Monday 22 January 2018

Television highlights of the week

SUNDAY: Live Heineken Cup Rugby, 3pm, Sky Sport 2 - The already bursting-at-the-seams Munster bandwagon is likely to fill up even more if they can manage the difficult task of beating the defending champions and conquerors of Leinster, Toulon, in Marseille.

The Voice Of Ireland

6.30pm, RTE1

The long search is almost over as The Voice Of Ireland warbles to its tremulous climax. The coaches will travel to the hometowns of the acts, who will each perform two songs. The public will then vote out one of the acts before the remaining three take to the stage one last time in their bid to win that all-important recording contract.

Vera

8pm, UTV

Not since Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote has an actress so made a lady sleuth her own as well as Brenda Blethyn has done with DCI Vera Stanhope. In this, the opening episode of the new series, Vera investigates the death of a pensioner found dead on a train in Newcastle.

 

MONDAY

 

Prey

9pm, UTV

John Simm has a history of compelling dramas behind him, including Mad Dogs, Life On Mars, State of Play and Dr Who. Now he brings that characterful face to another meaty role, that of a man who is on the run and trying to clear his name. This is the opening episode of the series, which was created by television newcomer Chris Lunt.

Hinterland

9pm, BBC4

This was originally a huge hit on BBC Wales and is now migrating to BBC4 in the hope of capturing an even larger audience. A crime drama, it stars Richard Harrington as DCI Tom Mathias who has left London behind and moved to Aberystwyth, where a brutal attack at an isolated chalet has struck fear into the community.

 

The Centre

10pm, RTE2

It's the last night of this sitcom series, which has starred the cream of Ireland's female comedic talent, including Katherine Lynch and Jennifer Maguire from the Republic of Telly. In this episode, Bernie finally gets the chance to stage the Miss Fieldstown Junior Pageant.

TUESDAY

Happy Valley

9pm, BBC1

There are a lot of detectives on TV this week but this might be the best of them. Starring Last Tango In Halifax and The Paradise alumnus Sarah Lancashire, this series, which was created by Sally Wainwright, focuses on a policewoman in rural Yorkshire who gets involved in an investigation which leads her back to her own doorstep.

The Following

10pm, Sky Atlantic

It seemed like there wasn't anywhere for this Kevin Bacon crime drama to go after it stumbled toward the finishing line of the first series. And yet, as with House Of Cards, somehow the momentum was maintained – this is the finale of season two. We won't spoil it for anyone but, rest assured, that a third season is on the way.

Over To Bill

10.35pm, BBC1

Comedy Playhouse was a long-running television anthology of one-off sitcoms which proved the launch pad for enduring hits such as Steptoe and Son and Last Of The Summer Wine. As part of the Playhouse's revival, the Beeb is putting out this pilot, which like recent hit W1A, is set in the BBC itself. Hugh Dennis and the always-amazing Neil Morrissey star.

 

WEDNESDAY

 

Live UEFA Champion's League

7.30pm, RTE2

The Special One and his Chelsea charges play host to Atletico Madrid in Stamford Bridge tonight as Europe's highest stakes soccer competition gets to its sharp end.

 

Secret Eaters

8pm, Channel 4

Presumably the couple that took part in this is not too wedded to their secret. Surveillance cameras follow them everywhere as psychologist Dr Christy Ferguson gets to the bottom of their weight problems. This is the final episode of the series.

 

Bingo Nights

9pm, TV3

It's grannies and drag queens, sociology mixed with some gentle comedy, community centres and nightclubs as TV3 takes a peek into the many faces of bingo in Ireland.

THURSDAY

 

Heston's Great British Food

9pm, Channel 4

Heston Blumenthal, with his sprays of foam and dry ice, isn't the first person who springs to mind when you think of heritage grub, but in this series he charts the history of some of Britain's favourite dishes, from curries to pies via afternoon tea.

 

The Outsiders

10.45pm, RTE1

As Breaking Bad showed us, sometimes even the most right-minded of people can lapse into criminality in certain circumstances. This documentary explores the lives of Eddie 'Lucas' Cahill and Frank Quigley, who turned their backs on a life of crime after discovering an unlikely saviour.

 

FRIDAY

Live Rabodirect Pro12: Ulster v Leinster

7pm, RTE 1 and BBC2 (kick off 7.30pm)

As the Pro 12 season draws to a close this promises to be one of the highlights. There are so many storylines here, but Brian O'Driscoll bowing out of the game promises to be one of the more emotional ones. Leinster look to be the favourites but Ulster will be dangerous.

 

The Graham Norton Show

10.35pm, BBC1

Set faces to swoon as Graham trades quips with everyone's favourite Kerryman (after Jackie Healy-Rae obviously), Michael Fassbender. And if the hunk quotient weren't already through the roof, Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy will also be on the couch.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

Crossfire

8pm TV3

A brand new quiz show presented by Sean Moncrieff, in which four contestants undergo the pressure of three fast-paced general knowledge rounds. Over the course of the programme the four players compete to force each other out of the game.

 

The Saturday Night Show

9.10pm, RTE1

Brendan O'Connor presents the usual mix of witty chat and great live music. Guests this week will include British actor and rapper Idris Elba, and the father of Donal Walsh, the Tralee boy who died of cancer aged just 16.

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