Sunday 18 August 2019

Pick of the week: Game of Thrones

Sunday 2am/ Monday 9pm, Sky Atlantic


Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen
Rory McIlroy watches his second shot on the sixth hole on his way to a 5&4 win over Luke List yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Winter is coming, it's almost with us, it'll be along in a moment - it's here! Yes folks, after the biggest build-up in television history, the Night King and his shuffling zombie army have finally found their way through The Wall to kick off the concluding season of arguably the most popular TV drama ever made. Will anyone be able to stop him from plunging Westeros into an eternal ice age? Who knows, because efforts to stop the walkers are complicated by the battle for the Iron Throne.

You have to admire Cersei Lannister's staggering ruthlessness. Never one to let morality or decency stop her, she parted ways with her semi-decent brother Jaime at the end of season seven, and is now hoping that rivals for the throne like Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen will perish in the battle against the undead, leaving the path to power clear. Jon and Daenerys have joined forces in more ways than one, but is he too trusting, and can she and her dragons be trusted at all?

And of course they're not the only candidates. Sansa Stark may fancy her chances, having finally rid herself of the poisonous influence of Littlefinger. What about Gendry, last known member of the Baratheon line? Possibly, though considering all the Lannisters and Targaryens that would have to die to make him eligible for the Iron Throne, it seems a long shot. And if the throne is won through conquest rather than bloodlines, what about Bronn, or the indefatigable Hound?

The possibilities are endless, which is why people across the globe will be tuning in in droves to watch the last run of the show that has helped change the way TV works. The viewing figures are staggering: in the US alone, some 30 million people per episode watched season seven of the show, which remember is only shown on subscription channels. There's a prequel series in the works, but that won't assuage the desolation of GoT fans when the show finally ends.


Sports picks

Live Formula 1: Chinese Grand Prix

Sunday, Sky Sports Main Event, 7.05am

Formula 1 celebrates its 1,000th race this morning as we head to the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese  Grand Prix. Reigning drivers' champion Lewis Hamilton has won five times here, but was pipped to the post last year by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Live Super Sunday

Sunday, Sky Sports Main Event, 2pm

As the race for the Premier League title intensifies, neither Manchester City nor Liverpool can afford any slip-ups, and both face potentially tricky ties today. City are away to mid-table Crystal Palace, which is hardly a gimme, and that game is followed at 4.30pm on Sky by Liverpool's clash with Chelsea. The Blues have been more convincing of late, and a win at Anfield could end Liverpool's title hopes.

Live masters golf

Sunday, BBC2, 6.30pm

Though he might not be to everyone's taste, it's hard not to admire the sheer tenacity with which Tiger Woods has fought back from major back surgery to become a real contender once again. He stands a real chance of bagging his fifth Masters title this weekend, but this field is so packed with potential winners that predictions are moot. Eilidh Barbour presents coverage of the closing round, with commentary from Andre Cotter, Ken Brown, Peter Alliss. (Rory McIlroy below.)

Rory McIlroy watches his second shot on the sixth hole on his way to a 5&4 win over Luke List yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Live UEFA Champions League

Tuesday, RTÉ 2, 7pm

Pundits Didi Hamann and Liam Brady join Darragh Maloney for live coverage of the second leg of Manchester United's Champions League quarter final tie with Barcelona. The Catalans are in imperious form at the minute, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will be up against it in the pressure cooker that is the Nou Camp. George Hamilton commentates.


TV picks


The Great House Revival

Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Fixer upper

Belfast couple Anne and Garry Wilson are pouring €5 million into restoring Belvelly Tower House in Cobh, but the project is not without its challenges.




Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm

Back to Beijing

Tense drama about an award-winning photojournalist who returns to China 27 years after witnessing the protests in Tienanmen Square.



Earth from Space

Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm

A view from above

Satellite images provide new perspectives of life on Earth, from unknown penguin colonies to elephants on the African plains.

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