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

April 14th-19th: From Jordan Conroy and Danny Dyer’s separate explorations of masculinity to Alan Yentob’s encounter with synth-pop legends Pet Shop Boys

Midsomer Murders

Sunday, UTV, 8pm

Welcome back to the fictional English county with the inordinately high body count, and in this first episode of a new series, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix) are investigating the murder of a local survivalist and doom-monger Warren Kaine. Convinced his village of Blacktrees-on-Marsh is a prime target for nuclear attack, Kaine has built a bombproof shelter at his home, and when he receives a hoax call telling him missiles have been launched, he heads straight for the bunker, and is found dead there the next morning by his long-suffering wife.

Big Zuu Goes to Mecca

Sunday, BBC2, 9pm

Rapper, chef and presenter Big Zuu goes on a personal pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city, and it’s food for the soul he’ll be looking for as he tries to find a deeper connection with his faith. He has Islamic heritage from both his parents, but growing up in London, Zuu found it hard to stick to strict cultural mores, but always tried to stay focused on his faith. This is his first time performing the pilgrimage of Umrah, which can be taken independently and at any time of year, and by the end of it, Zuu is hoping to have learned a lot more about Islam and his place in the world.

Man Up?

Monday, RTÉ2, 5.30pm

What does it mean to “man up”? Does it mean dialling up the toxic masculinity, or does it mean not being afraid to show your more vulnerable side? In this sporty experiment of sorts, rugby sevens player Jordan Conroy mentors 10 disparate teenage boys from different backgrounds and circumstances, to help them learn what it really means to be a man in a world where gender roles are confused, and many boys are looking for role models in all the wrong websites. Numerous sporting guests will drop in to share their insights with the boys, including Paralympian table tennis star Colin Judge and Dancing with the Stars professional Karen Byrne.

Pompeii: The New Dig

Monday, BBC2, 9pm

For years, we thought the city of Pompeii had yielded all its secrets, but recently archaeologists have made new discoveries beneath the ash, and found new insights into how the people of the Italian city lived. This three-part series follows a team of archaeologists as they excavate an entire block, uncovering buildings lived in by rich Pompeiians, beautifully decorated atrium, marble tables, terracotta roof tiles, a huge brick-built bakery oven and even a fresco of a focaccia which could well be an early pizza parlour sign. The archaeologists also uncovered grim evidence of the disaster that struck the town as Vesuvius erupted, including skeletons of three people who were crushed by a collapsing roof as the volcanic ash rained down.


Imagine ... Pet Shop Boys: Then and Now

Tuesday, BBC1, 10.40pm

Who are the most successful duo in British music history? It’s not Chas ‘n’ Dave. Alan Yentob meets Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe aka Pet Shop Boys, who have sold more than 50 million albums in a career that now spans 40 years. We get a sneak preview of the duo’s latest album, and join them on their Dreamworld global tour, and get an insight into how their wry, socially savvy synth-pop sound has evolved. And there’s no shortage of stars lined up to pay tribute to the duo’s huge influence, including Brandon Flowers of The Killers, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters and one of their contemporaries, Marc Almond of Soft Cell.

Danny Dyer: How to Be a Man

Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm

Actor and presenter Danny Dyer tackles the thorny topic of modern masculinity in this two-part documentary, and to really get to grips with what it means to be a man, he travels around the UK and encounters myriad different views on manhood, and meets people with very disparate ways of measuring masculinity. He starts at home, with his brother Tony, who, says Dyer, hasn’t a toxic bone in his body. Then he meets influencer Ed Matthews and politician and men’s issues campaigner Ben Bradley, talks to members of the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus about their experience of prejudice, and meets men who have been victims of domestic abuse.


Wednesday, BBC2, 10pm

Mike Bubbins writes and stars in this new comedy series all about a man out of time. Back in the 1970s, PE teacher Tony Mammoth was buried by an avalanche during a school ski trip, and was kept preserved under the ice for 42 years. Now brought back to life, Mammoth goes back to his old job, but things have changed since he last worked there. Starsky and Hutch, Burt Reynolds and Evel Knievel have been consigned to oblivion, and rollerball, CB radio and pina coladas are no longer a thing. Still, he’s determined to keep living in the 1970s and driving his Ford Capri. Can Mammoth survive in this woke new world? Can the world survive Mammoth?

Harry Hill’s Lonely Island

Wednesday, BBC2, 10.25pm

Comedian Harry Hill ditches the big shirt collar but not the specs in this series of short silent films set on the same deserted island, but featuring different characters: a caveman, a monkey, a queen and Napoleon. The premise is simple: how would a caveman fare on his tod on this remote rock? How would Bonaparte manage if he was banished to this island? And how would a royal personage survive without the palatial comforts to which one had become accustomed? If you’re expecting any historical insights in these quick-fire visual gags, then you’re having a laugh.

The Complaints Bureau

Thursday, RTÉ1, 7pm

This week the Complaints Bureau sets out to help three more people who have been banging their heads against a brick wall trying to get decent service from various companies. Amy Molloy meets Tara, a teacher from Cavan who is recovering from a serious illness and is campaigning for car parking charges in hospitals to be scrapped for cancer patients. Siobhán Maguire helps entrepreneur Mike, who runs a small car hire business, but has been mysteriously bumped off his online payments platform. And Conor Pope goes to bat for mother of two Jennifer from Naas, who had a new boiler and pump installed, but is still not getting heat in her house.

Home Rescue: The Big Fix

Thursday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

Have you got a Doom Room in your house? You know, the one you throw all your clutter into because you can’t get around to actually sorting it out? It stands for Didn’t Organise, Only Moved, and primary schoolteacher Shónagh has one in the old railway cottage where she lives with her four children. She is keen to turn the cottage into a fully functioning family home, but there’s a mountain of clutter to deal with, so her brother Ciarán enlists the help of the Home Rescue team, Dee Coleman and Peter Finn, to help create space for Shónagh and her kids to live happily.

Tracks and Trails

Friday, RTÉ1, 7.30pm

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter is this week’s guest on the peripatetic series set in the wilds of the Irish countryside. Ferriter embarks on two walks on either side of the Border, beginning in the Sperrin mountains in Co Tyrone and then heading to Patrick Kavanagh country for a walk in Co Monaghan. The Northern Ireland trail takes him on a 12km loop in Gortin Glen, where he encounters a forest, a waterfall and ... a giant. Next he takes on an 18km section of the Monaghan Way, which brings him along quiet roads, disused railway lines and riverside trails, finishing up at scenic Loch Muckno.

The Twelve

Friday, UTV, 9pm

Sam Neill stars as Brett Colby QC in this Australian courtroom drama that focuses on the disparate members of the jury as they deliberate in a complex murder trial. Kate Lawson (Kate Mulvany) has been accused of murdering her teenage niece Claire, but the case against her is anything but cut and dried. No body has been found, and no motive has been established, and there are doubts as to whether a murder has been committed at all. In episode six, things get even more complicated when the jurors are taken to visit Kate’s house, and someone tampers with evidence in her art studio. Kate’s brother, Robbie, takes the stand, but the appearance of a man from Kate’s past really causes a stir in the courtroom.