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

March 10th-16th: From Is University Really Worth It? and The End of the World with Beanz to Italian-Spanish romance Un Amore

Oscars Live

Sunday, UTV/ITV1, 10.15pm

Get ready to stay until the wee small hours as the 96th Academy Awards comes live from Hollywood, with absolutely no consideration for the fact that cinephiles on this side of the Atlantic might need to get up on Monday morning. Jonathan Ross and guests will be providing witty, erudite commentary on the night’s action from LA’s Dolby Theatre, and there’ll be lots of behind-the-scenes footage on this night of a thousand superstars. Will Barbenheimer dominate the proceedings? Will Cillian Murphy take home the best actor Oscar for Oppenheimer? And will Emma Stone bag the best actress Oscar for the Irish-produced Poor Things? I’ve stocked up on matchsticks to keep my eyelids open.

Dancing with the Stars

Sunday, RTÉ1, 6.30pm

We’ve reached the semi-final of this year’s Dancing with the Stars ballroom battle, and only a handful of dancers remain to duke it out on the dance floor for a place in the final. Last week saw Katja Mia exit the contest as her salsa to Dua Lipa’s Levitating didn’t quite raise the roof. So who’ll be going through to the final? The pressure will be on drag queen Blu Hydrangea, Wild Youth singer David Whelan, former jockey Davy Russell and Paralympian Jason Smyth to put their best foot forward if they’re to outmanoeuvre the front-runner, presenter Laura Fox.


Monday, BBC2, 10pm

A new series as Gaeilge finds presenters Tessa Fleming and Irial Ó Ceallaigh taking on a huge challenge: kayaking up Ireland’s northern coast from northwest Donegal to northeast Antrim. This is not for the faint-hearted, and among the hazards they will face are storms, rough tides and injuries – but luckily the pair have help from experienced kayaker John Hubbocks to make sure they don’t find themselves up the creek without a paddle.

Is University Really Worth It?

Monday, BBC2, 9pm

Many students have come out of university with a degree but no prospects of a job, leading their parents to wonder was it worth all the expense and sacrifice. In this programme comedian Geoff Northcott, who used to be a teacher, is faced with a difficult choice: start a college fund for his kid or just buy himself a new car? To find out whether college is still a good life investment or a waste of money, he takes a deep dive into the UK’s higher education system and explores alternatives to having a college degree.


The End of the World with Beanz

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 7pm

We are plunging headlong into climate Armageddon, and who better than comedian, writer and Traveller Martin Beanz Warde to help us make sense of the challenges ahead for Ireland as we try to achieve sustainability and emissions reduction targets before it’s too late. Beanz means business: he wants to remove the cloud of mystique and confusion around climate change and he is joined by a different cohost every week as he travels to different parts of the world to learn how communities are changing behaviours and attitudes.

Royal Kill List

Tuesday, Sky History & Now, 9pm

Getting revenge on those who slighted you has now become a campaign policy in the upcoming US presidential elections, but it’s nothing new. In 1661, when King Charles II came to the throne following 10 years of exile, he was determined to get revenge on those who had tried and publicly executed his father, Charles I, for treason a decade earlier. The huge manhunt for the 38 surviving signatories to Charles’s death warrant is re-enacted by a star cast including Sheila Atim, Jared Harris and Joseph Fiennes.

Backstage with the London Philharmonic

Wednesday, Sky Arts & Now, 9pm

What goes on behind the scenes at a big orchestra as it prepares for a new season of musical performance? Here’s a chance to be a fly on the wall as the London Philharmonic rehearses Mahler’s Second Symphony, the Resurrection, for the opening night at the Royal Festival Hall. We meet principal conductor Edward Gardner and some of the individual musicians as they go through all the stages of bringing the music to life, culminating in the full performance, in this insightful, immersive series.

Un Amore

Wednesday, Sky Atlantic & Now, 9pm

How would we summarise this time-spanning love story in an elevator pitch? How about an Italian Alice & Jack? The story is set between Italy and Spain, and begins when Ale and Anna meet while Interrailing in 1996. But, as with all love stories, they are forced to part ways and get on with their adult lives. All that is thrown in the air when their paths cross in the Italian city of Bologna and their passion is rekindled – which makes it a bit complicated because Anna has to now make a decision about her marriage, and Ale has to choose whether to live in Bologna (sounds like the bloke has the easier choice here).

Ag Triall ar on Tobar

Thursday, TG4, 8pm

The Irish countryside is dotted with holy wells, but what’s the story behind these religious sites? Manchán Magan goes on a nationwide tour in this new six-part documentary series, visiting sites that have been sacred places of worship for centuries, and are still visited by many people looking for a little comfort and reassurance in their lives. What makes these holy wells special, and do they really have therapeutic value? And how did the many rituals around holy wells evolve?

The Irish for Sex

Thursday, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

In George Orwell’s 1984, the ruling party developed a new language, Newspeak, with limited vocabulary so people couldn’t put seditious thoughts into words. Similarly, the Irish language was sanitised to prevent people articulating sexual ideas and make it a bit difficult to talk dirty as Gaeilge. But people found a way, and bilingual comedian Bláithín de Burca sets off in search of naughty Irish words for “clitoris” and other intimate body parts to build up a hilarious alternative lexicon of lust.


From Friday, Apple TV+

On April 15th, 1865, US president Abraham Lincoln was shot in the head while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC, and died the next morning. The assassin was actor and confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth, and this true crime series, based on the best-selling book by James L Swanson, follows the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination, as hundreds of law enforcement officers embarked on a countrywide manhunt to find the killer, who becomes a bit of a hero among the confederacy. This could be a timely glimpse into a divided America 160 years ago.

Comic Relief: Funny for Money

Friday, BBC1, 7pm

It’s red nose time again as the BBC delivers most of this evening’s programming into the unsafe hands of an irreverent crew of comics, actors and entertainers, all in the serious cause of raising funds for cancer treatment and research. Among the hosts for this raucous night of live humour, music and parody are Joel Dommett, Maya Jama, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness, Rosie Ramsey, Romesh Ranganathan and David Tennant. Catch this one if you can, because Red Nose Day veteran Lenny Henry will be leading the laugh-fest for one last time.