhonnabháin will highlights some of the attractions of the region and coming up with practical ideas for short holiday breaks. They will also meet many musicians and craftspeople along the way, and in this first episode they chat with Steve Wickham and Liam O’Maonlai at Kilronan Castle, piper Ronan Browne in Battlbridge, and Eleanor Shanley in Carrick-on-Shannon. There’ll also visit Shannon Pot, the legendary source of the great river, in the company of Manchán Magan, as well as Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo.

Different League: The Derry City Story
RTÉ One, Wednesday, 10.35pm

How did Derry City FC end up playing in the League of Ireland? This documentary tells the extraordinary story of how an underdog team transcended the Troubles and reignited their football spirit after years in the sectarian doldrums. The club, founded in 1928, used to play in the North’s Irish League and even won the title in the mid-1960s. But when the city was riven by political conflict in the 1970s, it was no longer safe for them to hold matches at their home ground in the Brandywell, and they had to travel 30 miles to Coleraine to play home fixtures. The arrangement was unsustainable, and Derry was forced to withdraw from the league and spend the next 13 years playing junior football, until four ex-footballer hatched a crazy plan to bring Derry City FC into the League of Ireland, where they could once again play at a competitive level.

It took a lot of persuasion – and changes in mindset – but in 1985 the Candystripes took their place in the League of Ireland’s First Division, with the Brandywell re-established as their home ground, and they remain the only northern team to play in the Republic of Ireland league. This is a tale of how a city can reimagine itself and rewrite the script to envisage a different future.

Tabú: Céad Míle Fáilte
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
Designed in 2000 as a temporary six-month solution to Ireland's growing number of asylum applications, the current Direct Provision process is struggling to cope. Céad Míle Fáilte focuses on people seeking refuge here in order to escape conflict, trauma or domestic abuse in their home countries. It shows what the asylum system is like in Ireland through the eyes of someone who has been sent into Direct Provision. This immersive and heartrending documentary casts light on a system that has been kept under wraps.

The Watch
Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm

One critic has called it “Game of Thrones meets Guardians of the Galaxy”. Others have slammed it for straying too far from Terry Pratchett’s beloved Discworld novels. In the opening episode, we meet Ankh-Morpork City Watch’s cranky Captain Sam Vimes (Richard Dormer) and, in a series of flashbacks, see how he was first recruited to join the City Watch by Captain Keel. We also see how his street brother Carcer Dun killed Keel before falling from Unseen University’s roof into flashes of lightning and, presumably, to his death. Twenty years later, having consumed copious amounts of alcohol, Sam encounters a familiar face.

Exploring Northern Ireland with Siobhan McSweeney
Thursday, More4, 9pm

The star of Derry Girls had never set foot in Northern Ireland before filming the hit comedy show. Now, after falling in love with the landscape McSweeney wants to explore more of the lakes, mountains, coastline and forests. This four-part series begins in Co Down, as she follows in the footsteps of pilgrims along St Patrick’s Way, coming face to face with some vicious Vikings, getting a bird’s eye view of stunning Strangford Lough, and revealing her artistic side with artist Colin Davidson. McSweeney also samples regency life in an 18th-century mansion and, in Belfast, the actress conquers her fear of heights at one of the city’s iconic landmarks.

I Am Danielle
Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm

Bafta-winning Black Panther and Small Axe star Letitia Wright is the latest name star to appear in Dominic Savage’s critically acclaimed, female-led drama anthology series. She plays Danielle, a photographer who is focused on her career. She meets a model (CJ Beckford) and cautiously starts dating him, believing he could be the one. But after she has fallen completely in love, Danielle discovers a disturbing secret. Can she still love him after this betrayal of trust? This drama is a compelling reflection on the hope and heartache of falling in love in the age of social media, when trust and betrayal can go hand in hand.

Friday, Channel 4, 9pm
Niamh Algar and Harry Treadaway are among the cast of this four-part drama based on real events. Set in 1992, shortly after the murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in London in front of her two-year-old son, it begins as the Metropolitan Police face public and media pressure to catch the culprit. Detective Inspector Keith Pedder (Treadaway) joins forces with criminal profiler Paul Britton (Eddie Marsan) to devise an undercover operation fronted by ambitious officer "Sadie Byrne" (Algar). Under their plan, she would pose as "Lizzie James", and attempt to get close to the Met's prime suspect: a self-confessed lonely man who lives close to the scene of the crime.

The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family
Friday, BBC Two, 9pm
Henry VIII gouged out a place in history thanks to his appalling treatment of five of his six wives, with the alluring, enchanting Anne Boleyn causing all kinds of a Tudor kerfuffle by turning the monarch's head after his first wife, Kathryn of Aragon, failed to produce a male heir. But, as this gorgeous-looking three-part documentary explores, Anne wasn't the only Boleyn to have an ambitious heart. It charts their rise and fall from the family's unique perspective, beginning with Thomas, the patriarch of the Boleyns, who is determined to elevate the family name. His ambitions for his three children, George, Mary and Anne, take them to the very heart of the Tudor court – and history.

Motorhoming with Merton & Webster
Friday, Channel 5, 8pm

Husband and wife Paul Merton and Suki Webster take their first-ever Lake District holiday in their motorhome, and while the weather definitely isn’t playing ball, the duo also come face-to-face with a low bridge. Suki is forced to step in when they get lost looking for the Kendal mint cake factory, and they meet the owners of a vintage Airstream motorhome. The next day, a spot of chilly wild swimming proves too much for one half of the couple, before they have their breath taken away by gorgeous Grasmere.

Ian Hislop: The Trains That Changed The World
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
Ian Hislop brings us this new series looking at the way trains have transformed our lives over 200 years. The first episode focuses on the need for speed, which has its roots in the industrial revolution, when businessmen and rail companies were looking for ever faster ways to transport goods and raw materials. It also takes in the Flying Scotsman, the first train to break the 100mph barrier.


From Wednesday, Amazon Prime
You don't have to be an expert in the DC universe to enjoy this series, back for a second season. Brec Bassinger returns as high school student Courtney Whitmore (aka Stargirl) who, in the first season, found Starman's cosmic staff 10 years after the Justice Society of America was destroyed, then discovers her stepfather (Luke Wilson) was once Starman's sidekick. Before she knows it, Courtney becomes the unwitting inspiration for a new generation of JSA superheroes.

What If...?
From Wednesday, Disney+

Just when you think there are no more worlds to conquer, either in this or any other universe, Marvel Studio makes its debut in the animated sector with this intriguing and spectacular series. It features such key MCU characters as Peggy Carter, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, Killmonger and Thor, and action with curious twists, reimagining events from the movies and creating a multiverse of infinite possibilities. Will it keep fans talking and maybe even spark the odd controversy?

Star Trek: Lower Decks
From Friday, Amazon Prime
It's season two of the series that goes where no Trekkie show has gone before: deep into the bowels of the starship Cerritos to meet the everyday grunts who keep the whole enterprise ticking over while the bigwigs on the bridge get on with their usual business of discovering new life and new civilisations. Let's face it, watching the captain and his first officer strutting around saving the universe can get a bit boring after the 200th episode. Sometimes it can be fun to drop in on the lower echelons of the ship and see how they get on with their jobs and their social lives while the ship is under attack by Klingons and various alien anomalies. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Tendi and Rutherford return as part of the support crew, but though they may be the lowest-ranked on the ship, they'll still have to deal with evil computers and ravenous alien blobs just like everyone else. There'll also be a few Trek legends dropping their voices into the lower decks, including Jonathan Frakes, who played Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Modern Love
From Friday, Amazon Prime
The second season of the anthology series returns with more stories about relationships, betrayals and revelations, featuring a starry cast that includes Lucy Boynton, Tom Burke, Zoë Chao, Minnie Driver, Kit Harington, Tobias Menzies and Anna Paquin. The Guardian called the first season "vapid and nauseating", so we're expecting Hallmark-level schmaltz in this second round. We're promised reignited old flames, an affair with an ex's ex, and even the ghost of a lost lover. The series is filmed in New York and Dublin, with showrunner John Carney writing, directing and executive producing, and Andrew Rannells directing an episode based on an essay he wrote.

Boss Level
From Friday, Amazon Prime
What do you get by crossing the concept of Groundhog Day with the mind-bending technology of Minority Report? This fascinating action thriller is the answer. Frank Grillo stars as Roy Pulver, a retired Delta Force soldier who is stuck in a relentless time loop that always ends with his death. By spending time in various other loops, he slowly gains a deeper understanding about why he is trapped there, finds out how his life could have turned out in a million other universes, and gets to grips with the sacrifice he must make to put a stop to the cycle. Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts and Michelle Yeoh costar.

From Friday, Netflix

John David Washington showcases why he’s set to follow in dad Denzel’s acclaimed footsteps in this action thriller. He plays an American tourist who is forced to go on the run in Greece after a tragic accident plunges him into the heart of a political conspiracy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, being in the wrong place at the wrong time makes him a target for assassination. Ferdinando Cito Filomarino writes and directs, and the cast includes Alicia Vikander and Boyd Holbrook.

Contributing: PA