TV guide: 39 of the best shows to watch this week
Dermot Bannon goes to work on his own dream pile, and the return of Dancing With The Stars and Operation Transformation
Cush Jumbo and David Tennant in Deadwater Fell, Friday on Channel 4
Room to Improve: Dermot’s Home
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
You didn’t seriously think you were going to get a break from Dermot Bannon in 2020, did you? The superstarchitect is back with a new home improvement series, but there’s a twist, because this time he’s turning the Hilti gun on his own project, and taking on the challenge of designing a dream home. That’s right: Bannon will take himself on as a client, tasked with transforming a 1930s house in Drumcondra into a fabulous family home for him and his wife and three children. If you thought Dermot was a demon for detail as an architect, he’s even harder to please as a client, so expect sparks to fly as Bannon takes on this intensely personal and potentially headwrecking job. Just don’t put up any mirrors yet – we don’t want Dermot having a screaming argument with himself.
Dancing with the Stars
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
Christmas is over, the turkey’s been eaten and the booze cupboard wrung dry – but don’t put away the tinsel just yet: Dancing with the Stars is back for another twirl on the ballroom floor, and they might need a little help with the glitz and glamour. RTÉ has taken such a financial hammering it will probably be reconfiguring the baubles as disco balls for this new season, but at least they haven’t scrimped on the staff-studded line-up. Presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Nicky Byrne are back, along with judges Brian Redmond, Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson. And who will be hot-footing it onto the floor this season? Step forward B*Witched star Sinéad O’Carroll, Love Island star Yewande Biala, Fair City star Ryan Andrews, former boxer and Olympic gold medallist Michael Carruth, Kilkenny hurler Aidan Fogarty, and singing priest Fr Ray Kelly, along with presenters Lottie Ryan, Glenda Gilson and Mary Kennedy, and former Miss Universe Ireland Grainne Gallanagh. Sadly, there is one extra-bright star missing from this terpsichorean constellation: Bedding legend Mattress Mick was tipped for this year’s show, but must have decided to stick with doing what he knows best. Never mind – dancing’s loss is sleep’s gain.
Call the Midwife
Sunday, BBC1, 8pm
It’s the end of an era, as the ninth series of the popular period drama begins with the funeral of Winston Churchill in January 1965. But just because the medics and midwives are entering a brave new world doesn’t mean the show’s days are numbered – the BBC has already commissioned series 10 and 11. And there are still plenty of baby-related dramas to explore. In this episode, Fred goes to fix a power outage and finds an infant abandoned in a dustbin. Nurse Crane helps a heavily pregnant woman, but it’s her 10-year-old son who is causing the most concern when he is discovered to be suffering from an infectious, and supposedly eradicated, illness. Meanwhile, Sr Julienne learns that Nonnatus House has been earmarked for demolition.
Dancing on Ice
Sunday, Virgin One, 6pm
We got our first good look at the class of 2019 in the Christmas launch show, which followed the celebs as they were paired up with their professional partners. But how accurate were our first impressions? We’re about to find out as the competition begins in earnest and we see how much the stars have improved (or not, as the case may be) since their first tentative steps on to the ice. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will be giving us the professionals’ views as they’re joined on judging panel by Ashley Banjo and new recruit John Barrowman. Diversity’s Perri Kiely has emerged as an early favourite (and not just because he was in a dance troupe with one of the judges). Will there be any surprises as six couples compete tonight?
Réalta agus Gaolta
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
The search for Ireland’s most talented family is back as singin’ siblings, dancin’ dynasties and rockin’ relatives battle it out on the stage to be crowned the champions for 2020. At stake is the chance to perform live at the Waterfront in Belfast and in Vicar Street with the king of country, Nathan Carter. Judging the families are Irial Ó Ceallaigh, champion sean-nós singer, and Sinéad Ní Uallacháin, broadcaster and producer. And this week’s guest judge is award-winning singer Aoife Scott. Presented by Síomha Ní Ruairc.
SAS: Who Dares Wins
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
In this new series, 25 men and women, including an ex-SAS operator working undercover, face an intense start to the latest course, led by chief instructor Ant Middleton. It begins with a cold-water shock as the recruits must jump from a moving speedboat into the freezing Atlantic. They then swim to the shore of a remote Scottish island, where they will be based for the duration of the course.
Ronnachaí Buí/Smoked Mackerel
Sunday, TG4, 6.40pm
This 17-minute film by Ciarán Charles was shot in An Trá Bháin, Connemara in 2018. It’s just an ordinary summer for best friends Colm, Maeve and Peadar (Padraig O’Laoi, Sinéad Ni Fhlatharta, Cian Mac Donnchadh), racing their bicycles near their homea. That is, until girls from Dublin arrive to learn Irish, leading Peadar and Colm into unknown territory. But is there a place for Maeve in this new venture?
Sunday, Virgin Two, 9.15pm
Iain Stirling is joined by new team captain Scarlett Moffatt as she leads a group of three friends hoping to win £5,000 by defeating four celebrities in fun games based on unusual abilities the famous faces believe they possess. This time, three friends take on celebrities Lee Ryan, Helen Flanagan, Matt Evers and Nathan Caton.
One Day: Keeping Ireland Company
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
A new three-part run of the One Day documentary strand goes behind the scenes to examine the complex network of services that are essential for life in Ireland today – over the course of a single day. This new series looks at the people who work with Animals, Safety/Security and Entertainment/Leisure. The first episode features the stories of people who spend their working lives in the company of animals. From bulldogs to pedigree bulls, from rescue hens to racing pigeons, the animal/pet industry in Ireland is booming.
Shortscreen: Inner Child
Monday, RTÉ2, 11.50pm
Gary Duggan’s 12-minute drama from 2018 stars Carolyn Bracken as a troubled woman who turns to therapy to address the behaviours that have hurt her and others around her. She is encouraged to reconnect with her literal Inner Child (played by Elena O’Connor), who holds all the answers to her questions. But is she ready to hear them?
The Choir: Aylesbury Prison
Monday/Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
Gareth Malone undertakes a challenge to form a choir in a prison for young offenders serving sentences from four years to life. First he meets the governor, Laura Sapwell, who feels that a choir might be a different and unique way to engage with the young men as part of a programme aimed at trying to prevent reoffending. At the end of his first week, Malone has met almost all the prison’s 200 residents, with 20 having expressed real interest in working with him.
Monday, Channel 4, 11.35pm
Sylvia Hoeks is back in season two of this compelling Dutch drama (original title: Overspel, or “Adultery”). The first was the most viewed Walter Presents show of 2019, and little wonder. Once more it centres on Iris and Willem (Hoeks and Fedja van Huêt), who are now openly in a happy relationship. While Elsie is having a hard time in prison for the attempted manslaughter of Iris, Pepjin is fighting for sole custody of Menno. When Marit finds a note saying Willem is going away for a while to “think things over”, Iris doesn’t believe it. Did Willem leave of his own accord, was he kidnapped or perhaps even killed?
Tuesday/Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm
It’s the zillionth season of the ever-popular procedural crims series. Emilia Fox is back as Dr Nikki Alexander, who heads a team of forensic pathologists trying to solve big crimes using the tiniest of clues. In the first two-part mystery, Nikki and her team are called to the scene when a private plane carrying the US ambassador crashes in woodlands outside London. This becomes personal for Nikki, because the ambassador was a close friend of her partner Matt, and she must break the news to him of his friend’s death. When a businessman dies in an apparent suicide, the team finds a link with the plane crash and start to wonder if there’s a wider conspiracy at work.
The Style Counsellors
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
In this new fashion series, leading social media influencers Suzanne Jackson and Eileen Smith, who know their way around a wardrobe, aim to help people find their fashion mojo – whether it’s the woman returning to the workforce after 30 years, exiting a long relationship, or the busy working mother who has a wardrobe full of clothes but absolutely nothing to wear. In the first episode, they travel to Co Limerick to help nurse Susan Roche (28) rediscover her style after a dramatic weight loss.
Godfather of Harlem
Tuesday, RTÉ2, 9pm
Gangster Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker) makes his way in Harlem during the 1960s in this TV prequel to Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (2007). In the first two episodes, Bumpy is released from Alcatraz and returns to New York City, where he seeks to regain control of Harlem. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family, led by Vincent “Chin” Gigante (Vincent D’Onofrio). Bumpy engages in a fevered search to find a heroin supply independent of the Italians while Chin engages the services of crooked cops in a plot to arrest Bumpy and send him back to jail. The supporting cast includes such made-in-gangster-heaven mugs as Paul Sorvino, Chazz Palminteri and Giancarlo Esposito
Tuesday, TG4, 9.30pm
The country-music talent show returns to the Quays Live in Galway as the hunt for Ireland’s best country talent continues. With help from Ireland’s biggest country music stars, six new contestants battle it out. Glór Tíre is presented by Aoife Ni Thuairisg and Séamus Ó Scanláin, with help from the judges John Creedon, Caitríona Ní Shúilleabháin and Jó Ní Chéide. Star guests include Patrick Feeney, Mike Denver, Trudi Lalor, John McNicholl, Ciarán Rosney and Jim Devine.
Cornwall: This Fishing Life
Tuesday, BBC2, 8pm
New documentary series about one Cornish fishing village. While many fishing communities struggle, Mevagissey has thrived owing to protection from prevailing winds and returning fish stocks. Boats have been handed down through generations and currently 74 operate out of the harbour. As young captains prepare to follow in their father’s footsteps, tourism also becomes a major boost to the town – but leaves it feeling deserted in winter. A veteran skipper prepares to retire and questions what the next generation will learn from his example.
8 Out of 10 Cats
Tuesday, E4, 9pm
Jimmy Carr returns with the 22nd series of the topical comedy panel show as he and his guests use statistics and a series of opinion polls to discuss various talking points. In the first episode, the hosts and current team captain Rob Beckett are joined by Canadian comic and panel-show regular Katherine Ryan; co-presenter of TV quiz Pointless Richard Osman; the host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired! Tom Allen; Made in Chelsea star Sophie Hermann; and London-born stand-up and writer Sophie Duker.
Joe Wicks: The Body Coach
Tuesday, Virgin Two, 8pm
Part one of two. The health and fitness guru invites couch potatoes to take part in his 90-day body confidence routine. With short, intense workouts and fast recipes, Joe Wicks promises to turn viewers’ health and lifestyle around. He begins by meeting four people battling their health, diet and body confidence. They include Natalie from Lowestoft, who doesn’t want to be a fat bridesmaid at her brother’s wedding; and teacher Asa, whose bad-boy diet and fondness for a G&T has caused his weight to balloon.
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
Kathryn Thomas is back spearheading the latest campaign to get the nation moving. Once again the Irish public is encouragedto get up, get active and get healthy. Over the course of the eight-week show, the nation will be given the toolsto get moving, lose weight and feel great. For the first time, OT will be based in the heartland of Ireland – Co Offaly. Last year saw the biggest turn-out yet for the hugely popular GAA lights up campaign – helping communities across the 32 counties come together and enjoy getting fit and healthy in the safe surroundings of their local GAA club. OT’s annual nationwide walks campaign also saw people turn out in record numbers all across the country.
Neven’s Irish Seafood Trails
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Neven Maguire kicks off the new year with a new series. This is the second seven-part series he has dedicated to seafood, and his search for the finest and freshest produce takes him to Clare, Waterford, Kenmare and Castletownbere. He also visits Kilmacalogue and Kinsale, Donegal and Wexford. But it all begins in the seaside village of Ballycotton, Co Cork. He heads down to the pier where local fisherman Sean Roach is just back with a fresh catch, including cod, megrim, black sole, monkfish, hake, haddock and whiting. Maguire and Roach head out into the bay in search of mackerel. Back on dry land, the chef travels to Midleton to meet Diane Walsh of fishmongers Ballycotton Seafood. Just around the corner is the acclaimed Sage restaurant, where chef Kevin Aherne demonstrates a recipe for haddock carpaccio.
Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge
Wednesday, BBC2, 8.30pm
No prizes for guessing what this six-part series is about. Yes, chef Tom Kerridge will help folks fight that post-Christmas battle of the bulge. More specifically, a group of volunteers from Gloucester embark on an eight-week weight loss and fitness journey, doing regular exercise and eating lower calorie meals in an effort to get in shape and reach their health and fitness goals. In the first episode, Kerridge calls the group to a sports faculty to reveal what they have signed up to for the next two months.
White House Farm
Wednesday, UTV, 9pm
In 1985, five members of the same family were murdered at an Essex farmhouse – Sheila Caffell, her twin six-year-old sons Daniel and Nicholas, and her parents, Nevill and June Bamber. It was a shocking case and a controversial one as the man convicted of the killings, Nevill and June’s son Jeremy, has always protested his innocence. This six-part drama draws on interviews and extensive research to bring a fresh perspective to the tragedy. It begins in the early hours of August 7th, 1985, as the Jeremy (Freddie Fox) calls the police to an incident at his parents’ farmhouse. As far as DI Thomas “Taff” Jones (Stephen Graham) is concerned, it’s an open and shut-case: Sheila, who suffered from mental health problems, killed her parents and children. But something doesn’t feel right to DS Stan Jones (Mark Addy).
Meat the Family
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
For anyone considering a new year’s resolution to eat less meat, tonight’s Channel 4 schedule will make for interesting viewing. It begins with this programme, following four families as they take farm animals into their own homes for three weeks. They’ll be given expert guidance in how to care for the creatures and, when the three weeks are up, they must make a decision about whether to send the animals to a sanctuary or reintroduce them into the food chain – and potentially end up eating them for dinner. For one clan who take temporary ownership of a pair of piglets, the experience leaves them questioning if they will ever eat pork again. It’s followed by Apocalypse Cow: How Meat Killed the Planet, which looks at the environmental impact of farming.
Murder Trial: The Disappearance of Margaret Fleming
Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm
In 2016, an application for a personal independence payment raised suspicions. It also led to the trial of two carers accused of murdering 35-year-old Margaret Fleming and claiming benefits in her name for 16 years. Bafta Award-winning director Matt Pinder’s two-part documentary takes viewers into the centre of the trial at Glasgow’s high court and beyond. It offers a compelling insight into the work of the police and prosecutors in bringing the two suspects to trial.
Tabú: Gafa sna Líonta
Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm
Fishing for a living is one of the hardest jobs in Ireland. Working in one of the most regulated sectors in the country, this documentary follows several fishermen along the southeast coast over eight months as they battle politics, policies, nature and a never-changing quota system. It examine how our natural resource is an unappreciated gold mine – Europeans take most of fish from the wealthiest fishing waters back to their own shores – and how Irish fishermen are caught in a net.
The Great Pottery Throw Down
Wednesday, More4, 9pm
Ever since it was dropped by the BBC in 2018, fans of this series having been crying out for its return. It’s back tonight, and as before, we are at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, where new host Melanie Sykes (replacing Sara Cox) is joined by old judge Keith Brymer Jones and newbie Sue Pryke. We start off with 12 of Britain’s best home potters competing to become champion, as judges set them two opening challenges: throw a breakfast set and then some egg cups. The battle of clay soon kicks off at the wheel.
How to Be Good with Money
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Financial planner Eoin McGee returns helping households and individuals get their finances in order. Across the eight-part series he will meet eight very different households: a chef who wants to learn the basics of saving and budgeting; a couple who are about to get married; a young family who dream of moving out of Nannie’s and buying their own home; a single mum who wants help surviving the financial fallout from taking time off work for surgery; and a self-employed community midwife desperate to make her business work. McGee will also meet a financially savvy couple who want his help to secure their financial future; parents who want to ensure they can afford their children’s college education; and a family who want to renovate their home to create lots of space to make family memories. He will investigate each household’s finances – what they are spending, what they are saving (or not!) and generally how they are managing their money.
Death in Paradise
Thursday, BBC One, 9pm
Ardal O’Hanlon returns as DI Jack Mooney in the detective series set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie. But he won’t be back for long, because O’Hanlon is bowing out of the series after three years to concentrate on other projects in cooler climes. We’re promised that Jack’s exit from the island will be a tearjerker, so if you’re a long-time DiP fan, have the tissues handy for this series. But before he departs in whatever lacrimose way he’s going, Jack has another mystery to solve: the murder of an airline tycoon’s wife during the company’s New Year’s Eve party.
First Dates Ireland
Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm
Passions ignite once more as young hearts, lively suitors and slow burners come together for a smouldering new series. With everyone in the restaurant on a blind date, nerves are always running high. But on hand, as always, with encouraging words and matchmaking savoir faire are maitre’d Mateo and master-mixologist Ethan, ably assisted by Alice, Pete and Libby. Some of the daters bravely allowing the nation to eavesdrop on their romantic rendezvous include Michael, at 81 the restaurant’s oldest dater ever; 32-year-old Jenna on her very first date since an accident left her paralysed, and comedian Edwin Sammon, best known as Fr Gabriel from Bridget & Eamon.
Baby Chimp Rescue
Thursday, BBC2, 8pm
New documentary series following life in a home for orphaned chimpanzees run by wildlife vet Jimmy Desmond and his wife Jenny. The Desmonds started with just two rescued baby chimps saved from the illegal pet trade; now their home is bursting at the seams with 21 orphans to look after. Many of the primate lost their mothers before they had a chance to learn key survival skills, meaning they will not be able to return to the wild, but Prof Ben Garrod is on hand to help Jimmy and Jenny teach the chimps important skills such as climbing, finding food and recognising danger.
The Supervet: Noel Fitzpatrick
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
A six-month-old collie appears to have a developmental deformity in which the bones in its elbows don’t fit together. After CT scans, Fitzpatrick sees that the situation is even more complex. A Burmese mountain dog has a painful bulging disc, which the supervet hopes to replace with a bespoke titanium spacer screw, while cat Elmo has a complex fracture to its left back leg after being hit by a car. Even though the bone has exploded into fragments, Fitzpatrick believes the limb can be saved. But it will require a tricky operation involving metal implants.
Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm
This new series aims to find Ireland’s most creative workplace. Placing an artist within a company, workers in 10 different Irish organisations have been set the goal of making a fantastic piece of art together. Judged by a team of art critics, one company will come out on top and claim the title of Ireland’s most creative. In this episode, the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney competes against the Maurice Ward Group for a place in the grand finale.
Monty Don’s American Gardens
Friday, BBC2, regions vary
The keen horticulturalist visits some of the most famous and interesting gardens in the US. He begins his trek in a prairie, the original American flowering wilderness, only to find much of it has disappeared. In New York, Don explores vegetables being grown on the city’s rooftops, visits an enthusiastic allotment community in the Bronx, and learns about the history of America’s most famous public green space, Central Park. In Philadelphia, Don examines one of the country’s most famous gardens and enjoys a modern version of a prairie garden.
Friday, Channel 4, 9pm
David Tennant is back in Broadchurch territory with this new drama about a small community rocked by a terrible crime, only this time he’s one of the suspects. He plays Tom Kendrick, a popular local GP in the sleepy Scottish village of Kirkdarroch, who lives with his teacher wife Kate (Anna Madeley) and their three daughters. Their life seems perfect, until one night a fire engulfs their house. Tom gets out, but his family doesn’t – and the tragedy takes a sinister twist when it emerges that it wasn’t the blaze that killed them. Kate’s best friend (Cush Jumbo) is determined to find out what really happened, but in the process her own relationship with her police officer husband (Matthew McNulty) is tested.
Chris Packham: Forever Punk
Friday, BBC4, 9.30pm
TV presenter Chris Packham is a massive fan of punk rock, so much so that back in October he managed to slip 14 song titles into an episode of Autumnwatch as a tribute to Eddie and the Hot Rods frontman Barrie Masters, who had recently passed away. Here Packham looks back on his love of punk as a teenager and explains how it galvanised him to become an environmental campaigner. However, he also wonders if he has turned into the kind of “establishment figure” who his younger self would have hated. Packham meets other former punks, including Tom Robinson and the Rev Richard Coles, to discover if the values they believed in still hold true today.
Billy Connolly: Life, Death and Laughter
Friday, BBC2, 10pm
The Big Yin returns to Glasgow’s famous King’s Theatre, where his journey into comedy first began, to talk life, death and laughter in a far-reaching interview with BBC arts editor Will Gompertz. The conversation looks back on the comic’s past and ahead to the future, covering all elements of his unusually packed existence: how he got started, his approach to comedy, his Scottish roots, and how Parkinson’s disease is the latest thing he’s having to laugh at.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming discuss appearing in the West End in a new production of Beckett’s Endgame. Also: Sharon Horgan chats about starring with Kristin Scott Thomas in the upcoming drama Military Wives. Plus music from Craig David.
Friday, BBC1, 9.30pm
Following a successful pilot episode in 2018, the sitcom returns for a full series. It’s the brainchild of Tom Davis and his Murder in Successville colleague James De Frond; once again, Davis stars, De Frond directs and both have penned the scripts. The pilot introduced Gary King, a suburban family man living with his other half Terri (Laura Checkley), the love of his life. Gary’s main goals in life are to impress the neighbours and prove he’s just as successful as his dad, Big Gary – which would be a lot easier if he wasn’t such a drama queen. Instead, everything is blown out of proportion and petty dramas await around every corner.