TV guide: 32 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Hidden Assets, The Missing Children, Future Island, and cooking with Mary Berry

The late Keelin Shanley with her husband, Conor, and their daughter Lucy. Keelin Shanley: Faraway, Still Close, Monday on RTÉ One. Photograph: RTÉ

The late Keelin Shanley with her husband, Conor, and their daughter Lucy. Keelin Shanley: Faraway, Still Close, Monday on RTÉ One. Photograph: RTÉ

 

Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
In a four-star review of this documentary in May, IT critic Tara Brady wrote: “The director finds revelatory material by placing Truman Capote alongside another giant of 20th-century literature, Tennessee Williams. Using correspondence between the two men, brilliantly voiced by Jim Parsons (Capote) and Zachary Quinto (Williams), the film explores a meaningful, rocky friendship and the irresistible parallels between the lives of the writers. An anecdote concerning the “amusing, bright, and always very vinegary” Gore Vidal would, alone, make Truman & Tennessee required viewing.”

Hidden Assets
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Wouter Hendrickx and Angeline Ball in Hidden Assets
Wouter Hendrickx and Angeline Ball in Hidden Assets

Dublin isn’t the only town to get its own crime series on RTÉ. Hidden Assets, set on the mean streets of Limerick, stars Angeline Ball, Cathy Belton, Wouter Hendrickx and Michael Ironside in a hard-hitting drama that will put it up to Kin. The Irish-Belgian coproduction, commissioned by RTÉ and Acorn TV in association with Screen Ireland and Screen Flanders, features Ball as a Criminal Assets Bureau detective, who is forced to team up with a Belgian cop (Hendrickx) to unravel the links between a wealthy Limerick family, a stash of stolen diamonds, and a series of bombings in Belgium. The action moves between Limerick and Antwerp – the diamond-dealing capital of the world – as the duo uncover a vast political conspiracy to foment social unrest for financial gain, and race to stop another terrorist attack.

Close to Me
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm

Connie Nielsen in Close to Me
Connie Nielsen in Close to Me

If the title of this new six-part psychological drama sounds familiar, chances are you may have read its source novel, the bestselling debut of author Amanda Reynolds. Connie Nielsen plays Jo Harding, who appears to have it all: two great kids, a devoted husband (Christopher Eccleston) and a beautiful home. But all that is threatened when, following a fall, an entire year suddenly vanishes from Jo’s memory. As she tries to pick up the pieces, she begins to realise that one of her loved ones is determined to keep the truth about a devastating secret from her. But what is it, and why?

On the Edge: Mincemeat
Sunday, Channel 4, 10pm
The Bafta-winning anthology is back for a new run, featuring three back-to-back episodes exploring the impact of mental health issues on families. Mincemeat is a bittersweet comedy about Jane, a young woman hoping to escape from her overbearing, controlling mother via a new romance. That’s followed by Superdad, which charts a life-affirming road trip undertaken by a boy and his father, who should be in a psychiatric hospital. Finally, Cradled is the chilling tale of a mother overwhelmed by her efforts to be the perfect parent.

Keelin Shanley: Faraway, Still Close
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
In February 2020, well-loved broadcaster Keelin Shanley died after a long, intermittent battle with cancer. She was just 51, a wife, a mother and a journalist at the top of her game, beaming into the nation’s homes nightly on RTÉ’s Six One News. This one-hour documentary is an intimate portrait of Shanley, looking back at her life and her career, and showing how she dealt with the diagnosis of cancer with grace and courage. Her story is told through her own words and those of her husband, Conor Ferguson, and promises to be both poignant and life-affirming.

The Tower
Monday, ITV, 9pm

Gemma Whelan in The Tower
Gemma Whelan in The Tower

Get ready for a head-spinning opening sequence that will give you vertigo. This three-part crime drama begins with a horrific incident on the roof of a south London tower block, which sees a police officer and a teenage girl fall to their deaths. It’s up to DS Sarah Collins (Gemma Whelan) to investigate, but another officer, who was on the roof at the time of the deaths has gone awol. Whelan is best known for roles in Game of Thrones and Upstart Crow, and she is joined by Tahira Sharif, Emmet J Scanlan and Jimmy Akingbola for this series based on the Kate London novel Post Mortem.

Rape: Who’s on Trial?
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm
This film, made over two years by an all-female production team, gains access to the work of officers at Avon and Somerset Constabulary. It follows four separate investigations and includes the testimony of women prepared to speak about their experiences, while asking tough questions of Sarah Crew, the deputy chief constable who is national lead for rape crime. It sheds light on the reality and challenges faced by the police and victims in securing convictions, and is followed by The Rape Debate: Who’s on Trial?

MasterChef: The Professionals
Monday, BBC One, 8.30pm
Gregg Wallace and chefs Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing are back for the 14th series of this nail-biting culinary contest. We’re treated to a double helping as the first heat sees two of this year’s 32 professionals try to wow Marcus in 20 minutes with their take on the super-British bangers and mash served with a beer and onion gravy. While the first duo have a lie down, the next pair have just 20 minutes to prove their skills with Monica’s monkfish with a pea and bacon ragout. In the second episode, all four chefs return and aim to show the judges what they’re made of in 90 minutes with their signature dishes: a main and dessert. Which of them will be the first to book their place in the quarter final?

Inside the Care Crisis with Ed Balls
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
In this two-part film, former politician Ed Balls learns about life on the front line for social care workers. It begins as he goes to live and work at St Cecilia’s in Scarborough and shadows carer Alison. Balls quickly realises that the job is intense and much harder than expected, and finds that Alison, like so many carers, loves her work yet feels undervalued. Over the course of his week, Balls is increasingly impressed by the staff – but like many across the country, St Cecilia’s is on the brink of bankruptcy.

The Missing Children
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Catherine Corless
Catherine Corless

We know all to well the harrowing details of the mother and baby homes scandal, but we still don’t know all the answers. This documentary doesn’t promise answers, but it gives voice to some of the survivors of Tuam home and allows them to tell their own stories from this dark era of modern Irish history. They recall the cruelty and loneliness of life in the mother and baby home, and the cover-ups which prevented the truth from emerging for many years. Among the contributors are historian Catherine Corless, whose tireless work and advocacy helped expose the scandal; journalist and author Alison O’Reilly; barrister Dr Maeve O’ Rourke; former government adviser Fergus Finlay; and members of the archaeological team which conducted the excavations at Tuam.

Future Island
Tuesday-Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm
Nothing to do with the band – this special, airing across three nights as part of Science Week on RTÉ, looks down the track to see what innovations and challenges lie ahead for Ireland. It’s presented live by Liz Bonnin and Prof Luke O’Neill, who will be ensconced in Explorium, Dublin’s sport and science centres. Making for an entertaining scientific double act (you could say there’s a chemistry there), they will take out their scientific crystal ball to see what changes are lying ahead for the environment and the war against disease and global pandemics. Adding an element of unpredictability will be Phil Smith, whose practical scientific demonstrations promise to be delightful exercises in controlled mayhem. There will be plenty of fascinating guests over the three nights, including telly physicist Prof Brian Cox, engineer-turned-comedian Colm O’Regan, softly spoken meteorologist Ger Fleming, and the Olympic bronze-winning Irish women’s rowing team.

Who Do You Think You Are?
Tuesday, BBC One, 9pm
Pixie Lott is the latest famous face to get a glimpse of her family tree, and she’s keen to prove she’s got Italian roots. However, the talent show judge ends up learning about her forebears who battled poverty and hardship in London. On her father’s side, the singer-songwriter finds out about her great grandfather’s harrowing and surprising experience during the first World War, and is thrilled to discover three generations of military musicians, getting the chance to sing with the band of the Household Cavalry.

An Cuan: Dublin Bay
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Volunteer beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in An Cuan: Dublin Bay
Volunteer beach cleaner Flossie Donnelly in An Cuan: Dublin Bay

If you think TG4 is only interested in rural Ireland, think again: the station heads up to the Big Smoke for this four-part documentary series focusing on Dublin Bay and its relationship with the people and wildlife that share it. It’s the location for Ireland’s biggest urban sprawl, with a population of 1.5 million, but it’s also where you’ll find some fascinating ecosystems and vitally important conservation projects. The series, filmed over a year, follows the life of Dublin Bay over four seasons, and looks at the many challenges facing the region, and visits parts where humans and wildlife seem to coexist in harmony, and other places where they seem at loggerheads. The series is narrated by Eoin Warner and features stunning footage from land, sea and air, all to a stirring soundtrack. You’ll never look at Dublin Bay the same way after this.

Science to the Rescue
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 10.40pm

Trevor Vaugh in Science to the Rescue
Trevor Vaugh in Science to the Rescue

Few people need convincing that the world requires a whole lot of fixing. Beyond the ongoing pandemic, there are monumental times ahead, from climate change to broader societal challenges. It’s clear that our most likely saviour will be science. We’ve already witnessed vaccine innovation in a race against time, but parallel to this are the big, bold disruptive ideas being brought to life in our universities, hospitals, farms, and even back gardens. In order to help catapult Irish innovation to the world stage and effect change globally, Science Foundation Ireland has launched the Future Innovator Prize. With €4 million available across two challenges – AI for Societal Good and Zero Emissions – this competition offers Irish science the money to match its ambition. Science to the Rescue is an hour long documentary, presented by Trevor Vaugh (Big Life Fix),that gets up close and personal with some of the challenge teams trying to win the prize funds. As the clock ticks down, we learn about the motivation behind their work and meet some of those who will benefit from their breakthroughs.

Between the Covers
Wednesday, BBC Two, 7.30pm

Actress and author Evanna Lynch
Actress and author Evanna Lynch

Presenter Sara Cox is back with a new series of the show that celebrates the pleasure of books and reading. In this opener, she’s joined by Irish actress Evanna Lynch, who will be chatting about her autobiography, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting; and Emilia Fox, a renowned narrator of audiobooks. They’ll be joined by comedians Dane Baptiste and Andy Parsons, to share their favourite books and review this week’s two book club picks: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason and Good Behaviour by Molly Keane.

Walking with Kate Garraway
Wednesday, BBC Two, 7pm

Walking with Kate Garraway
Walking with Kate Garraway

The nation took presenter Kate Garraway to their hearts after her appearance in the 2019 series of I’m a Celebrity, and even more so after her husband, Derek, fell seriously ill with Covid-19. In this edition of the series, Garraway goes for an invigorating walk along the edge of the Cotswolds Hills, where she finds the natural surroundings a source of inspiration and resilience as she reflects on a year of challenges and change. From the panoramic viewpoint of Painswick Beacon, she descends through beech woods to the village of Upton St Leonards, before climbing Cooper’s Hill and wandering down to the church at Great Witcombe, meeting local craftspeople inspired by the “living theatre” of the landscapes.

The Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge
Wednesday, BBC One, 7.30pm
Brace yourselves for more heart-tugging and inspirational stories as the curtain goes up on the 11th year of this fast-paced challenge. Matt Baker is joined by a crack team of five youngsters, all of whom have been supported by BBC Children in Need-funded projects, as they take on a five-stage relay-style ride. Each participant will take a section of the journey, travelling through their home towns and visiting places across the UK that hold a particular significance for them. The show highlights the team’s remarkable stories and celebrates the history of what has become a much-loved BBC Children in Need staple, while raising life-changing amounts of money as part of the 2021 appeal.

George Clarke’s Old House, New Home
Wednesday, Channel 4, 8pm
Channel 4’s newest property presenter, Tinie Tempah, could be forgiven for stamping his foot with the return of this series, in which the presenter helps more ordinary people make their period homes fit for modern life. It begins in Stroud, where Phil and Leighla are transforming their ramshackle, listed Georgian farmhouse with an industrial-style extension that would make the rapper blush. Meanwhile, in Wootton Bassett, Clarke is on hand to help a couple as they attempt to flip the layout of their Victorian end-of-terrace home.

Life at 50°C
Wednesday, BBC Two, 8pm
Many of us are worried about the impact of climate change in the future, but this documentary is here to remind us that the effects are already being felt. With 2021 set to be the hottest year on record, cameras visit seven countries to find out how extreme heat has become part and parcel of people’s lives, and the toll it is taking on their health and livelihoods. The contributors include an Australian teenager who saved her home from a catastrophic bushfire and a Mexican paramedic who is regularly called out to help people collapsing due to blistering temperatures.

Live at the Apollo
Wednesday, BBC Two, 10pm
It’s been a long wait thanks to the pandemic, but the 16th season of this rib-tickling series finally makes it to the small screen with six laughter-packed episodes. Proceedings kick off in fine style as Liverpudlian comedian Chris McCausland warms up the audience before introducing stand-up sets from funny people Sophie Duker and Emmanuel Sonubi. Future attractions include Nabil Abdulrashid, Loyiso Gola, Helen Bauer and Zoe Lyons.

Mary Berry – Love to Cook
Thursday, BBC Two, 8pm
The phrase “love to cook” could describe Mary Berry herself. At 86 she’s at the peak of her career, regularly fronting popular culinary shows while gaining a new generation of fans. Berry’s latest project sees her distil her six decades of teaching how to prepare mouthwatering recipes into one six-part series, which she hopes will inspire others to create their own meals. As well as demonstrating how to make various dishes, Berry also travels across the UK, meeting up with others who are just as passionate about food as she is while learning more about the produce they make.

Nadiya’s Fast Flavours
Thursday, BBC Two, 8.30pm
Following Mary Berry is Nadiya Hussain. It’s rather fitting that they’re launching back-to-back when you consider that Berry (along with Paul Hollywood) crowned Hussain the winner of The Great British Bake Off in 2015. “I’m so excited for Nadiya’s Fast Flavours! I’m going to be bringing a whole host of new everyday recipes to the table, that are easily achievable but fizzing with flavour,” says the TV cook. “This new series is packed full of dishes that will enlighten and entertain, proof that you don’t need a special occasion to try out bold, exciting flavours that will taste great and make you feel amazing.”

The Trial of Louise Woodward
Thursday, ITV, 9pm

Louise Woodward testifies at her murder trial in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 23rd, 1997. Photograph: Ted Fitzgerald/Reuters
Louise Woodward testifies at her murder trial in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 23rd, 1997. Photograph: Ted Fitzgerald/Reuters

In 1997, British au pair Louise Woodward, then aged 19 and working in Massachusetts, was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Matthew Eappen, the eight-month-old baby in her care. Almost 25 years on, this documentary re-examines the case, including Woodward’s controversial trial, which continues to divide legal and medical experts today. The programme features interviews with some of those who saw the events in the courtroom unfold first-hand, including Woodward’s defences lawyer and witnesses from both sides.

Surgeons: At the Edge of Life
Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm
The series that never fails to amaze is back for its fourth run of six episodes. It begins with an insight into the work of Addenbrooke head and neck surgeon Ekpemi Irune. She has a particularly difficult case to deal with: a cancerous face and neck tumour is growing so fast that if it isn’t removed soon, the 60-year-old patient may die. Meanwhile, over at Royal Papworth, Verity (33) hopes consultant surgeon Ravi De Silva can help her – a genetic condition called Turner’s syndrome has caused her aorta to become dangerously enlarged.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci
Lady Gaga in the upcoming House of Gucci

Pop superstar Lady Gaga proved her acting chops with an Oscar-nominated turn in A Star is Born. Now she takes on another high-profile role in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci and dropping by to tell Graham all about. She’s joined by another guest who knows a thing or two about conquering Hollywood and the charts: Will Smith. Frozen’s Josh Gad talks about voicing new series Olaf Presents, Nadiya Hussain promotes her new cookery series, and the music comes courtesy of Rod Stewart.

In My Skin
Friday, BBC One, 12.35am

Gabrielle Creevy in In My Skin
Gabrielle Creevy in In My Skin

After the pilot episode and first series picked up several Welsh Baftas and a RTS Programme Award, In My Skin returns for a second series. It focuses on Bethan (Gabrielle Creevy), a Welsh teenager attempting to navigate her friendships and sexuality while also hiding the realities of living with a mentally ill mother and abusive father. In the opening episode, her mum (Jo Hartley) is out of hospital and working at the local bingo hall, giving Bethan a chance to enjoy being a teenager – and impress the new girl Cam, who she has a crush on. Yet despite the positives, her relationship with her father (Rhodri Meillir) is becoming ever more combative.

ON DEMAND

Passing
From Wednesday, Netflix

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson in Passing
Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson in Passing

In last week’s four-star review, IT critic Donald Clarke wrote: “Moving, beautifully made – monochrome and 4:3 ration – adaptation of Nella Larsen’s book concerning the relationship between a middle-class black woman (Tessa Thompson) and the old friend (Ruth Negga) who, in the years since they met, has taken to “passing” for white. Passing is, in some ways, a slender story. But actress-turned-director Hall’s feel for the period and her gift for folding potent discourse into the attractive visuals kicks it up to the level of high art. Thompson is impressively divided. If it is possible to be quietly incandescent, then Negga is just that.”

Animal
From Friday, Netflix
Animal does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a documentary series looking at the world’s wildlife and focusing on the remarkable resilience and incredible survival skills of different species. But rather than throw us into a menagerie of different creatures, each of the eight episodes focuses on one animal and its family, embedding itself in their habitat and looking closely at their everyday lives. Among them are a mother lioness, a family of wild dogs, a kangaroo joey and a young giant Pacific octopus. The series uses state-of-the-art filming tech and an immersive soundtrack to bring viewers inside the world of these fascinating animals.

Dopesick
From Friday, Disney +

Will Poulter in Dopesick
Will Poulter in Dopesick

America’s opioid epidemic is the subject in this new drama series based on the bestselling book by Beth Macy, starring Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard and Rosario Dawson, and directed by Barry Levinson. How did one company end up triggering the worst drug addiction crisis in US history, and how did the powers-that-be enable Big Pharma to unleash such ruin on an entire generation? The action will move from the boardrooms of the big drug firms to a poor mining town in Virginia that has been ravaged by opioids, to the corridors of power in the US government.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum
From Friday, Disney+
For some fans, Jeff Goldblum is immortal as the envelope-pushing Seth Brundle in The Fly; for others, he will forever be the quippy, leather-clad Dr Ian Malcom of Jurassic Park. This delicious series offers a new insight into the actor as he examines popular items. Whether it’s arty trainers or delicious ice cream, Goldblum pulls the thread on these deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections that are both surprising and exciting. Settle back and soak up the first five episodes from the second series as, through fascinating science and history, amazing people and a whole lot of big ideas and insights, the star offers an interesting take on the world.

Lioness – The Nicola Adams Story
From Friday, Amazon
Forget your social media influencers. If you’re looking for someone to admire, boxer and Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams has to be among the top 10 inspirational figures. This documentary chronicles her achievements, and, as she says herself, could give someone the boost they need. “I knew that my story would inspire someone,” Adams says. “When I was younger, I decided to keep the footage from my first fight away from the media as I knew I was going to put it into a film one day... Filming felt like therapy, I was reliving my childhood and everything it took to get me where I am. I hope that when people watch this, they feel inspired and encouraged to pursue their dreams.”

The Shrink Next Door
From Friday, Apple TV+

Paul Rudd in The Shrink Next Door
Paul Rudd in The Shrink Next Door

It’s been a long time coming but this black comedy series, based on real events, reunites Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd for the first time since Anchorman 2 in 2013, and sees them on very different ground. Ferrell plays Martin “Marty” Markowitz, who tells his long-term psychiatrist, Dr Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf (Rudd), everything in his life is “fine”, even though it obviously isn’t. Ike decides to insert himself into every facet of Marty’s existence, even going so far as to move into his Hamptons home and persuading his patient to name him president of the family business. Soon, a seemingly normal doctor-patient dynamic morphs into an exploitative relationship filled with manipulation and dysfunction.

Contributing: PA

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