Weekend TV guide: 10 of the best shows to watch
Game of Thrones and Avengers stars on Graham Norton, Neil Jordan, Una Healy and Tiger Roll on The Late Late, plus Ant’s comeback and scandals at the palace
Emilia Clarke in season 8 of Game of Thrones
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Oscar-winning writer/director Neil Jordan will tell Ryan Tubridy about his new film Greta, look back on his extraordinary career, and ponder what the legacy of Michael Collins tells us about Brexit. Also: Tipperary’s Una Healy will chat about forging a solo career and finding her country roots since leaving The Saturdays. She will perform her new single (Strangers) and describe how it was inspired by the break-up of her marriage to rugby player Ben Foden. As well: The Late Late will celebrate Tiger Roll’s famous win at the Grand National, doing the double for the first time since Red Rum, with the women who groomed him for greatness: Louise Magee and Karen Morgan, who will bring the legendary racehorse to meet Ryan. Plus: Conor McGregor coach John Kavanagh on getting the controversial sport of MMA recognised in Ireland what's next for the notorious UFC fighter; four Irish Army Rangers on the unheralded work of Ireland’s SAS and giving 24 civilians a taste of the gruelling selection course in a new series Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week; two people who witnessed the strange phenomenon of moving statues in the summer of 1985; former Ireland international soccer player turned psychotherapist Richie Sadlier on why we are failing a generation of young people by not talking openly and honestly about sex; and music from Dervish.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm; Saturday, Virgin One, 9.25pm; Sunday, Virgin Two, 10pm
Chris Hemsworth and Paul Rudd chat about new Marvel blockbuster Avengers: End Game, while Oscar-winner Julianne Moore discusses her acclaimed drama Gloria Bell. Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington preview the upcoming final season of hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones, while Brits breakthrough-act Tom Walker performs Just You and I.
Rock Island Line: The Song that Made Britain Rock
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
American folk song Rock Island Line first emerged in the late 1920s, and the first recorded performance of the track wasn’t until 1934, by inmates of the Arkansas Cummins State Farm prison. After several covers, Lonnie Donegan’s fast-tempo recording of the song about a train operator who smuggles pig iron through a toll gate, was released in late 1955. Donegan’s work was a major influence on Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and many others, and it is credited with helping to trigger the UK skiffle craze.
The Comeback of Ant McPartlin
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
Documentary examining the presenter’s fall from grace in 2018, when while his marriage to Lisa Armstrong was failing, he was charged with drink-driving and admitted to rehab for a second time. Through interviews with experts, the programme offers an insight into how Ant’s world collapsed around him and how it feels to have personal problems played out in front of the nation. It also speculates as to whether Ant will successfully complete his recovery as he rejoins Declan Donnelly for the latest series of Britain’s Got Talent.
The Massacre That Shook the Empire
Saturday, Channel 4, 9pm
On April 13, 1919, a British general ordered troops to open fire on a crowd of men, women and children who were peacefully gathered in a park in Amritsar in India to protest against colonial rule. With nowhere to run or hide, hundreds were killed and more than 1,000 wounded. To mark the 100-year anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, writer Sathnam Sanghera retraces one of the darkest days in British and Indian history. Sanghera travels to Punjab, meeting descendants of the survivors and hearing from experts on colonial history. Back in Britain, he meets relatives of the British people in power in India at the time, including Caroline Dyer, great-granddaughter of Reginal Dyer, who gave the order.
Saturday, BBC1, 5,45pm
Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman present another celebrity version of the general knowledge quiz as famous faces try to come up with the least likely correct answers to a series of questions posed to members of the public. Today’s contestants are all from the culinary world, with chefs, cooks and critics Prue Leith, Brian Turner, Grace Dent, William Sitwell, Hala El-Shafie, Ed Baines, Michael Caines and Anna Haugh given food for thought by the presenting duo’s testing teasers.
Ninja Warrior UK
Saturday, UTV, 6.30pm
In this new series, competitors test their strength, speed and courage in an obstacle-course challenge. Members of the public compete alongside celebrities including Jake Quickenden, Dom Lever, Katie Walsh and Lee Latchford-Evans. Those who make it to the end of the adrenaline-fuelled mission face one final task – scaling the heights of a tower named Mount Midoriyama – as they battle it out for the title of Ninja Warrior UK.
The Royal Family: Scandals at the Palace
Saturday, Channel 5, 9pm
An examination of how the press reports on supposed royal scandals, with experts revealing how the House of Windsor has survived its many tabloid storms. Perhaps the biggest of the last century was when King Edward VIII famously abdicated the throne on December 11th, 1936, so he was free to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. In the decades that have followed, Princess Margaret’s forbidden romance with Capt Peter Townsend and disastrous marriage to Lord Snowden both caused a stir, as did the episodes involving Charles and Diana labelled “Camillagate” and “Squidgygate”, Sarah Ferguson’s liaisons with her financial adviser, and Prince Harry’s short stint in rehab.
The Great House Revival
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Hugh Wallace goes to Cobh, Co Cork, where he follows the journey of Garry and Anne Wilson as they embark on the challenging and costly restoration of Belvelly Tower House, which dates from 16th Century. The Wilsons’ total spend on this project is estimated to be about €5 million.When they bought the tower it was a ruin with ivy covered walls, and even had a tree growing out of the top of the tower. The tower itself hadn’t been lived in for nearly 400 years and was at the point of no return when the Wilsons chose to invest their savings in order to bring it back to life.
Janet Baker — In Her Own Words
Sunday, BBC4, 9pm
Dame Janet Abbott Baker is widely regarded as one of the best mezzo-sopranos and singing actresses of all time. She was closely associated with baroque and the works of Benjamin Britten and during her career, which spanned the 1950s to the ’80s, was admired for her dramatic intensity. Here, the 85-year-old looks back on her life and career, discussing the traumatic death of her brother when she was 10 and how it influenced her voice, as well as her decision to retire in her 50s. The programme features contributions from musicians, including the late Andre Previn.