TV guide: 29 of the best shows to watch this week

The Deirdre O’Kane Show, Succession, Impeachment, Callan Kicks the Years, Louise Bayliss, Shetland, Jack B Years, Sex, Love and Goop, Invasion

Chelsea Farrell with mum Carrie and dad Paul on Celebrity Pulling with My Parents, Wednesday on RTÉ2

Chelsea Farrell with mum Carrie and dad Paul on Celebrity Pulling with My Parents, Wednesday on RTÉ2

 

The Meaning of Life
Sunday, RTÉ One, 10.30pm
On this week’s episode, Joe meets author, philosopher and Irish Times columnist
Michael Harding in his adopted home county of Leitrim. A wonderful storyteller, Harding reflects with his customary humour, insight and thoughtfulness on his lifelong search for spiritual fulfilment, which has taken him via Catholic priesthood into Buddhism and beyond. He describes to Duffy what he has learned about life, about God, and about purpose and meaning from it all.

The Deirdre O’Kane Show
Sunday, Sky Max/NowTV, 10pm

Bill Bailey, Deirdre O’Kane and Catherine Bohart in The Deirdre O’Kane Show
Bill Bailey, Deirdre O’Kane and Catherine Bohart in The Deirdre O’Kane Show

Remember being a kid in the 1970s and watching an Irish comedian (Dave Allen) running laff riot on British telly? Well, now we can watch one of today’s best Irish comedians (Deirdre O’Kane) in action on Sky Max, but don’t expect her to to be sitting on barstool with shot glass in hand telling old jokes. The Deirdre O’Kane Show promises to be a comedy rollercoaster featuring quick-fire stand-up by Irish and international guests, and musical surprises to keep us on our toes. The first episode is definitely one to savour, featuring Strictly winner Bill Bailey (I hear he’s also a dab hand at the comedy) and the hysterically funny Catherine Bohart, and introducing O’Kane’s house band Abandonman.

Living with Lucy
Sunday, 11pm/Monday, 9pm, Virgin One
You think living with lockdown was tough? Spare a thought for poor old Lucy Kennedy. Covid restrictions meant she could no longer just rock up to celebrities’ pads, throw her rucksack down on their engineered wood floor and insert herself into the star’s daily routine. For the 2020 season, alternative arrangements had to be hastily made, but this year, Kennedy is armed with a new list of celeb addresses, and she’ll be knocking on their doors and looking to be let into their interesting lives. First celeb to roll out the welcome mat is GAA legend and TV pundit Pat Spillane, who puts Kennedy up at his and his wife Rosarii’s home in Kenmare, Co Kerry. Next, Kennedy travels to the south of England to crash with footie legend Paul Gascoigne, who will give some insights into his stellar sporting career, and not-so-stellar off-the-pitch behaviour. The man known as Gazza will chat about his glittering career, his wild times, and his battles with alcohol and mental health issues.

will.i.am: The Blackprint
Sunday, Virgin One, 10pm
Airing as part of Black History Month (and premiering first on ITV last week), brace yourselves for a truly fascinating and educational hour as the musician embarks on a nationwide quest to learn about the lives of black Britons, comparing and contrasting their lived experience on both sides of the Pond. From civil rights heroes and tech trailblazers to inspiring schoolchildren and the odd famous friend, will.i.am meets members of the black community from across the country, and learns about the milestone events that have helped shape the modern black British landscape. His thought-provoking journey also draws on his own experiences growing up, and takes in the heartbreak of the past, the struggles of the present day, and hopes for our future.

The Earthshot Prize 2021
Sunday, BBC One, 8pm
Next month all eyes will be on Glasgow as the UK hosts the crucial COP26 climate summit. In case you think it’s all doom and gloom regarding the state of the planet, Dermot O’Leary and Clara Amfo present the awards ceremony celebrating projects tackling the climate crisis, and providing funding to help them achieve their goals in the next decade. David Attenborough speaks on the challenges; music comes from Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Yemi Alade, KSI and Shawn Mendes.

Succession
Monday, Sky Atlantic/NowTV, 9pm

Succession
Succession

Its characters have no moral compass, no sense of fair play and no redeeming qualities... no wonder Succession has become one of telly’s biggest hits, and a massive driver of subscriptions for Sky. We’ve loved stories of rich and dysfunctional families since before Dallas and Dynasty, and this saga of familial conflict, greed and betrayal doesn’t let up on the drama, cruelty, plot twists and knife twists. And the top-notch cast (including Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Hiam Abbass, Matthew Macfadyen, Alexander Skarsgard and Adrien Brody) brings the ongoing story of the ruthless Roy publishing family to visceral life. Of course, any similarity to real-life power-broking clans is, I’m sure, purely intentional. Season three begins with Logan Roy (Cox) rallying his familial, political and financial forces after a corporate ambush by his errant son Kendall.

The Trick
Monday, BBC One, 8.30pm

Jason Watkins in The Trick
Jason Watkins in The Trick

This one-off drama, written by Bafta-nominated Owen Sheers, looks back at the events of 2009, when Prof Philip Jones, director of climate research at the University of East Anglia, ended up at the centre of a media maelstrom. “Climategate” blew up after thousands of documents were stolen from the university’s Climatic Research Unit and leaked online. The data was pounced on by climate change deniers, who used it to question climate science, as well as sabotage an important UN summit in Copenhagen. The story charts how public confidence in science was undermined and the concept of “truth” took a back seat, causing humanity to lose a decade of action. Jason Watkins and Victoria Hamilton star.

Yorkshire Cop: Police, Racism and Me
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
This First Cut documentary tells the story of Bill Thomas, South Yorkshire’s first black police officer, offering an insight into the endemic racism in Britain and particularly the police force at that time. Thomas’s film-maker son Alex helps him revisit key historical events, from the miners’ strike to riots, as well as find some of the people who made his life so difficult, including the cadets who tarred and feathered his police notebook at college, and those who “lost” his exam results to block promotion. Bill Thomas also wants to reconnect with his allies: the black officers who helped him form Yorkshire’s first black police union, and the people of Yorkshire, who he won over and who now treat him like a local celebrity.

Impeachment: American Crime Story
Tuesday, BBC Two, 9.15pm

Clive Owen as Bill Clinton in Impeachment
Clive Owen as Bill Clinton in Impeachment

The third series in this illuminating US drama explores the sordid twists and turns of the scandal that erupted after President Bill Clinton first denied, then finally admitted he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. While anyone with even a passing interest in events at the time may think they know the story, this dramatised exploration is still well worth a look. It begins in January 1998, the year the affair was made public, and Monica (Beanie Feldstein) is invited to meet Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson). However, in reality it’s a trap laid by the FBI, who take her to a hotel suite where she is set to be interviewed by the Office of Special Counsel. Clive Owen and Edie Falcon star as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

I Like the Way U Move
Tuesday, BBC One, 11.30pm
Jamie Lang and Kaelynn “KK” Harris host this dating show, in which professional dancers and ordinary mortals compete to find their perfect partner. It begins as the pros Charlotte, Jayden, Josh, Lee and Shola are introduced to the rookies at a mixer. If the sparks fly, the newbies are invited back to the I Like the Way U Move house, where they have 48 hours to rehearse and master an intimate dance routine. When KK sets the couples their first challenge, it doesn’t take long for things to heat up between the pairs.

Celebrity Pulling with My Parents
Wednesday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm
It’s season three of the dating show in which singletons are so desperate, they’ll allow their parents to hook them up with hot dates. You know the drill: Mum and Dad take control of your Tinder or Grindr account and vet potential suitors; you just have to sit back and hope to God they don’t see those raunchy messages left on your phone by randomers. There’s a twist to this new season: the love-starved loners are all “household names” who have found that being famous and feted doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic love pass. You won’t believe this, but despite their massive celebrity status, presenter Thomas “Crossy” Crosse and former Miss World contestant Chelsea Farrell can’t seem to click with anybody. Never mind: Chelsea’s mum, Carrie, will step forward and set up some hot dates for her daughter, while Crossy will get help from Glenroe legends Mary McEvoy and Eunice McMenamin. And can McEvoy help find Crossy a Biddy of his own?

Callan Kicks the Years
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Oliver Callan as Mary Lou McDonald in Callan Kicks the Years
Oliver Callan as Mary Lou McDonald in Callan Kicks the Years

Oliver Callan is now officially Ireland’s impressionist laureate, able to take off RTÉ stars, Dáil TDs and US presidents with uncanny accuracy. This new series sees Callan take on a whole new bunch of famous figures, all from Irish history. Callan will recreate key events in Irish history – presumably he’ll get all the voices right – and a bunch of contemporary figures, all played by Callan, will give their reaction. So we’ll be getting a crash course in Irish history along with a masterclass in mickey-taking. The fun begins in 1921 with the signing of the Treaty, as Callan romps through the past 100 years of the State in the company of Charlie Haughey, Phil Lynott, Countess Markiewicz, Ian Paisley, Peig, Leo, Micheál, Michael D, Mary Lou, Dermot Bannon, Johnny Logan, Bob Geldof and Claire Byrne. Beware: may not be 100 per cent historically accurate, but definitely 99 per cent funny.

Misneach
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Louise Bayliss
Louise Bayliss

In December 2011, Louise Bayliss, a single mother of two from Dublin, was working as an advocate for mentally ill patients at various Dublin hospitals. Just before Christmas, Louise Bayliss St Brendan’s in Grangegorman. She was informed that the patients, many of whom had minor mental health issues and whom she described as low security living in an open living area, would be moved to the “closed unit” for the Christmas period due to staffing issues. After doing all she could within her position to change this decision, Bayliss understood that nothing would be done. She saw no other option than to blow the whistle, and in doing so risked her career and her and her family’s financial security.

Shetland
Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
A new six-part run of the bleak but beautiful crime drama, which sees the team probing the doorstep murder of a prominent local figure, a case which strikes at the heart of the Shetland Isles and its people. As DI Jimmy Perez and his crew uncover a kaleidoscope of motives for the murder, their investigation soon takes a shockingly sinister turn. Feathers are ruffled elsewhere in the community when murderer Donna Killick is released from prison on compassionate grounds, aggrieving many of the locals – not least the victim’s sister. Will her presence prove an added complication for the investigators as they try to solve their latest murder?

Extraordinary Extensions
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
Tinie Tempah showcases some of the UK’s most expensive and ambitious home extensions, beginning with a £1 million project owned by Amy and Simon. The Hampshire couple set out to breathe new life into three derelict buildings with one giant glass structure. Meanwhile, in Herefordshire an extension aims to bring multigenerational living under a bold, angular ski slope roof for retired couple Alan and Linda, and Alan’s elderly father. Both builds show the lengths homeowners will go for the space they need in their homes.

Four Hours at the Capitol
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
The jaw-dropping January 6th riot at the US Capitol has been burned into the global consciousness. This documentary features testimony from the people who were there that fateful day as US democracy teetered, including officers from the Metropolitan Police Department, Capitol Police officers and lawmakers who were inside the building as the violence erupted, and the rioters and protesters. Previously unseen footage from inside the Capitol offers an insight into the sequence of events that led to the deaths of five people, and the steps taken to prevent even more disastrous consequences on the day.

Young Sheldon
Wednesday, E4, 9pm

Iain Armitage in young Sheldon
Iain Armitage in young Sheldon

The fourth series of the spin-off comedy begins as Sheldon is named valedictorian of his graduating class. But he’s plagued with doubts about being able to cope with giving the speech – and catching eyebrow lice. George gives him a pep talk, saying he is ready for college, while Missy, who is on the cusp of graduating from elementary school, comes to his rescue by admitting she too is nervous. Then, in the second episode, Sheldon gets a summer job at the local train museum and Missy embarks on a new stage of womanhood.

The Love Trap
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
Joel Dommet hosts this mash-up of a game show and a dating series from the team behind Netflix smash Too Hot to Handle. Similar to Channel 4’s Playing It Straight, in which 12 men vied for a woman’s heart but half were gay and only there to win a cash prize, this show turns the tables. This time, it’s a dozen women seeking to woo one fella, but only six of them are looking for love. The twist comes with the elimination – each week a trap door will be used to send one unsuccessful participant packing.

Bump
Wednesday, BBC One, 11.40pm

Claudia Karvan and Nathalie Morris in Bump
Claudia Karvan and Nathalie Morris in Bump

Nathalie Morris heads the cast of this quirky and eye-opening Australian drama, set in and around an inner-city high school and following the main characters at home. Overachieving Year 11 student Olympia Chalmers-Davis (Morris) knows exactly where she is going and has an ambitious 10-year plan. However, her life is irrevocably changed when she collapses in agony. Oly is stunned to discover she is in labour and the baby’s father is not her boyfriend. Claudia Karvan and Angus Sampson also star.

Jack B Yeats: The Man Who Painted Ireland
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Death for Only One, 1937 © Estate of Jack B Yeats
Death for Only One, 1937 © Estate of Jack B Yeats

Colm Tóibín undertakes a revelatory and philosophical exploration, - powerfully brought to life by narrator Pierce Brosnan, about the legacy of artist Jack Yeats:, visionary, enigma and brother to poet. William, The landmark film falls on the 150th anniversary of Jack’s birth as well as the War of Independence centenary, and brings together contributors from Ireland’s sphere of culture and academia, including novelist Tóibín , historian Roy Foster, biographer Hilary Pyle and comedian Dara O Briain. As well as chronicling the evolution of the artist, with a curation of his early sketches, watercolours and most significant oils, the film also exclusively features a milestone event that shaped the Irish art landscape. At a landmark auction in 2019, Irish revolutionary Ernie O’Malley’s stunning private collection of Yeats paintings was put up for sale by his son Cormac – who emotionally reveals why he sold the works, which fetched record breaking sums.

Seal le Dáithí
Thursday, TG4, 7.30pm

Kitty Ní Houlihán
Kitty Ní Houlihán

Kitty Ní Houlihán is Dáithí Ó Sé’s guest in the first episode of the new series. A drag queen who emphasises the culture and language of Ireland, Ní Houlihán describes how she got started in drag, her love for the art of drag, and about the life of a drag queen in Ireland.

Charlene White: Empire’s Child
Thursday, ITV, 9pm

Charlene White in Empire’s Child
Charlene White in Empire’s Child

Showing as part of Black History Month, this thought-provoking documentary follows broadcaster Charlene White as she journeys into her past to explore how the legacy of the British empire shaped her family’s history. It begins with a mystery surrounding the racial heritage of her great-great uncle; as she probes the history books, White unearths more about her ancestors than she ever thought possible. As she questions why black Britons, despite all their positive contributions to society and history, are still fighting to be recognised as British, the voyage takes White from London to Devon and finally Jamaica, where she reaches a deeply moving conclusion to the story.

Unreported World
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
Reporter Anja Popp investigates Georgia’s booming surrogacy market. She reveals how prospective parents from around the world are turning to clinics to help provide their dream of a family, often able to have multiple babies at the same time at prices that are considered modest. Lifting the lid on this unsettling sector, Popp asks whether this largely self-policed industry should do more to safeguard the thousands of sometimes vulnerable women who are turning to surrogacy to make a living.

Zappa
Friday, BBC Four, 9pm

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa

Years in the making, this all-access documentary tells the story of Frank Zappa (1940-1993), the 1970s icon of eccentric rock whose range of work included serious orchestral composition, film-making and social activism. The in-depth film conveys the scope of his varied creative output and the breadth of his extraordinary life. Exclusive access was granted by Zappa’s wife, Gail, to a vast collection of unreleased music, movies, incomplete projects, unseen interviews and unheard recordings.

Last Singer Standing
Saturday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Westlifer Nicky Byrne (who else?) hosts a new Saturday night talent show, a karaoke-style contest in which would-be singing stars compete for a €25,000 prize. Not sure how the format for this one differs from, say, The Voice or X Factor, but we’re told there will be a “game-show element” to it, and contestants will have to not only use their talent, but also some clever tactics to make it to the final. Get it right and it’ll be music to the judges’ ears. Get it wrong and it’ll sound a bum note. Of course, we’re really here for the judges, and the panel features Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud, American former boyband star Joey Fatone, and singer-actor Samantha Mumba. 

Angela Scanlan’s Ask Me Anything
Saturday, RTÉ One, 10pm
How many times have we been ushered into an interview with a megastar with a warning from their publicist not to ask about the divorce/sex tape/gerbil incident? Well, Angela Scanlon won’t have any such constraints on her questions when she hosts her new Saturday night chat show. Nothing is off the table, we are told, in these celebrity interviews, so strap yourself in as Scanlon bravely ventures beyond the carefully stage-managed interview and cuts straight to the chase. So, who’s brave enough to agree to being asked absolutely anything on primetime TV? No word yet on the guests for this show, but given Scanlon’s credentials and vast experience on British telly, the guests will certainly know who she is. 

ON DEMAND

Night Teeth
From Wednesday, Netflix

Lucy Fry in Night Teeth
Lucy Fry in Night Teeth

If only Benny, the quirky college student in this slick horror who chooses to moonlight as a chauffeur for one night, had seen how Jamie Foxx’s night went after picking up Tom Cruise in Collateral, things might have been so very different. But we also wouldn’t have ended up on the edge of our seats, so there you go. The story follows Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) as he drives Debby Ryan and Lucy Fry around Los Angeles for the night, little realising they’re insatiable vampires. As the evening spins out of control, our hero is thrust into the middle of a clandestine war pitting rival tribes of vampires against the protectors of the human world who will stop at nothing to beat the bloodsuckers.

Sex, Love and Goop
From Thursday, Netflix
In 2008, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow launched a newsletter packed with recipes and yoga tips. That has mushroomed into Goop: a website, magazine, podcast and myriad branded products and treatments, from steaming your undercarriage to flogging candles that smell like the star’s intimate areas for a small fortune. Gwynnie’s apparent fascination for all things private parts-related continues with this series, following couples who, with the help of experts, learn lessons and methods to enhance their relationships through more pleasurable sex and deeper intimacy. Paltrow says of the show: “It’s full of lessons I wish I’d learned years ago.” We await with bated breath.

Invasion
From Friday, Apple TV+

Sam Neill in Invasion
Sam Neill in Invasion

Have you ever noticed that when little green men (or women) pop by our planet for a visit, they almost always end up in the good old US of A? This sweeping 10-part sci-fi drama looks set to turn that trope on its head. It follows an alien invasion through a series of different perspectives from people all around the world. Of particular note is that the cast is headed by Sam Neill, an actor who always makes whatever he’s in a little bit better. Shamier Anderson, Golshifteh Farahani Firas, Nassar and Shioli Kutsuna are also among the cast.

Contributing; PA

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