TV guide: 12 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

From the I’m a Celebrity final and a day in the life of the Dart to Hugh Wallace’s Bungalow Bliss and the TV bloopers of It’ll be Alright on the Night

I’m a Celebrity Final

Sunday, VM1/UTV, 9pm

This year’s I’m a Celeb has done the job of getting people talking, and stirring up a bit of controversy thanks to the inclusion of Tory MP and former health secretary Matt Hancock, whose appearance in the jungle has divided viewers and campmates – judging by the reaction, the producers might as well have tossed a cobra into the campsite. Now we’re nearing the end of the show and it’s time to pick a winner, but somehow I don’t see Hancock topping up his Westminster salary with the grand prize.

Simon Schama’s History of Now

Sunday, BBC Two, 9.15pm

The historian Simon Schama has lived through some big moments of history (he was born on the same day as the bombing of Dresden), and in this three-part series he looks at the artists and writers who have been at the centre of huge historical events, and who risked all to tell the truth about what was happening. Among them are George Orwell, whose experiences in the Spanish civil war fed into his novels; Dr Zhivago author Boris Pasternak; Czech writer and political leader Vaclav Havel, and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The Dart: No Ordinary Day

Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when you take the Dart to work? This new documentary gives an insight into Dublin’s electric railway from the perspective of those who work and travel on it every day, including wages clerk Michelle Lambe, Bray station manager Ciaran Devitt, and driver Paddy Murray and his bride Meghan Aarssen, who travelled by Dart to their wedding ceremony. The programme will also look at some of the more extraordinary days of the past 38 years of the Dart.

Trailblazers: A Rocky Mountain Road Trip

Monday, BBC Two, 9pm

Presenter Ruby Wax, pop star Melanie Brown and comedian Emily Atack set off on a huge frontier adventure, following in the tracks of Victorian explorer Isabella Bird, who set off on a perilous exploration of the American Wild West at a time when ladies were not expected to wander around this lawless territory without a chaperone – or an armed escort. Using her 1873 book, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, as a guide, the intrepid trio of city slickers set off for Colorado to see if they can survive in this rugged terrain.


The Traitors

Tuesday, BBC One, 9.30pm

Claudia Winkleman hosts a new gameshow of betrayal and backstabbing – and murder most foul. Twenty-two people gather in a classic murder-mystery setting – an old castle in the Scottish Highlands – with their eye on the grand prize of £120,000. But there are traitors among them, and each night a contestant is “murdered”, unless the players can expose the traitors before they are next to meet their doom.

Freddie & Jason: Two Men in a Tent

Tuesday, UTV, 9pm

Broadcaster and former cricketer Freddie Flintoff and comedian and presenter Jason Manford decide to man up and learn to survive in the rugged surrounds of Snowdonia in North Wales. They’re hell-bent on reaching the summit of Snowdon, and they’ll be doing it the hard way, trekking, wild camping and generally getting back to nature. Flintoff is a keen outdoorsman, so no bother to him. Manford, however, is stepping outside his comfort zone, and Flintoff will have to guide him through this adventure beyond the living-room sofa.

My Bungalow Bliss

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Hugh Wallace presents the final episode of the single-storey home renovation series, which was delayed due to building hold-ups caused by Covid. In this finally broadcast finale, Wallace helps Mayo pharmacist Sarah restore the bungalow she grew up in, 50 years after her grandparents bought it off a design in a book. Architects Peter and Ronan from Craftstudio Architecture take on the task of transforming this cold, boxy bungalow beside a busy main road into a tranquil haven in the countryside.

Avenue 5

Wednesday, Sky Comedy & Now, 10pm

Hugh Laurie returns as the hapless captain of the titular luxury space cruise-ship in this second series of the sci-fi comedy. While taking tourists on an eight-week space cruise, the ship is thrown wildly off course and now it looks like this particular cruise is going to go on for eight years. No wonder the passengers are getting cabin fever. Series two picks up five months into the endless journey, as the crew struggle to keep their impatient clients from going ballistic, battle to save the ship from more interplanetary peril and hope to God they can get a few laughs out of the viewers.

Witness Number 3

Thursday, VM1, 9pm

Jodie (Nina Toussaint-White) is a single mother whose life changes in a split second when she is the last person to witness a killer and his victim just before the victim is murdered. Her conscience tells her to come forward to the police, but despite being promised anonymity, Jodie finds herself under siege as the gang behind the murder begin a campaign of intimidation to prevent her from identifying their boss. With Jodie’s life and the lives of those around her in serious danger, will she have the strength to do the right thing?


Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm

It’s the final episode in this series of telly’s most bizarre contest, in which celebrities perform surreal chores at the behest of host Greg Davies and his trusty assistant Alex Horne. Comedians Dara Ó Briain, Sarah Millican, Fern Brady, John Kearns and Munya Chawawa are racing down the home stretch after nine weeks of tense competition, and now the prize of Davies’s golden head is in sight. But first there’s the matter of locating a grape and pinpointing Ó Briain’s eye colour. A pair of scissors, a duck and moon boots are also involved.

Granite Harbour

Friday, BBC One, 9.05pm

Lance Corporal Davis Lindo (Romario Simpson) harbours hopes of becoming New Scotland Yard’s star detective. But first he must do training time in the Scottish wilderness – Aberdeen, to be precise – as a new recruit to Police Scotland. But if he thinks he’s going to be bored off his head, he’s got another think coming. His mentor is sassy, streetwise detective Lara “Bart” Bartlett (Hannah Donaldson), and their first case together is the high-profile murder of a well-known local oil baron. Lindo must learn to navigate this strange new territory before he’s sunk.

It’ll Be Alright on the Night

Friday, UTV, 9.15pm

The classic bloopers show is now 45 years old, proving that no matter how technologically advanced telly gets, there’s still room for a good old-fashioned broadcasting balls-up. David Walliams presents this one-off special to celebrate five decades of wardrobe and studio malfunctions, with embarrassing extracts from the cutting-room floors of Coronation Street, Bargain Hunt, Real Housewives of Cheshire, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Love Island.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist