The definitive guide to the best of Bank Holiday weekend TV
What to watch Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Pat Stacey chooses the best of this weekend's TV so you don't have to trawl the listings all by yourself...
James Nesbitt’s new hair, the result of a transplant, was much commented on when it sprouted into the public eye.
Whatever was in those follicles seems to have injected a new energy into him. He was always a busy actor, but now he seems to be simply everywhere.
Fresh from his stint in the slightly ropey Lucky Man, and with a revival of Cold Feet coming down the line, he’s back on more realistic territory in The Secret (UTV/ITV/UTV Ireland, 9pm), a four-part account of a dreadful real-life crime from the 90s.
Nesbitt plays creepy dentist Colin Howell, who fell for teacher Hazel Buchanan (Genevieve O’Reilly) after meeting her at their Baptist church in Coleraine.
Their affair soon turned into something sinister that would have far-reaching implications. If you’re unfamiliar with the details of the case, prepare to be appalled.
Remember when the world was in awe of Kenya’s distance runners, who seemed to be able to effortlessly outpace every other country’s athletes without recourse to cheating?
We were naive, weren’t we? In the latest episode of the excellent current affairs series Unreported World (Channel 4, 7.30pm), Ade Adepitan reports on how Kenyan sport is still blighted by allegations of doping-related corruption and malpractice, despite ultimatums from the World Anti-Doping Agency and promises by the government to attack the problem with legislation.
Despite initial scepticism, the Sky empire has become an unlikely curator of the arts by making the kind of niche programming that was once the sole preserve of the BBC.
Trailblazers Of . . . (Sky Arts, 9pm) is a 20-part look at the key moments and key people in several genres of music, beginning with the origins of disco, which grew out of funk and soul. The incomparable Noddy Holder, who knows a thing or 20 about elephant flares, platform boots and hideous tank tops, narrates.
Also on TV tonight:
The Graham Norton Show (BBC One, 10.35pm)
Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen will be hitting the big red sofa alongside Martin Freeman and Birdy will sing.
Gogglebox (Channel 4, 9pm)
More armchair giggles and tears from the Gogglebox crew. This time they critique Flowers, Fierce, Louis Theroux: Drinking to Oblivion, Horizon: How to Find Love Online, Caravanner of the Year, Antiques Roadshow and the News.
The Late Late Show, (RTE One, 9.35pm)
You’ve undoubtedly heard the hype, maybe read a few articles and perhaps even watched the brief trailer. Now, late in the 1916 Rising commemorations, comes the much-anticipated Trial of the Century (TV3, 9.15pm).
Padraig Pearse never got the chance to defend the actions of the rebels in a public courtroom. This three-part drama-cum-reality show, also on tomorrow and Monday, takes a speculative look at what might have been if the leader of the insurrection had not been executed.
It imagines that Pearse, played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, was dissuaded from sending the letter to his mother that admitted to turning to Germany for support and ultimately sealed his fate, and is instead granted a full trial.
Tonight’s opener sees the British prosecution present its case. Tomorrow night, Pearse gets his turn, having dismissed his original barrister and turned to his old friend, Charles Gavan Duffy (Mark Huberman), to defend him.
In Monday’s concluding instalment, Pat Kenny hosts as a present-day jury deliberate over whether to convict or acquit Pearse.
I’m not sure about the ultimate value of such an undertaking, but it should certainly make for novel viewing. The trial scenes were filmed in Green Street Courthouse in Smithfield, and Vaughan-Lawlor’s Love/Hate fame should help ensure a big audience.
The Rack Pack (BBC2, 10pm) was previously available only on the BBC iPlayer. It’s a deliberately colourful and not always completely truthful account of the turbulent rivalry between snooker stars Alex Higgins and Steve Davis.
Luke Treadaway is a suitably volatile Higgins, self-pityingly blaming all the self-inflicted woes in his life on everyone but himself, and Will Merrick gives a wonderfully deadpan comic performance as his ginger-haired nemesis. Great fun, if not entirely accurate, and the snooker scenes, which replicate several famous encounters that captivated millions of television viewers into the small hours, are brilliantly faked.
On first sight, a series called Coastal Walks with My Dog (Channel 4, 8pm) might sound like either a quirky, low-powered sitcom or something Alan Partridge might have dreamt up when his monkey tennis pitch fell flat.
But no – it’s exactly what the title says: a programme featuring people walking along coasts accompanied by their dogs. They’re not regular mortals, of course, but celebrities.
Tonight’s instalment, the first of two, features three walkers and their faithful friends. Bill Bailey hits a smugglers’ trail in Devon, Cerys Matthews walks Pembroke-shire’s rugged coastline, and Debra Stephenson rambles along Dorset’s Jurassic coast.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been supplied with the names of the dogs, but you can take it they’ll be the ones chasing sticks and balls.
What else is on on Saturday?
Britain's Got Talent (UTV Ireland, 8pm)
Michael McIntyre's Big Show (BBC One 7.05pm)
Music from Rod Stewart, James MOrrison and a dance performance from Extreme Flamenco Fusion dancers, Los Vivancos are the highlights. Michael will also play Celebrity Send To All (which he played with Ronan Keating last week) with Dragon's Den star Peter Jones' phone.
The Sweeney (Channel 4, 9pm)
Ray Winstone and Den Drew star in Nick Love's crime drama, an all-actoin reboot of the 1970s TV series.
Transporter 2 (Channel 4, 11.10pm)
Jason Statham returns as the transporter, this time earning what should be easy gash guarding hte son of government drugs czar Billings (Matthew Modine) but the youngster is kidnapped and it's up to J Stat to get him back and defeat the baddies.
The Ray D'Arcy Show (RTE One, 9.45pm)
Real Steal (RTE 2, 9pm)
Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lill star in Shawn Levy's flick set in the near future when robot boxing is a top sport. A struggling promoter feels he's found a champion in a discarded robot.
Okay, stop fooling around. Be straight with me here, will you? Tell me that Sgt Mattie (RTE1, 7.30pm) is a misprint. It’s not? Okay, it’s a joke. Someone’s having a laugh, right?
What do you mean it’s for real? Are you seriously telling me that RTE would dare plug a hole in the Sunday schedules with a repeat of a bungling-cop comedy from several years ago that should have been buried in a lead-lined box and dropped from the side of a ship immediately after its original broadcast, for fear someone might forget how chronically bad, how catastrophically awful it was first time around?
And look, what’s this: Room to Improve (RTE1, 8pm)? That can’t be new. If it were new, it would be in its regular slot, except that’s occupied by the dreary Dragons’ Den (RTE1, 9.30pm), which is new but still feels like a repeat.
Wait . . . did you say it’s a bank holiday weekend? Ah, that explains it, so. Nobody watches television on a bank holiday weekend, do they? I mean, why would you want to do that?
Any idea how Pearse is getting on in court?
By the time the familiar theme music of Match of the Day 2 (BBC1, 10.30pm) rings out, Leicester City could already have this year’s Premier League title in the bag and be popping the cork on another bottle of champagne.
All it will take is a win today against Manchester United at Old Trafford (although as a United fan, I’m hoping The Foxes will have to wait a little longer).
This is the top featured match and other highlights include Southampton v Manchester City, plus all the goals from yesterday’s games.
What else is on TV Sunday?
World Championship Snooker (BBC One 1-430pm, BBC Two 7-11pm on Sunday and 2-6pm on BBC Two and 7-11pm on BBC Two on Monday)
The final gets underway with the first eight frames played this afternoon.
Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic, 2am and 9pm
It's the second episode of series 6. What more needs to be said?!
MasterChef (BBC1, 8.30pm)
It’s finals week. The standard in this year’s competition has been very high, but judges John Dorode and Gregg Wallace have narrowed down a talented field, and during this final week the remaining contestants will face a daunting series of challenges. Tonight they cook with trailblazing chef Michael O’Hare, and on Wednesday they’re off to Mexico on a culinary adventure that will involve setting up a food stall in the bustling heart of Mexico City.
Ted 2 (Sky Premiere, 8pm)
There was lots to like about Seth McFarlane’s 2012 hit comedy Ted, in which a teddy bear came to life and grew up to be a beer-swilling reprobate. In this intermittently funny sequel, Ted is declared a non-person by a Massachusetts court, and his friend John Bennett hires an inexperienced young lawyer to help rescue him. Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried co-star.
Posh Neighbours at War (Channel 4, 7.30pm)
Kensington and Chelsea is the most expensive place to live in Britain, with homes costing up to £55 million. Set against this exclusive backdrop, this one-off documentary reveals the secret world of posh neighbours at war. From the woman who hit the headlines worldwide for painting her exclusive Kensington mews property in bright red stripes, infuriating neighbours in the process, to the couple whose loud back garden operas are causing a commotion in the countryside, and the unhappy denizens of Hampstead who are up in arms about noisy gardeners, the programme lifts the lid on these most upmarket neighbourly rows.
The Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4, 9pm)
The islanders are on their last legs in the final episode of the series. Will they still be standing when Bear comes to collect them to bring them back to civilization?
The 1916 Challenge (RTE 2, 12pm)
Six children travel back in time one hundred years and live in the shoes of 1916 children for 24 hours. This involves collecting fuel and water, shovelling manure, and collecting eggs - before breakfast. The more chores before school - wet sheets in the mangle and smiley embroidery. At school they'll wrestle with ink pens. Playtime after school involves bikes and a boxcar. For dinner it's gizzard, tongue and tripe. Simon Delaney presents.
Life's a Breeze (RTE One, 9.30pm)
Irish director Lance Daly's charming movie about a family searching for a lost fortune around the streets of Dublin. Starring Kelly Thornton and Fionnula Flanagan.