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

Alma’s Not Normal, Nova Jones, Sex Actually, Star Wars: Visions, The Starling

Louise Cantillon, host of Junior Eurovision. The search begins tonight on TG4

Louise Cantillon, host of Junior Eurovision. The search begins tonight on TG4

 

Junior Eurovision
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
The search is on for Ireland’s entry for the 2021 Junior Eurovision. Each year, the
best young singers (9-14) from across Europe compete in this huge event. Our young hopefuls will be singing pop songs in Irish on this series. The eventual winner will head to Paris on December 19th with a song composed especially for them. The judges are Niamh Ní Chróinín and Fiachna Ó Braonáin, joined on this episode by guest judge Brian Kennedy. Hosted by Louise Cantillon.

Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie and Tupac
Sunday, BBC Two, 9pm

BIG, Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur in Last Man Standing
BIG, Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur in Last Man Standing

In her four-star review earlier this year, Irish Times film critic Tara Brady wrote: “Broomfield, on a recent role with such fine docs as Can I Be Me and My Father and Me, returns to the story he first addressed nearly 20 years ago in Biggie &Tupac. Back at the centre of the debate is Suge Knight, former chief executive of legendary label Death Row Records, now serving 28 years imprisonment for manslaughter. It’s a fascinating addition to the burgeoning subgenre of Tupac-related documentaries, even if one can’t help but feel this still isn’t the entire story. Smoking guns abound.”

Crimecall
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Sharon Ní Bheoláin on the set of Crimecall
Sharon Ní Bheoláin on the set of Crimecall

The long-running programme hosted by Sharon Ní Bheoláin returns with reconstructions, CCTV footage and live studio appeals for information from the public to help with Garda investigations. Calls to the programme have helped lead to numerous convictions over the previous series.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021
Monday, BBC One, 7.30pm
If you’re in need of gardening inspo or just want to immerse yourself in some gorgeous, colourful creations, join Nicki Chapman and Angellica Bell for coverage of the opening day of the horticultural show. On a VIP-packed press day, Chapman chats to fellow presenter and model Lisa Snowdon about her love of gardening, while James Wong hunts out the best houseplants. Frances Tophill tells you everything you need to know about building an insta-pond, and Mark Lane gets a first peek at the Great Pavilion.

Manhunt: The Night Stalker
Monday-Thursday, ITV, 9pm
In 2019, the chilling drama Manhunt was broadcast, chronicling the painstaking investigation into French student Amelie Delagrange’s murder, and its eventual connection to the deaths of Marsha McDonnell and Milly Dowler at the hands of serial killer Levi Bellfield. Manhunt was written by Ed Whitmore and featured Martin Clunes as ex-London Metropolitan Police detective, DCI Colin Sutton. Writer and star are back for this four-part semi-sequel, exploring a case that went unsolved for almost two decades. Based on Sutton’s diaries, it follows the real-life story of the police pursuit of a notorious serial rapist whose 17-year reign of terror left thousands of elderly people in southeast London living in fear.

Alma’s Not Normal
Monday, BBC Two, 11.45pm

Sophie Willians in Alma’s Not Normal
Sophie Willians in Alma’s Not Normal

The Bafta-winning pilot for Sophie Willians’s sharply observed sitcom had a repeat airing last week, and the rest of the series looks like must-see viewing. It reflects much of Willan’s own experiences, from growing up in care to sex work, and covers a lot of potentially bleak ground, yet still remains very funny. “Alma is full of life. She makes a lot of stupid decisions, but she also makes some really great decisions and she’s good fun,” Willan has said. In this episode, our heroine reluctantly takes up the position of Sandwich Artiste at SubNGo but after a trial shift and an unfortunate incident with a chocolate muffin, decides it might not be the right career path for her.

Nowhere to Run: Abused by Our Coach
Monday, BBC One, 11.35pm
Presenter Charlie Webster goes on an emotional journey as she reconnects with former members of her running group, whose coach abused Webster as a teenager. He was jailed for 10 years when Webster was 19, leading to her learn that she was not his only victim. Cameras follow Webster as she tracks down members of the group and finds out what happened to them. Each discovery reveals a different side to their collective story and helps her piece together her past to really understand what happened to her.

The Great British Bake Off
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Let’s be honest, we’d never have made it through lockdown without plenty of cakes, buns, pastries and petit fours to keep our flagging spirits up, so anyone who says Bake Off has no societal value should just shut their cakehole. The show is back and once again the big tent has been turned into a Covid bubble where guests can forget about the pandemic and focus on creating elaborate confections under the expert eyes of judges Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas. Better stock up on your home baking ingredients – I have a feeling supermarkets are going to run short. (Followed by The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Friday at 8pm.)

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Tuesday, Sky Max & NowTV, 9pm
It was the greatest rock/pop quiz show ever aired on TV – even better than The Lyrics Board – and many a music fan shed a tear when it finally reached its run-off groove in 2015. But you can’t keep a good panel show down, and Sky haS revived the format, this time with Taskmaster host Greg Davies in the chair and team captains Noel Fielding and Daisy May Cooper leading a rolling roster of famous guests in trying to top the pop trivia hit parade. On Fielding’s panel this week are comedian Nish Kumar and the series’ regular guest, comedian Jamali Maddix. Cooper’s team will feature singers Anne Marie and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwell. We’re promised the return of our favourite rounds, including the hilarious intros round, plus a few surprises.

Love Your Garden
Tuesday, ITV, 8pm
Alan and his team are in Waltham Abbey to make over the garden of mother and grandmother Venessa Taylor. After undergoing years of chemotherapy, she survived lymphoblastic leukaemia and now campaigns to raise awareness of blood cancer and the importance of bone marrow donations across all ethnic groups. So, the experts want to create a tropical escape that incorporates a home office but also gives Venssa a chance to relax when she’s not working with a water feature, beautiful lighting and a yoga deck.

Nova Jones
Wednesday, RTÉ2/CBBC, 5pm

Molly Rainford in Nova Jones
Molly Rainford in Nova Jones

Who is Nova Jones, you ask? What remote nebula have you been living under? As every sentient being knows, Nova is an intergalactic teen pop star, and this new 10-part series for kids (a co-production with CBBC) follows her adventures as she goes on a tour across the universe, bringing her star quality to every star system. Singer Molly Rainford plays the talented but impulsive Nova, with Grace Barkley as her younger sister who not only has to organise her busy tour schedule, but also get Nova out of numerous scrapes and alien encounters. The series is filmed in Belfast and features a big Irish cast, including Kevin McGahern as the host of TV show Universe Has Talent. In the first episode, the girls face a potential environmental catastrophe as all the unwanted presents from Nova’s gazillions of fans prove difficult to recycle.

Violet Gibson – An tÉireannach Mná a Lámhach Mussolini
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Violet Gibson’s mugshot in Italy
Violet Gibson’s mugshot in Italy

The story of Irish woman and would-be political assassin Violet Gibson (1876-1956), who very nearly killed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Born in Dublin, Gibson was the daughter of Baron Ashborune, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. On April 7th, 1926, Gibson shot and lightly wounded Mussolini with a Model 1892 revolver as he walked among the crowd in Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio. She told interrogators that she shot the dictator “to glorify God”, who had sent an angel to keep her arm steady. She was deported to Britain after being released without charge at the request of Mussolini, an act for which he received the thanks of Westminster. Declared insane by both the Italian and British authorities, Gibson spent the last 30 years of her life incarcerated in lunatic asylums.

Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers
Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
War hero, dashing prince, royal moderniser and of course, the rock at the queen’s side for more than six decades: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, led an extraordinary life. Now, five months on from his death, more than a dozen members of the royal family offer their personal thoughts and reflections as they pay tribute. Originally conceived to mark Philip’s 100th birthday which would have been in June, it features interviews filmed both before and after his death.

Sex Actually with Alice Levine
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm

Alice Levine in Sex Actually
Alice Levine in Sex Actually

Lockdown has seen a 900 per cent increase in Brits searching for couples’ sex toys, while subscriptions to webcam services have skyrocketed. And when asked what we’re most excited to do when life returns to normal, kinkier sex is a top priority. Are the British finally shaking off their old conventions on sex? To answer that question, Alice Levine will immerse herself in the lives of sexual adventurers up and down Britain. In the first episode, she meets Newcastle sandwich shop worker Kayla and her decorator boyfriend Jack, who stream their sex as a way of topping up their income during difficult times. In Dundee, Levine spends time with Callum and Cole, bona fide camming superstars with dedicated fans all over the world.

Taskmaster
Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm
We’re in for a good dose of Greg Davies this week, with Taskmaster returning the same week Buzzcocks begins on Sky Max. Series 12 sees a new group of guests ready to take on some of the most bizarre and confusing tasks known to celebrity – including “strike the soldier with your throwing paint” and “sit on a cake”. Comedic guests Alan Davies, Desiree Burch, Guz Khan, Morgana Robinson and Victoria Coren Mitchell are ready to rise to these dignity-defying challenges, but our sides may not be ready for the inevitable splitting.

Moving West
Thursday, TG4, 9pm

Mary Kennedy, host of Moving West
Mary Kennedy, host of Moving West

Shot against the back drop of the unique natural beauty and culture of the west of Ireland, Moving West is a six-part series following the lives of six families who have moved or are in the process of moving to the west of Ireland. Presented by Mary Kennedy.

How to Stop Your Migraines
Thursday, Channel 5, 7pm
What do Botox, cold-water swimming and a revolutionary drug have in common? They’re among the treatments tested by three people living with chronic migraines. Dr Dawn Harper follows the trio and talks to them about their experiences. She also examines what happens to the brain during the zig-zig lines and other migraine-related visual distortions, explodes myths about chocolate and cheese, and asks why, when one in seven people in the UK experience migraines, so little funding has gone into research.

The Hairy Bikers Go North
Thursday, BBC Two, 8pm

Si King and Dave Myers in The Hairy Bikers Go North
Si King and Dave Myers in The Hairy Bikers Go North

Few things are more comforting than watching Si King and Dave Myers explore a new location and sample the foodie delights. Here they are much closer to home than usual, visiting the regions where they grew up – but it isn’t all familiar territory. They begin in Lancashire, cooking up a traditional steak, mushroom and ale pie, before dropping in at the country’s last temperance bar and exploring Carron Lodge, a family-run farm rearing water buffalo whose milk makes delicious cheese. After cooking up a tasty lasagne, a trip to a gin school goes down a treat, before the duo end their journey in Blackpool, sampling an ice-cream from the Notarianni family.

The Last Leg
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are back from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to present the 23rd season of this witty series. Expect more guests dropping in from the worlds of comedy, entertainment and politics to help the trio dissect the good, bad and biggest news stories of the week. As always, the hashtag #isitok opens the door for the gang to dig into the most entertaining news stories and offer their own opinions, while the show also features enlightening discussions and hilarious sketches.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm

Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in No Time to Die
Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in No Time to Die

There’s less than a week before the 25th entry in the James Bond canon finally hits cinemas. No Time to Die not only features a script with Phoebe Waller Bridge’s dabs all over it and a kick-ass theme song from Billie Eilish and her brother Fergus: it’s also the final outing for Daniel Craig as 007. He joins French star Lea Seydoux to discuss making the movie and what life after Bond looks like. We’ll also hear from Rami Malek, who plays villain Safin, alongside Lashana Lynch, who has been touted as a potential replacement for Craig. Ed Sheeran is also on hand to perform his new single, Shivers.

ON DEMAND

Goliath
From Tuesday, Amazon Prime Video
Billy Bob Thornton is back as Billy McBride, a down-at-heel lawyer seeking redemption (aren’t they all?) in this fourth and final season of the hard-hitting legal drama about ordinary people taking on big law and big industry. This time McBride takes on a goliath that may not be so easy to take down: America’s lucrative and deadly opioid industry. The series has featured such stars as William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Sherilyn Fenn and Maria Bello, but it’s Thornton’s commanding (and Golden Globe-winning) central performance that keep us riveted as he takes on another daunting case.

Star Wars: Visions
From Wednesday, Disney+

Star Wars: Visions
Star Wars: Visions

To say that Star Wars fans are excited about this series is a bit like saying they’re sort-of into science fiction. This animation anthology features nine short films that offer a new take on the Star Wars universe, created by six of Japan’s top anime studios. The English-language vocal cast includes the likes of Lucy Liu, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Neil Patrick Harris,. And, in a first for Disney, those looking for an authentic anime experience can watch the whole thing in Japanese with English subtitles.

Y: The Last Man
From Wednesday, Disney+

Diane Lane in Y: The Last Man
Diane Lane in Y: The Last Man

More comic-book related entertainment is served up by the streaming platform, but this time we’re being immersed in the darker universe of DC Comics and this acclaimed series, created by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra. In case you’re unfamiliar with their work, Y is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a cataclysmic event has decimated every mammal with a Y chromosome – apart from one cisgender man and his pet monkey. The show follows these unlikely survivors as they struggle to get a grip on this brave new world and their efforts to restore what was lost, as well as their attempts to grab the opportunity to build something better.

Dear White People
From Wednesday, Netflix
The curtain goes up on the fourth and final series of this cracking drama, based on the hit movie of the same name, following a group of black students speaking out against racism at prestigious Winchester University. Fans will be pleased to know creator Justin Simien as well as leading players Logan Browning, Brandon P Bell, Antoinette Robertson and DeRon Horton are all present and correct. Even better, we’re going to be treated to the show’s first-ever musical season, as part of Simien’s plan for it to “go out with a bang”. Devotees will also hope to learn more about the Order of X, and it will be fascinating to see what Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown and Rome Flynn of How to Get Away with Murder get up to as new cast additions.

The Starling
From Friday, Netflix

Melissa McCarthy and Kevin Kline in The Starling
Melissa McCarthy and Kevin Kline in The Starling

What do you get if you combine the talent of Melissa McCarthy, the quirky charm of Chris O’Dowd and the gravitas of Kevin Kline? This bittersweet comedy is the answer. McCarthy and O’Dowd play Lilly and Jack Maynard, a couple trying to cope with a terrible personal loss. While he heads to a facility to deal with his overwhelming emotions, she becomes increasingly obsessed with getting rid of a starling that has nested in her garden. Lilly finds unlikely support and guidance in the form of a psychologist turned vet (Kline), who comes with baggage of his own, and slowly reveals an avenue for her grief, the courage to heal her relationships and rediscover her capacity for love. Timothy Olyphant costars.

Foundation
From Friday, Apple TV

Lou Llobell in Foundation
Lou Llobell in Foundation

It’s been a long time coming, but finally someone’s managed to translate Isaac Asimov’s award-winning novels to the small screen. When revolutionary Dr Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts the impending fall of the Empire, he and a band of loyal followers venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish The Foundation to rebuild and preserve the future of civilisation. Enraged by Seldon’s claims, the ruling Cleons – a long line of emperor clones – fear their grasp on the galaxy may be weakening, as they’re forced to reckon with the thought of losing their legacy forever.

Contributing: PA

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