TV Guide: 29 of the best shows to watch this week
Daniel O’Donnell, David Gray, Sex in Lockdown, Love in Isolation, Artemis Fowl
Judi Dench in Artemis Fowl, streaming from Friday on Disney+
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
Okay, Montrose, the jig is up. We know your little game. You’re trying to distract us during lockdown by rerunning some of the best telly programmes around. Did Leo put you up to it? First it was the return of Love/Hate, and now it’s another outing for the wonderful Derry Girls. You’re hoping we’ll be so immersed in the comedic activities of Erin, Orla, Claire, Michelle – and James – we won’t notice how our civil liberties have been trashed and we’ll be too busy laughing our heads off to bother storming Government Buildings to protest at the loss of freedoms.
Derry Girls is set in the titular city in the 1990s, at the height of the Troubles, and stars Saoirse-Monica Jackson as self-delusional teenager Erin, with Tara Lynne O’Neill as her tough, uncompromising mother, Tommy Tiernan as the hapless dad, and Ian McIlhinney as the fearsome grandad. Comedic genius runs through every scene in this series, and there are stand-out performances from the cast, including a meme-friendly turn from Siobhan McSweeney as the terminally jaded school principal Sr Michael. What, there’s an anti-lockdown rally on O’Connell Street? Sorry, I’m busy, er, washing my hands.
Daniel sa Bhaile
Sunday, TG4, 6.40pm
In times of great crisis, we look for a great leader to bring us comfort. A calm, authoritative presence to soothe our fevered brow and tell us everything’s going to be all right. And lo! Daniel O’Donnell has answered Ireland’s call, and is inviting us all into his home in Kincasslagh for a brand new series that promises to banish all pandemic anxiety from our souls. Daniel will dispense great wisdom and spiritual guidance, dish out the chat and the craic with special guests, and even demonstrate his newly acquired hula-hooping skills. The nation can breathe easier knowing that Daniel is watching out for our wellbeing from his Donegal eyrie.
In the first episode, Daniel chats with Clannad star Moya Brennan, from just up the road in Gweedore, about how Covid-19 has disrupted the band’s plans for a farewell tour. We’ll also meet one of the many Irish couples whose wedding plans have been thrown into disarray by coronavirus, and Daniel will reconnect with his old friend Gloria Hunniford. His better half, Majella, will also drop in at regular intervals, but will Daniel sing an aul’ song? Is the pope a Catholic?
Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery
Sunday, Channel 4, 9.15pm
New documentary series on the killing of British tourist Peter Falconio in Australia’s Northern Territory in July 2001, exploring the details and questions that surround this infamous case. In this first episode, Andrew Fraser, formerly one of Australia’s foremost criminal defence lawyers, begins the reinvestigation, visiting the Outback crime scene and speaking to a leading forensic scientist and witnesses from the time of the murder, who raise serious questions about evidence in the case. The whole series is available to stream or download, free, on All 4, straight after the transmission of this episode.
Fearless: Samantha Barry
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
With six days to go to 29th Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards, one of the key events in the Condé Nast calendar featuring honourees such as Jane Fonda, Megan Rapinoe and Charlize Theron. This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows editor-in-chief Samantha Barry’s journey to the staple event. The filmmakers sit in onh key meetings, meet the various teams and are part of the journey with the Cork woman in the run-up to the pressured event.They chart Barry’s career at the BBC and CNN en route to Glamour. How did this Ballincollig woman become one of the most important people in US media and why she was called “fearless” by one of fashion’s most feared women, Anna Wintour.
Romeo and Juliet: Royal Shakespeare Company
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
Shakespeare’s most tragic love story is revived in this modern interpretation by the RSC. Filmed live in Stratford-upon-Avon, deputy artistic director Erica Whyman’s lively 2018 reimagining focuses on the pains of adolescence and the difference in settling conflicts with words instead of violence. Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick are utterly believable and very touching in the title roles, joined by Afolabi Alli as Paris, Donna Banya as Gregory and Charlotte Josephine as the bold Mercutio.
Sitting in Limbo
Monday, BBC1, 8.30pm
In 2018 Britain was rocked by the Windrush scandal, after it emerged that the Home Office was detaining and deporting migrants and children of migrants brought to the UK from the Caribbean as part of the so-called Windrush generation. These migrants were British subjects, and many were born in the UK or had arrived before 1973. But thanks to then Home secretary Theresa May’s immigration policies, they were targeted because their papers were not “in order”. This one-off drama tells the story of one such citizen, Anthony Bryan (played by Patrick Robinson), who has been living in the UK since he was eight, and now has a family of his own. When Bryan applies for a passport in order to visit his mother in Jamaica, he learns to his horror that there is no record of him as a British citizen. Soon his life is turned upside-down as he is forced out of his job, denied benefits and idetained as an illegal immigrant.
Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
Last summer the BBC sent a camera crew into the tiny but powerful principality of Monaco to find out how the other 1 per cent lives. Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world, but it’s also one of the richest, and if you’re not at least a millionaire, dahling, then you’ve no business being here. So why is Monaco so attractive for the super-rich? Simple: they pay no income tax! We meet some of these super-rich on their home playground, as well as some of the army of staff on helicopters (Monaco’s taxis) superyachts and luxury hotels who must cater to their every whim. We also gain access to the palace of Prince Albert II and go trackside at the Monaco Grand Prix with former Formula One winner David Coulthard and F1 owner Eddie Jordan. Since this series was made, Monaco has been hit with coronavirus, with 99 cases and four deaths out of a population of 38,300, but you can bet its citizens are having a very comfortable lockdown.
I May Destroy You
Monday/Tuesday, BBC1, 11.15pm
Every aspiring writer dreams of getting that elusive book deal, but does that mean your life is one happy-ever-after? For young writer Arabella Essuiedu, the path to literary success is fraught with personal danger, and when she is sexually assaulted in a nightclub, the story takes on a decidedly darker hue. This 12-part drama, created by and starring Michaela Coel, explores issues around consent, and also asks a very pointed question: where do you draw the line between liberation and exploitation?
The Bidding Room
Monday, BBC1, 3.45pm
This new series comes from the makers of The Repair Shop, although some viewers may also be reminded of Channel 4’s Four Rooms. Hosted by Nigel Havers, The Bidding Room is set in an emporium in the Yorkshire countryside where a group of expert dealers will be trying to outbid each other to buy extraordinary items brought in by the public. To make sure the sellers get the best deals, they will meet the room’s valuation expert who will talk to them about their item’s history – and what it’s potentially worth. First up in this opening episode is Paul from Devon, who has an unusual piece of hairdressing memorabilia. To get a good price, the dealers will first have to work out what it is. Meanwhile, Belinda from Salford is hoping to clean up with something she salvaged from the rubbish.
Ocean Autopsy: The Secret Story of Our Seas
Monday, BBC4, 9pm
The world’s waters are split into five distinct oceans, but in reality, they are part of one huge global system. This system has been instrumental in shaping our destiny for millions of years. But now, in the 21st century, it’s humankind that is shaping the destiny of our oceans. In this new film, viewers will embark on a journey to carry out an autopsy on the ocean itself, where leading oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski and zoologist Dr George McGavin will reveal the startling changes it is undergoing. The duo will look at the water’s toxicity due to industrial chemicals and investigate a plague of microplastics saturating the water.
The Secret She Keeps
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Two women, both with very different lives, but both apparently wanting the same things. This new Australian psychological thriller series, based on the bestselling novel by Michael Robotham, is a tale of what happens when you covet another person’s seemingly perfect life. Meghan (Jessica De Gouw) is a successful “mommy blogger”, presenting an image of maternal bliss to her vast internet following. Agatha (Laura Carmichael) is a supermarket shelf-stacker who envies Meghan and longs for an Instagram-friendly family of her own. But of course, nothing is as it seems: Meghan’s carefully constructed online image is threatening to fall apart, and when Agatha announces to her ex-boyfriend that she’s pregnant, things really take a darker turn.
Tim Robinson – Connemara
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
In 1972, English writer, cartographer, mathematician, artist and illustrator Tim Robinson upped sticks from his native Yorkshire and moved to the Aran Islands with his wife, Mairead. He quickly “went native”, creating magnificent maps of the local landscape, and chronicling the nature, culture, language and customs of the region. Robinson, a highly respected member of Aosdána and the Royal Irish Academy, wrote several acclaimed books, including his award-winning Connemara trilogy (Listening to the Wind, The Last Pool of Darkness and A Little Gaelic Kingdom). He sadly died in London in April after contracting coronavirus – just two weeks after Mairead’s death. As a tribute to this towering figure in the west of Ireland, TG4 is reshowing Pat Collins’s 2011 documentary on one of Connemara’s most celebrated residents.
Wednesday, BBC1, 11.15pm
Most actors will have spent these lockdown weeks wondering when and where their next job will be coming from. Many have found a way to keep working through lockdown. Among them are David Tennant and Michael Sheen, who are teaming up for this six-part comedy about the cast of a play furloughed when their upcoming West End production is brought to a halt. But the show must go on, so they are trying to continue their rehearsals in lockdown. Filmed using a combination of self-shooting and video-conferencing technology – and with a supporting cast that also includes the actors’ real-life partners Georgia Tennant and Anna Lundberg – the series explores the challenges in creating drama both on stage and off.
Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad
Wednesday, ITV, 8pm
Bradley Walsh and his son Barney embark on another road trip across America, beginning their adventure in Los Angeles. Kicking things off in Venice Beach, the pair get in shape with a game of volleyball and pump some weights at Muscle Beach, but the following day Bradley is pushed to his limits when Barney reveals he has arranged for them to go skydiving. Leaving LA behind them, they head into the desert towards Arizona on the famous Route 66, where the pair head off to Cowboy College.
David Gray: Ireland’s Greatest Hit
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Here’s the story of how a broke Welsh singer made an album in his spare room that became the biggest selling of all time in Ireland. This warm, fuzzy retrospective goes back to the now blissful late ’90s, when people could cram into sweaty huddles and sing their heads off as they were squashed up against complete strangers with no boundaries. Ireland was changing fast as we cemented our place in the big leagues, and David Gray was the soundtrack to those exciting times. Modern Ireland had turned its back on singer-songwriters, but Gray jumpstarted a whole new era of troubadours as he blended his influences from Bob Dylan to Rave. The doc also features Glen Hansard, Marc Almond from Soft Cell, Phil Hartnoll from Orbital, Donal Dineen, David’s mum and a few special guests they were not allowed (we’re told) to put into the press release.
Other Voices: Courage
Thursday, RTÉ2, 11pm
Renowned singer- songwriter Lisa Hannigan, joined by Loah and Kevin Murphy of Slow Moving Clouds, gives an uplifting performance recorded in The National Gallery of Ireland. Courage is a project that delivers inspiring performances from brilliant artists to the public during the Covid-19 crisis, supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Intel Ireland and RTÉ.
Ross Kemp: Living with Dementia
Thursday, ITV, 7.30pm
Last year the actor-turned-presenter announced he wanted to make a programme about Alzheimer’s in tribute to his former EastEnders co-star Barbara Windsor. Her husband Scott Mitchell announced in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with the condition four years earlier. Kemp fulfils his wish via this two-part documentary, which opens up the subject to include other forms of dementia. Mitchell talks to him about the subject, but it’s the time Kemp spends with actor, magician and keen sportsman Jerry Beckman, who has early onset dementia and Parkinson’s disease, that really brings home the tragedy of this most cruel of health issues.
You Are What You Wear
Thursday, BBC1, 8.05pm
Rylan Clark-Neal hosts a fashion makeover show, with five stylists advising a diverse range of people in need of a significant style overhaul. In the first edition they help Chris, a 6ft 5in personal hygiene salesman who only wears black, and 5ft 3in Manny, who has been wearing children’s clothes for years and is looking for a grown-up style with sass. PE teacher Rachel wants to swap gym wear for glamour, while warehouse employee Karen is worried that her work wardrobe is creeping into her weekend.
What We Do in the Shadows
Thursday, BBC2, 11.30am
New York-based vampires Laszlo, Nadja and Nandor are back for another series of bloodsucking misadventures spun off from the cult hit movie. The run opens with a double-bill guest-starring Haley Joel Osment and Benedict Wong. Laszlo and Nadja finally get their own familiar, Topher. He’s hugely efficient, which annoys Guillermo, and his sudden death leads the vampires to hire a necromancer to revive him – with disastrous results. Nadja also performs a seance when the house is invaded by ghosts.
Sex in Lockdown: Keep S******* and Carry On
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
Many of us have been making their own entertainment during lockdown. Does that involve watching more Netflix or have they been doing more “chilling” as well? We’re about to find out as a mix of faces join Anna Richardson as she gets to grips with all things love, sex and romance, delving into the ways sex in Britain has altered since people were ordered to stay indoors. She also reveals the results of a specially commissioned survey on exactly what the Great British Public have been getting up to during lockdown.
Jason Manford’s Muddle Class
Friday, BBC1, 10.45pm
Jason Manford is a TV presenter as well as an actor, and he can also hold a tune – as viewers discovered when he finished second in The Masked Singer (although some will already have been aware of his impressive voice thanks to musical theatre appearances in everything from The Producers to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). But he first made his name as a comedian, and he’s going back to his roots with this stand-up show. It finds him musing on his working-class upbringing, and his rather more middle-class current lifestyle, a change that has left him more than a little confused (hence the title). But he’ll be attempting to make sense of it all, using his trademark with and warmth.
The Gadget Show
Friday, Channel 5, 7pm
New series. Jon Bentley takes Google’s latest laptop – the Pixelbook Go – on a day’s work experience at one of the world’s foremost news websites, the Mail Online. The G Team assists some NHS nurses who want to see how gadgets can get them improve their sleep patterns when working night shifts. Plus: Craig Charles attempts to turn a house into a smart home using off-the-shelf DIY kits and Georgie Barrat hunts down the must-haves for 2020 at the CES exhibition in Las Vegas.
A Greek Odyssey with Bettany Hughes
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
The historian is off on her travels again in this new series, which finds her exploring the beautiful Greek islands, beginning from the coast of Turkey, where the mythical Trojan War took place, and ending in Ithaca. There’s more to the series than just island hopping, as Hughes explores Greek history and culture from the ancient times to the present, highlighting hidden treasures and new finds along the way. She begins in the eastern Mediterranean by meeting underwater archaeologist George Koutsouflakis, who takes her to the site of 58 shipwrecks dating back 2,500 years.
Code 37: Sex Crimes
Friday, More4, 9pm
The long-running Belgian policier returns for a third season. In tonight’s opener, a well-known writer is assaulted in a porn cinema. He had an appointment there with Roos, a young student working as a prostitute, and it soon becomes clear that quite a few students are resorting to working in the sex trade. Concerned, Hannah sends Kevin and Charles undercover in the Sin City club, a place for everyone shunning daylight and for girls looking for clients. But following their visit, one of the bouncers is found dead.
Love in Isolation
From Tuesday, RTÉ Player
Finding companionship during this difficult and lonely time just got easier. In this new six-part dating format created just for lockdown, love-lost singletons meet via video chat. Will online love blossom and lead to real world romance?
Monaghan man Adam and Limerick lady Ciara connect for the first time as they seek to find love in lockdown. Will they have chemistry and want to meet in the real world? Home carer Joanna has been single since a 13-year relationship with her former fiance ended two years ago. Divine intervention might be just around the corner in the form of a quirky character by the name of Paul aka “Irish Jesus”. Neil is a slave to the power of heavy metal music, whilset Alan is a self-confessed Whitney fanatic. Do opposites attract or will this relationship be over before it even begins?
Savannah and Emmet are both fitness fanatics who were forced to move back home to Ireland due to the pandemic. Might they be working out together as soon as the lockdown is over? Wicklow native Rian is living in Berlin while make-up artist Laoise is back with her mum in Cork. Can love blossom for these two lonely hearts? Lastly, Dublin-based Gráinne is looking for the Irish Bear Grills. Will she find this in Antrim native Chris and – will she be able to steal him away from his mammy to go on a real world date?
From Friday, Disney+
Eoin Colfer’s much-loved literary hero finally makes it to the screen in this adaptation of the first novel in the series. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it stars newcomer Ferdia Shaw (grandson of Jaws actor Robert Shaw) as Artemis Fowl II, a 12-year-old criminal mastermind with a genius IQ. He’s searching for his father, who has been kidnapped by a gang of fairies; they want to reclaim an item stolen from them. He’s not alone in his task: along for the ride and helping every step of the way are young Master Fowl’s faithful servant, a dwarf and a fairy. Colin Farrell, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Adrian Scarborough and Nonso Anozie are among the impressive supporting cast.
Da 5 Bloods
From Friday, Netflix
Oscar-winning film-maker Spike Lee’s relationship with Netflix continues via this drama starring Chadwick Boseman, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo, Jean Reno, Jonathan Majors and Norm Lewis. The story focuses on four Vietnam War veterans who return to the country to search for the remains of their fallen squad leader. They’re also hunting for a stash of buried treasure, but en route are forced to confront the lasting ravages of a brutal conflict that continues to impact on their lives. As with other entries on Lee’s CV, this production pulls no punches; added realism comes from the fact it was shot on location in Vietnam.
From Friday, Netflix
As the days get brighter, we need something dark and ominous to offset all this seasonal jollity. Here’s a Polish production that promises positively wintry levels of desolation and despair. Fans of the Harry and Jack Williams-written series The Missing will feel right at home in the uneasy environment. Based on a novel by Harlan Coben, The Woods centres around Warsaw prosecutor Pawel Kopinski, who is still grieving the loss of his sister 25 years ago, after she walked into the woods at summer camp and disappeared without a trace. When the body of a murder victim is identified as a boy who also disappeared along with Pawel’s sister back in 1999, the cold case is reopened and Pawel set out to discover if his sister is still alive.
From Friday, All4
The latest continental offering from the Walter Presents stable hails from the Netherlands. It’s a coming of age story set within the LGBTQ+ community. Anne (Hanna van Vlket) and Lil (Eline van Gils) are former lovers who bump into each other four years after their split, and Anne spends the subsequent weekend examining their relationship and her subsequent partners. The drama reveals that she and Lily had been a couple at high school, and that they began drifting apart after moving to Amsterdam to attend university, before revealing the impact various other women have had on Anne’s life. The 11-part series was created by Maud Wiemeijer and Valerie Bisscheroux, who hope it offers positive role models to young gay women.