Television: The best of the week ahead with Paul Whitington
The Eurovision Song Contest 2015, Tonight, RTE1, BBC1, 8pm... Let the madness begin
Hubris, ladies and gentlemen of Ireland, is a dangerous game. In the 1990s we all used to joke cockily about how embarrassed we were about winning the Eurovision again, and how much it would cost us to host the feckin' thing next year. No sign of the world's strangest musical event returning to these shores any time soon, however, and our last win in 1996 is beginning to seem an awfully long time ago.
These days we're grateful to make it through the semis, and Molly Sterling will hopefully have survived to sing in tonight's final. I remember being abroad and watching the Eurovision with a group of Americans, who'd never seen it before and assumed they were watching talent night at a mental hospital. And that was in the 1990s, when the contest was still a relatively sober and restrained affair. These days it looks like a cross between a louche Weimar nightclub and a Soviet version of Top of the Pops, but is still great fun of course. Graham Norton is providing the witty commentary on BBC, Marty Whelan on RTÉ, so take your pick between them as they navigate us through another evening of campness and chaos with our hosts (above, right) in Vienna.
Churchill: When Britain Said No
Monday, BBC2, 9pm
When the bulldog got snubbed
Few politicians can have entered a general election with as much confidence as Winston Churchill did in the summer of 1945. After all he’d just led his country through the dark days of World War Two and had become an international symbol of British defiance. But in one of the greatest electoral shocks of all time, the British people kicked him out in favour of a radical and reformist Labour Party. This documentary finds out how, and why.
4 On Demand, any time
X-rated police procedural
Even though it's on Channel 4 and was created by Shameless writer Paul Abbott, I was rather taken aback by the no-holds-barred comedy of No Offence, which can now be caught up with on 4 On Demand. For this is equal opportunities humour, in which everything from race and disability to sex and unmentionable body parts is grist to Mr. Abbott's hilarious mill. And Joanna Scanlan steals the show playing a foul-mouthed but rather brilliant inner city police detective. Bracing stuff.
Sunday, Fox, 9pm
Not quite the perfect small town
Twin Peaks, as we know, will be returning to our screens next year, but meantime there’s this eerie offering that’s produced by M. Night Shyamalan and explores similarly strange territory. Wayward Pines kicks off on Fox this week, and a strong
cast is headed by Matt Dillon. He plays Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent searching for two missing colleagues who stumbles into a pristine small mountain town that can’t possibly be as perfect as it seems.