Tuesday 16 July 2019

The ultimate guide to New Year's television

Graham Norton
Graham Norton
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Staying in this New Year's Eve? Here's your ultimate guide to what's on television tonight and the coming days.


New Year’s Day

At Your Service, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

John and Francis Brennan begin a new series on the beautiful island of Achill, where the iconic Ted’s Bar is in dire need of a rethink. Husband and wife schoolteachers Darren and Maeve Cafferkey have given up their jobs to take over the pub from Maeve’s father, but transforming the business won’t be easy.

Sherlock, BBC1, 8.30pm

As Mark Gatiss’s acclaimed drama returns for a new three-part run, Holmes becomes convinced that a madman is on the loose when someone starts defacing images of the late Margaret Thatcher. But he doesn’t realise that an ingenious new enemy has emerged. Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Rupert Graves and Toby Jones star.

Thailand, BBC2, 9pm

We tend to think of Thailand as a holiday destination, a place of pristine beaches and plush resorts, but behind this well-known image there’s a lot more to the ancient kingdom than that. This new documentary explores the country’s spectacular scenery and diverse wildlife, as well as the Buddhist traditions that are central to the nation’s identity.

Striking Out, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

This new six-part legal drama stars Amy Huberman as Tara Rafferty, a Dublin-based solicitor who’s about to marry a colleague when she finds out he’s been having an affair. She leaves him, and their big-hitting firm, and sets up one of her own, raising all sorts of unexpected challenges. With Neil Morrissey, Emmet Byrne, Fiona O’Shaughnessy.

Monday, Jan 2

The Hairy Bikers’ Comfort Food, BBC1, 4.15pm

Dave Myers and Simon King are back with a new series that sees them make some of their favourite comfort food, dishes that conjure up childhood memories, and the tastes of days gone by. They begin with an old and easily made French speciality, and a comforting traditional Lancashire hotpot.

Silent Witness, BBC1, 9pm

Nikki and Thomas are nonplussed when a severed finger is delivered to them for analysis. It was sent by people smugglers, and supposedly belongs to the mother of a 17-year-old Syrian immigrant called Akha. A ransom is being demanded, but things grow even more complicated when Akha escapes from custody. Emilia Fox and Richard Lintern star.

The Affair, Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Noah may have signed the divorce papers, but he and Allison seem more intimately conjoined than ever, especially following his revelation that he helped his mother commit suicide. Their pain is what unites them, and it seems that no piece of paper is going to keep them apart. Dominic West and Ruth Wilson star in the stylish psychological drama.

First Dates Hotel, Channel 4, 10pm

In this spin-off series, maître d’ Fred (far right) takes a break from the First Dates restaurant to run a summer love camp on the Cotes d’Azur. During their two-day stay at a luxury hotel, contestants will embark on romantic blind dates, assisted by an expert team of matchmakers. And among tonight’s guests is Kelly, a fashion model whose overprotective father has scared off previous beaux.

January 3

Sugar Free Farm, TV3, 8pm

In this new reality show, celebrity contestants Jane McDonald, Jennifer Ellison, James Argent, Mark Labbett, Tupele Dorgu and Rory McGrath have their average sugar intakes assessed, and are then set the challenge of giving up all sugar in their diets for two weeks while living and working together on a quiet country farm.

How to Lose Weight Well, Channel 4, 8pm

January is the time when guilty revelers begin purging themselves and trying to lose weight. In this show, Dr Xand van Tulleken and dietician Hala El-Shafie follow three pairs of contestants as they test out all the latest fad diets to see which of them works best, and tonight they also ask if chewing gum for longer can really help your calorie count.

Yellowstone: The Toughest Winter, BBC2, 9pm

The familiar landscape of Yellowstone Park is transformed into a forbidding wilderness during the winter months, and in the first episode of this three-part documentary, Kate Humble and Patrick Aryee follow hungry wolf packs on the hunt for elks, and grizzly bears that are forced to leave their winter dens in search of vital sustenance.

Grey’s Anatomy, RTÉ2, 9.30pm

It was chaos all round at the end of season 12, as Amelia hit the bottle again and took up with Meredith before having second thoughts and marrying Owen, while Jo revealed a hidden truth that led to a feud between Alex and Andrew. Will they all find a way of getting on and helping their patients in season 13? Let’s hope so. Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers star.

January 4

Premier League Live, Sky Sports 1, 7.30pm

In the last month or so Antonio Conte’s Chelsea have emerged from the pack as the team most likely to edge this season’s Premier League, but they face a tough assignment this evening as they travel to White Hart Lane to face London rivals Tottenham. The Blues won 2-1 the last time the sides met, but that was at Stamford Bridge. Kick-off 8pm.

Operation Transformation, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

Kathryn Thomas (left) hosts series ten of the weightloss challenge, as 18 potential leaders undergo a day of gruelling physical and psychological assessment at the Sportslink in Santry, after which the first three of the 2017 leaders will be revealed. This season there’ll also be a new strand, Live Longer/Live Better, exploring the benefits of diet and exercise.

Italy’s Invisible Cities, BBC1, 9pm

Alexander Armstrong and Dr Michael Scott use the latest 3D scanning technology to explore the hidden pasts that lie beneath the bustling streets of Italian cities, beginning with Naples, the southern port city that’s more than 2,500 years old, revealing evidence of the original Greek settlement as well as damage caused by the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 

No Offence, Channel 4, 9pm

As Shameless writer Paul Abbott’s darkly comic crime crime drama returns for a second season, DI Deering and the team face a long, tough day as tensions mount about the funeral of a Manchester gangster, while Joy and Tegan investigate the activities of a dodgy crematorium. Joanna Scanlan, Elaine Cassidy and Alexandra Roach star.

A Very British Brothel, Channel 4, 10pm

Channel 4 has a well-earned reputation for making extreme reality shows, and they don’t come much more extreme than this series that goes behind the scenes at Sheffield’s only licensed brothel. And as this new run begins business is booming, and owner Kath has ambitious plans to expand. But finding suitable premises may not be easy.

January 5

Getaways, RTÉ1, 7pm

New presenter Mairéad Ronan joins regular host Joe Lindsay (far left) for a new season of the travel show by paying a visit to Las Vegas, where Mairéad takes a gondola ride along something that looks remarkably like a Venetian canal, Joe flies over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, and they dine at the famous Bellagio and tour the neon museum.

Death in Paradise, BBC1, 9pm

DI Humphrey Goodman and his team are puzzled when a volcanologist fails to return from a night trip, and is later found dead on the side of an active volcano. All the evidence points to a heart attack, but Humphrey’s convinced that foul play was involved, and begins questioning the man’s scientific colleagues. Kris Marshall stars.

Spies, Channel 4, 9pm

Another bizarre Channel 4 reality show, and in this one three former spies put 15 ordinary men and women through their paces to see if they have what it takes to make it in the real world of espionage. They’re asked to perfect covert surveillance, make up cover stories and deal with the unexpected discovery of a mole.

The Tommy Tiernan Show, RTÉ1, 10.15pm

Tommy Tiernan (above) hosts this new chat show neither he, the studio audience or the viewers at home will know who he’s going to interview until the guests appear on stage. When the idea was first piloted last year, Tiernan proved well able to adapt to whatever guest was thrown at him, and actually seemed to enjoy the experience.

January 6

Rugbaí Beo, TG4, 7.15pm

As thoughts begin to turn to the forthcoming Six Nations, Joe Schmidt will be particularly heartened by the ominous form of Leinster, who’ve begun to dominate in the Pro 12 and Europe once again. And they will expect to rack up a big score tonight as they welcome Italian side Zebre to the RDS.

Can’t Stop Dancing, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

In advance of the start of Dancing with the Stars, Bláthnaid Treacy goes behind the scenes to get all the latest news about the professional dancers, the judging panel and of course all the celebrity contestants, as Des Cahill, Teresa Mannion, Aidan O’Mahony, Aoibhin Garríhy, Denise McCormack and Dr Eva Orsmond prepare for action.

Graham Norton’s Big Red Chair, BBC1, 10.35pm

One of the most popular parts of Graham Norton’s chat show is the ‘big red chair’ that unceremoniously dumps out audience members whose stories are too boring to be let walk. This amusing documentary goes behind the scenes to talk to some of the more memorable victims, and Graham picks some of his favourite red chair moments.


Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

New Year’s Day

Mirror, Mirror (2012)

Channel 4, 3.55pm

Watchable fantasy starring Lily Collins as Snow White, the orphaned heir to a magical kingdom who’s oppressed by her evil stepmother until a handsome but ineffectual prince turns up to save her. With Julia Roberts.

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Sky Movies Drama, 8pm

Steven Spielberg’s atmospheric drama stars Tom Hanks as an American lawyer who’s drawn into a Cold War battle when he decides to defend a Russian spy. Mark Rylance co-stars.

The A-Team (2010)

TV3, 9pm

Bright and breezy action comedy based on the hit 1980s TV show and starring Liam Neeson as Hannibal Smith, the leader of a group of former Special Forces commandoes who go on the run after being double-crossed.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

ch4, 9pm

In the fourth instalment of the hugely profitable action series, Ethan Hawke escapes from a Russian prison to hunt down a demented nuclear scientist who wants to provoke a nuclear war. Tom Cruise stars.

January 2

Man of Steel (2013)

RTÉ2, 6.30pm

Zach Snyder’s competent remake of Richard Donner’s Superman stars Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, a mild-mannered news reporter who leads a secret double life. Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon co-star.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Sky Movies Premiere, 7pm

After being framed for a terrorist attack on Congress, Superman earns a powerful enemy in Batman, and is forced to go into hiding. Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill star in Zack Snyder’s gloomy blockbuster.

The Heat (2013)

RTÉ1, 9.30pm

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy make this slapstick comedy watchable, playing policewomen who don’t hit it off when they’re ordered to work together on a major drug case.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

TG4, 9.55pm

Jean-Marc Vallee’s gritty drama is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff, a Texan rodeo rider who became an unlikely Aids activist after contracting the disease.

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto star.

January 3

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

BBC2, 12.10pm

Frothy comedy starring Isla Fisher as a woman with a shopping fixation and a whopping credit card debt who ends up writing a column advising people on how to manage their finances. With Kristin Scott Thomas.

Home Alone (1990)

E4, 3.55pm

In Chris Columbus’ winning family comedy, Macaulay Culkin plays an eight-year-old kid who accidentally gets left behind by his parents when they rush off for a Christmas holiday, and fends off two incompetent burglars.

The Grand Seduction (2013)

TG4, 10.30pm

A remote Canadian town is about to lose a lucrative new factory project because they don’t have a resident doctor when a local man finds one and launches a charm offensive to persuade him to stay. Brendan Gleason stars.

The Stag (2013)

Film Four, 11.25pm

Cheerful Irish comedy starring Hugh O’Conor as Fionnán, a shy young man who’s about to marry the women of his dreams when his friends organise a stag so disastrous it threatens all his plans. With Amy Huberman.

January 4

The Secret of Kells (2008)

RTÉ2, 9am

Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally provide the voices for this beautifully made Irish animation about a young novice who becomes involved in creating and saving the Book of Kells. With Evan McGuire.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Sky Movies Premiere, 6.15pm

Po the Panda (left) is reveling in his new role as kung fu teacher when a powerful adversary emerges from the spirit world intent on global domination. Delightful animation, voiced by Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and J. K. Simmons.

The Imitation Game (2014)

Film Four, 9pm

Benedict Cumberbatch heads the cast of Morten Tyldum’s biopic of Alan Turing, the difficult but brilliant mathematician and cryptanalyst who helped break the Nazi regime’s Enigma Code. With Keira Knightley (above).

12 Years a Slave (2013)

RTÉ1, 9.35pm

Steve McQueen’s profoundly unsettling drama is set in 1840s America and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free African-American musician who’s he’s abducted and sold into slavery. With Michael Fassbender.

January 5

A Monster in Paris (2012)

E4, 4pm

Pleasantly daft French animation set in Paris in 1910, and as the city experiences a terrible flood, a pair of disaster-prone friends accidentally transform a passing flea into a seven-foot monster with a surprisingly sweet singing voice (above).

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

RTÉ2, 9.30pm

Quentin Tatantino’s gory war film stars Brad Pitt as Aldo Raine, a Tennessee lieutenant who leads a group of vengeful Jewish-American soldiers on a gory Nazi-hunting expedition behind the German lines in occupied France.

Ryan’s Daughter (1970)

TG4, 10.30pm

David Lean’s ill-fated epic was filmed around Dingle and stars Sarah Miles as a flighty young woman whose love affair with a shy schoolteacher takes place in the aftermath of the 1916

Rising. With Robert Mitchum.

Gladiator (2000)

Film Four, 9pm

Russell Crowe stars in Ridley Scott’s epic as the celebrated Roman general Maximus, who’s betrayed by the new emperor and ends up fighting in the Colosseum as a slave. With Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris.

January 6

Woman of the Year (1942)

TG4, 12.50pm

Classic comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn as husband-and-wife journalists whose relationship flounders when her career begins to eclipse his. George Stevens directs. 

Magnificent Obsession (1954)

Film Four, 2.30pm

Wonderfully over-the-top melodrama starring Rock Hudson as a wastrel playboy who’s wracked with guilt when his recklessness causes the death of a man and blinds his poor wife. Jane Wyman co-stars.

The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

More 4, 9pm

Tony Scott’s workmanlike remake of the classic 1970s thriller stars Denzel Washington as a New York subway dispatcher who ends up being the go-between in a subterranean hostage crisis. With John Travolta, John Turturro, James Gandollfini.

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