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

From new Dublin-based drama Northern Lights to Louis Theroux’s interview with reformed hellraiser Pete Doherty

The Earthshot Prize 2023

Sunday, BBC1, 5.20pm

Have you had a good idea to save our planet from ecological disaster lately? If you had, you could have been in line for the annual Earthshot Prize, which rewards people who think outside the box to come up with solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Five awards will be presented, each worth £1 million, and Prince William and David Attenborough will in attendance for this ceremony, which takes place in Singapore and is presented by Hannah Waddingham. Adding to the spectacle will be musical performances from Bastille and One Republic.

Bill Bailey’s Australian Adventure

Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm

The madcap comedian-musician takes a trip Down Under in this new travel series – this could get very surreal. Bailey is eschewing the usual familiar places on Australia’s east coast and setting out across the vast, epic terrain of Western Australia, a place that gives new meaning to the term “wide open spaces”. In episode one, Bailey heads for the far south of the region, where he meets “real” Aussies and encounters amazing natural wonders, visits a valley of vertiginous trees and lands up on the best beach in the world (not Bondi, apparently).

The People There To Catch Us

Monday, RTÉ1, 8pm

Anyone with cancer knows they need all the support they can get, and in this documentary we meet some of the people who work hard behind the scenes to make a real difference to the lives of those living with the disease, including scientists who are developing personalised treatments for patients, and the wider community of carers and advocates, including Precision Oncology Ireland, Cúram and The Patient’s Voice.

10 Things to Know About

Monday, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

Kathriona Devereux, Jonathan McCrea and Fergus McAuliffe return for the ninth series of 10 Things ..., and, as if you didn’t know, they’ll be once again looking at how Ireland is tackling some of its most pressing environmental, health and societal challenges. Trees are the topic in the first programme, and Devereux meets English professor Stephen O’Neill to learn about our literary connection with trees, and asks professor of agri-sustainability David Styles if planting trees can help combat climate change. McCrea explores initiatives to grow trees that are resistant to diseases such as ash dieback.


Northern Lights

Tuesday, TG4, 10.30pm

A woman stands on a bridge over the Liffey on a rainy night in Dublin. A man spots her from his flat and worries that she may be about to do something drastic. This is the opening of a new drama written by and starring Stephen Jones, about two lost souls whose lives are clouded by tragedy and grief, but who slowly find a connection through the fog. Stephen plays lonely guy Lloyd, with Elva Trill as Áine, in an Irish-Belgian co-production that jumps between the two countries and between the past and the present.

Louis Theroux Interviews Pete Doherty

Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm

He was the naughty boy of the noughties, notorious for his dissolute, druggy lifestyle and his high-profile, tempestuous relationship with supermodel Kate Moss. He famously fell out with his best mate and co-leader of The Libertines, Carl Barât, and founded his own band, aptly named Babyshambles. It all seems so long ago now, and Doherty has quit the drugs. Louis Theroux meets the reformed rocker at his new home in a quiet village on the French coast.

Tomorrow Tonight

Wednesday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

It’s 2050, and the climate crisis has reached the point of no return, with global warming and rising sea levels leaving communities around the world devastated. As world leaders gather for an emergency meeting to try to reverse the slide into global catastrophe, Mark Little and Carla O’Brien present a fictitious current affairs programme bringing all the latest reports from a world teetering on the brink. This speculative programme uses augmented-reality graphics and expert extrapolation to build a picture of what the world will look like in 27 years’ time.

Faith and Courage: Sinéad O’Connor

Wednesday, Virgin Media 1, 9pm

Named after her 2000 album, this documentary looks back at the life and work of the Dublin singer-songwriter, who died in July aged 56. Her death came as a shock to the nation, and reminded us that O’Connor was not only a supremely talented singer, but also a person who cared deeply about the vulnerable and exploited in society and who was not afraid to use her strong voice to challenge the status quo and call out inequality and institutional abuse. The programme charts her early life growing up in south Co Dublin, and how she found huge fame through her hit single Nothing Compares 2 U, but found superstardom sitting uneasily on her shoulders.

Game Changer: AI and You

Thursday, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

It’s the dictionary word of the year, the two letters on everyone’s lips and fingertips, as the world grapples with the implications of this technology on our lives and our immediate futures. In this one-hour documentary made in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland as part of Science Week, journalist Anne-Marie Tomchak argues that, rather than stick our heads in the silicon and hope AI goes away like the Y2K bug, we need to learn to adapt to deal with the existential threat posed by this scary tech that’s advancing faster than we can hit the delete button.

DIY SOS: The Big Build – Children in Need Special

Thursday, BBC1, 9pm

On the eve of Children in Need 2023, the Big Build team get together for one of their most significant projects yet: the construction of a counselling and therapy centre for children and young people dealing with bereavement. Joining the team for this special build are BBC Radio 2 presenters including Richie Anderson, Zoe Ball, Scott Mills and Jeremy Vine, plus a whole crew of volunteer tradespeople. They’ve got just 10 days to build this centre in Derbyshire, but as soon as it’s complete, pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor will be on hand with a big surprise.

Children in Need 2023

Friday, BBC1, 7pm

Get the kids settled in front of the telly for a big night of music and entertainment in the company of Ade Adepitan, Mel Giedroyc, Jason Manford, Chris Ramsey and a whole host of well-known faces, all rowing in to raise funds to support young people living in poverty or enduring social injustice. This three-hour funfest includes comedy sketches, parodies of well-known TV shows. and music from the UK’s Junior Eurovision entry, Stand Uniqu3, and more.

Big Brother: Live Final

Friday, UTV & Virgin Media 2, 9pm

It’s the day of reckoning for this new series of BB, rebooted and retooled for the TikTok generation, and one winner will emerge triumphant from the Big Brother house after more than 40 days and nights to claim the big prize. At the time of writing we still don’t know which three housemates are left to battle it out in the live final, but Yinrun is still the bookies’ favourite to be the last person standing, with Jordan and Olivia also hotly tipped. Don’t give me that coy look – you know you really care how it all turns out.