Weekend TV guide: 15 of the best shows to watch
Brendan O’Carroll & co on the Late Late celebrating 20 years of Mrs Brown, plus Bruce Springsteen on Graham Norton, a new series of Spiral, and Ed Sheeran ‘in his own words’
Brendan O’Carroll in character on Dublin’s Moore Street during filming of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie in September 2013. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Millions of fans have taken Brendan O’Carroll’s Agnes Brown into their hearts. As they celebrate 20 years of Agnes and her family on the stage, Brendan O’Carroll and rest of the cast will perform a scene from Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Musical, and Ryan Tubridy will chat to O’Carroll & co about the phenomenon that is Mrs Brown’s Boys. Also: Broadcaster Joe Duffy and journalist Freya McClemence will join Tubridy to talk about some of the often forgotten tragedies from Northern Ireland – those of the innocent children killed in conflict, which they have documented in their book, Children of the Troubles. Plus: John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, in his first ever Irish interview, on the mess of Brexit; former Ireland rugby captain Jamie Heaslip on what it’s really like inside a Joe Schmidt World Cup squad, the threat of a typhoon ahead of Saturday’s clash against Samoa in Japan, and his own illustrious career; Bernard O’Shea on masculinity, marriage and his new book, My Wife Is Married to a Feckin’ Eejit; and singer Sibéal Ní Chasaide, who will perform a rendition of the Beatles hit, Blackbird.
The Name of the Rose
Friday, BBC2, 9pm
In 1980, Italian writer Umberto Eco published his first novel, which went on to become a bestseller across the globe. Six years later it was made into a big-budget film with Sean Connery and Christian Slater in the leads. Now it’s been turned into an eight-part TV series, an Italian/German coproduction starring John Turturro and newcomer Damian Hardung as 14th century Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and novice Adso of Melk. They arrive at a remote Benedictine abbey, supposedly to help resolve a dispute over poverty, but become embroiled in a chain of mysterious deaths, possibly involving a sinister representative from the Inquisition (Rupert Everett).
Have I Got News for You
Friday, BBC1, 9pm
Those taking part in the first of a new run (the 58th!) of the satirical quiz have plenty of material at their disposal. It’s been an extraordinary period in political history – and that’s without even mentioning Brexit or Trump. Guest host Martin Clunes will try to keep order this week as team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton go head-to-head once again.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm (repeated Sat, Virgin One, 10.10pm; Sun, Virgin Two, 10pm)
Among the guests are musical legend Bruce Springsteen (above), and actors Robert De Niro, Paul Rudd and Sienna Miller, with music from James Blunt.
Pompeii: The Bodies in the Basement
Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
A new investigation into one of the most harrowing gravesites of the AD 79 eruption, where more than 55 bodies were found cowering at a site that has long baffled archaeologists. While the skeletons at the back of the room have no possessions, those crowded at the front are laden with jewellery and gold. But why, in the chaos of their dying moments, were the bodies so starkly divided by wealth? This documentary examines the theory that the bodies apparently hoarding wealth were actually looters, and asks what that tells us about crime in Pompeii.
The Ray D’Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.45pm
American writer and playwright Bonnie Greer joins D’Arcy to talk about her passionate defence of Ireland on BBC’s Question Time – a clip that has been viewed nearly three million times. Also: Tina Kelleher, much-loved star of The Snapper and Ballykissangel, describes her role as devious battleaxe Ger Lynch, who’s causing chaos in Carrigstown on Fair City. Plus: Kathleen Watkins on her book The Ordinary Woman and Other Poems I Love and how poetry plays an important part in her life with husband Gay Byrne; Mabel Chah, a pop star in her native Cameroon, on her journey from direct provision to launching a new music career in Ireland, and she will perform live in studio with the Sligo Gospel Choir; and Cork author Louise O'Neill on bringing her groundbreaking book Asking for It back to the stage.
The X Factor: Celebrity
Saturday, Virgin One, 8.40pm/UTV, 8.35pm
Strictly Come Dancing returned last month, and now its traditional Saturday night rival is also back for a new series – with a difference. As the title suggests, it’s now going to be celebrities compete for a potentially life-changing contract. Some of the stars are already known to have musical talent, including former Glee actor Kevin McHale and Olivia Olson, who is best known for belting out All I Want for Christmas Is You in Love Actually. Some of the other famous faces are unknown quantities when it comes to singing, such as journalist Martin Bashir. But as they gather to perform at Simon Cowell’s LA home, who will make the biggest impression on Cowell and fellow judges Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh?
Saturday, BBC1, 8.35pm
A new game show in which contestants answer questions that combine knowledge, strategy and luck. Those taking part don’t just require the correct answers, but also the luck of the drop of a single ball, and unflinching trust in one another. In the first episode, sisters Louise and Helen from Leeds face the questions and big decisions, but with a show with so many twists and turns, anything could happen. Hosted by Danny Dyer, with questions voiced by Angela Rippon.
Saturday, BBC4, 9pm
The seventh season of the French crime drama (original title: Engrenages) begins as Commissioner Herville is found dead in a Chinese restaurant in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Gilou (Thierry Godard), now the head of the unit, must break the news to Laure (Caroline Proust), who is being treated in a police rehab centre, before investigating with a new partner, who is fresh out of training. Then, in the second episode, Gilou and Laure set out to find Ryan and his gang, while Edelman does everything he can to get Josephine out of prison.
Mark Ronson: From the Heart
Saturday, BBC2, 9.30pm
Producer/songwriter/DJ Mark Ronson is an international success who has picked up seven Grammy awards, as well an Oscar for his collaboration on the song Shallow from A Star Is Born. However, as this personal documentary reminds us, Ronson’s life and career hasn’t been smooth sailing. The programme looks back at his debut album, 2003’s Here Comes the Fuzz, which was released to strong reviews but underwhelming sales and led to his label dropping him. Luckily, He would later win acclaimed for his work on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and he talks here about their musical relationship. Ronson also reflects on his childhood and how the break-up of his marriage influenced his most recent album, Late Night Feelings.
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
This 10-part series, presented by Conall Ó Máirtín and Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, is based on the rivalry between Irish towns, villages and parishes, which manifests itself primarily through local sports such as football, hurling, camogie and soccer. Two locals’ villages go head to head to settle old scores once and for all on a course littered with challenges and obstacles that goes from one village to the other. Each team sets out from their own village and race towards the opposing village, usually a distance of 8km to 14km. Along the way they will have to negotiate nine different challenges andagainst the clock. The teams are chosen locally from different age groups (15- and 16-year olds, 19- and 20-year-olds, and 40+).
Ed Sheeran: In His Own Words
Sunday, Channel 5, 9pm
He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, two of his albums are in the list of the best-selling albums in UK chart history, and his ÷ tour became the highest-grossing of all time in August this year. So how did a former busker from Suffolk become one of the world’s most successful pop acts? This celebratory look at Sheeran’s career to date features highlights of some of his most memorable performances, as well as interviews with friends and fans.
France 1939: One Last Summer
Sunday, BBC4, 10pm
During the summer of 1939, an impending global conflict wasn’t in the thoughts of most ordinary French people. But all that was about to change as the nation quickly became engulfed by what was arguably the most destructive conflict in human history. This collection of home movies, diaries and letters from just before the start of the second World War reveals the final weeks of peace in France and explains the mix of blindness, denial and prophetic clear-sightedness of those facing the war that was about to unfold.
Lost Pharaohs of the Nile
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
For almost a century, a dynasty known as the Black Pharoah ruled supreme in ancient Egypt. For many years, civil war and political turmoil prevented historians and archaeologists from investigating the origins of the Black Pharoahs, but recently some 30 international teams have worked alongside Sudan’s department of antiquities to unearth stunning sites along the country’s Nile Valley, from pyramids to temples. We see a glimpse of some of them in this eye-opening documentary, including burial chambers and what could be the site of a power base near the great temple of Jebel Barkal.
Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm
Some stars thrive in the spotlight and love the attention it brings; others go out of their way to avoid it. Nevertheless, being a famous face would make appearing in this programme – in which participants have to avoid being spotted and captured by professionals from the police and military intelligence – rather difficult. Taking part in this fundraising venture for Stand Up to Cancer are rugby legends Gavin Henson and Martin Offiah, chefs Aldo Zilli and Jean-Christophe Novelli, TOWIE’s Lydia Bright and Lucy Mecklenburgh, Boris Johnson’s father Stanley, and his I’m a Celebrity campmate Georgia Toffolo of Made in Chelsea fame.