Pick of the week: Hairy Bikers: Route 66
On the road again
Thursday, BBC2, 8pm
Their detractors might dismiss them as cheesy, and there's no question that they've worn the word 'dude' pretty thin over the years, but the Hairy Bikers are impossible to dislike. Over 16 travelogue food shows for the BBC they've toured Britain and the world, demonstrating an unpretentious love of cooking and an easy way with people that would be the envy of any politician. Since meeting on the set of a TV drama in 1992 (both have a background in film production), Dave Myers and Si King have become much loved staples of British television, somehow managing to keep their motorbike and cooking formula fresh.
Dave and Si only ever seem to come unstuck when confined to a studio, as in the Hairy Bikers' Cook Off, an ill-judged 2010 version of Ready Steady Cook that fell flat on its face. They need the sun at their backs, the wind in their hair, and in this new show they potter off down arguably the world's most iconic roadway. Route 66 stretches 2,000 miles from Chicago to California, and on their leisurely trip along it Dave and Si will stop regularly to sample the food and explore the sights.
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They begin their journey in Chicago itself, America's industrial heart which in the late 19th and early 20th century drew immigrant workers to work in its massive meat-processing industry. This has produced a unique culinary heritage, and to bolster themselves for their long journey, the Bikers try hickory smoked barbecue meat and a soggy but delicious Italian sub beef roll. Then it's straight on to Route 66, the massive roadway built in the 1920s and 30s which entered the nation's lore by connecting the midwest and the Pacific coast and bringing prosperity to many small towns.
The bikers will be stopping off at lots of those towns as they wend their way westwards, and tonight they sample an award-winning local apple pie before moving on to the bright lights of St Louis, Missouri, where they encounter 'concrete custard', a treat so rich it's served upside down.
Guinness Summer Series Live
Today, RTE 2, 1.30pm
Ireland bounced back impressively in Cardiff last weekend, ruining Warren Gatland’s farewell game at the Principality Stadium and winning more comprehensively than the 22-17 scoreline might suggest. This week Wales will be hoping to return the favour by beating Ireland at the Aviva. Brent Pope, Stephen Ferris and Eddie O’Sullivan join Daire O’Brien for the build-up to the game, which kicks off at 2pm.
Sunday Game Live
Sunday, RTE 2, 11.50am
It’s All Ireland Camogie finals day, and pundits Anna Geary, Ursula Jacob and Ann Marie Hayes join Joanne Cantwell at Croke Park for live coverage of all three games. First up, in the Junior Final, are Kerry and Limerick. That game throws in at noon and is followed at 2pm by Westmeath versus Galway in the Intermediate Final. Then, at 4.15pm, Kilkenny and Galway will battle it out in the Senior Final.
Live UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier
Monday, Sky Sports Main Event, 7pm
Currently sitting pretty at the top of Group C, Northern Ireland have been impressive in their opening Euro qualifying games, beating Estonia at home, and Belarus home and away. But in a group that also contains Germany and The Netherlands, things were always going to get tougher, and tonight they welcome the mighty Germans to Windsor Park.
Live International Soccer
Tuesday, RTE 2, 7pm
Though not everyone has admired his methods, there’s no arguing with Mick McCarthy’s results to date, which have given the Republic of Ireland a strong start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Tonight he and his men conclude a busy week with this international friendly against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.
Room to Improve
Sunday, RTE One, 9.30pm
Home and garden
Dermot Bannon joins forces with gardening guru Diarmuid Gavin to create a dream home and garden in Athgarvan, Co Kildare.
My Big Day: Home or Away?
Monday, RTE 2, 9.30pm
In this new series, wedding planners Tara Fay and Bruce Russell take couples through the pros of cons of marrying at home and abroad.
State of the Union
Sunday, BBC2, 11pm
Battle lines drawn
This short-form comedy series from Nick Hornby stars Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike as a couple going through marriage therapy.
Tonight, Channel 4, 9pm
Lots of personality
M Night Shyamalan’s ingenious thriller stars James McAvoy as a deranged criminal with superpowers, and many different personalities.
Tonight, RTE One, 10.10pm
After the fall
Sumptuous biopic starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, who must somehow compose herself after her husband’s death.
This Must be the Place
Monday, TG4, 9.30pm
In Paolo Sorrentino’s unusual drama, a reclusive rock star travels to America to find the Nazi that persecuted his father. With Sean Penn.