DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm
We’ve seen so many home improvement series that we’ve come to take amazing house transformations a bit for granted. (So your dowdy semi-D has been turned into Downton Abbey – big deal!) But this promises to be no ordinary home makeover series: Baz Ashmawy and his team are on a mission to renovate homes SNF completely change someone’s life for the better following a trauma. In episode one, Baz and the crew have the task of reconfiguring the home of Amy Mulcahy (13), who suffered a life-altering brain injury following a 2019 rowing accident in Limerick. They’ll have help from the wider community, with local volunteers, craftspeople and suppliers rowing in to help make Amy’s home a little piece of heaven. The format is borrowed from the British TV show presented by Nick Knowles, but the warmth, humour and community spirit are uniquely Irish.
Sunday, BBC1, 9pm
Hugh Laurie stars as ruthless, conniving Conservative politician (fancy that!) in this new political thriller by David Hare about the lengths one person will go to keep his grip on power. Peter Lawrence is a successful member of the cabinet, married with two daughters. But is there something else behind his rise to the upper echelons? After winning a major libel case against a newspaper, Lawrence seems coated in a double layer of Teflon. However, as public scandals and private revelations mount up he finds himself under siege from an array of enemies out to expose his corruption. The starry supporting cast includes Helen McCrory from Peaky Blinders, Sidse Babett Knudsen from Borgen and Sarah Greene from Dublin Murders and Normal People.
Dermot Bannon’s Incredible Homes
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
In these dark days we need someone to feed our national obsession with homes and housing, and luckily Dermot Bannon is back on the case, bringing us inside more amazing, unaffordable houses so we can ooh and aah from the discomfort of our own shoebox. The format is simple: Bannon flies off to another country, finds the most luxurious houses known to humanity, has a poke around, and goes gaga at the sheer fabness of it all. His first stop is Canada (is that on the green list?), specifically the cool climes of Nova Scotia, where architect Bryan McKay has converted an old fishing village into a stunning residential area. He also visits the famous Integral House in Toronto, created by mathematician James Stewart – a truly smart home. Add in a luxe lake house in the wilds and a log cabin in a snowy forest. One thing is certain: we’re not in Kimmage anymore.
The Irish Film and Television Awards 2020
Sunday, Virgin One, 10pm
Deirdre O’Kane hosts a star-studded line-up of Hollywood guests on the virtual Ifta Awards, presenting the prizes live on screen with lots of surprises and funny moments as well.
Sunday, Channel 4, 11pm
We’re expecting big things from this 10-part Belgian drama (original title: De Twaalf), which won the best screenplay award at the Cannes TV festival earlier this year. It’s a mix of murder-mystery, legal drama and character study in which a dozen ordinary people come together on a jury. But there’s nothing straightforward about the case: a respected headteacher is on trial for two murders, including that of her own child. As the story unfolds, witnesses take to stand and startling new information comes to light, leaving the jury members torn between believing the accused is innocent and condemning her as guilty. Their discussions also bring to the forefront their own personal problems, which may impact on the decisions they make concerning the case.
Monday, Virgin Two, 9pm
Originally screened on ITV in 2012, this six-part drama follows four women linked to soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Tasha’s world comes crashing down when her husband is killed in action, while his mum Paula is desperate for someone to blame. Officer’s wife-to-be Claire sets a date for her wedding before fiance Pete returns to duty, and Louise receives an anonymous picture message from Camp Bastion suggesting husband Joe has been unfaithful. Starring Claire Skinner, Nicola Stephenson, Antonia Thomas and Clare Higgins.
The Billion Dollar Art Hunt
Monday, BBC4, 9pm
In 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was the scene of one of the most audacious art heists in history, with 13 artworks worth half a billion dollars removed overnight. All remained unrecovered. In June 2019, journalist John Wilson received a rather surprising tip-off: that the haul (now worth a billion dollars) was about to be recovered from a house in Dublin. What happens next is the stuff of movies, but is all true – and told here in detail.
The Jonathan Ross Show
Monday, Virgin Two, 10pm
The host kicks off a new series of his chat show in the company of Nick Frost and Samson Kayo, who discuss new horror comedy series Truth Seekers, as well as Katherine Ryan and Clare Balding. Billy Ocean chats about his career and performs some of his greatest hits.
The Million Pound Cube
Monday-Friday, ITV, 9pm
Back in the mists of time, Philip Schofield presented a series called The Cube, in which contestants faced a daunting array of physical and mental challengeswhile enclosed in a six-sided hexahedron. They were competing for prizemoney up to £250,000. Now the series is being rebooted for all those locked down in their own cubes, and the prize purse has been super-sized to a million squids. And of course, Schofield himself is back to present, and looking forward to it. “The Cube is such a cracking format, but with the players now in teams and a whopping million-pound prize fund, it now means this high-pressure environment has just got tougher. I can’t wait to be reunited with the legendary Perspex Cube!” Neither can we.
Why Women Kill
Tuesday, TG4, 10.30pm
This 10-part US comedy-drama series stars Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as three women living in the same house in three different eras – the 1960s, the 1980s and the 2010s – and each of them dealing in their own way with betrayal and deception. The house in Pasadena, California, is the setting for these time-spanning tales, and shows how women’s roles have changed over the decades, but also how some things never change.
Out of Her Mind
Tuesday, BBC2, 10pm
One of the more thoughtful, insightful and intelligent stand-ups of recent years has been Sara Pascoe, who has not just a witty turn of phrase and a way with a punchline, but also a socially conscious, probing mind. So it is with no little interest that we await this, her first scripted comedy series, which explores family, heartbreak and relationships, and promises to “subvert the traditional sitcom format”. The premise sees Sara respond to the happy news that her sister is engaged to be married – by resolving to prove, scientifically, that love does not exist. Sounds like someone won’t be fighting to catch the bouquet…
Play for Today: A Hole in Babylon
Tuesday, BBC4, 10pm
Originally shown in 1979, Jim Hawkins and Horace Ove’s controversial drama is based on the events surrounding the Spaghetti House siege in London’s Knightsbridge. Middle-aged petty criminal Frank Davies (T-Bone Wilson), accompanied by two younger men (Archie Pool and Trevor Thomas), prepare to rob the restaurant. The younger men soon want out, but as the trio cross the point of no return, the police are called. What began as a means to an end is now repackaged as a political and revolutionary act, and Frank assumes command of the quickly improvised Black Liberation Army.
Wednesday, BBC2, 10pm
Cast your mind back to a long-ago time – all the way back to the first decade of the 21st century. I know, seems like a lifetime ago. If you don’t remember much about the decade when smartphones were a novelty and Twitter was just a little scaldy, then Angela Scanlon is here to remind you of how we lived back in those boomtime days at the start of the new millennium. With help from comedians Ellie Taylor and Geoff Norcott, Scanlon looks back at a more innocent time, when Trump was just some TV guy and Facebook was just some social network, and neither was seen as a threat to democracy. Episode one focuses on the year 2000, which began with a collective sigh of relief that the Y2K bug didn’t cause society to collapse, and saw the rise of Big Brother and telly’s most terrifying quizmaster, Anne Robinson.
Donal’s Family Food in Minutes
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Taking inspiration from his own busy household as well as family favourites from around the world, Donal Skehan is back with a new series. Garnering inspiration from his own childhood, cooking for friends and family, Sofie’s favourites and what his own kids love to eat now, Skehan has packed the series full of new and remastered recipes to refresh your repertoire.
74 Days: The Hunger Strike of Terence MacSwiney
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
The death by hunger strike of Terence MacSwiney 100 years ago is regarded as one of the most important events of the Irish revolutionary period. MacSwiney’s hunger strike – at 74 Days one of the longest on record – was a catalyst for the intensification of the War of Independence. Following his grim death and the publicity garnered across the world, the British government returned to the negotiating table. The eventual outcome was the establishment, in 1922, of the Irish Free State. MacSwiney’s death is one of the great, marginal stories from modern Irish history: he is arguably better known internationally, in places like Vietnam and Catalonia , than he is at home. Presented by historian Sarah-Anne Buckley, 74 Days uses contemporary science insights alongside the original medical notes recorded during MacSwiney’sprotest to recreate the story of the last days of his life, and to shine fresh perspective onto a pivotal moment in recent history.
Diana: The Truth Behind the Interview
Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
The Brtish royal family has weathered several controversies over the past year, and it’s not getting any easier for the Windsors with this documentary timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s bombshell Panorama interview. Watched by 21 million people when it aired in 1995, the late Princess talked candidly to reporter Martin Bashir about her husband’s extramarital affairs, questioned Prince Charles’ suitability to be king, and admitted to her own relationship with James Hewitt. As well a rebroadcasting parts of the interview, this programme looks at the years leading up to the interview and how it put the future of the monarchy in jeopardy.
Fíorscéal: Tsunamis – A Global Threat
Thursday, TG4, 10.30pm
They are one of the deadliest natural phenomena on the planet. A tsunamis is so sudden and powerful that in a matter of a few hours it can destroy everything and disappear. Today, tomorrow, in a month or a year from now, somewhere on the planet, a series of huge waves moved by an incredible energy will submerge coastlines and crush everything in their way. What can we do to ready ourselves against that natural disaster? How can we deal with it and protect ourselves better? Scientists investigate.
Ear to the Ground
Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm
For the 28th season opener, Ella McSweeney visits Kelly Oysters in Galway, which made the decision during lockdown to bring the business online in the hopes of creating a whole new market. Meanwhile, Helen Carroll is on the Dunany organic farm in Co Louth, where the Workman family have been farming for four generations. Once a mixed farming enterprise with a little bit of everything, the latest incumbents Andrew and Leonie now produce organic wheat, oats and the more unusual grains of spelt and rye. As more and more baking was done during lockdown, flour has never been more in demand.
Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
Among the elegant Victorian and Edwardian properties in southwest London sits Matt and Kevin’s 1930s monstrosity, which stands out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons. Ugly from the outside, this three-up-three-down is even worse on the inside with dark, dated and badly designed spaces. George Clarke enlists architect duo Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos from Bureau de Change, famed for their dramatic sculptural work, to turn this beast into a beauty. But is their wildly ambitious poured concrete extension too innovative for the homeowners? And will they stick to the budget?
Billion Pound Cruise
Thursday, More4, 9pm
This new series, filmed pre-Covid, goes behind the scenes of the Symphony of the Seas, the most creative-thinking and mammoth ship ever built, documenting the 2,200 crew members that work around the clock to keep 6,680 holidaymakers happy. With entertainment that would leave Vegas wanting, and attractions that rival a theme park, the ship boasts 20 pools and jacuzzis, two surf simulators, a rock-climbing wall, an ice rink, a basketball court and a mini-golf course. In this first episode, it’s embarkation day and all hands are on deck for the arrival of the passengers.
Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
William James “Count” Basie’s musical achievements were remarkable. He brought the blues to the big band podium and became the first African-American to win a Grammy. This 2018 documentary sheds light on the inner motivations of Basie (1904-1984), as well as his relationships with his wife and disabled daughter, the “hidden core of his creative life”. The film uncovers the private passions and ambitions that inspired the pianist to become “King of the Swing Kings” and features rare performances, home movies, personal letters, family photos and interviews with former band members.
From Wednesday, Netflix
Based on the Daphne du Maurier novel and following a slew of adaptations over the years – most famously Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Oscar-winner – this new movie from Netflix has an awful lot to prove. It’s directed by esteemed British filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List, A Field in England) and boasts an impressive cast, including Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Goodman-Hill and Keeley Hawes. For those unfamiliar with the story, it follows a glamorous young woman who finds herself living in the shadow of her new husband’s first wife: the mysterious Rebecca.
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness
From Thursday, Netflix
Daniel Brühl returns as criminal psychologist Dr Laszlo Kreizler in the second season of the crime drama set in New York at the close of the 19th century. The first series saw Laszlo recruited by police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to solve the a spate of gruesome murders of rent boys in the city, with help from Roosevelt’s secretary Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans). In season two, Sara has fulfilled her ambition to set up her own detective agency, and John is now a reporter for the New York Times. All three are reunited when a new case comes up: the Spanish consul’s daughter has been kidnapped.
On the Rocks
From Friday, Apple TV+
Director Sofia Coppola and star Bill Murray previously teamed up for Lost in Translation, a stylish yet minimalist work with Murray as a washed-up actor navigating the lonely hustle-bustle of Tokyo with a similarly detached and despondent younger friend (Scarlett Johansson). This time Coppola opts for a more high-concept story but the dynamic feels familiar: Murray plays a successful art dealer who helps his daughter Laura (Rashida Jones) investigate her husband, whom she suspects of having an affair. Murray’s character cheated on Laura’s mother when she was young, and his insights prove valuable but uncomfortable as the two traipse around New York’s nightspots in search of the truth.
The Queen’s Gambit
From Friday, Netflix
Chess grandmasters (and Wikipedia wizards) will know that the title of this new series refers to a classic opening move in chess. The series, based on the novel by Walter Tevis, tells the story of a troubled young girl (Anya Taylor-Joy) growing up in an orphanage in Kentucky who discovers she has a prodigious talent for playing chess. Soon she is competing in the US Open championship, pitting her wits against some of the greatest chess brains. But her personal demons are always looking over her shoulder.