Monday 22 January 2018

The best of the week ahead... your TV highlights with Paul Whitington

Penny Dreadful, Tuesday, Sky Atlantic, 10pm... Fear and loathing in Victorian London

Penny Dreadful, Sky Atlantic
Penny Dreadful, Sky Atlantic
The Speech - Sunday, RTE1, 9.30pm
Penny Dreadful
Complete Father Ted Box Set - All 4, anytime
Rachel McAdams

Paul Whitington

There was something delightfully camp about the first series of Penny Dreadful that playfully recalled the wilder excesses of 1960s Hammer horror films. Created by John Logan, the show conflates the lurid crime stories of Victorian London with horror tropes like vampires and werewolves. In season one, veteran explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) assembled a motley crew of weirdos to find his kidnapped daughter.

Even though this team included Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), an American werewolf called Ethan (Josh Hartnett) and the show's witchy heroine Vanessa Ives (the splendidly spooky Eva Green, both above), they failed. And in this new series, which started last week, things get even worse. While Ethan struggles with the after-effects of a lycanthropic blackout, Frankenstein has tactlessly decided to create a mate for his lonely monster out of the remains of Ethan's former lover (Billie Piper). But poor Vanessa's in the biggest trouble of all: plagued by haunting visions, she hasn't yet realised that she's in the sights of the devil himself.

Penny Dreadful is great fun, was filmed in Ireland, and skilfully treads a fine line between campness and horror.


The Speech

Sunday, RTE1, 9.30pm

Overcoming the terror of public speaking

I’m a bit of a windbag myself, and relish every opportunity to grab a microphone, but an awful lot of people are gripped by terror at the mere mention of public speaking. In the first episode of this new reality series, golfer Brian Casey is teamed with lawyer and after-dinner speaker Gerald Kean to try and overcome his crippling fear of speech-making, a phobia which has deep roots in his school days and a childhood stammer.


Complete Father Ted Box Set

All 4, anytime

The greatest Irish comedy ever

Father Ted turned 20 a few weeks back, and the astonishing thing about the show is just how fresh it still feels. Everyone has their favourite moments, and you can indulge yourselves in a Craggy Island binge courtesy of All 4, who are running all the shows in a free box set. My favourite? The Rocka Hula Ted episode — in which Ted gives a disastrous running commentary of the Lovely Girls contest — is hard to beat, but A Song for Europe just about does.


True Detective

Sky Atlantic, summer

New season, new problems

A recent trailer tease for True Detective, which returns to HBO and Sky Atlantic over the summer, suggests that season two is going to be every bit as enthralling as the first. Colin Farrell, sporting a real soup-strainer of a moustache, plays Ray Velcoro, a hard-living detective in the industrial city of Vinci whose methods are rather suspect. Vince Vaughn co-stars as a criminal businessman, and a great cast also includes Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly. It looks fantastic.


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