TV guide: 13 of the best new shows to watch, beginning tonight

Including the 14th series of The Great British Bake Off, the downfall of crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried, and dark new comedy Obituary

The Who Cares Wins Awards

Sunday, Channel 4, 6.30pm

Oscars, Iftas and Baftas are all very well, but tonight it’s time for Britain’s healthcare workers to have their gala night out, and scoop up the honours and accolades for their tireless work and selfless commitment to caring for those with illness or disability. Davina McCall is the presenter of this year’s awards, and there’ll be some big names on the red carpet to present awards in such categories as best nurse, young hero, best doctor, best team and best midwife.

Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey

Sunday, BBC1, 7.30pm

Wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin became a big celebrity when he took home the Glitterball trophy as the winner of last year’s Strictly Come Dancing. But his real passion is filming birds of prey, and in this new series he gets out of the ballroom and back to the great outdoors in search of raptors, going from the Cairngorms to the Somerset Levels, and from the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula in the Scottish Highlands to the wilds of west London. Among the birds he captures on camera are hen harriers, white-tailed eagles, marsh harriers and urban peregrine falcons. “Birds of prey are powerful, majestic, beautiful, charismatic, intelligent. What I think of when I wake up, what I dream about,” he says.

Panorama: Downfall of the Crypto King

Monday, BBC1, 8pm

Who wouldn’t trust a nerdy guy with curly, unkempt mop and baby face? Millions trusted Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of crypto company FTX, but it wasn’t long before his crypto hype unravelled and left his trusting customers with empty virtual pockets. Many were dazzled by his tech-celebrity image and bold promises to take crypto into the mainstream, and missed some of the warning signs that FTX was not all it was cracked up to be. As Bankman-Fried faces trial in New York on charges of fraud and money-laundering, this documentary looks at how it all unravelled for the crypto king.


Tuesday, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

Here’s some great advice for budding journalists: if your paper is having a slow news day, just go out and make something happen. Elvira Clancy is a young journalist writing obituaries for a small-town newspaper. Her boss can only afford to pay her by the obit, but the townspeople are inconsiderately staying alive, leaving her without much of an income. So she starts knocking off a few locals just to scare up some writing work for herself and is surprised to find she’s actually enjoying murdering her neighbours in cold blood. But then the paper hires a dishy new crime correspondent, Emerson Stafford, who is determined to find out why the obituary pages are taking over the newspaper. Siobhán Cullen, Michael Smiley and Ronan Raftery star in this dark comedy filmed in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal.


The Great British Bake Off

Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm

We’ll need lots of cakes and confections to get us through the cold and wet months ahead, and Bake Off is back with another batch of contestants hoping to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith with their baking skills. Last December, Matt Lucas announced he was quitting as co-presenter of the show, and the new series introduces us to new presenter Alison Hammond, previously seen on Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity ..., Strictly and Celebrity Masterchef. She’ll be joining presenter Noel Fielding in the Bake Off tent for this 14th series of the sweetest show in town.

Keith’s Teeth: A Dental Odyssey

Wednesday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

Boybands need looks, slick production and nice, shiny teeth to dazzle their young fans, but not all of us are blessed with an even row of pearly whites. In this “observational documentary”, Keith Duffy of Boyzone looks at Irish people’s relationship with their teeth, and delves into Ireland’s toothy past to dig out some dental horror stories. We might have been happy with our crooked row of yellowing crockery in the past, but these days we all want Hollywood smiles – and now you can travel to Turkey for cheap cosmetic dentistry. Duffy meets Irish people planning to take the trip, and looks at the risks that come with cut-price dental work.

Grand Slammers

Wednesday, UTV, 9pm

England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, but what are the legendary team – including Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Phil Vickery, Mike Tindall and Martin Johnson – doing these days? Actually, they’re in jail – HMP The Mount, to be precise. How did they get there? They’re on a mission to turn a group of prisoners into a top-notch rugby team and hopefully turn their lives around. Luckily, The Mount happens to be one of the only English prisons with a rugby pitch. But an even bigger challenge lies ahead: after their training is done, the prisoners will have to line out against some tough opponents: the Wallabies.

Donal’s Fasts, Feasts and Festivals

Thursday, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

The ritual of eating is closely tied with faith, and in this two-part series, chef Donal Skehan meets people from different religions and is invited into their kitchens to learn how the food they eat – and they way they prepare food – expresses their faith and devotion. In the first episode, Skehan heads for Hare Krishna Island in Lough Erne to witness the Radharani festival, then learns how to buy, cook and eat Kosher food, and how to make Challah bread, a staple of the Jewish Sabbath. Finally, he joins the Sikh Vaisakhi parade and has a close encounter with a Sikh martial arts display.

The Long Shadow

Thursday, Virgin Media 1, 9pm

Toby Jones and David Morrissey head a starry cast in this drama series detailing the hunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, who was convicted of murdering 13 women in the mid-to-late 1970s. The series was originally titled The Yorkshire Ripper, but the programme makers, keen to avoid accusations of glorifying Sutcliffe’s crimes, have toned the title down. The series focuses on the victims and their families, and on the efforts of the police officers as they desperately tried to track the killer down. Award-winning screenwriter George Kay draws on extensive archive material, case files and police reports, and also Michael Bilton’s acclaimed book Wicked Beyond Belief.

The Kardashians

From Thursday, Disney+

Welcome back to the never-ending saga of the rich-but-relatable Kardashian-Jenner extended family as they struggle to remain relevant and meme-worthy in a world that’s easily distracted by the next big social media phenomenon. Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie are back with a bling, and in series four, they promise to “give truth to their stories” as they run their multimillion-dollar businesses, fall in and out of love, and of course shop till they drop. Will Kim and Kourtney’s feud ratchet up? Will Kanye West send more toxic tweets about his ex-wife Kim? We’re promised more family bonding and bickering as the US’s most glam-tastic clan go for anything but broke.

The Graham Norton Show

Friday, BBC1, 10.40pm

Just as Patrick Kielty gets settled in to his role as the new host of The Late Late Show, here comes Graham Norton, returning to his usual Friday night slot on the Beeb, and bringing another couch-load of A-listers all keen to promote their latest film/TV show/book/make-up brand. Among Norton’s guests for the opening show in his 31st series is Kylie Minogue, plugging her new album, Tension; actor Stephen Graham, star of new series Boiling Point; and comedian Mawaan Rizwan, creator of acclaimed sitcom Juice. Sure how can Kielty compete with that? Easy – Norton may have the stars, but does he have a prize for everyone in the audience?

Mrs Brown’s Boys

Friday, BBC1, 9.30pm

It’s the final episode in this fourth series of Brendan O’Carroll’s broad comedy with even broader appeal. It’s the first actual series of the show in 10 years – but in the meantime we’ve had a decade of Christmas specials, and no doubt another one on the way. This episode is titled Mountain Mammy, and finds Agnes with a mountain to climb after Dermot and Maria decide to renew their wedding vows. Agnes has to work with her arch-nemesis Hillary to organise the ceremony without breaking the budget. Fathers Damian and Trevor are due to officiate at the ceremony – after they get back from their pilgrimage in the mountains. Sure what could go wrong?

Gen V

From Friday, Prime Video

Save us please from teenagers with superpowers – it seems that every new series on streaming channels features another bunch of adolescents with awesome powers such as shooting lasers from their zits. This series is a spin-off from Prime’s hit series The Boys, in which the superheroes are kinda assholes, prompting a bunch of ordinary mortals to band together to take them down. In Gen V, the teenage mutants are attending superhero college, where hopefully they’ll learn to harness their powers and use them to do good rather than evil. The pupils are all in on a secret: their superpowers are not God-given, but are the result of being injected with a substance called Compound V. Approach with caution: this may be a teen take on The Boys, but it looks like the violence, gore, severed limbs and exploding heads are up to cookie-tossing levels.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist