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

From a frolicking foursome in The Couple Next Door to the cost of red meat in The Big Beef Battle

Doctor Who

Saturday, BBC1, 6.30pm

It’s been 60 years since we first discovered that space behind the sofa from where we could peep out as the Daleks and the Cybermen invaded suburbia. To celebrate three score years of the Doctor, here’s the first of three specials leading up to the latest Whovian regeneration, played by Ncuti Gatwa. But there’s a big twist in this first special, as 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker morphs into ... David Tennant. Yes, due to some glitch in the regeneration process, the new Who is actually an old Who, and he joins forces with Catherine Tate as Donna Noble to take on a new threat after a spacecraft crash-lands in London. Neil Patrick Harris guests as a sinister chap known as the Toymaker, and Miriam Margolyes is the voice of cute furry alien the Meep.

Reel Stories: Take That

Saturday, BBC2, 8.30pm

The 1990s boy band turned noughties man-band sit down for a good old chin-wag with Dermot O’Leary – and what fine chins they have. Take That are down to three core members – Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen – and they look back at their 30-year career through a lens of old videos, TV appearances and footage of the hungry young bucks performing at school assemblies. They talk about their hugely successful comeback tour in 2006, their 2009 reunion with Robbie Williams and their recent headlining performance at King Charles III’s coronation concert.

Liz Bonnin’s Wild Caribbean

Sunday, BBC2, 9pm

It’s the final stretch of Bonnin’s tropical trip, and the scientist and presenter explores a unique stretch: the South American coastline. It’s one of the Caribbean’s most populated regions, but Bonnin manages to find some untouched wilderness in her ancestral home of Trinidad, where she goes in search of the rare white-fronted capuchin. She also heads to the city for the much-celebrated carnival, learns all about the Trinidadian tradition of keeping wild songbirds and helps release yellow-crowned parrots and an osprey into the wild.

The Gone

Sunday, RTÉ1, 9.30pm

The season finale of this New Zealand-Ireland co-production sees Irish detective Theo Richter and Māori cop Diana Huia finally coming face to face with the killer and – more importantly – Richter finally having to face his demons. As episode six unfolds, the new cycle trail is about to be opened in the remote town of Mount Affinity, but the wheels soon come off the enterprise as the real danger to the town is revealed. The Gone has played well in New Zealand, but critics in this hemisphere have lambasted the languid pace of the action and the fact that Ireland plays only a bit part in this co-production.


Patrick: A Young Traveller Lost

Monday, RTÉ1, 9.30pm

When 12-year-old Patrick McDonagh from Finglas took his own life last year, it sent shock waves through the Traveller community, and was a stark reminder of the challenges faced by this marginalised group in Irish society. This hard-hitting documentary examines why there are such high suicide rates among Travellers, and hears from Patrick’s parents, Michelle and Pat, as they deal with the loss of their young son, and the wider community deeply affected by his death.

The Couple Next Door

Monday, Channel 4, 9pm

Evie and Pete are a young couple with a new baby who have just moved into an upmarket neighbourhood, where they are ready to settle into happy family life. But that’s all about to change when another couple, Danny and Becka, move in next door. There’s a heady sense of danger about them, and soon Evie and Pete are drawn into their orbit, and it’s not long before Evie has the hots for Danny. But when she finally gives in to her forbidden desires, that’s of course when it all goes pear-shaped. Sam Heughan, Jessica De Gouw, Eleanor Tomlinson and Alfred Enoch are the frolicsome foursome in this suburban psychological thriller.

Scannal: For Puc’s Sake

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 7pm

During the record-breaking heatwave of summer 2022, the nation got into a heated debate about a goat. Not just any old goat, but King Puck himself, who was due to be hoisted up on to a metal scaffolding for three days during the Puck Fair festival in Killorglin, Co Kerry. Animal welfare activists were concerned that the poor crathur would suffer in the sweltering heat, while the organisers insisted they were looking after their royal captive properly. This new series of Scannal looks at how the story of the Killorglin goat became a hot topic in summer 2022.

My Bodyfix

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

We’ve come a long way from watching operations being carried out on cable TV. In this new series, presented by Kathryn Thomas, patients get to see inside their own bodies using virtual reality imaging, and in this final episode, we meet 53-year-old Diarmuid Santry, who has undergone extensive treatment to remove cancerous tumours in his neck and throat, and is suffering the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But three months later, he’s back in hospital, about to go under the knife to remove a residual cancer, but first he gets a sneak peek at what surgeon Prof James Paul O’Neill is planning to do.

Being Kae Tempest

Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm

What’s it like being one of Britain’s most exciting and vibrant performing artists, someone whose talents span poetry, rap and drama, who came out as non-binary in 2020 and who has always refused to compromise on their artistic vision? This Arena documentary follows the Brit and Mercury award-nominated and Ted Hughes prize-winning artist as they go through some turbulent times in their life, but also a period of personal and creative growth.

Smartphone: The Secret Genius of Modern Life

Wednesday, BBC2, 8pm

Forty years ago, the only things we had in our pockets were our wallet, keys and a packet of fags. But now practically everyone on the planet carries a compact supercomputer capable of carrying out a huge number of tasks, but few of us have any clue how they carry out these mind-boggling feats of technological magic. Hannah Fry goes looking for some answers, and learns how 1940s comic book gumshoe Dick Tracy invented the smartwatch, and how the multinational company that pioneered the digital camera failed to see its potential and ended up going bankrupt.

Aerfort Dhún na nGall

Thursday, TG4, 8pm

It has been voted the most scenic airport approach in the world, but Donegal Airport is also a vital hub for the people of the northwestern county, connecting them with the rest of the world and allowing vital medical services to reach some of the remotest parts of the country. This four-part series goes behind the scenes over 18 months between 2021 and 2022 to get a real insight into the hard work and planning that goes into running a busy regional airport. In episode one, local music star Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh talks about how the airport helped her and her band Altan tour the world and reach an international audience, and local taxi driver Charlie Mac spills the beans on some of the famous people he has spirited in to and out of the airport.

The Works Presents ...

Thursday, RTÉ1, 11.35pm

Artist Patricia Hurl has always challenged ageism and sexism through her work, and John Kelly meets the Dublin-born artist as she continues to advocate for women and older people in the world of the arts. Hurl spent many years as a lecturer in fine art painting at Dublin Institute of Technology, and is a member of Na Cailleacha, a group of older women working in the creative space. Kelly chats with Hurl about her life and work shortly after she featured in a huge retrospective of her work at Imma in Dublin.

Bargain Hunt

Friday, BBC1, 12.15pm

Bargain Hunt has teamed up with legendary kids’ series Blue Peter to celebrate its 65th anniversary, and my only question is, how come it took so long to come up with this spiffing idea? In this special edition, for the first time ever, teams of children go out hunting for antiques, and are let loose at a huge toy fair in Surrey, where they eagerly ferret out some vintage toys under the expert guidance of toy experts and two Blue Peter presenters. Presenter Natasha Raskin Sharp also meets up with former Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner to hear how she made her famous model of Tracy Island from Thunderbirds.

The Big Beef Battle

Friday, Channel 4, 8pm

Journalist and presenter Ade Adepitan meets a number of people who have a beef with beef, believing that we eat too much of the stuff, and that our greed for burgers, rib-eye steaks and beef bourguignon is adversely affecting the Earth’s climate. Some are even advocating for beef-eaters to be treated like smokers, and discouraged from indulging in their filthy fillet steak habit. He also meets experts who reckon that eating chicken instead of beef will reduce your climate impact, and meets farmers who argue that you can eat beef in a sustainable way.