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

Including Ridley, The Suspect, Andor, Cheap Irish Homes and The Late Late Show


Sunday, ITV, 9pm

We know Adrian Dunbar best as Chief Supt Ted Hastings in Line of Duty, so it’s a little weird to think he’ll be playing a completely different cop, DI Alex Ridley, in this new crime series written by Paul Matthew Thompson. But Dunbar reckons we won’t have a problem telling Ridley apart from Hastings. For one thing, Ridley isn’t quite as cuddly as Ted, and he’ll be wearing civvies, as he has been forced to retire from the force. He’s not too happy about being put out to pasture before his time, so when his replacement, DI Carol Farman (Bronagh Waugh) seeks his help in cracking a tricky case, Ridley is happy to jump back in as a consultant. Soon, however, Ridley is sucked back into frontline detective work as he and Farman work together to solve serious crimes. The series is based on real-life retired cops being called back in consultancy roles to help their overstretched former colleagues crack cases, using the experience and wisdom gained during their police career.

The Suspect

Monday, ITV, 9pm

Aidan Turner plays criminal psychologist Joe O’Loughlin in this unimaginatively titled thriller series by the same crowd that brought us Line of Duty, and no problem telling O’Loughlin apart from Turner’s most iconic character, Poldark. Joe seems to have it all: a successful private practice, a loving wife and daughter, and even a book deal – but his world is turned upside down when he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. When a woman is found dead in a shallow grave, police contact Joe in the hope he might come up with some insights, but soon they begin to suspect that the doc may know more about the murder than he is letting on.


From Wednesday, Disney+

You wait years for one live-action Star Wars spin-off series and suddenly a whole slew of them come along at once. Following the success of The Mandalorian, Lucasfilms clearly asked themselves, why didn’t we do this years ago? Now they’re making up for lost time (and dime) by churning out the spin-offs faster than Han Solo can spin out a smart one-liner. With season one of Obi-Wan Kenobi done and dusted, it’s now time to tell the story of Andor – sorry, who? Er, just a minute while I check my Wookieepedia. Ah, here it is. Cassian Andor is, of course, the badass out of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and this series takes place before the events of that film and sees our rebel hero on a quest to discover how he can make a difference in the rebel alliance’s guerrilla war with the Empire. Diego Luna reprises his role as Andor, with Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Denise Gough and Kyle Soller co-starring.

Cheap Irish Homes

Thursday, RTÉ One, 7pm

Cheap houses in Ireland? This must be some sort of new fantasy series set in an alternative universe where hospital patients are not languishing on trolleys and airline passengers don’t have to queue for hours outside the terminal. Presenter Maggie Molloy is our heroine, on a quest to find homes that cost less than a gazillion and help buyers on a budget get their dream home at a reasonable price. She’s helped by building engineer Kieran McCarthy and as the pair travel around the country, it’s a race against time as property prices are going up by the minute. Their first stop is Carlow where civil servant Laura is looking to buy a place and get off Dublin’s precipitous property ladder.


The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

From Friday, Prime Video

We’ve been waiting aeons – well, it seems like aeons – for Prime Video’s much-hyped new series based on the writings of JRR Tolkien to arrive and finally it’s here, a few weeks earlier than originally planned, with two back-to-back opening episodes and a new episode dropping every Friday after that. Once again we can immerse ourselves in Middle-Earth and meet a new cast of elves, dwarves, wizards, hobbits and orcs, and reacquaint ourselves with some familiar characters, including a young Galadriel, nascent necromancer Sauron, and a fiery Balrog.

With a billion-dollar budget, this is the most expensive TV series ever made, and probably half of that went on shrinking Lenny Henry, who is six foot three, to hobbit size. The story is set thousands of years before the events depicted in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, a time when great powers were forged, vast empires rose and fell, unlikely heroes emerged and unspeakable evil took hold. So, pretty much what we see on the news every day. The Rings of Power is coming into a very crowded fantasy space and going up against Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, but we reckon the allure of Tolkien’s world building will be too tempting to pass up and the fans will eagerly flock back to Middle-Earth. Now, where’s my handkerchief – I’m going on another Middle-Earth adventure.

The Late Late Show

Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Ryan Tubridy is back in the hot seat for the new series of The Late Late Show and this year there’s great excitement as Tubridy welcomes back a full studio audience for the first time in two years. Hopefully there won’t be a you-know-what for everyone in the audience. RTÉ is inviting people from around the country to apply to be in the studio audience this autumn, so get out your pen and paper and get your form in. It’s back to Friday night business with a bang as Ryan brings the chat and the cheer, with a line-up of guest stars and performers and lots of topical discussion to keep us glued to the couch. There’ll be magic moments, heartwarming moments and even a few WTF moments in store over the season, and of course there’s the Toy Show to look forward to at the end of November, not to mention Toy Show – the Musical, which opens on Dublin’s Convention Centre stage from December 10th.

Have I Got News for Boris

Friday, BBC One

The 64th series of the news-driven quizshow begins with a backhanded tribute to outgoing prime minister (and sometime Have I Got News for You presenter) Boris Johnson, just days before he’s due to depart from Downing Street. It’s a fitting send-off for the Boris, and there should be no shortage of material from Johnson’s colourful career to keep the panellists and viewers entertained. Jack Dee is the presenter for this ritual roasting, with team leaders Ian Hislop and Paul Merton joined by journalist Janet Street-Porter and comedian Phil Wang.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist