TV guide: 28 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Shackleton’s Cabin, Londongrad: Putin’s Billionaires, Keep It Up, Eipidéim, Clodagh, The Staircase, Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life, Love Life, The Pentaverate

Prisoner C33
Sunday, BBC Four, 9pm
It is the year 1895 and Reading Gaol has a famous inmate, known simply as Prisoner C33. Starved, placed into solitary confinement and denied even basic sanitation, this wretched creature is unrecognisable as his former self: renowned playwright, wit and dandy socialite Oscar Wilde. Jailed for the crime of conducting a homosexual relationship, Wilde is in the depths of despair and, in a bid to stave off insanity, begins to converse with his younger self, in this hard-hitting drama written by Stuart Patterson and directed by Trevor Nunn. Toby Stephens plays both versions of Wilde, one in his flamboyant pomp, the other looking back at his lost life and love.

Celtic Connections
Sunday, TG4, 9.30pm

Last in series. Music show filmed during Celtic Connections in GlasgowMusician and broadcaster Dónal O’Connor welcomes a diverse cast, including powerhouse duo Breanndán O’Beaglaíoch and Tim Edey; Orcadian band Fara; Scottish supergroup Frets; and celebrated musician Brian Finnegan, who brings an outstanding band to Glasgow.

The Great House Giveaway
Sunday, Channel 4, 7pm
The idea of this award-winning show is that instead of following people who are looking to add to their existing property portfolio or swap their current house for a grand design, it helps those struggling to get a foot on the ladder. Experts Simon O'Brien, Tayo Oguntonade and Carys Davies help two people who have never met before to buy a house at auction and then give them a renovation budget and a schedule (along with advice) to turn it around. If they can then sell it on for profit, they get to keep the cash. In the first episode, paramedic Sarah and garment technologist Paige have to work together to transform a crumbling Victorian terrace in the West Midlands. Even though they're strangers, they seem like a dream team, but will rising costs swallow their profits? The series continues weekdays at 4pm.

TK Maxx: How Do They Do It?
Sunday, Channel 5, 7pm
How does TK Maxx keep its products so cheap and apply all manner of psychological tricks to make us buy more? Featuring a cast of buyers, store managers, consumer writers, super-fans and the inimitable Grace Dent and Harry Wallop, this documentary looks at how retailer has bucked the high-street trend with sales hitting £3 billion. The programme answers those burning questions that every TK Maxx shopper has asked themselves: is this bargain too good to be true? And where do those strange brand names really come from?

Shackleton's Cabin
Monday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
On January 5th, 1922, Ernest Shackleton, world-famous Irish Antarctic explorer, died of a heart attack in his cabin aboard The Quest. With no appetite to continue, the crew returned home. Moored in Norway, The Quest was broken apart. But one of the dockers had the foresight to remove Shackleton's cabin. He took it home and it served as his family's garden shed for more than 70 years. This moving documentary follows one Irishman's painstaking journey to bring Shackleton's cabin back to its original state.

Sven Habermann is a Connemara-based historical object conservator with a passion for the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. In a fascinating twist of fate, the cabin from Shackleton’s final expedition has ended up in his workshop in Letterfrack, awaiting restoration. Just one original photograph of the interior survives, showing a bookshelf, the drawers on his bed and the clothes therein, and the electrical fittings. Habermann pores over the details and sets about meeting with those who can shed light on Shackleton’s story. These include Jan Chojecki, whose grandfather John Quiller Rowett financed the expedition; Alexandra Shackleton, the explorer’s granddaughter; and the world’s greatest living explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, who gives a fascinating insight into the mindset of an explorer.

Monday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Questions, questions, and only Google to give you answers. If you've ever pondered the many mysteries of life, you might need more than a search engine to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. So welcome to Brainstorm, a new series presented by social historian Donal Fallon where you'll find the answers to such burning questions as: How does the intricate Eurovision voting system work? What are the chilling real stories behind popular nursery rhymes? And which absolute sadist came up with the idea of the Leaving Cert? Fallon will be helped by a bunch of boffins and brainyheads to come up with the answers to understanding how this crazy world works.

DI Ray
Monday, ITV, 9pm

The latest production from Jed Mercurio’s company has been created and written by Maya Sondhi, who is a familiar face thanks to her role as ill-fated PC Maneet Bindra in Line of Duty. However, she isn’t playing the lead in her own project. Instead, Bend It Like Beckham and former ER star Parminder Nagra has that honour. She stars as DI Rachita Ray, a Birmingham police officer who, when we first meet her, has finally received the promotion she’s longed for. It comes just as a case involving a “culturally specific homicide” requires a lead detective.d Rachita begins to wonder if her new job is a token appointment, one that will tick boxes due to her ethnicity rather than her ability – something that makes her even more determined to find the killer and prove any doubters wrong.

Londongrad: Putin's Billionaires
Monday, Virgin One, 7pm
Vladimir Putin's oligarchs, many enriched through corruption and criminality, have colonised and dominated London. Putin's enemies, fleeing Moscow, sought refuge in the UK and paid the ultimate price. An estimated 60 percent of Russian wealth exists offshore and as sanctions take a toll, oligarchs are attempting to move that wealth out of reach. The documentary ask: how much dirty money has made its way to Ireland?

Below Deck: Mediterranean
Monday, E4, 8pm
The US reality show is back for its sixth season as Captain Sandy returns to Croatia at the helm of the mega-yacht Lady Michelle in the hope of guiding a new team through calmer waters along the stunning Dalmatian Coast. An accomplished yachtie, Katie joins as Sandy's first new Chief Stew in years. Meanwhile, the deck team discovers one of their deckhands is greener than they could imagine. By the time the first charter guests arrive, the team is left in an impossible situation that threatens to derail the season before it even begins.

Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
Last year Davina McCall fronted a documentary close to her heart. Sex, Myths and the Menopause charted her personal journey through a key event in a woman's life, and received such a positive response from others dealing with "the change" that she's back with a follow-up. This time the focus is on menopause in the workplace. She investigates whether women are sidelined, sacked or forced to go part-time as a result of their employers not fully understanding their situation. According to Louisa Compton, Channel 4's head of News and Current Affairs and Sport, the programme will "look firmly at what happens in the workplace to try and ensure that the symptoms of the menopause will no longer put the brakes on women's careers".

Married to a Psychopath
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Apparently, everyone has psychopathic tendencies to a degree; it's just that the vast majority of us don't act on them. This two-part documentary focuses on someone who certainly did – and the man who set out to bring him to justice. Charles Henry was a detective whose rural Scottish patch didn't really keep him busy, leaving him with plenty of time to investigate the behaviour of Malcolm Webster, a wicked predator with a lust for money who targeted wealthy women. It's a tale with many twists and unexpected turns.

Keep It Up
Tuesday, RTÉ2, 5pm

Emer O’Neill, basketball star and Ireland’s favourite PE teacher, puts her theory to the test as she brings together nine teenage girls who have either given up sport or never played. This six-part series follows the girls on their journeys both individually and as a group as they explore the complex relationships many young girls have with sport. More than half of girls participating in sports in Ireland drop out by the time they are 14. Puberty, bullying, crop tops, cliques, team sport vs singular sports, smelly dressing rooms, spray tans – everything is discussed. The documentary follows their success and failures over the course of an intense two-week period as they prepare to take on a “proper” basketball team in the National Basketetball Arena. Will they be humiliated? Or will these strangers gel on and off the court?

Derry Girls
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9pm
Conleth Hill recently delivered a top-class performance in Holding, ITV's adaptation of Graham Norton's debut novel. Here he's making a guest appearance as a local psychic whom the Quinns hope can help them make contact with the spirit of a much-loved family member. Meanwhile, the pals plan a booze-filled weekend break in Donegal, something that is sure to test James' limited driving experience to its limit. But how will they cope without adults for the first time?

The Man with a Penis on His Arm
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10.05pm
The programme with the most jaw-dropping title of the week is actually a serious documentary following the story of three men, not just one. The title actually refers to the situation of Malcolm MacDonald, a mechanic whose penis turned black and fell off after he contracted a horrific blood infection. Surgeons constructed a new one on his arm, the intention being to transfer it to his groin – a procedure which, six years later, is yet to happen. MacDonad describes his experience and hopes for the future. Also featured is Anick, who was born intersex and has spent his life undergoing surgery; and Lee, who was born in a female body but has undergone phalloplasty as part of his gender-changing journey.

Wednesday, TG4, 9.45pm
As if we didn't have enough of pandemics and plagues, here's a new history and science series looking at outbreaks of the past, including smallpox, cholera and typhuys, and examining the real-life stories of those who lived and died through them. Social historian Siobhra Aiken and medic Maitiú Ó Tuathail are the presenters.

Kicking Off: The Rise and Fall of the Super League
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9.30pm
It was the most dramatic 48 hours in the history of football. In April 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, the owners and executives of a cabal of top clubs attempted a bullish and brazen power grab to shape the football in their unscrupulous terms for their own benefit. However, not long after the astonishing announcement that a European Super League was being set up, the house of cards began to fall. One by one, the clubs bowed to pressure, pulled out of the ESL and issued apologies. Gary Lineker, Lord Alan Sugar and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters are among the contributors asking what really led to these owners forming an unlikely alliance of American hedge funds, Russian oligarchs, European industrial tycoons and Gulf royals? And how could a plan that would have changed the very essence of football appear out of nowhere?

Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

The mononymously named Clodagh is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed designers, a trailblazer who became a household name at home in the 1960s, then left Ireland and a marriage behind to make her mark in the New York design scene. Clodagh Phibbs set up her fashion design studio at just 17, but found Ireland’s restrictive society a poor fit for her independence and ambition. After a long, drawn-out separation from her husband, she moved to the US. Over the past 40 years she has established herself as a world-renowned interior designer, bringing style and flair to hotels, spas and private houses around the world. This documentary looks at Clodagh’s colourful life and how she bucked the system to build up a hugely successful design brand.

The Staircase
Thursday, Sky Atlantic/Now TV, 9pm

Colin Firth puts aside the posh public school voice to play a North Carolina patriarch in this drama based on real-life events. In 2004, American author Michael Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder after his wife Kathleen (Toni Colette) was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their family home in 2001. But things weren’t that cut-and-dried. Although Peterson insisted he was innocent and was granted a retrial, to this day no one can say for certain what really happened in 2001. Firth says he had to dig deep to play the inscrutable character, with help from Colette as Katherine and an all-star cast that includes Parker Posey, Sophie Turner and Juliette Binoche. The first three episodes in this eight-parter are being shown back to back.

Secret Spenders: Beat the Price Rises
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
With the world hit by rocketing energy bills, food prices and inflation, we could all do with a money makeover. Anita Rani is back with a full run of the series that aims to help cash-strapped families battle the cost of living by secretly filming their out-of-control spending habits. In London, Rai is desperate to know why they can't pay their debts – until she discovers that her husband MK is spending a small fortune on designer gear. In Milton Keynes, Daryl needs help confronting his spendaholic partner Natalie to stop her splashing the cash on beauty treatments and eating out. As well as following these two couples, the show also features topical consumer advice, as well as tips and hacks on practical ways to cut costs.

Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life
Thursday, BBC Two, 8pm
Last October former Arsenal England footballer Paul Merson revealed in a BBC documentary that he had lost £7 million over 35 years due to his gambling addiction. Here, Merson takes a walk in the North York Moors and reflects on his life and career as well as a three-decade-long struggle with alcohol and gambling. He describes the loss of time he will never get back, but after three years sober says he feels "present and in the moment" thanks to on-going therapy, his wife, family and faith. Stopping in a church, he talks about the role religion plays in his life and recovery and, in moving tributes to his dad and wife, describes the sacrifices they have made for him throughout his life.

The Other One
Friday, BBC One, 12.35am

Think your family dynamic is complicated? Welcome back to the world of Catherine and Catherine Walcott, two sisters who share the same name, and who only learned of each other’s existence after their dad, Colin, passed away. Now, family life is about to get even weirder for Cat and Cathy in the second season of the comedy, as they discover they have a brother, Callum – and Cathy has snogged him, leading to icks all round. Meanwhile, Cat’s mum, Marilyn, is a bit miffed when she learns that Colin had other mistresses on the go besides her, while Cathy’s mum, Tess, decides it’s time to splash out and have a merry widow of a time.

The Terror: Infamy
Friday, BBC Two, 9pm
The first series of this horror anthology was inspired by the real-life story of Captain Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic. The drama put its own supernatural spin on the tale, although it was a fact that one of the ships was called HMS Terror. This second run tells a very different story, but once again the setting is loosely inspired by real events, namely the forcible internment of people of Japanese ancestry in the US during the second World War. Also drawing on Japanese folklore, the opening double bill sees the community of Terminal Island in southern California dealing with a spate of sudden deaths. Then news comes of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Derek Mio and George Takei are among the cast.

Love Life
Friday, BBC One, 1.05am

The romantic anthology returns for a new run, and although the star of the first season, Anna Kendrick, will be popping up, this time the spotlight is on the life and loves of Marcus Watkins (William Jackson Harper). When we first meet him in this opening double bill, he’s married to Emily (Maya Kazan), but begins questioning their relationship when he strikes up a friendship with the charismatic Mia (Jessica Williams). His mates warn him against getting too close to this new woman, suggesting he works on his marriage instead, but will he listen?

Lighthouses: Building the Impossible
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
Situated 20 miles off the Pembrokeshire coast, Smalls lighthouse is one of Britain's most remote offshore lighthouses. As Rob Bell discovers, it presented challenges for builders and architects, but also the keepers: the presenter shares the macabre story of a man who was forced to share a prison-like cabin with his dead companion. Bell discovers that legend has it that tragedy struck again when a rogue wave found a weak point in the building's design, and he checks out Edinburgh University's cutting-edge wave tank facility to separate fact from fiction.


The Pentaverate
From Thursday, Netflix

It’s been a quiet few years for Mike Myers, but he’s making up for lost time by tackling multiple roles in this six-episode comedy series, which he also created and co-wrote. The Pentaverate is a spin-off from Myers’s 1993 movie So I Married an Axe Murderer. It reveals that since the Black Plague in 1347, five men have been trying to influence world events for the greater good. Canadian journalist Ken Scarborough (Myers) is inadvertently caught up in an effort to reveal the truth – and may hold the key to saving humanity. Lydia West, Jennifer Saunders and Ken Jeong costar; Jeremy Irons narrates.

The Wilds
From Friday, Amazon Prime

A bunch of teenage girls are trapped on a desert island without any boys; in the world of YA fiction, this of course amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment. And it gets worse in season two of this drama series: turns out there’s a second island, where a bunch of teenage boys are trapped, in what we now know is an elaborate social experiment (or just an idea for a Too Hot to Handle style reality series). Both sexes must fight to survive on their separate islands while trying to learn the intentions of their unseen overlords. But the big question on everyone’s lips is, when will the boys and girls get to hook up?

Soho Theatre Live
From Friday, Amazon Prime
The venue is famous for being one of London's most vibrant venues for new theatre, comedy and cabaret. This third series will comprises 10 critically acclaimed comedy performances filmed at the theatre by a range of both established names and rising stars. Alfie Brown, Anuvab Pal, Felicity Ward, Luisa Omeilan, Mark Watson, Michael Odewale, Natalie Palamides, Olga Koch, Spencer Jones and Suzi Ruffell are the participants exercising their funny bones.

From Friday, Apple TV+

The first run of this taut espionage thriller won an Emmy for Best Drama Series. Its second season sees multi-Oscar nominee Glenn Close join the ensemble cast. A huge fan of Tehran, it seems Close jumped at the chance to play Marjan Montazeri, a British national living in the city; the character was specifically created for her. Once again the storyline will follow the fortunes of Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan (Liv Sultan), whose undercover mission places herself and those around her in danger.

Contributing: PA

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