| 21.9°C Dublin

Pick of the week: Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Tonight, BBC2, 9pm

Words of love


Marianne and Leonard

Marianne and Leonard

Rory Best. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Rory Best. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.


Marianne and Leonard

In the spring of 1960, an unknown young Canadian writer called Leonard Cohen arrived on the idyllic, sleepy Greek island of Hydra. He was attempting to finish his first novel, and instinctively felt a stint in the shimmering Aegean would lift his mood. It certainly did, especially after he ran into a beautiful Norwegian woman called Marianne Ihlen. She would become Cohen's muse and companion, helping him complete two novels and inspiring some of his greatest songs. But as Nick Broomfield's absorbing film points out, their sun-kissed, painfully intense romance would haunt both parties for the rest of their lives.

When Cohen arrived on Hydra, it already boasted a thriving community of free-living, bohemian expatriate artists who drank wine, took drugs and slept with each other's spouses. Leonard fitted right in, but while others were too busy boozing and flirting to create anything of substance, the quiet-spoken Canadian had the discipline to both enjoy himself and work. He bought a small house, Marianne moved in with him, and while he wrote she tended to his needs, bringing him food and water while he worked feverishly on his second novel, Beautiful Losers, popping acid to keep himself going. Marianne, a soulful, generous, disarmingly honest woman, would later wonder why she was the only ex-pat on Hydra who didn't seem to be an artist, but she certainly facilitated and encouraged Cohen's transition from tortured novelist to popster troubadour.

After he finished Beautiful Losers, Leonard had a breakdown, and as he recovered began playing Marianne his songs. While she might not have recognised herself in songs like Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye, Bird on a Wire and So Long Marianne, she did recognise her partner's extraordinary lyrical talent, and it was with her blessing that he left for New York to establish himself as a songwriter. He wanted her to go with him, but as we discover in Broomfield's thoughtful and rather melancholy documentary, that's not exactly how things worked out.

Sports picks

Live Rugby World Cup

Today, RTÉ 2, 7.30am

After their hugely impressive opening performance against Scotland, Joe Schmidt's Ireland face hosts Japan in Shizuoka. Jamie Heaslip, Stephen Ferris and Eddie O'Sullivan join Daire O'Brien for the build up to the game, which kicks off in the Shizuoka Stadium at 8.15am, with match commentary from Hugh Cahill and Donal Lenihan.

Match of the Day

Tonight, BBC1, 10.30pm

Gary Lineker and guests look back on this afternoon's games in the Premier League, and present extended highlights of matches including Everton versus Manchester City, Sheffield United v Liverpool, Wolves v Watford, Crystal Palace V Norwich City, Aston Villa v Burnley, Spurs v Southampton, Bournemouth v West Ham and Chelsea v Brighton.

Live Monday Night Football

Monday, Sky Sports Main Event, 7pm

Though no one is entirely convinced by the manner in which they've done so, Arsenal have enjoyed a pretty strong start to the season, losing just one game and currently jostling with Leicester City for third spot. Manchester United have been patchier, and an under-pressure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping and praying his side prevail against the Gunners at Old Trafford. The game kicks off at 8pm.

Live Rugby World Cup

Thursday, RTÉ 2, 10.30am


Rory Best. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Rory Best. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.


Rory Best. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.


Ireland move on to the beautiful coastal city of Kobe for their third World Cup group game against Russia. Expect the squad to be fully used for a game Ireland will expect to handsomely win, and Joe Schmidt will look to rest key players in advance of a probable quarter final against a formidably in-form South Africa. Brent Pope, Jamie Heaslip and Eddie O'Sullivan will analyse the action.


Movie picks



Tonight, BBC4, 9pm

Lost in the past

A middle-aged Madrid woman is overwhelmed by memories when she accidentally bumps into her estranged daughter’s best friend.


Hotel Mumbai

Sunday, Sky Premiere, 8pm

Under attack

Drama set during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, when staff at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel sought to protect guests from the gunmen.


12 Years a Slave

Friday, RTÉ One, 11.50pm

Sold down south

In Steve McQueen’s gruelling period drama, a free-born black musician is abducted in Washington and sold into southern slavery.


TV picks


Raised by the Village

Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

A new perspective

Inner city kids Warren and Jordan head west to Ballintubber, Co Mayo to find out what life on a farm is really like, and learn much more besides.


World on Fire

Sunday, BBC1, 9pm

Love on the run

In this major new seven-part drama, a British diplomat in Warsaw falls in love with a local waitress just as the Nazis invade. With Helen Hunt, Sean Bean.


The Apprentice

Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm

A fool’s errand

Lord Alan Sugar sends a new batch of contestants to Cape Town, where their efforts to set up safari and vineyard tours do not go well.

Weekend Magazine