TV Guide: 27 of the best shows to watch this week
The Young Offenders, Our Cartoon President, Munster – The Brave & The Faithful
Chris Walley and Alex Murphy with Baby Star in The Young Offenders Chris Walley and Alex Murphy with Baby Star in The Young Offenders
Sunday, ITV, 8pm
When Julian Fellowes’ period drama about life above and below stairs of a stately Yorkshire home began in September 2010, nobody expected it to become a worldwide TV juggernaut that would go on to spawn a successful big screen sequel. But that’s what happened – we simply became sucked into and addicted to the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their working-class staff. Here’s a rebroadcast of the sixth and final season, which begins in 1925. Times are a-changing, with aristos cutting costs to make their estates paying concenrs. After friends are forced to sell their ancestral home, Robert must devise a new plan or risk following in their footsteps. Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery star.
The Late Late Toy Show Singalong
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
Okay, someone is going to have to take RTÉ by the hand and wean them off their unhealthy dependency on the Late Late Toy Show. Every time there’s a crisis, be it a global pandemic or a mass exodus of viewers, the national broadcaster turns to the Toy Show for solace in uncertain times. Roy Wood once wished it could be Christmas every day. Now RTÉ is wishing it was Christmas in July, as it airs a compendium of musical clips from shows down the years featuring impossibly cute and even more impossibly talented kids performing tunes from the likes of Frozen, Moana and The Greatest Showman. We’ll also see some of the show’s more memorable opening sequences with Ryan Tubridy gamely tries to keep up with a chorus of high-energy kids. But really, do we need to be reelin’ in the Toy Show years in the middle of summer? As Elsa sings in Frozen, let it go, let it go.
The Merchant of Venice: Royal Shakespeare Company
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
One of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, The Merchant of Venice remains a searing exploration of prejudice and the power of mercy. When Venetian gentleman Bassanio defaults on a loan from moneylender Shylock in the melting pot of Venice, simmering racial tensions boil over – and it is more than money that will be demanded from him. Polly Findlay directs this thrilling and contemporary 2015 production, with Makram J Khoury starring as Shylock, Patsy Ferran as Portia, Jamie Ballard as Antonio, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd excelling as Bassanio.
Monday, BBC1, 10.50pm (Northern Ireland, 11.20pm)
The comedy starring Kayode Ewumi and Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge returns for a new series. Kazim and Jeremiah head out on a double date – Kazim is in love and Jeremiah the reluctant wingman. Out of their comfort zone, they head to the East End to meet the girls, and what follows is a very strange dinner that deteriorates very quickly. After the date, events take a sinister turn when they meet a young girl on the run from a gang, and Kazim and Jeremiah’s willingness to assist leads them into dangerous territory.
Coronation Street: Villains
Monday, ITV, 8.30pm; Wednesday, Virgin One, 7.30pm
Geoff Metcalfe continues to have Corrie viewers boiling with rage. He is the kind of character soap fans love to hate – and over the years Weatherfield has racked up quite a few of them. In the latest edition of this clip-based series looking back over six decades on the cobbles, Jason Manford trawls the archives to recall some of the soap’s most notorious baddies. As well as Geoff’s antics, he looks back on the Corrie career of Richard “Evil Richard” Hillman, Gail Platt’s husband from 2001-03. There are also the crimes of Maya Sharma from 2003; builder Charlie Stubbs, who arrived in 2003 and instantly embarked on a series of abusive relationships; and another builder, Pat Phelan, regularly named one of the best soap villains of all time, from 2013-18.
Open for Business
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm
So, you’re ready to get back to business and get the economy up and running again? Richard Curran and Ella McSweeney will help you navigate your way through the new normal. This six-part series is a guide for owners of small and medium business who are keen to get back to work following the huge economic shock of Covid-19. There are a range of issues to deal with, including keeping employees safe, providing safe service to customers, and the basic business of trying to make a few bob with both hands tied behind your back. Curran and McSweeney will talk to a range of experts on useful advice for making the transition back to commercial life, and they’ll meet owners and staff of SMEs to see how they are dealing with the challenges of trading in a pandemic. Their first stop is Ennis, Co Clare, where they’ll meet a hairdresser’s trying to meet pent-up demand a jeweller using ecommerce to put the sparkle back into business, and a music store hoping to get punters coming through their doors for a rummage once again.
Our Cartoon President
Tuesday, Sky Comedy, 9.35pm
Some people think humour is the best way to deflate the pompous and self-important, and that by ridiculing autocratic leaders, you will turn them into a figure of fun and render them impotent. Our Cartoon President attempts to use animation as a weapon against President Donald Trump, hoping to squeeze a few laffs out of his bumbling, babbling persona, but if Trump were actually a cartoon, he’d be one of those disturbing graphic novels, all stark shadows and splashes of burnt orange. This began as a short segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and no better man than Colbert at cracking a laugh out of the Trump presidency. But the transition to full sitcom hasn’t played well with critics, and some have grumbled that the show “humanises” the orange fella.
Bob Ross: The Happy Painter
Tuesday, BBC4, 8pm
Bob Ross’s show The Joy of Painting, famous for the host’s soothing voice and ability to whip up a masterpiece in every episode, has attracted a whole new generation of fans looking for inspiration during lockdown. This American documentary , originally made for PBS in 2011, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the curly-haired painter (1942-1995) and his journey from humble beginnings to pop culture icon, charting how one local TV commercial evolved into a viral phenomenon.
The Real EastEnders
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
The docks of the Isle of Dogs were once more than just the heart of London’s East End – they also played a key part in the British empire. While those days may have gone, this documentary finds that some old ways remain, with many locals able to trace their roots back six generations. The film captures the “Island” as seen through the eyes of children growing up on its council estates, among them Leslie (12), who has ambitions to combine a job as an electrician with gaming and a career as a part-time rapper. But his mum worries that some of his friends may be a bad influence. Meanwhile, Willow (9) is a sixth-generation Islander who dreams of moving to Essex.
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.10pm
A murdered child, a grieving mother, a suspected killer and a court case in which the very idea of justice is on trial . . . this four-part Scottish thriller (which originally aired on the BBC in April 2019) will soon have you wondering: who’s the real victim here? Fifteen years after her son was murdered, Anna (Kelly Macdonald) believes she has identified the killer and posts his details online. Meanwhile, family man Craig (James Harkness) is viciously attacked and discovers he is being publicly accused of child murder. The story is told from the perspectives of both as they face-off in court. John Hannah stars as the detective trying to find out if Anna is behind the attack on Craig – and if he has been mistakenly identified as the murderer?
RTÉ Investigates: Future Health Care
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
We’ve seen the powerful, heartbreaking scenes in the recent RTÉ Investigates programme, Inside Ireland’s Covid Battle, as front-line health workers in St James’s Hospital battle to save patients brought to death’s door by Covid-19. This follow-up programme returns to St James’s to see how the virus will change the way the hospital is run as it goes back to treating patients for other illnesses while still trying to keep coronavirus at bay. Once again the cameras go behind the scenes as hospital staff adapt to a new healthcare landscape and get on with the business of looking after their patients’ wellbeing.
In the Long Run
Wednesday, Sky One, 10pm
Idris Elba has never forgotten his working-class roots, and this third series of his comedy show draws once more on his youth growing up in a tough London estate. Set in Hackney in the 1980s, the series centres around the Easmon family, immigrants from Sierra Leone trying to get by in a society where racism is so ingrained it’s part of the formica furniture. Elba plays dad Walter, with Jimmy Akingbola as his exuberant younger brother Valentine, whose arrival from Sierra Leone upturns the whole family dynamic. Bill Bailey returns as Walter’s work colleague Bagpipes. In series three, Walter’s Mama arrives from Sierra Leone, and Walter is keen to impress her – not an easy task when you live in the Eastbridge estate.
Madeleine McCann: The Hunt for the Prime Suspect
Thursday, Virgin One/ITV, 9pm
It’s now 13 years since three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her parents’ holiday apartment in Portugal. The mystery has gripped the world and continues to make headlines as her family search for answers. The case recently took another twist when German prosecutors announced that they believe they have a prime suspect, a convicted sex offender who was living near the apartments at the time. But just who is this suspect and why has it taken so long for him to be linked to the case? Here Julie Etchingham takes a closer look at the latest developments and discovers they have involved police forces from at least three European countries.
Wonders of the Coast Path
Thursday, ITV, 11.45pm
Wales is the only country in the world with a designated footpath that stretches around its entire coastline. Sean Fletcher sets out to explore the entire 870-mile Wales Coast Path, which runs from Chepstow in the south to Queensferry in Flintshire in the north. His first leg takes him along the coast of north Wales and on to the island of Anglesey. Along the way he searches for Britain’s rarest toad, turns his hand to making a Bronze Age axe head, and has a beach cookout using mussels and oysters caught fresh from the Menai Strait.
Inside Britain’s Food Factories
Thursday, ITV, 8.30pm
Documentary series going behind the doors of British factories to find out how they keep shelves stocked, from massive factories making meals in their millions to family firms trading on secret recipes. The first edition celebrates snacks, visiting the Wagon Wheel factory in south Wales making millions of biscuits a year and the Melton Mowbray company responsible for an award-winning pork pie. Plus, how potatoes are taken from the field and turned into crisps in a matter of hours.
Dear NHS Superstars
Thursday, BBC1, 9pm
In this special, celebrities share their own stories about some of the incredible people they have encountered during their own brushes with the British health service, including doctors, nurses, midwives, porters and others. The star-studded line-up includes Amanda Holden, Lenny Henry, Jo Brand, Jack Whitehall, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Shirley Ballas, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. Overseeing it all is writer, comedian and former doctor Adam Kay, whose book of thank-you letters to the NHS inspired the programme.
Imagine: Lemn Sissay – The Memory of Me
Thursday, BBC1, 11.15pm
Alan Yentob talks to the poet and playwright about his recently published memoir, My Name Is Why. Sissay discusses what it was like growing up as the only black child in a sleepy market town outside Wigan in the 1970s, his time in care, and how he was separated from his foster family at the age of 12 and left to fend for himself. He also returns to Ethiopia to find out more about his roots. Featuring contributions from colleagues including Steve Coogan, Benjamin Zephaniah, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Julie Hesmondhalgh.
The Young Offenders
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm; BBC1, 9.30pm
With alarming reports of young people going out in their droves and completely ignoring social distancing, it’s clear some drastic measures have to be taken. We need something that’s guaranteed to keep them at home on Friday nights, and what better incentive than the third series of hit comedy show The Young Offenders? They’ll be so busy laughing, texting and meming about it, they’ll completely forget about their plans to go out and jeopardise public health. Alex Murphy and Chris Walley return as clueless Cork delinquents Conor and Jock. Series three sees them cooking up even more petty criminal schemes, but this time they have to deal with a new arrival on their turf: baby Star. Being a new dad is a big responsibility, but can Jock rise to the challenge and act like a grown-up? Well, he and Conor have been expelled from school, so that’s a start. With new demands being placed on their young shoulders, Conor and Jock will have to think outside the box – not easy when you can’t even think inside it. Desperate times require desperate measures, so there’s nothing else for it: they’ll have to join forces with their sworn enemy Billy Murphy (Shane Casey), who has come up with a foolproof scheme for stealing smart TVs.
It Pays to Behave
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
Former X Factor finalist Rylan Clark-Neal turns on the charm for this family game show as he puts mums and dads through their paces while they try to win a large cash prize by successfully completing various bespoke challenges designed to improve their parenting skills. First into the fray are Clare and Matt, who initially think they’re taking part in a documentary, until the truth is revealed.
Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
The veteran actor has been a regular visitor to Australia for 40 years – her partner, retired academic Heather Sutherland, hails from the country and they have a home in Robertson, New South Wales. Margolyes herself became an Australian citizen in 2013. So it’s a country she knows well – or at least superficially. Now she wants to delve deeper into her adopted nation’s psyche during a three-part road trip. She begins by leaving the comforts of home behind, although she isn’t exactly slumming it when she stops off at Bondi to meet an estate agent. However, Margolye then has an eye-opening experience while meeting some of the growing number who can’t afford to pay their rent after reaching retirement age.
Munster – The Brave & The Faithful
Friday, TG4, 1020pm
Munster Rugby’s proud tradition and competitive spirit have seen them emerge as one of the world’s best supported rugby teams. With such a rich tradition to draw on, including historic victories over the All Blacks in 1978 and the then unbeaten world champions Australia in 1992, Munster’s competitive legacy reached new heights on a glorious day in May 2006 when Munster were finally crowned Champions of Europe. The path to glory is charted in this memorable documentary.
Rodney P’s Jazz Funk
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
The UK rap legend tells the untold story of Britain’s first home-grown black music culture, jazz funk, revealing how the first generation of British-born black youth laid the foundations of modern-day multiculturalism. Rodney discovers how the scene emerged in the early 1970s when the children of Windrush Generation parents were coming of age, only to find there was nothing to reflect their new cultural identity. They’d been born and gone to school here, grown up in the same inner-city neighbourhoods as their white friends. But as they entered their teenage years, they wanted to make a space for self-expression that they could truly call their own.
QE2: The World’s Most Luxurious Hotel
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
New series. Life aboard the most famous ocean liner in the world, now a floating hotel in Dubai. Bigger than Titanic, the QE2 transported rock stars and royalty and sailed over six million miles, circumnavigating the globe 25 times before being retired. With more than 100 five-star hotels, competition in the Dubai hotel market is fierce and though millions have already been spent on her refurbishment, she’s still only 40 per cent complete. In this episode, the first VIP guests are due to check in and top chef Dino and his team have a big event planned — a traditional Burns night supper for 200 guests.
Jack Whitehall: I’m Only Joking
From Tuesday, Netflix
After a string of acting appearances, and teaming up with his dad for various travelogues and chat shows, viewers might have forgotten that Jack Whitehall started out as a stand-up comedian. Now he returns to the live comedy stage for this, his second original Netflix special, filmed at Wembley Stadium in January. The hour-long set promises tales about his aforementioned fatheras well as an uncomfortable story from the Berlin airport. Jack also gives his thoughts on happy couples, human stupidity and life in hotels, and also tries a spot of audience interaction – which doesn’t go quite as well as he might have hoped.
How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
From Tuesday, Netflix
The return of the hit German drama about high school outcast Moritz (Maximilian Mundt), who started out by selling ecstasy online in an attempt to impress his ex-girlfriend, only for the business to quickly spiral out of control. Before he knew it, he was running a large-scale drug trafficking website with the help of best friend Lenny (Danilo Kamperidis). As the new series begins, Moritz and the MyDrugs crew ramp up their hustle and the online drug shop becomes even more popular. As they discover, however, with great success comes greater danger.
Fear City: New York vs The Mafia
From Wednesday, Netflix
For many, the five families of New York brings to mind The Godfather, in which Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone headed up the most powerful of the Mafia clans ruling over the Big Apple. Fact or fiction? As it turned out, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 movie, and the novel by Mario Puzo on which it was based, was not a million miles from the truth: in the 1970s, the city was ruled with a bloody fist by five such families. This hard-hitting documentary series chronicles how a group of federal agents took on the Mafia empires of NYC at the height of their powers. And as any Godfather fan knows, you don’t mess with the mob.
From Friday, Disney+
Bob Woodruff and his son Mack embark on an epic journey to six regions mostly known for conflict: Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Ukraine. As a former war correspondent who was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006, Bob has seen and lived through the worst of what these places have to offer. Now he and Mack explore the best of them. Going off the guidebook, they find themselves hiking, descending waterfalls with former rebel fighters, and diving and parasailing their way through some of the most spectacular locations on the planet. They share more than a few touching moments on what is, surely, the ultimate the ultimate father-son bonding trip.
Offering to the Storm
From Friday, Netflix
Spanish police inspector Amaia Salazar investigates the death of a stillborn baby girl and the arrest of the father, who has been taken into custody after trying to run away with the child’s body while uttering strange sayings about an offering. Matters are further complicated by the discovery of red marks on the baby’s face, indicating she could have been murdered – prompting her grandmother to tell the story of a nightmarish creature that kills people in their sleep. The mystery takes Amaia and her team to a nearby valley and a mysterious death in a local prison before the truth is finally revealed. Marta Etura stars in this Spanish thriller (original title: Ofrenda a la Tormenta).