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

Paul McGrath, 9/11, Sex & Power: Tabloids, The Big Deal, Money Heist, Cinderella

Maura Higgins in Glow-Up Ireland, beginning Thursday on RTÉ2

Maura Higgins in Glow-Up Ireland, beginning Thursday on RTÉ2

 

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing
Sunday, BBC Two, 8pm
Mates Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are back for a fourth series of the show
that has proved a hit with viewers surprisingly enthralled by two blokes fishing. The first episode is set on the beautiful and remote island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, where the duo decide the best way to get around it is by electric bike. They head for a tidal pool on the north tip of the island. But while their mode of transport may be fun, the winds and the challenging fishing leave Bob rethinking his clothing choices.

Vigil
Sunday, BBC One, 9pm

Suranne Jones in Vigil
Suranne Jones in Vigil

Conducting a murder investigation can be hard work at the best of times, but imagine having to make your inquiries on a nuclear sub while the bloody thing is busy patrolling the seas and preventing armageddon. This is the challenge facing police detective as she boards the HMS Vigil to investigate the mysterious death of a crew member in this six-part drama series starring Suranne Jones as DCI Amy Silva. Despite the death on board, the Trident nuclear sub must remain on high alert to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent, so Silva has no choice but to get herself winched on board and try to solve the crime while the sub’s crew is going about its military business. But when crew close ranks in the open sea, Silva suspects something may be going on below the surface.

When Ruby Wax Met…
Sunday, BBC Two, 9pm
The second episode of this look-back at Ruby Wax’s groundbreaking interviews from the 1990s focuses on the many women she met up with for a chinwag, including the US’s biggest TV star – and most lusted-after poster girl – Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson. Is this interview as funny and outrageous as you remember, and did the two really discuss Jung along with favourite sex positions? You’re darn tootin’. “I always got on better with the women,” says Wax, and Ruby Wax Meets... certainly featured more female than male interviewees. Among the iconic women here are Sharon Stone, Bette Midler, Liza Minelli and Joan Collins. Wax also meets The Spice Girls and learns first-hand what it means to be at the centre of a girl power whirlwind.

Vera
Sunday, ITV, 8pm

Brenda Blethyn in Vera
Brenda Blethyn in Vera

Brenda Blethyn is back for an 11th series of the crime drama as DCI Vera Stanhope. Hopefully her detective instincts are as sharp as ever as she begins with the case of a local builder who is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument in Tynemouth. The victim was a popular if imposing, figure, making the vicious attack all the more puzzling. However, Vera discovers he was due to testify against Marcus Hynde (Lewis Cope), a promising cadet footballer facing charges of GBH. Is there a link between the two cases, or is the solution closer to home as the cops also delve into the victim’s relationship with his estranged wife, son and a pair of old family friends?

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
Being a celebrity can be a tough job (you often need a thick skin for a start), but does it prepare you for the demands of the SAS? Twelve famous faces are about to find out as they head off into the wilds of the Scottish Hebrides to be put through their paces by chief instructor Ant Middleton and his team of Directing Staff. Their first challenge is the “trainasium” – an aerial assault course designed to test how candidates manage fear. The recruits also get to know each other, while two (Ulrika Jonsson and Kerry Katona) are forced to face their demons.

Gossip Girl
Monday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm

Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl

After 10 years offline, Gossip Girl is back, and overseeing a new generation of privileged private school preppies. Kristen Bell reprises her role as the eponymous narrator and blogger, who brings us insights into the lives, loves and motivations of a disparate group of rich teens attending the elite Constance St Jude’s school in New York’s Upper East Side. A decade after the first series, social media and online surveillance has advanced in leaps and bounds, so there’s little left hidden from the prurient gaze of the webcam. We’re promised more adult content as well as more diversity in the cast. But rest assured there’ll still be no shortage of scandal at this school.

Miss Marple
Monday, BBC Four, from 7.30pm

Tyrone Power in the 1957 film of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution
Tyrone Power in the 1957 film of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution

An Agatha Christie-themed evening begins with a 1985 adaptation of The Moving Finger, starring easily the greatest interpreter of Miss Marple – Joan Hickson. It sees the pensionable sleuth investigating a series of nasty letters, one of which has driven someone to suicide. It’s followed at 9pm by Agatha Christie: Unfinished Portrait, which profiles the author. At 10pm, The Great Detectives delves into her infamous 1926 disappearance. Finally, at 10.50pm, there’s a chance to see Billy Wilder’s wonderful 1957 version of her courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution, starring Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power.

Sport Stories: Paul McGrath
Monday/Tuesday, Virgin One, 9pm

Paul McGrath and the FA Cup with young patients in our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in July 2002. Photograph: Paddy Whelan
Paul McGrath and the FA Cup with young patients in our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in July 2002. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Irish football legend Paul McGrath sits down with Tommy Martin for an in-dept interview on his journey through football, from Sallynoggin to Manchester United to the World Cup. He opens up about his battles off the field and his relationships with Jack Charlton and Alex Ferguson. McGrath played at three major tournaments throughout Ireland’s golden era. In this compelling piece, he relives a club and international career that reached “god” status, and his battles on and off the field.

Surviving 9/11
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
Next Saturday marks 20 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and this powerful documentary from Bafta-winning director Arthur Cary brings together 13 people who were caught in the horror. It focuses on the two hours between the hijacking of four planes by terrorists and their eventual tragic ends, as well as the intervening 20 years. Unfolding almost in real time, the harrowing story of that bright, sunny day is told through the testimonies of survivors, first responders and family members of victims, offering an insight into was it like to actually live through, and asking how easy is has been to move on from a day that the world wants to go on remembering.

Stephen
Monday, ITV, 9pm
It’s almost 30 years since the murder in London of Stephen Lawrence, but it still has the power to shock and move the public. In 1999, ITV produced a drama focusing on the events of April 22nd, 1993, when Lawrence was killed during an unprovoked attack by a gang of racists, as well as its aftermath, in which his parents, Doreen and Neville, attempted to gain justice for their son. Now the broadcaster is returning to the story, picking it up in 2006 as Doreen and Neville continue their fight to see their son’s killers jailed. Sharlene Whyte plays Doreen, with Hugh Quarshie reprising his role as Neville. Steve Coogan also appears as DCI Clive Driscoll, who led the new investigation; the script is by the acclaimed writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and his son Joe.

Unforgotten
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.05pm

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten
Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar return for a fourth series of the acclaimed crime drama, which first aired on ITV in February. The drama begins when a dismembered body is found in a North London scrapyard. Thanks to a distinctive tattoo, the team, led by Sunny (Bhaskar), identify the victim as Matthew Walsh, who went missing 30 years earlier. They also discover that the body had been frozen and was transported to the scrapyard in a freezer purchased by the recently deceased Robert Fogerty, who has a drink-driving conviction from March 30th, 1990 – the night Walsh disappeared. There were also four other passengers in the car, and so we are introduced to a quartet of people who could be connected to the case. Meanwhile, Cassie (Walker) is forced to put her retirement plans on hold as her father’s early dementia appears to be getting worse.

9/11: Inside the President’s War Room
Tuesday, BBC One, 8.30pm
Until September 11th, 2001, US president George W Bush, who came from sound Republican stock, was regarded by some as the worst leader the country had ever had. Dubbed both a fool and a puppet, his early tenure in the White House was deemed by critics as somewhere between unremarkable and embarrassing. This documentary chronicles the US Presidency through 12 hours of that momentous day, examining how it changed the commander in chief, the country and the world, using direct testimony from those striding the corridors of power at the time: Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state Colin Powell and numerous other senior White House staff.

In Search of Sir Walter Scott
Tuesday, BBC Four, 9pm

Edinburgh-born Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
Edinburgh-born Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

In this documentary shown on BBC Scotland earlier this month, author Damian Barr marks the 250th of Sir Walter Scott’s birth by going in search of the legacy of one of Scotland’s great historical figures, novelists and poets . He reveals the long lasting influence of Scott – whose best-loved books include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and Waverley – and his writing, his political campaigning, and his role in creating a version of Scotland that still exists today.

Sex & Power: Tabloids
Tuesday, Channel 5, 9pm
Say what you like about the red tops, they know how to generate a conversation. This three-part series explores how the tabloids have represented, reflected or influenced the way Britain behaved, acted and reacted to events. It begins with their impact on the lives of four women: Ulrika Jonsson, Kerry Katona, Daniella Westbrook and Princess Diana, examining how, whether planned or not, they ended up at the heart of the intertwined narratives of tabloid newspapers and celebrity culture, and the price they paid for it.

Back to Life
Tuesday, BBC One, 11.05pm
Daisy Haggard is back as Miri Matteson in this acclaimed comedy-drama, again teaming up with co-creator Laura Solon for writing duties. Six weeks after leaving prison, Miri is trying to adjust to life on the outside. She’s got a trial job at the local supermarket and is spending more time with neighbour Billy. Miri avoids best mate Mandy after learning about her affair with Lara’s father, but things get a lot more complicated when the dead girl’s mother breezes back into town.

Seamus Heaney and the Music of What Happens
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Seamus Heaney in at home in Sandymount, Dublin in October 1999. Photograph: Pat Langan
Seamus Heaney in at home in Sandymount, Dublin in October 1999. Photograph: Pat Langan

Born into a farming family in rural Northern Ireland, Seamus Heaney became the finest poet of his generation and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, but his career coincided with one of the bloodiest political upheavals of the 20th century: the Troubles. Six years after death in 2013, Heaney’s wife, Marie, and his children talk about their family life and read some of the poems he wrote for them. And for the first time his four brothers remember their childhood and the shared experiences that inspired many of his finest poems.

Code 404
Wednesday, Sky Comedy & NowTV, 10pm
It’s season two of the comedy crime series featuring one dogged detective and his previously dead partner. It’s like Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) with a tech upgrade. Stephen Graham plays DI Roy Carver and Daniel Mays is his partner, DI John Major, who has been killed in a sting operation that went south. No problem: thanks to some tinkering about with AI, Major has been brought back to life and resumes policing duties with his old mucker. As you were. In season two, Major’s AI continues to be a bit glitchy, but when he finds out that Carver’s been sleeping with his widow while he was in the morgue, he’s ready to blow a fuse.

Lambing Life – Our Lives
Wednesday, BBC One, 7.30pm
Fourth-generation sheep farmer Chloe Hallam juggles the busiest weeks of the farming calendar with the reopening of her alternative therapy business after Covid restrictions are eased. Delivering lambs one minute and giving relaxing massages to humans the next is going to be tricky, as Chloe and her father welcome and care for more than 1,000 new arrivals, day and night. She is determined to keep the family tradition alive for future generations to come, and hopes running a beauty business will help keep the farm afloat.

Glow-Up Ireland
Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.35pm
Get out your welding helmet: RTÉ’s latest reality TV show promises such high-voltage levels of sparkle, glitz and glamour, your retinas will be in serious peril from the opening credits. Glow-Up Ireland pits amateur makeup artists against each other – and your face is the battlefield. These MUAs (as they’re known in the business) will have to use all their skill, know-how and imagination to create incredible transformations, under the razor-sharp eye of expert judges. Still not impressed? How’s this for a celebrity A-list: Christian Dior, John Galliano, George and Amal Clooney, Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford, Lady Gaga, Donna Karan, Dua Lipa and Nicki Minaj. They’re just some of the famous names our judges have worked with, but Glow-Up Ireland will have its own star presenter: Maura Higgins from Love Island. Okay, trowels at the ready and let the makeup games begin.

Exploring Northern Ireland with Siobhan McSweeney
Thursday, More4, 9pm
The Derry Girls actor gets on her electric bike for the final time. McSweeney is traversing the North’s stunning causeway coast, where she’s well and truly out of her comfort zone while tackling an ancient sport and taking part in some cliff-based activities. She also plays a round at the Royal Portrush Golf Club and gets up close and personal with Rathlin Island’s bit life. Finally, she revisits the locations of Derry Girls.

Cat Hospital
Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Claire Meade in Cat Hospital
Claire Meade in Cat Hospital

Cat Hospital takes viewers inside Ireland’s first purpose built veterinary clinic that caters exclusively for cats. Nestled in the leafy environs of Glanmire outside Cork city, the clinic is run by veterinary specialist Clare Meade, who together with her team offers highly specialised care to their feline clientele. Each episode of this six-part observational series delivers a slice of life in the clinic, where cases range from grooming and neutering to house calls and life and death medical emergencies. There is drama, tension and heart-warming moments as Meade and her team tend to the creatures in their care. As our cat owners await diagnoses and the outcomes of surgery we see the dedication and bonds of love and between cats and their owners.

Question of Sport
Friday, BBC One, 7.35pm
It’s the dawn of a new era for this long-running sporting quiz show as Paddy McGuinness steps into the presenting shoes of Sue Barker. He’s not the only new face to be gracing the studio either, as new team captains (former field hockey international Sam Quek and ex-rugby union international Ugo Monye) take their seats.

Grantchester
Friday, ITV, 9pm
Robson Green and Tom Brittney are back as DI Geordie Keating and the Rev Will Davenport as the gentle crime drama returns for its sixth series. It’s now 1958 and, as ever, Geordie is going to need Will’s help to solve another batch of baffling crimes. It all begins happily enough as Will, Leonard and Mrs C join the copper, wife Cathy and their children on holiday. However, there isn’t much fun to be had after a tragic death takes place at the resort. Geordie and Will step in to investigate, but neither of them realises that what happens during the trip will have far-reaching repercussions throughout the run.

Elvis: Rise and Fall of the King
Friday, Channel 5, 10pm

Elvis Presley performing on a TV special in June 1968. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Elvis Presley performing on a TV special in June 1968. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

When Elvis Presley died in 1977, his legion of fans across the world went into mourning. He remains a global icon nearly 45 years later, with a new generation of music lovers discovering his music all the time. But what made The King so influential and why does he remain beloved by so many? This entertaining documentary tries to answer those questions by examining his life and legacy, from his childhood to the present day. There’s also vintage performances to enjoy and interviews with those who knew him.

The Big Deal
Saturday, Virgin Media One, 8pm
Forget gold, bitcoin and diamonds – the most sought-after commodity in tellyland is this elusive substance known as talent. The resources TV producers pour into the search for talent is mind-boggling. You’d think it was the answer to all the world’s ills. Now, here’s another one to follow The X Factor, The Voice, Search for a Star and Ulan Bator’s Got Talent. Virgin Media promises that this will be its biggest entertainment show ever, and certainly it looks like they’ve gone all out on this one, joining forces with Fox Alternative Entertainment, the crowd behind The Masked Singer, for this new variety extravaganza.

The Big Deal is presented by Vogue Williams and features celebrity judges Boy George, Jedward, Deirdre O’Kane, Lyra and someone called Aston Merrygold. As for the talent on offer...who cares? It’ll be just another parade of performers hoping to catch the judges’ attention with their singing, dancing, lepping and hopping. The twist is, they’ll be offered a choice between taking the money and cutting loose while they still have their dignity, or taking a chance that they’re good enough to be waved through to the final. The fun for the audience will be seeing someone so deluded about their ability that they’re willing to turn down a big wad of cash, convinced they’re the next Steve Brookstein. But the big question is, which one of the judges will be the new Simon Cowell?

ON DEMAND

Only Murders in the Building
From Tuesday, Disney+ Star

Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building
Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building

It’s not easy being a murderer these days. Not only will there be cops, detectives, private eyes and private eyes’ little sisters swarming around the crime scene, but there’s bound to be any number of amateur sleuths looking for that crucial piece of evidence that everybody else has overlooked. In this new comedy series, Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are the unlikely citizen detectives out to learn who is behind a grisly murder in their apartment block. These two flinty old men and one fiery young woman are brought together by their obsession with true crime, and decide to collaborate on a podcast about the murder. But as they delve into the history of the building and its residents, it becomes apparent that the killer is living among them, and that they may not even be able to trust each other. Martin and Short are already a veteran comedic double act; let’s see what happens when successful singer Gomez – in her first acting role since her teens – is added to the mix.

Money Heist
From Friday, Netflix
This gripping Spanish dramas (original title: La Casa de Papal) llowing two robberies was originally supposed to be a limited series, but the streaming giant snapped it up, recut it and sent it round the world in two parts, before commissioning a second. Here, the curtain goes up on the first half of part five, which picks up immediately after the events of its predecessor – and regular viewers will know that ended with lots of loose plot strands. The filmmakers aren’t giving much away, but what we do know is that the central characters are not going to have an easy ride, and taht we’re going to have to wait until December 3rd when the final episodes become available to learn how it all pans out.

Worth
From Friday, Netflix
Prepare to have your gut wrenched by this powerful, true-life emotional drama from Sara Colangelo. Michael Keaton plays mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who is appointed by Congress to lead the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Alongside colleague Camille Biros (Amy Ryan), Feinberg attempts the Herculean and utterly unenviable task of deciding how much each victim who died in the disaster was worth to compensate their families. It’s a difficult task made all the more complex by grieving community organiser Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci), who finally helps open Feinberg’s eyes to the magnitude of human losses behind 9/11.

Cinderella
From Friday, Amazon Prime

Camila Cabello in Cinderella
Camila Cabello in Cinderella

If you loved Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 Disney take on this well-worn fairytale but thought Lily James’ incarnation of the heroine needed a bit more feistiness and a lot less frock, then this modern version could be right up your alley. Camila Cabello steps deftly into the leading role as a Cinderella with big dreams and plans to ensure every one of them comes true. She gets some help in the form of a fab Godparent (the incomparable Billy Porter) as she takes on Idina Menzel’s stepmother, and catches the eye of Nicholas Galitzine’s dashing prince. An array of famous faces, including Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan, James Corden and Romesh Ranganathan, are sprinkled among the supporting cast like fairy dust.

Contributing: PA

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