Weekend TV guide: 14 of the best shows to watch
Ireland’s top exorcist and a child star who was Michael Jackson’s friend on Late Late
Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens, Friday night at 9pm on BBC2
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
When cast as young Oliver Twist in the movie musical Oliver! in 1968, Mark Lester had no way of knowing that his resulting stardom would bring him to the attention of the King of Pop – Michael Jackson. Now 60, Lester joins host Ryan Tubridy to discuss an unusual friendship, the controversial new documentary Leaving Neverland, and Lester’s role in the disputed paternity of Jackson’s children. Also: Despite being diagnosed with alopecia at the age of 15, Amber Jean Rowan went on to carve out a successful career as a model and actor. Having recently gone wig-free to grace the cover of Irish Tatler, Rowan discusses embracing her hair-free life and opens up about the condition that has seen her lose her hair. Plus: Irish exorcist Fr Pat Collins on why demand for his services is on the rise; Home of the Year judges Hugh Wallace, Deirdre Whelan and Peter Crowley; eight-year-old Sligo boy Shane Haran, recently crowned “Fastest Kid in the World” at the prestigious Millrose Games in Manhattan; Robbie Lawlor and Shaun Dunne on their work to remove the stigma of HIV in Ireland and how they’ve used their own experiences to create a new theatre project, Rapids; the Press Photographers Association of Ireland’s Photographs of the Year; and music from The Connor McKeon Band and Dublin-based rapper Jafaris.
Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
Traditional Japanese gardens combine aesthetics with ethics, and beauty with philosophy in a celebration of the natural world. In this two-part exploration of both traditional and modern, Monty Don looks at some of the most beautiful gardens from all over Japan. He begins his journey in spring, amid the cherry blossoms, where he visits one of the “three great gardens of Japan” and the earliest surviving boating garden of the Heian period. He also looks at the rolling green moss of a Buddhist garden and learns the secrets of creating a Zen landscape.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm
Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer discuss their new film On the Basis of Sex, which is based on the early life and cases of US supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Stephen Merchant talks about Fighting with My Family, a fact-based comedy-drama set in the world of wrestling, in which he costars and directs. Plus, comedian Rob Beckett puts in a good word for his BBC1 talent show All Together Now, while Calvin Harris and Rag’n’Bone Man perform their current single Giant.
Flat Pack Pop: Sweden’s Music Miracle
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
Journalist James Ballardie explores the uniquely Swedish songwriting formula created by record producer Denniz Pop. What started out as an experiment on the Stockholm underground club scene in the 1990s soon blossomed into an entire genre of its own, and Denniz Pop and other unlikely heroes can be credited with launching the careers of Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Westlife and many, many more. Ballardie’s search for the real lever-pullers behind today’s top tunes takes him from the icy streets of Stockholm to the barren plains of Kronoberg. He also interviews with key Swedish songwriters, plus artists including Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Ace of Base and Robyn.
Friday, Virgin Media Two, 9.30pm
Hosted by Lisa Cannon, Box Office returns for a new series of movie news, interviews, reviews, new releases and all the glitz and glam from the world of movies.
The Ray D’Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.50pm
Kay Burley, one of Britain’s most formidable broadcasters, joins D’Arcy to talk about her 30-year career as the face of Sky News. Also, actors Seána Kerslake and 10-year-old James Quinn Markey tell Ray about their upcoming Irish horror movie, The Hole in the Ground, which won rave reviews at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Plus: comedian Katherine Lynch on touring with Menopause: The Musical; and Offaly brothers and international models Oisin and Ronan Murphy on walking the catwalks in Milan and Paris.
Saturday, BBC4, 9pm
The Icelandic thriller starring Olafur Darri Olafsson returns. A shocking attack on a politician in Reykjavik sends detective Andri Olaffson back to his home town of Seyoisfjorour – the scene of events that still haunt him. Once there, he works with former colleagues Hinrika and Asgeir to investigate a suspected link between the case and far-right nationalists. However, with no police support from Reykjavik until a snowstorm clears, the team are faced with a seemingly hopeless situation. With a suspect in custody awaiting questioning and a body awaiting forensic tests, can Andri & co make a breakthrough in the case?
Williams: Formula 1 in the Blood
Saturday, BBC2, 9pm (repeated Sunday, 11.55pm)
The name Williams is now synonymous with Grand Prix racing, but the road to success was a long and difficult one for the team’s founder, Frank Williams. Born in South Shields in 1942, he became hooked on cars in his teens and, while working as a travelling grocery salesman, created his first racing team. Financial issues eventually forced him to sell the team and start again. This documentary recaps the stunning success Williams has enjoyed since then thanks, in part, to appointing Patrick Head as his technical director in 1977. More than just another programme for petrolheads, this is a compelling tale of one man’s determination to succeed. The horrific 1986 road accident that left him wheelchair-bound is also covered.
Spending Secrets of the Royals
Saturday, Channel 5, 9pm
A look at the expenditure of the royal family, including Prince Andrew’s penchant for luxury travel, the gigantic bill for the Buckingham Place restoration and the Queen Mother’s well-known love of champagne, which resulted in her allegedly smuggling a case of bubbly into hospital during a visit for a hip operation. Pro and anti-monarchists put forward their arguments for whether the royals are a financial burden that taxpayers should no longer bear, or a unique asset that should be cherished.
Sunday, BBC2, 8pm
Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris return for their final run of the motoring show, before Paddy McGuinness and Andrew Flintoff take over as hosts later this year. In the first episode, Matt and Chris go to Norway to test drive the latest estate cars from Porsche and Ferrari, while Rory is joined by racing driver Sabine Schmitz for an unusual motoring challenge: to create Britain’s newest mountain with the help of a tiny Suzuki. The team is joined in the studio by Westworld star James Marsden.
Sunday, BBC One, 9pm
The BBC’s crime series The Missing introduced crusty, dogged detective Julien Baptiste. Now he gets his own spin-off series, where he will continue to do what he does best: find vulnerable people who have fallen off the grid. This six-parter begins as Baptiste (played with engaging tetchiness by Tchéky Karyo) settles down for a quiet retirement with his wife in Amsterdam – good luck with that. Before he can even unbox the pipe and slippers, Baptiste is recruited by local police chief (and ex-girlfriend) Martha Horchner (Barbara Sarafian) to help a man (Tom Hollander) find his niece, a sex worker in Amsterdam.
Gradam Ceoil TG4 2019
Sunday, TG4, 9.30pm
A world-class line-up of top trad talent has been announced for this live concert and awards show, known as the “Oscars of traditional music”, which returns to Belfast’s Waterfront Hall for a second year. Legendary traditional Irish band Four Men & a Dog, who formed in Belfast in the 1990s, will headline the bill. All-Ireland céilí band champions The Thatch Céili Band, pivotal members of the Irish diaspora in London, will also perform on the night. Hosting the event are TG4 presenter Doireann Glackin and Belfast-based musician Dónal O’Connor of well-known band Ulaid. It will also feature live performances from the six Gradam Ceoil 2019 recipients: Musician of the Year, Catherine McEvoy; Young Musician of the Year, Conor Connolly; Lifetime Achievement, Nicky & Anne McAuliffe; Singer of the Year, Thomas McCarthy; Outstanding Contribution, Brendan Mulkere; and Musical Collaboration, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
London, 1945: the war has ended, but a new conflict is about to open up on a different front, as East and West battle for control of the postwar landscape. Churchill has been defeated by the Labour party, and the US is worried that England may be sliding into socialism. Emma Appleton stars as a civil servant recruited by her American lover to spy on her own side in order to uncover Soviet agents who have infiltrated the British government, but she’ll have to watch her back and keep all her wits about her as she navigates a world where no one is who they seem to be. Keeley Hawes, so memorable in Bodyguard, also stars.
Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle
Sunday, BBC4, 10pm
This new series of monologues tells the stories of immigrants from the West Indies living in the UK in the 1940s and 1950s, and challenges the English collective understanding of what it means to be part of the Afro-Caribbean community in modern-day Britain. The first episode tells the story of Eunice, a woman living in London in 1949, who finds the reality of life in Britain does not live up to her expectations – until a relationship with an Englishman makes her reassess her outlook on her new home. We also hear the tale of Cyrus Williams, who believes that he has found the love of his life after a chance meeting during a hospital appointment. However, the disapproval of his friends and the constraints of living in England place a strain on the relationship.