TV guide: 33 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Will Sliney’s Storytellers, The Outlaws, Breastfeeding My Boyfriend, An tSlí, Universe, John Connors’ Acting Academy, Mrs Brown’s Boys Live, Army of Thieves

Jaden Michael as Colin Kaepernickin, the future NFL star who ‘took the knee’, in Colin in Black and White, streaming from Friday on Netflix

Jaden Michael as Colin Kaepernickin, the future NFL star who ‘took the knee’, in Colin in Black and White, streaming from Friday on Netflix

 

Réalta agus Gaolta
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
The search for Ireland’s most talented family begins. The call has gone out for singing, dancing and musical families and now the best the nation has to offer will compete against each other. Judging the families are sean-nós singer Irial Ó Ceallaigh and radio broadcaster Sinéad Ní Uallacháin. Each week they’ll be joined by a guest judge from the world of showbiz. This week it’s singing sensation Aoife Scott, who, as the daughter of Irish singing legend Frances Black, knows all about talented families. Hosted by Síomha Ní Ruairc.

Escape to the Chateau
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
We’re back for the eighth visit to Dick and Angel Strawbridge’s 19th-century chateau, and winter has the place in its grip. After making snow angels, taking part in snowball fights and collecting the season’s first goose eggs, the duo turn their attention to the original coach house, now home to Angel’s parents. It’s got two small windows and a low ceiling, and the Strawbridges have big plans to turn the 150-year-old granary store into the ultimate sanctuary: with the perfect balance of light and space.

Salt by Selina Thompson
Sunday, BBC Four, 9pm

Rochelle Rose in Salt by Selena Thompson
Rochelle Rose in Salt by Selena Thompson

This astonishing and intelligent show scooped the Stage Edinburgh Award, the Total Theatre Award for Experimentation, Innovation and Playing with Form, and the Filipa Braganca Award for Best Female Solo Performance. And rightly so. The performance artist is at the centre of this stirring monologue following the journey made by two people on board a cargo ship that retraced a Transatlantic Slave Triangle route from the UK to Ghana, Jamaica and back, exploring the figurative realm of an imaginary past.

Celebrity Ghost Trip
Sunday, E4, 9pm

The cast of Celebrity Ghost Trip
The cast of Celebrity Ghost Trip

Forget heading to the sun-kissed beaches of Europe: Brendan Sheerin is staycationing in the UK. At least he won’t be alone – six celebrity duos will join him to explore some of the country’s spookiest locations, trying their hands at ghost hunting and experiencing spine-tingling overnight stays, as well as the odd creepy forfeit. Kicking off the tour in Alnwick in Northumberland, a visit to a psychic artist brings laughter, tears – and the spirit of Michael Jackson. The terrified tourists then embark on a ghost hunt at the UK’s most haunted castle, where screams turn to sheer panic after a trick-or-treat twist at the first vote.

Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
Say what you like about Joe Lycett, but when the comedian gets the bit between his teeth, he’s quite the force to be reckoned with, as this one-off documentary proves. Airing ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next month, Lycett examines the troubling problem of greenwashing, in which firms exaggerate their green credentials in their marketing output. He focuses on energy giant Shell, whose parent company is set to appeal a ruling forcing it to start reducing emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. He also meets experts in the field and approaches campaigners on both sides of the emissions reduction debate, before making a sensational ad about Shell’s activities and attempting to air it on prime-time TV.

The Outlaws
Monday, BBC One, 9pm

Christopher Walken, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Stephen Merchant, Eleanor Tomlinson, Clare Perkins, Darren Boyd and Jess Gunning in The Outlaws
Christopher Walken, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Stephen Merchant, Eleanor Tomlinson, Clare Perkins, Darren Boyd and Jess Gunning in The Outlaws

Stephen Merchant’s new crime comedy series was originally titled The Offenders, but maybe the producers didn’t want to invite comparisons with fab Cork-made series The Young Offenders. The story revolves around a motley crew of Bristol lowlifes who have to help restore a dilapidated community centre as part of their community service. Locals in Bristol must have done a double take when they clocked US star Christopher Walken among the cast shooting scenes in the city. He plays a small-time crook and womaniser, with Merchant as a sleazy lawyer, supported by a diverse bunch of characters that include a militant civil rights activist who still thinks she’s storming Greenham Common in the 1980s; an Insta-celeb who’d rather be at a gala premiere or posing in front of her 1.5 million followers; and a rich girl whose kleptomania has jeopardised her prospects for getting into Oxford. None of them are happy to have to do menial labour together, but when one of their number falls foul of the local crime gang, the group find themselves uniting to help him save his sister from their clutches .

Will Sliney’s Storytellers
Monday-Friday, RTÉ2, 12.05pm

Will Sliney’s Storytellers
Will Sliney’s Storytellers

Irish comic book artist Will Sliney and an all-star cast of characters bring an art show with a difference to RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player. Storytellers is part drawing show and part animated adventure, teaching budding young artists using the most powerful weapon in the world – a pencil. The series tells the epic tale of a fearless young Viking mapmaker Freya (Laura Whitmore) and the wisecracking floating sentient stone Ogham (Aisling Bea) as they recruit a team of young artists to embark on a time-travelling quest to stop the world’s most famous art works from falling into the hands of the evil Chronicle (Dermot Whelan) and his henchmen. The series also features inspirational animated versions of presenter and writer Dawn O’Porter, WWE Superstar wrestler Stephen Farrelly, actress Demi Isaac Oviawe (from The Young Offenders) and actress Suzie Seweify, all of whom voice their own characters. Followed on Monday by A Breath of Fresh Scare (12.15pm): a selection of short animations celebrating all things Halloween

The Long Call
Monday-Thursday, ITV, 9pm (also Thurs, Virgin One, 9pm)

Ben Aldridge in The Long Call
Ben Aldridge in The Long Call

There’s a haunting quality to this crime drama based on Ann Cleeves’ novel. After a body is found on a beach in North Devon, DI Matthew Venn (Ben Aldridge) and his team search for a way into a case that has no witnesses, no forensics and no motive. Venn is also dealing with the recent death of his father and the complications of being thrust back into a community he was forced to leave. As he tries to make a new home with his husband, his mother, a strict member of the Christian Brethren community, refuses to put the past behind them. Venn’s husband is keen to support his partner, but will the past distract the detective from the investigation?

Frankie Boyle’s New World Order
Monday, BBC Two, 11.45pm
The abrasive Scottish comedian and his impressive facial furniture are back for a new run of this imperious, funny and extremely near-the-knuckle series, in which he tries to make sense of the crazy world we’re living in by using a variety of stand-up, review, discussion and audience interaction. Boyle isn’t known for pulling his punches with some of his subjects and, even in a prime-time slot, this show’s not for the faint of heart. His guests tonight are Miles Jupp, Sophie Duker, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Jamali Maddix.

Breastfeeding My Boyfriend
Monday, Channel 4, 10pm
Anyone whose toes curled at the Little Britain “bitty” sketch might want to give this a wide berth, but for everyone else a truly fascinating journey lies in store. The film tries to break the taboo about adult breastfeeding, talking to men and women who share intimate details about this underground scene. There’s a look at the complex process women undergo to produce milk for their partners and why there is a growing adult appetite for breastmilk, and a glimpse at the lucrative lactation porn industry.

An tSlí
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm

Mary Kennedy, host of An tSlí
Mary Kennedy, host of An tSlí

In 1847, almost 1,500 Irish people took the long walk from Strokestown House Estate in Co Roscommon to Dublin to board famine ships bound for Quebec. A year before the 175th anniversary of Black 47, Mary Kennedy takes us on a journey along this historic route, now known as the National Famine Way – or, simply, the Irish Camino. This two-part series will blend history, geography, music and drama, as actors re-enact some of the events of that dark period in Irish history, including the assassination of Strokestown House landlord Maj Denis Mahon. The estate is now the site of the National Famine Museum, and Kennedy meets businessman Jim Callery, who was instrumental in its setting-up, and also walks some of the National Famine Way with Callery’s daughter Caroilin and well-known Famine writer Cathal Portéir. Add in evocative music from Cathy Jordan and Niamh Farrell, and contributions from artist Paula Stokes, creator of the Famine Memorial, and filmmaker Tom Sullivan, director of Oscar-nominated Irish-language film Arracht, and you have the makings of a fascinating exploration of the Famine.

Opry le Daniel i gConnacht
Tuesday, TG4, 9.30pm
TG4’s hit country music series Opry le Daniel I gConnacht goes on the road to the TF Royal Theatre in Castlebar, Co Mayo. Host Daniel O’Donnell will introduces the stars of country music, classic songs and well known artists such as Frank Mc Caffrey, Patrick Feeney and Sandy Kelly.

Stath Lets Flats
Tuesday, Channel 4, 10.15pm
Jamie Demetriou is back in a new run of the Bafta-winning comedy series, which picks up right where we left off. Hapless letting agent Stath (Demetriou) is faced with rescuing the family business, Michael & Eagle, and his relationship with Katia, while expecting his first child by Carole. Meanwhile his sister Sophie and best friend Al deal with the fallout of finally declaring their feelings for each other. The sparkling cast includes Katy Wix, Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou.

Universe
Wednesday, BBC Two, 9pm
With all the hurly burly of everyday life, it’s easy to forget just how small and insignificant our world compared with the unimaginable vastness of space. This series promises to be a timely reminder of that fact – as well as our own fragility. Prof Brian Cox takes us on a journey to places that we didn’t even know existed 10 years ago, revealing awe-inspiring wonders and recreating dramatic moments that defined Earth’s destiny. He begins with a hymn to the great luminous bodies that bring light and warmth to the universe: the stars. We follow the Parker Solar probe, the latest spacecraft to leave Earth and journey to the sun, and the first designed to “touch” and experience its brutal atmosphere up close.

John Connors’ Acting Academy
Wednesday, RTÉ2, 10.30pm

Martin and his mum in John Connors’ Acting Academy
Martin and his mum in John Connors’ Acting Academy

Not every budding actor can sign up for the Gaiety School of Acting or even dream of getting a place in Rada with all the other luvvies. Actor and Traveller John Connors knows how it feels to struggle for recognition in the rarefied world of acting, but he believes everyone deserves a chance to be on stage or on film no matter where they’re from (and so do we). In this uplifting new series, Connors mentors a group of young people who haven’t the means to make it to drama school – and shows them that there are ways to make it in the acting profession. He also brings in some big names to share their wisdom, including Saoirse Ronan, Jessie Buckley, Jim Sheridan, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Seána Kerslake and Saoirse Monica Jackson.

Beyond the Menu
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Mark Moriarty spends four days with six chefs and offers viewers unrivalled behind-the-scenes access to some of Ireland’s biggest talents. Each episode aims to showcase the people behind the food, asking what drives them, showing their creativity and talent while noting the sacrifice and sheer graft required to be the best. Episode one focuses on chef Ian Doyle, who runs The House restaurant at Cliff House Hotel in Co Waterford

Bloody Sunday
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

An original match ticket for Bloody Sunday 1920
An original match ticket for Bloody Sunday 1920

Bloody Sunday 1920 – a massacre that sent shockwaves through world politics. Men, women, children and footballers all lay dead on the pitch after 90 seconds of shooting in Croke Park. Through archive and fascinating interviews with top historians, this documentary gets to the heart of the events on November 21st, 1920.

Home Rescue – The Big Fix
Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm

Roisin Murphy with homeowner Celine Garvey on Home Rescue – The Big Fix
Roisin Murphy with homeowner Celine Garvey on Home Rescue – The Big Fix

Our homes are more than just houses. They are the heart of family life, filled with precious memories….and a few other bits and pieces. Enter architect Roisin Murphy, builder Peter Finn and their clutter-busting crew. This year they’ll rescue six ordinary (disorderly) homes, with five days to declutter, redesign and rescue the heart of family life. The team are in Co Kildare for the first episode. Rose Cottage, just outside Kilcullen, is home to Celine Garvey, her daughter Elanor (8). three chickens, two cats and Terry the terrapin. What was originally envisioned by Celine’s dad as a dream cottage for his daughter has been a work in progress (with very little progress) for the past decade. As a single parent and full-time theatre manager, Celine has never really managed to complete her dad’s vision despite her best efforts. Murphy plans to make sense of Rose Cottage by removing an internal wall, raising a ceiling to the full height of the roof, creating a secret hatch to the kitchen and installing a roof light. But, like many old houses, the cottage is stubbornly resistant to change.

Ceolchoirm an Oireachtais
Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm

Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, cohost of Ceolchoirm an Oireachtais
Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, cohost of Ceolchoirm an Oireachtais

Night at the Oireachtas is a showstopping concert featuring Oireachtas performers – old friends and rising stars, hailing from the north, south, east and west of Ireland. Presented by Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill and Joe Ó Dónaill, it showcases the crème de la creme of our traditional performing arts. Step along with sean-nós champion Ruadhán Ó Flatharta and lend an ear to the newly composed, uniquely Irish “Lúibíní” and “Agallamh Beirte”.

Ear to the Ground
Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm
Darragh McCullough visits our imported peat mountains and asks if we are failing industry and our climate targets. Ella McSweeney visits Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s most famous – and most environtmentally damaged – mountain. And Helen Carroll visits successful small grower the Little Irish Apple Company in Kilkenny.

The Works Presents
Thursday, RTÉ One, 11/15pm
John Kelly talks to poet and essayist Doireann Ní Ghríofa, who has published six books of poetry in Irish and English. Her hybrid of essay and autofiction, A Ghost in the Throat, in which the author becomes obsessed with the story and spirit of the 18th-century poet Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill, was named Book of the Year at the 2020 Irish Book Award. Ní Ghríofa’s most recent book is To Star the Dark.

Autumn Gardening with Carol Klein
Thursday, Channel 5, 7pm
The inclement weather sends Carol heading to the potting shed, where she demonstrates how to divide ranunculus before offering tips on choosing and cultivating peonies after the skies clear. Carol takes a trip to the local train station to have a look at its clematis, known as Traveller’s Joy, comparing it with the variety she has growing in her garden. Plus, the presenter showcases the parade of colour and interest in her Devon cottage garden, from austerely beautiful aconites to a mass of joyous Michaelmas daisies.

The Long Call
Thursday, Virgin One, 9pm
See Monday, ITV.

Pompeii: Secrets of the Dead
Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm
Just when you thought there was nothing new to learn from the eruption of Mt Vesuvius and the town it buried, along comes this astonishing documentary. It follows forensic experts examining for the first time a group of Pompeii’s victims called “the Fugitives”. X-rays reveal their ages, the injuries they suffered, and even artefacts such as sandals and jewellery. At the same time, the investigation manages to shed light on why they failed to escape the most famous disaster of the ancient world.

The Good Fight
Thursday, More4, 9pm
This nifty flashback episode, which kicks off the fifth season, looks at how the team at Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart dealt with the upheaval of 2020, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. Diane is retained to argue in front of the Supreme Court, but is dismayed when Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies; Jay hallucinates Frederick Douglass and others while in hospital with the virus; and Adrian leaves the firm, ultimately deciding to move to Atlanta rather than pursue a career in politics.

Mrs Brown’s Boys Live
Friday, RTÉ One/BBC One, 9.30pm
Brand new and completely live, Brendan O’Carroll’s hit comedy is back for a one-off special. It’s Halloween in Finglas and everyone is getting into the spooky spirit of things. Agnes is ready for the trick or treaters, but she gets more than she bargained for when she receives a surprising visitor from her past. When no one else can see her ghostly guest they think she’s gone mad – not even Dr Flynn can help. Luckily, Fr Damien is on hand;with a little help from Grandad they get rid of the unwanted guest in time to head down to Foley’s for a fancy dress party.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 11.05pm

Dame Judi Dench with director Kenneth Branagh at the European premiere of Belfast in London on October 12th
Dame Judi Dench with Kenneth Branagh at the European premiere of Belfast in London on October 12th

Judi Dench can be a bit prickly to interview, if some journalists’ tales are to be believed. But every time the dame kicks off her shoes and curls up on Graham’s scarlet sofa, she’s always warm, witty and a little bit naughty. She joins Jamie Dornan in this visit to the chat show, as they discuss working on Kenneth Branagh’s critically acclaimed Belfast. Plus, Salma Hayek brings glamour in by the bucketload as she spills the beans about making her Marvel debut in Eternals, and Tinie Tempah talks about his role as host of property show Extraordinary Extensions. Live music comes from Jesy Nelson as she performs her solo single, Boyz.

The Live Lounge Show
Friday, BBC Four, 7pm
Rickie Haywood-Williams, Melvin Odoom and Charlie Hedges step into the presenting shoes that were vacated at the end of this summer by previous host Clara Amfo. She’ll be missed, but we all know the show must go on, as more star names offer a fresh take on their own music and try their hands at covering a classic song by another artist. This programmes features sessions from the likes of Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Mimi Webb, Rag’n’Bone Man, Oli Sykes and Lil Simz.

Unreported World
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm
The documentary strand investigates the dirty business of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reporter Jamal Osman travels to Kolwezi, a city dependent on supplying the mineral, a critical component for electric cars and rechargeable batteries. Residents are employed by large multinational companies, or in smaller, and more dangerous artisanal mines, where men clamber down dark weaving airless tunnels to extract cobalt for as little as 150 per month. But is the paycheque worth the health risks that doctors have uncovered?

Susan Calman’s Grand Day Out
Friday, Channel 5, 8pm
The Scottish comedian discovers her sporty side while exploring Shakespeare Country, and finds she’s a whiz at archery at Warwick Castle. After a quick pedalo on the river Avon, it’s off to Stratford-upon-Avon, where she explores the delights of Anne Hathaway’s cottage garden, and gets up close and personal with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume collection. After a tasty visit to Melton Mowbary, it’s on to the National Space Centre in Leicester, before Calman tries her hand at model plane flying.

ON DEMAND

Colin in Black & White
From Friday, Netflix
In 2016, NFL star Colin Kaepernick began a revolution when he refused to stand for the US national anthem before a game in protest at America’s systemic racism. Subsequently, players began “taking the knee” during the national anthem, an act which enraged Donald Trump and had him reaching for his dog whistle. The protests may have damaged Kaepernick’s football career – his contract wasn’t renewed and he accused the NFL of colluding to keep him out of the league – but they have sealed his legendary status. This six-part series charts Kaepernick’s coming of age as a black adopted child of a white family, and the difficulties he overcame to become an American football superstar. Jaden Michael plays the young Colin, with Kaepernick himself in the role of your humble narrator.

Swagger
From Friday, Apple TV+
The real-life experiences of NBA superstar Kevin Durant form the foundation of the dramatic series, exploring the world of youth basketball as well as the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption. Off the court, it also offers a glimpse at what it’s like to grow up in America. The cracking ensemble cast includes O’Shea Jackson, Jr, Isaiah Hill, Quvenzhane Wallis, Shinelle Azoroh, Tessa Ferrer, Caleel Harris and James Bingham.

Unheard
From Friday, Amazon
This six-part series of standalone documentaries offer an unfiltered, blistering insight into critical issues of racial discrimination in Australia, and is led by the voices of those who experienced them, bolstering their calls for justice. The films cover issues including Indigenous deaths in custody, the targeting of Indigenous youth, attacks on Asians during Covid, Islamophobia, the vilification of the African community and the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. These harrowing stories are told through intimate interviews, blended with animation, archive footage, podcasts, photographs and other media to reveal the shocking statistics and complexities behind larger problems.

Army of Thieves
From Friday, Netflix

Matthias Schweighöfer and Nathalie Emmanuel in Army of Thieves
Matthias Schweighöfer and Nathalie Emmanuel in Army of Thieves

Matthias Schweighöfer directs and stars in this prequel to Zack Snyder’s zombie schlockbuster Army of the Dead, reprising the role of Ludwig Dieter. It reveals how the small-town bank teller becomes drawn into the adventure of a lifetime after the mysterious Gwen (Nathalie Emmanuel) recruits him to join a crew of Interpol’s most wanted criminals: jack-of-all-trades Korina, rugged bad boy Brad, and getaway sidekick Rolph. Gwen wants them to crack a trio of impenetrable vaults known as the Ring Cycle (Das Rheingold, the Valkyrie and the Siegfried) despite the French cops (Jonathan Cohen and Noemie Nakai) hot on their trail.

Contributing: PA

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