TV Guide: 29 of the best shows to watch this week
Daithí’s Decade of Roses, Famalam, The Toughest Summer, Scannal, Cobra Kai
Billie Piper in I Hate Suzi, premiering Thursday on Sky Atlantic
BBC Proms Classics: The Simon Bolivar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
Sunday, BBC4, 7.25pm
Katie Derham continues to look back through the Proms archives and tonight she is joined by conductor Gustavo Dudamel for his 2007 debut Prom. The dazzling performance included Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, which is seen as a depiction of the Stalin years in Russia, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, including the piece when star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria see each other for the first time and dance together. There’s also a feast of musical gems from Latin American composers Marquez, Ginastera and Gutierrez.
Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing
Sunday, BBC2, 8.00pm (repeated Thursday, 11.30pm)
Bob and Paul are back with a third series of their Bafta-nominated programme. The light-hearted banter and camaraderie between the two friends is what makes the show work; you certainly don’t need to be a keen angler to tune in. Over the course of the next six weeks, the duo will cast off at some of the most picturesque angling spots in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, putting the world to rights, eating heart-healthy food and yes, even catching a fish or two. The programme is a true tonic that may even lower your blood pressure.
George Clarke’s National Trust Unlocked
Sunday, C4, 9.00pm
George Clarke ia granted special access to some of the UK’s most impressive historifc piles and delves into the hidden recesses that visitors don’t normally get to see. In this first episode, his journey begins in Dorset at the UK’s most exquisite example of Italianate architecture: the magnificent 17th-century Kingston Lacy. He uncovers a tale of shame and scandal on the south coast, and the beautiful Cotswold landmark – Hidcote Manor Gardens – in full bloom takes his breath away. Clarke also mines the history of the country’s last cave dwellers at the Rock Houses at Kinver Edge, and with his husky Loki takes a walk at spectacular Studland Bay, part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
Harry Hill’s World of TV
Sunday, BBC2, 8.30pm
The big-collared comedian is back with a new telly-centric series, but this isn’t just another TV Burp – each week Hill takes on an entire genre of TV and pokes around inside to see how it works. It’s a TV history lesson of sorts, with a madcap teacher in charge who just can’t help gurning at the camera every 10 seconds. In between crazy comedic turns, Hill will attempt to uncover some tricks of the telly trade, starting this week with the world of soaps. How do soap writers come up with ever-more-salacious storylines, and how do they keep viewers hooked on the daily goings-on in such imaginary neighbourhoods as Walford (EastEnders) and Weatherfield (Corrie)? But can Hill unravel the biggest mystery behind soaps, ie, why does the flippin’ story never end?
The Unbelievable Story of Carl Beech
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
In 2014, a man named Carl Beech launched a blog in which he detailed the horrific sexual abuse he had suffered in the 1970s and 1980s. What was even more shocking about his revelations was that the alleged perpetrators were powerful, well-connected men, some even household names. Among them were his stepfather, Maj Raymond Beech; the former head of the British armed forces Lord Bramall; and the former prime minister Edward Heath. But the biggest name on Beech’s list was that of the late Jimmy Savile, who had only recently been revealed to have been a prolific paedophile.
How could one person have endured so much abuse from so many high-ups without anyone suspecting anything? Beech’s story was taken so seriously that the Metropolitan police launched a massive investigation, Operation Midland. When Beech claimed he had witnessed Lord Bramall and two prominent Conservatives murder three young boys, the Met raided their homes in search of evidence, but found nothing.
Britain was gripped by Beech’s story, but it didn’t take long for his tissue of lies to unravel, and soon Beech himself was under investigation for allegedly downloading pornographic images and taking photos and videos of young boys. Fleeing the UK after his hoax was exposed, Beech was eventually caught and sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. This documentary by acclaimed film-maker Vanessa Engle delves into the incredible tale of how one man constructed a huge, twisted fantasy and took an entire nation with him on an ego trip that left many lives shattered and many people dealing with real abuse feeling betrayed.
Daithí’s Decade of Roses
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
Okay, Covid, now you’ve gone too far. You’ve forced the cancellation of the most important event on the telly calendar, The Rose of Tralee. YOU WILL PAY DEARLY FOR THIS. With this year’s lovely girls beano put on hold, that’s two red-letter days wiped off the calendar, but never fear: RoT presenter Daithí Ó Sé is here to bring you some fond memories of pageants past as he looks back over his 10-year tenure as compère and chief Rose inquisitor. The clever title doubles as a reminder that this event carries almost as much religious significance as the Eucharistic Congress.
Could they have gone ahead with it, observing social distance protocols? Don’t be ridiculous. Ca you imagine the Roses in face masks, hiding their girl-next-door good looks? Or the escorts having to stand 2m away from their precious charges throughout the celebrations? We’ll just have to pray that things can get back to normal next year, and we can once again marvel at how great girls are at Irish dancing, playing the tuba and arc-welding a gantry. Meanwhile, Ó Sé will bring us some unforgettable moments from the past 10 years, both funny and poignant. Among the former will be the time he had to kiss a fish, do the ice-bucket challenge and wear kinky boots. And among the latter will be the 2017 San Francisco Rose, Amanda Donohoe, talking about her sister Ashley and cousin Olivia Burke, both of whom died in the Berkeley balcony collapse.
Monday, BBC1, 11.45pm
The acclaimed comedy sketch show returns, pulling back the curtain on interracial adverts and discovering what happens when someone reveals spoilers for a TV series. In the opening episode, The E19 posse do their bit for the environment, there is an episode of Jamaican Countdown, and the African aunties learn their nephew’s secret. Starring Vivienne Acheampong, Samson Kayo, Bafta Award-winner Gbemisola Ikumelo and Danielle Vitalis, who was recently seen in the much-talked-about I May Destroy You.
Carricks, in the Wake of the Irish
Monday, RTÉ One, 11.15pm
In 1847, the Carricks of Whitehaven carrying 187 Irish passengers sank of the coast of Canada’s Gaspé Peninsula. Charles Kavanagh, whose ancestors were among the few survivors of the shipwreck, is on a quest to uncover his origins. He only recently learned why he had never found any trace of his ancestors in the Carricks’ records: the name Kavanagh was previously Kaveney. Also, where did a violin marked “Stradivarius” come from? With the help of DNA testing of the recovered bones, a voyage retracing the path of his Irish ancestors, and research into the origins of the strange violin, Kavanagh asks: What is in a name? How does it influence our identity? What is left of the legacy of our Irish ancestors in Quebec?
Monday, Channel 4, 10.00pm
It’s estimated that there are now around 1.5 million people involved in the British swinging scene – or there were before the pandemic made meeting up difficult. As this pre-lockdown documentary reveals, it’s all a far cry from the “keys in a bowl” image many have of the activity. The internet has opened it up to a wider audience, and there are now clubs in many major towns and cities. Here cameras go behind the scenes at one such venue, Liberty Elite, which was founded in 1999, as its organisers prepare for a Valentine’s Day party. The programme reveals that people from all demographics are welcome, while members in committed relationships as well as singletons discuss the passion for the lifestyle.
The Toughest Summer
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.10pm
The Toughest Summer is the story of a summer where sport took a backseat and support came to the fore. Starring every element of the GAA community, this story takes us from complete lockdown to the first throw-in. It follows the return to GAA of players, including Kilkenny’s TJ Reid and Galway’s Caitriona Cormican, coaches, volunteers and clubs and the joy that being able to restart Gaelic Games has brought to communities nationwide. The story will document GAA and Camogie communities as they look towards the first year without an All-Ireland Series to follow the County Club Championships and the first ever winter All Ireland Inter-County Championships.
Tuesday, TG4, 8pm
The first episode of this new series of Scannal looks back at the two-word phrase that brought about a constitutional crisis and led to the resignation of a president that would live in political infamy for decades. On October 18th, 1976 minister for defence 4 stood up to address the varied ranks of Army personnel, his speech kicked off a crisis. He declared, to the massed army ranks that the president of Ireland, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, their supreme commander, was a “Thundering disgrace!”
Pink Dreams – Our Lives
Tuesday, BBC1, 7.30pm
Grandmother Lorraine Colville (57) came to singing late in life. But her tribute act to US megastar Pink, 20 years her junior, has set Colville free. This documentary explores what it takes to spend your life trying to be someone else and the sheer thrill of performing in front of hundreds of adoring fans. Just like her idol, Colville had a troubled early life. From battling teenage anorexia to feeling trapped by society’s expectations of what a young mother should be and do, she spent her first 50 years struggling to find a voice. Ironically. performing as Pink has allowed Lorraine to do just that.
How to Avoid a Second Wave
Tuesday, Channel 4, 9pm
For many people, the lifting of lockdown restrictions was a welcome chance to get back to work, go to the pub or even go on holiday. But increased freedom has brought a creeping rise in the infection rate and local lockdowns. This situation unique to Britain, as the Irish well know. Once again, people are questioning how we can strike a balance between protecting the economy and avoiding a second wave of Covid-19. In this documentary, Dr Xand van Tulleken and Dr Guddi Singh ask some of the big questions, including what impact reopening schools will have and if the UK’s test-and-trace system is working well enough to handle another potential rise in cases.
Food Unwrapped: Fast Food Special
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8.00pm
Matt Tebbutt heads to KFC to learn if there’s a way to tackle one of the pitfalls of takeaways: soggy chips. Kate Quilton finds out how Papa John’s keep its pizzas consistent across 400 different retail outlets. Jimmy Doherty and Helen Lawal discovers how instant noodles are made (and they don’t just mean by adding hot water) and there’s also a look at why we can eat rare steak, but pink burgers are off the menu. Tebbutt also gets arguably the best assignment, as he goes all the way to Cyprus to find out how to put the pocket in pitta bread.
The Truth About Cosmetic Treatments
Tuesday, BBC1, 8.00pm
The days when cosmetic treatments meant invasive surgeries are long gone; now 90 per cent of so called “tweakments” avoid the knife all together. That may be one reason why the number of Brits choosing to have one of these procedures has doubled over the past decade. But does it necessarily follow that they are also now safer? This documentary explores what is still a largely unregulated industry, and looks at the impact of changing our faces and bodies on our physical and mental health.
Wednesday, BBC1, 11.15pm
If you’re a fan of classic 1990s supernatural drama Charmed, then this new 10-part thriller could bring a similar sort of magic into your life. Fort Salem is set in an alternate United States where witches ended their persecution 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the burgeoning US government in return for fighting for their country with supernatural tactics and weapons. As a dangerous rebel group called The Spree carries out a series of brutal attacks, three novice witches join the army as new recruits. In the second episode, the trio are allowed to attend an annual witch celebration in Salem town after excelling at Windstrike training. But what should be a pleasant day out is disrupted.
Peter: The Human Cyborg
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
In 2017, 59-year-old scientist Peter Scott-Morgan was told he had motor neurone disease. But instead of accepting the diagnosis as a death sentence, the professor saw it as an opportunity to “upgrade”, and he began a journey to become the world’s first full cyborg. The renowned roboticist underwent a series of incredibly complex and risky operations, including pioneering surgery to insert a feeding tube directly into his stomach, a catheter directly into his bladder and a colostomy bag directly onto his colon. Then last October he traded his voice for potentially decades of life, undergoing a laryngectomy and avoiding the added danger of saliva potentially entering his lungs. This fascinating and moving documentary covers 18 months of one of the most audacious transitions ever undertaken. And at the heart of it all is the inspiring story of a remarkable man and his family taking huge risks and fighting for a better future for all of us.
The Secret Life of the Zoo
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8.00pm
Revisiting some of the most memorable stories from the past five years, beginning with a series of extraordinary births caught on camera at Chester Zoo. Rhinoceros hornbill Liv and partner Manu are yet to produce any offspring, but when they are moved to a new nest, Liv quickly produces a fresh clutch of egg. Meanwhile, clumsy seahorse Seabiscuit only has a week to attract a female, so he has time to incubate the eggs and give birth in time for the next full moon.
I Hate Suzie
Thursday, Sky Atlantic/Now TV, 9pm
A teen popstar-turned-actress is caught in a compromising position and the explicit pics are uploaded for all to see. Sounds like just another day in social media land. Except that this celeb didn’t actually leak the shots herself to get more likes and boost her flagging career. Teen popstar-turned-actress Billie Piper stars in this drama about what happens when a person’s private life is sensationally made public, and how easy it is to have your life hacked and strewn all over the internet with just a click. Piper play the titular Suzie, a rising star who seems to have it all – until photos of her having it all are leaked online, threatening her career, marriage and, ultimately, her life.
Fighting the Power: Britain After George Floyd
Thursday, BBC1, 11.45pm
The video footage of a black man being held down by US police with a knee on his neck sparked protests around the world, including. BBC reporter Daniel Henry attended Britain’s Black Lives Matter marches, speaking to organisers, protesters and the police about the UK’s record on race. He finds that many of those who took to the streets despite the pandemic aren’t just fired by anger over the death of George Floyd – the organisers believe that the Windrush Scandal, Grenfell, black deaths in police custody and a recent rise in far-right terror plots have also exposed the scale of racial inequality in the UK. The global response to Floyd’s death has given many of the protestors hope that a change is coming, but Henry asks whether the demonstrations will lead to action from those in power.
Location, Location, Location: 20 Years and Counting
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
There have been ups and downs on the British housing market over the past 20 years, but one thing has stayed constant: Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer have been there to help buyers find their perfect home. Or at least show them some properties that fit all the househunters’ specifications, but that the buyers decide aren’t quite what they had in mind. So, to mark the 20th anniversary of the show, Kirstie and Phil look back over previous episodes, starting with their efforts to help first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. There’s a clip of their first televised house-hunt, as well as the time they came to the aid of Sam and Jess, a couple who had very different ideas about what they were looking for.
The Young Offenders
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm, BBC1, 9.30pm
Conor and Jock decide it’s time to move out of home and head to Spain to run a bar. First to receive thenews is Mairead, who is in disbelief – how is she going to keep digging them out of holes when they’re living overseas? Billy Murphy receives unexpected information that causes him to faint, resulting in a large lump on his head and concern for Mairead and the lads. Then, Sgt Healy arrives at the door with a barbershop quartet serenading Mairead as he’s about to propose. Chris Walley, Alex Murphy and Hilary Rose star. Last in the series.
BBC Proms 2020
Friday, BBC2, 8.00pm
From Glastonbury, which would have been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, to Wimbledon, so many much-loved British events had to be cancelled over the past few months. Live music is once again returning to the Royal Albert Hall even if, so far, the audiences can’t. Katie Derham introduces a feast of music including Beethoven’s Third Symphony, Aaron Copland’s Quiet City, and a new work by young British composer Hannah Kendall, all performed the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers with conductor Sakari Oramo. There’ll also be a guest appearance from Stephen Fry as he joins Derham to celebrate the Proms’ return.
Lodgers for Codgers
Friday, Channel 4, 8.00pm
Many young adults are struggling to get on the property ladder, while millions of over-60s have empty rooms – is the solution to the problem obvious? The Britons taking part in this series certainly hope so, as younger people move in with pensioners. In theory, one generation gets a reduced rent while the other gets companionship and help around the house. But will the living arrangements really work? Here Liam (19) moves in with straight-talker Flo (83) in Brighton. For Liam, it’s a first taste of independence, but will the freedom go to his head? Meanwhile, Londoner Nicole heads to Hastings to experience life with Claudine and Ted, who could be able to show her a more affordable way to live.
From Tuesday, Netflix
The first series of this teen drama, based on the novel by Kirsten Smith, introduced viewers to Elodie, Moe and Tabitha (played by Brianna Hildebrand, Kiana Madeira and Quintessa Swindell), three young and very different high school students who became friends after attending the same Shoplifters Anonymous meeting. However, while in class, they ignore each other, keeping their relationship a secret, but maintain a close bond that helps them deal with various problems.
From Friday, Netflix
Remember coming out of the cinema after watching The Karate Kid way back in 1984? Jumping around making chop-socky shapes while passersby looked on in bemusement? Ah, innocent youth. Fast-forward all these decades, and Ralph Macchio is back as the martial arts wunderkind, only this time we can now do our creaky karate moves in the privacy of our own livingrooms. We’ve already had plenty of Karate Kid sequels, plus a 2010 remake and an animated series, but Cobra Kai promises to revive the adrenaline and excitement we first felt watching Macchio chopping up the scenery back in the brat pack era.
It’s 30 years later, and Daniel (Macchio) is all grown up and successful, but he’s missing one important thing in life: balance. But his old mentor Mr Miyagi is no longer around, so Daniel has to somehow attain his own equilibrium. Meanwhile, his old rival Johnny (William Zabka) is not doing so well – maintaining balance is the least of his worries. He decides the only way out of the doldrums is to reopen the notorious Cobra Kai karate dojo, where the curriculum doesn’t quite align with the principles of martial arts. Soon, the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel is flaring up again, but rather than back down, Daniel decides to open his own karate school, Miyagi-Do. Which school of thought will their students follow? Who cares, as long as there’s lots of karate action.
From Friday, All4
The latest continental offering from Walter Presents is a haunting six-part French mystery (original title: Au-delà des Apparences) about twin sisters who couldn’t be more different. While Manon (Hélène Seuzaret) is a quiet schoolteacher who has never lived anywhere but her home village, Alexandra (Héléna Noguerra) is a successful actor in Paris; she’s also a narcissist. The day before the siblings are due to celebrate their 40th birthday, Manon vanishes. Alexandra realises her sister had been impersonating her and was pregnant; their older brother Guillaume (Pascal Demolon) remembers being drunk and violent towards Manon, and although some members of the family hold him responsible for her disappearance, the local detective chief superintendent suspects something else is afoot...
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
From Friday, Disney+
The animated series Phineas and Ferb ran from 2008 to 2015, winning a legion of young fans who loved the central characters of Phineas Flynn and his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher. Each episode focused on what they were getting up to during their school holidays, which usually involved some nigh-on impossible task that got on the nerves of their control freak sister Candace. This feature-length one-off sees the brothers travel into outer space to find Candace. She’s been kidnapped by aliens, but what her siblings don’t realise is that she’s found happiness away from them.
From Friday, Netflix
If you’re a fan of both crime dramas and comic book adaptations, you should love this Spanish movie (original title: Orígenes Secretos). Set in Madrid, it begins as the city’s residents are terrorised by a serial killer. People with no apparent connection are being bumped off left, right and centre; what makes the case so intriguing is that the murderer uses their bodies to recreate the origin stories of certain famous superheroes. Detective Cosme is on the verge of retirement; he and his replacement, join forces with Cosme’s nerdy son, who owns a comic book shop, and his friend, a cosplayer, to find out whodunit.