Monday 23 October 2017

TV highlights

Agatha Christie's Marple

8pm, UTV

Julia McKenzie returns as Miss Marple, which should prove pleasing for those who wept over Poirot's demise a few months ago. The spinster sleuth is staying with her friend Marjorie (Wendy Craig), when a series of suspicious deaths occur, and there's a dashing young local (Tom Hughes) at their centre. Miss Marple can't keep her beak out, which puts her in the line of fire.

Michael Palin in Wyeth's World

9pm, BBC2

Palin, who will soon resume his role as one of Monty Python, gets to enjoy the quiet life a little longer with this film about mid-20th-Century artist, Andrew Wyeth. The painter was considered, simultaneously, the most "underrated and overrated" of his generation, and Palin explores his private and painting life.

Mrs Brown's Boys New Year Special

9.30pm, RTE1

A second seasonal special from Brendan O'Carroll and his crew. With Christmas done and dusted, Agnes turns her attention to New Year's Eve, but she can't get any takers for her party. Also, Maria receives the bad news that her aunt Mary has died, and, worse, that means Mary's parrot now needs a new home.

MONDAY

The Secret Life of Mary Poppins: A Culture Show Special

6.30pm, BBC2

The film itself is on BBC1 just before this documentary, which takes the popular plain-talking nanny to pieces. Almost everyone loves the film, but the author of the books hated it and loathed how Hollywood made Mary Poppins an all-singing white witch who was a bit in love with a chimney sweep.

Mother of All Weddings

6.30pm, RTE1

This format sounds like a recipe for disaster, if only for the people involved. The idea is that two women, the mammies of a bride-and groom-to-be, pitch their vision of the perfect wedding day to the happy couple, who must then choose one to be their wedding planner and the other her deputy. And so, before the pair are even wed, the mothers-in-law hate each other. Good telly, though?

An Dubh ina Gheal

8.15pm, TG4

Cork poet Louis de Paor returns to Australia, where he lived during the 1980s, to look into the relationship between the immigrant Irish and the indigenous Aboriginal people. He reveals the Irish complicity in dispossessing the Aborigines, the occurrence of a "shamrock revolution" and the fate of mixed race children taken away from their families by the authorities.

NEW YEAR'S EVE

Alan Carr's New Year Specstacular

9pm, Channel4

It's a night of looking both back and forwards right across the channels, and Alan Carr hosts the silliest, it could be said. In studio to talk 2013 and take part in various sketches and party games are the likes of James Corden, Keith Lemmon and Strictly Come Dancing star Abbey Clancy. Music from Katy B and Tinie Tempah contributes to the party atmosphere.

New Year's Eve Live -- The Ultimate Gathering

10.15pm, RTE1

Saying goodbye to the old year on RTE are Daithi O Se and Sinead Kennedy, who host the party from College Green. Meanwhile, in Limerick, Will Leahy is on hand to ring in 2014 from the banks of the Shannon. Both locations have a lot of music to offer, including The Coronas, The Strypes, Dolores O'Riordan and Madness. With reflection aplenty on the year of The Gathering.

Jools' Annual Hootenanny 2013

11.30pm, BBC2

Jools has wall-to-wall music, as he is joined by the likes of Emeli Sande, Ray Davies, Lisa Stansfield, The Proclaimers and Haim. As usual, too, there will be an array of celebs in the crowd, doing a bit of grooving and even some dad-dancing. The First Battalion Scots Guard will ring in the new year with their bagpipes and drums, as ever.

NEW YEAR'S DAY

Sherlock

9pm, BBC1

It's three years after Sherlock fell off a ledge to his certain death and, well, he's back. Fans of the show will know already that he didn't die, but now it's time to find out exactly how. Obviously, Watson is unaware that Sherlock is alive and he may not be as immediately thrilled as viewers as the sleuth reappears to investigate a threatened terrorist attack on London.

Donal Walsh -- My Story

9.30pm, RTE2

Filmed during the last weeks and days of Kerry teenager Donal Walsh's life, and continued after his death with those who loved him, this one-off film is about love and hope and faith in the face of terminal cancer. Donal's parents, Elma and Fionnbar, as well as his gang of friends back up his message, that life is good, that life is for living.

Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2013

10.20pm, Channel4

Jimmy Carr is the quizmaster once again on this annual round-up of the year's events, viewed through a cynical, comedic lens. The team captains are Jonathan Ross, Richard Ayoade and Dara O Briain. With support from Noel Fielding, Jack Whitehall and Kristen Schaal. Expect boldness and borderline offensiveness. And a surprising amount of competitiveness.

THURSDAY

Silent Witness

9pm, BBC1

Leo's death at the end of the last series means that it is now time for Nikki to step up and be an adult. She has a new boss, and a new, grown-up haircut to boot. With no Harry to flirt with or Leo to look up to, she's floundering a bit when we first re-encounter her, but with two unsolved cases to cover, there's little time to wallow. Meanwhile, a sex tape links a celebrity footballer to a murder.

Benidorm

9pm, UTV

The comedy set in a package-holiday hotel on the Costa del Sol returns for a new series. The key characters are the same, as the Garveys arrive for yet another holiday at the resort, but their trip is tainted by the discovery of some mysterious pills in mother Madge's luggage. One can only hope that doesn't see her mobility scooter given to another holidaymaker.

ROG -- The Ronan O'Gara Documentary

9.30pm, RTE1

Filmed over four years and culminating in the end of Ronan O'Gara's career playing for Ireland and the start of his career in France, this is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in sport and the sporting personality. Following him through training, playing and even resting, it gets access to his public and private moments and to the people in his life.

FRIDAY

Fleadh Cheoil

7.30pm, RTE1

Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain and John Creedon return for another series looking back over the Fleadh Cheoil season of 2013. The series begins with a first, the journey of the festival across the border for the first time, as it marked Derry's role as UK City of Culture. Musical contributions include those from Seamus Begley, The Friel Sisters and Reel it In.

Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking

8pm, Channel4

Putting the festivities firmly behind him, Gordon Ramsay is all about providing comfort food to get us through January. And comfort food that we can actually make ourselves. Tonight's dishes include beef stew with dumplings, and, for those who aren't in treat-denial mode, a sticky pudding with butterscotch sauce.

The Graham Norton Show

10.35pm, BBC1

Graham gets a night off tonight, as this show reflects on the highlights of the autumn and winter on his couch of celebs. Best bits include Robert de Niro, who was horrified by Jennifer Saunders's story of losing her tiny baby under the bed covers, as well as the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Emma Thompson and Harrison Ford.

SATURDAY

The Saturday Night Show

9.45pm, RTE1

Brendan is back after the Christmas break and ready to face the new year with music, chat and the odd flash of boldness. His guests this week include Eoghan McDermott of The Voice -- yes, it's that time of year again -- and Dr Eva Orsmond, who will have tips on how to shift the pounds piled on over the short but wicked season.

Irish Independent

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