TV guide: 33 of the best shows to watch this week
Eye candy Belgravia debuts, plus ideas for changing Ireland, Miss World ’70’s controversies, famous Irish mothers, and the return of big guns Westworld and Monty Don
Pearl Jansen (runner-up Miss World 1970) and Jennifer Hosten (Miss World 1970) at the premiere of Misbehaviour in London on March 9th. As well as being depicted in the new feature film, Hosten and Jansen are also the subject of a BBC documentary to air on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
The Good Karma Hospital
Sunday, UTV, 8pm
Set in a coastal town in tropical south India, this medical drama returns for a third series, ready to inject some sunshine into Sunday nights. After months away with her family, Ruby (Amrita Acharia) returns to the hospital for her pregnant sister to give birth. However, when a life-or-death medical crisis unfolds, she is forced to decide where her loyalty lies. Meanwhile, Greg (Neil Morrisey) gets a surprise family visitor. With Amanda Redman and Darshan Jariwala.
Sunday, UTV, 9pm
When ITV isn’t convincing tanned twentysomethings to parade half naked around a sunny villa in pursuit of love, it does a good job of getting lavishly costumed luvvies to waltz around grand old houses in pursuit of the aforementioned emotional commodity. Fans of Downton Abbey will swoon at the arrival of Belgravia, a tale of simmering lust and scandalous secrets buried beneath layers of lace and linen, set in London’s most prestigious postcode, where only the haut monde gather. Even more swoonsome, Julian Fellowes, adapting the series from his own 2016 novel, has reunited the Downton Abbey team and brought together a cast of superb actors, including Tom Wilkinson, Tamsin Greig, Harriet Walter, Tara Fitzgerald, Paul Ritter and Saskia Reeves. It’s June 1815, and James and Anne Trenchard (Paul Glenister and Alice Eve), who have done well from their trading business, are invited to the biggest event in London society: the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, in honour of the Duke of Wellington just two days before he defeats Napoleon at Waterloo. When the Trenchards’ young daugher (Emily Reid) catches the eye of a scion of one of England’s richest families, it sets in train events that will make Waterloo look like a bunfight.
Sunday, BBC2, 11pm
This new series is a modern love story about thirtysomethings Gemma, Kieran and Ray. When the story begins, happy couple Gemma and Kieran are struggling to make ends meet, so advertise for a lodger to share the rent on their small apartment. The ad brings Ray into their lives; she seems to make everything easier and, before long, the duo have become a trio, against the advice of their friends and family, who believe that such a relationship cannot succeed long-term. Gary Carr, Ariane Labed and Thalissa Teixeira play the lovers.
Before We Die
Sunday, Channel 4, 11pm
The second series of the powerful crime thriller from Sweden (original title: Innan Vi dör) follows a police detective who works with informants in criminal organisations. Hanna Svensson (Marie Richardson) is on the trail of an officer who is leaking information. Still obsessed with the Mimicas and her own son Christian’s safety, she blackmails Jovan into helping her obtain information as he knows that control of the leak has passed to another gang. Jovan is busted by the Mimicas, but Bjorn and Hanna learn that the other gang contains officers who are involved in illegal activities. The full series is available on All 4.
An Fhidil Bheo – Ceol an Northern Fiddler
Sunday, BBC2, 10pm
Here’s another chance to see this fascinating documentary, which premiered on March 1st on TG4. The Northern Fiddler (1979), by Allen Feldman and Éamonn O’Doherty, is a unique book compilation of music, photos, illustrations and interviews, featuring fiddle players from south Donegal and Tyrone, including musicians of the calibre of John and Simey Doherty, John Loughran, Con Cassidy, and Francie and Mickey Byrne. The legacy of the “Northern Fiddler” is explored in this documentary and emerges through performances and discussion from Maurice Bradley (south Derry), Ellie Nic Fhionnlaigh (Glencolmcille), Dónal McCague (Monaghan), Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Gweedore), Maggie Maguire (Fermanagh), Laura Kerr (Armagh), Dermy Diamond and Conor Caldwell (Belfast), Sinéad McKenna (Tyrone), Paddy Glackin (Dublin), Roisín McGrory (Inishowen) and Dermot McLaughlin (Derry).
Changing Ireland: My Big Idea
Monday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
We’ve all been there: in the back of the taxi while the driver rabbits on about what he’d do if he was in charge of the country, or stick with a dinner-table demagogue whose enthusiasm for change wears off even quicker than the hangover. But there are some people out there who don’t want to just talk about changing Ireland – they’re putting their ideas into action to make the country a better place. This new series looks at how some of Ireland’s biggest societal problems are being tackled by creative, inventive citizens trying to turn their spark of an idea into a flame. In the first episode we meet John Kearney, founder of Irish Community Rapid Response, raising funds to get his Helicopter Emergency Medical Service off the ground in Co Cork. We also meet Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward, co-founders of Foodcloud, a service dedicated to reducing food waste and providing meals for those in need; and Hugh Brennan, whose goal is to create affordable housing through his Ó Cualann Co-Housing Alliance. Finally, we see how more than 10,000 Irish men are discovering their self-worth through participation in more than 450 Men’s Sheds.
Miss World 1970: Beauty Queens and Bedlam
Monday, BBC2, 9pm (repeated Thurs, 11.15pm)
In 1970, the Miss World contest crowned its first black winner, Jennifer Hosten, who represented Grenada. The runner-up was Pearl Jansen, the first black South African contestant to take part (although she was given the title Miss Africa South, as there was already a white Miss South Africa). But that wasn’t the only reason the ceremony made history: it was also the scene of a dramatic protest by the Women’s Liberation Movement. The events of that night have inspired a new film, Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley, and are also the subject of this documentary. It draws on archive footage, animation and contributions from the key players, including compere Michael Aspel, protesters and beauty queens, to explore the impact and legacy of this moment of anarchy.
Monday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
HBO’s sci-fi epic returns for a third series – and the tables have truly been turned on the hosts’ human masters. Westworld, the theme park built especially for the rich and morally bankrupt, lies in ruins following the uprising by the park’s artificially created hosts, manufactured especially to cater to the guests’ darkest and most depraved desires. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has escaped Westworld, armed with a number of hosts’ “cores”, and is hellbent on revenge and destruction. This time, though, the wider world is her playground. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) finds himself in the unusual position of having to give a damn about the fate of humanity, while Maeve (Thandie Newton) has been given a new task: kill Dolores before she kills everyone else. Aaron Paul and Vincent Cassel join the cast for what promises to be a rollercoaster ride to hell and back.
Henry VIII & Trump: History Repeating?
Monday, Channel 5, 9pm
How will history judge Donald Trump? Many may already have their own ideas, but this film offers a fresh perspective on the question by setting his life side by side with Henry VIII’s to tell their stories in parallel. The comparison may seem farfetched, but it sheds surprising new light on The Donald, as leading historians and Trump-watchers investigate how the two men’s respective characteristics connect them across centuries. It’s also a reminder that there was more to Henry VIII than his six wives.
Neighbours Late: Endgame
Monday, Channel 5, 10pm; Tuesday, RTÉ2, 6pm
It’s a big year for soap anniversaries. EastEnders recently celebrated turning 35 with a boat disaster, Hollyoaks will have been on the air for 25 years in October, and Coronation Street is 60 in December. This week the spotlight is on Australian perennial Neighbours, which launched the same year as EastEnders and is marking the milestone with a week-long, late-night series. A host of Ramsay Street regulars leave Erinsborough to go glamping on a remote island to celebrate Ely’s 35th birthday. It all starts innocently enough as everyone arrives in good spirits – including Hendrix and Harlow, who manage to unwittingly get a lift from an old foe. But then Finn arrives, ready to separate Bea from the rest of the group.
On the Edge: BBW
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
The drama anthology returns with three unusual love stories depicting characters and worlds not often seen on British TV, with the first a coming-of-age tale about a young, plus-size British-Nigerian woman (Juliet Okotie) trying to find her place in the world. Everyone in Remi’s life thinks they know what she should do, with her parents and her friends telling her what is best for her. But she just wants her life to begin. Will she ever be able to take control? The second and third stories (For You and Adulting) follow at 10.30 and 11pm.
Big Fun Time: JoJo & Gran Gran
Monday, CBeebies, 5.30pm
They live close by to one another in a bustling London neighbourhood and Gran Gran always has something exciting planned when her five-year-old granddaughter JoJo comes to visit. Gran Gran is very proud of her Saint Lucian heritage and prides herself in teaching JoJo about the island’s culture. In today’s episode of the animated show, JoJo has drawn a picture to show to her Great Gran Gran over video call – just as the internet goes down. Gran Gran suggests they post it to Saint Lucia, before explaining to the youngster why it takes such a long time for a letter to travel halfway across the world.
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm (repeated Wed, RTÉ2, 8.30pm)
Meet the Influencer, the Podcaster, the Rapper and the Writer as they each make their guth (voice) heard in their own way. Éadaoin and John post videos for their followers on Instagram and YouTube; Darach makes the Motherfoclóir podcast and writes books but is probably best known as @theirishfor on Twitter; Oisín raps and sings in both Irish and English under the name Ushmush and has created his own genre of music (“reggaelton”); and Ciara, DCU’s Writer in Residence for 2020, has brought a group of LGBT+ people together in the Abbey to work on a creative development project as part of the theatre’s access programme, 5×5.
The Art Mysteries
Tuesday, BBC4, 8.30pm
They are among the most celebrated masterpieces of art, but hidden inside them are codes and puzzles that no one has been able to decipher – yet. In this new series, Waldemar Januszczak sets out to uncover the secret meanings and mysteries hidden in four famous paintings by van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Seurat. We begin with Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear, one of the his most famous pictures. Hidden inside the painting is a startling secret, and in a steamy tale of geishas, brothels, bullfights, broken love and artistic jealousy, Januszczak stumbles upon the real reason why Dutch artist cut off his ear with a razor.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm
Showing across three nights, this drama stars Julie Graham as Rosalie Douglas, whose family implodes after her son is found dead. In the months following the tragedy, Rosalie struggles to accept that his death was nothing more than a terrible accident, while her husband (Neil Morrissey) moves out and their teenage daughter Maddie (Tallulah Greive) seems to be going off the rails. But then, new hope arrives in form of the charismatic Jed (Nico Mirallegro), who helps them to deal with their grief. In return, the Douglases open their hearts and home. Before long, Jed is Maddie’s confidant and lover and Rosalie’s surrogate son. But just how well do they know the stranger they have let into their lives?
John Sheahan’s 80th Birthday, Live from Vicar St
Tuesday, TG4, 9.30pm
For this St Patrick’s Day Special, Dubliner John Sheahan marks his 80th birthday with a special music celebration in Vicar Street. Sheahan is joined by a host of Ireland’s finest musicians including Glen Hansard, Imelda May, Declan O’Rourke and Ralph McTell for an unforgettable evening of music, stories and craic.
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
Have you not got your Mammy a Mother’s Day present yet? A good clip on the ear is what you need. To celebrate that special day that most sons will forget (even though they have the entire GAA and FAI fixtures calendar for the next year embedded in their brains), this new docudrama series showcases the mammies who brought some of Ireland’s most famous figures into the world, including Maud Gonne, mother of Seán MacBride; Kathleen Behan, mother of Brendan Behan; and Alice McElwee, mother of hunger striker Thomas McElwee. The series begins with one of the most famous Irish mammies of them all: Jane Wilde aka Speranza, who was a celebrity long before her son Oscar gained acclaim as a playwright and author, but whose star diminished in the wake of Wilde’s public fall from grace.
Grow, Eat, Cook
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm
This practical series aimed at helping people with little or no knowledge of growing their own food, but who like the idea of being able to grow something themselves, is back for a third run. As plant-based diets become ever more popular, and consumers’ increasing awareness of how far their food has travelled, this seven-parter, anchored at the home of GIY (Grow It Yourself), at Grow HQ in Waterford city, could not be arriving at a better time. Presenters Michael Kelly and Karen O’Donohoe once again show viewers how to grow seven types of vegetables, while cook Katie Sanderson turns the home-grown produce into tasty dishes that will appeal to carnivores and vegetarians alike. Food covered will include broad beans, oriental greens, cucumber, broccoli, chard, celeriac/celery, and strawberries, for all shapes and sizes of gardens and containers.
Taking Control: The Dominic Cummings Story
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
It’s widely assumed that the real power at No 10 Downing Street lies not with the blusterer known as BoJo but with his balding, anoraked chief adviser. Like Steve Bannon at the White House, Dominic Cummings always looks like some randomer who just wandered in on his way back from the hardware store. The big difference is that Cummings is still firmly ensconced at the centre of the British government while Bannon has long been banished back to the far-right fringes. Here Emily Maitlis seeks to unravel the enigma that is Dominic Cummings, and get inside the psyche of the “mastermind” behind Brexit. What does he believe in? What are his ideologies? And where will he take Britain as it begins to negotiate a future deal with the EU?
Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
David Schwimmer recently cropped up in the Skycomedy Intelligence, and now another one of his old Friends, Lisa Kudrow, has signed up for this new British sitcom. Feel Good is co-written by Canadian stand-up Mae Martin, who also stars as (wait for it) a comedian named Mae. Although her jokes are making an impact, the fictional Mae’s life is otherwise not going all that great: she’s single, in recovery from a drug addiction and sleeping on a friend’s sofa. So, when she meets the charismatic, previously heterosexual George (Charlotte Ritchie), Mae is convinced she doesn’t stand a chance. But they embark on a life-changing whirlwind romance. Kudrow co-stars as Mae’s mother, who is still influencing her daughter’s life.
Kate & Koji
Wednesday, UTV, 8pm
Her detective series Vera has become an TV mainstay. Now Brenda Blethyn is taking on a very different role in this new sitcom about an unlikely friendship. She stars as Kate, a prickly cafe owner who is initially unsympathetic to one of her customers, Koji (Jimmy Akingbola), mainly because he’s been nursing one cup of tea all morning. However, when Kate’s nephew (Blake Harrison) discovers that Koji is actually a doctor who has been prohibited from working while he seeks asylum, she comes up with a plan that could benefit them both. In order for it to succeed, they’ll have to avoid the attentions of Kate’s adversary, Cllr Bone (Barbara Flynn).
The Repair Shop
Wednesday, BBC1, 8pm
Experts restoring family heirlooms to their former glory may not sound like the recipe for a ratings smash, but the daytime version of The Repair Shop has been a real sleeper hit. It’s now getting a primetime slot. In the first episode, Jay Blades and the team bring four treasured family heirlooms, and the memories they hold, back to life: a Jamaican pump organ, an RAF bomber pilot’s hat, a naval rigging tool kit, and a crib made from wood salvaged from a church that was bombed during the first World War.
Great British Menu
Wednesday, BBC2, 8pm
The nation’s top chefs compete for the chance to create dishes inspired by iconic food from children’s literature, from Willy Wonka to Alice in Wonderland. This year the contestants will prepare dishes hoping to impress not only the judges, but guest judges from the world of children’s books, including David Baddiel and Jacqueline Wilson. Tonight, chefs from the Central region take part in the first of the weekly heats. Presented by Susan Calman.
Building the Dream
Wednesday, More4, 9pm
Architectural designer Charlie Luxton is back helping people build affordable dream homes. He begins in North Yorkshire with Helen and her husband Gary, the boss of a bricklaying company. They’ve got grand plans for a big self-build on the outskirts of historic York. However, despite years in the business, Gary has never built an entire house. He’s hoping that his contacts and team of bricklayers will ensure a smooth and speedy build. But as is usually the case, not everything goes to plan.
Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema: Superheroes
Thursday, BBC4, 9pm
The film critic returns with new episodes revealing the elements of three genres and demonstrating how they work. As usual, he’ll be introducing viewers to a surprising and diverse selection of films while helping them see old favourites in a new light. He begins with superhero movies, the biggest genre of recent years. As Kermode explains, these adventure films are not a new concept. Superheroes have a relationship with cinema that stretches back more than eight decades, and the genre taps deeply into timeless storytelling traditions.
Secrets of Your Supermarket Food
Thursday, Channel 5, 8pm
Sian Williams and Stefan Gates reveal more retail revelations and ruses, beginning with the dos and don’ts of dairy. Eighty per cent of yoghurt eaters believe they are a healthy alternative to pudding, but this much-loved dairy delight may not be a great option for the calorie conscious. Gates goes behind the scenes at a farm to find out how they fulfil the huge demand for milk. Dairy farmers want their cows to give birth to female calves, as they will grow up to produce milk. But what happens to the boys? And, with veganism all the rage, the British market for plant-based milk alternatives went up by 70 per cent last year. But plant-based alternatives to cows’ milk can cost four times the price.
Friday, BBC2, 8pm
With the arrival of spring, Monty Don reflects on how Longmeadow has fared during an extraordinarily wet winter and gets going on a few essential tasks to get the garden into gear for the seasons to come. With the popularity of houseplants gaining huge momentum, Frances Tophill visits RHS Wisley to find out how to care for the myriad of different types of indoor plants now available to gardeners. Plus, a visit to the enthusiast who has a passion for plants in pots and curates a display of some 1,000 in her Somerset garden.
The English Game
From Friday, Netflix
Julian Fellowes is a busy man. Not only has he written The Gilded Age, a series set during 1880s New York, he’s also behind Belgravia, the new ITV period drama that began Sunday, and this six-part insight into the origins of football. Fellowes doesn’t seem like your archetypal fan of the beautiful game, but he certainly knows a thing or two about historical tales, so expect lots of details about mid-19th century northern England as the story unfolds. The plot focuses on how two forms of the game developed – a rough one more akin to rugby, which was played by the gentry, and another more elegant sport, played by the working class, which is closer to the football we know today – and how they were eventually melded together.
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
Karishma Vyas travels to California to meet the “TradWives”, US women who idolise Donald Trump and have put him at the heart of their anti-feminist, traditional family values movement as they work to get him re-elected. This is despite the fact that women have often borne the brunt of the president’s political and personal barbs. They include Mylinda Mason, who is involved in the country’s first ever Straight Pride rally – a protest against gay rights – and YouTuber Dixie Andelin Forsyth, who argues that women are happiest when supporting men and masculinity instead of challenging them.
Big Narstie’s Big Adventure – Jamaica
Friday, Channel 4, 11.05pm
Years before he became a grime sensation and award-winning entertainer, a childhood brush with the police saw Big Narstie packed off to Jamaica to meet his auntie’s wrath. Now he makes his long-awaited return to the motherland. Narstie takes a tour of the island his parents hail from, meeting the next generation of dancehall artists; learning the ropes as a calendar model from supermodel Tyson Beckford; and visiting Bob Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong studio with dancehall top boy Popcaan. But at the heart of Narstie’s travels is a desire to get back to his roots and work out if he has become too British for his own good. Will his brand of grime and comedy impress Jamaicans?
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker
From Friday, Netflix
Chances are that Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam CJ Walker, is completely unknown to many European Netflix subscribers. That might change thanks to this new series directed by Kasi Lemmons (Harriet). Walker, who took the surname of her third husband after their marriage in 1906, was a trailblazing African-American who, despite being born to impoverished former slaves, became America’s first female self-made millionaire thanks to a range of haircare products. Oscar-winning Octavia Spencer stars in this uplifting tale based on a biography written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles.
The Letter for the King
From Friday, Netflix
The nigh-on impossible quest to fill the gap left by Game of Thrones contiues. The latest offering entering the fray is this six-part series based on the classic Dutch novel De brief voor de Koning by Tonke Dragt, which is set in a fictional medieval world and was voted the Netherland’s best youth book of the latter half of the 20th century. Amir Wilson heads the cast as Tiuri, a teenage trainee knight who is entrusted with delivering a secret letter to the king. Along the way he discovers a magical prophecy that foretells the rise of a hero capable of defeating the kingdom’s prime threat and learns how to become a true leader.
Thou Shalt Not Kill
Friday, More4, 9pm
The second series of the Italian crime drama (original title: Non Uccidere) begins. Valeria Ferro (Miriam Leone), the brilliantly intuitive head of Turin’s homicide unit, has a new romantic interest but is still coming to terms with the knowledge that Mario Ferro was not her biological father. And now her mother has also disappeared. Amid this personal drama, a woman is found, strangled. The deceased had fled to a domestic violence shelter and her husband is the chief suspect. The full series is available on All 4.