Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Channel 4, 7.20pm
As The Hobbit draws huge crowds to the cinemas, perhaps it’s an opportune time to again watch the superb third instalment of Peter Jackson’s earlier series.
Climbed Every Mountain — The Story Behind The Sound Of Music
BBC Two, 8.15pm
Sue Perkins explains how the classic film was based on the amazing story of the real Von Trapp family. In Salzberg, Austria, she discovers a surprising lack of enthusiasm among locals towards the film that made the area so famous. Perkins also meets 98-year-old Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the original seven children.
Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh
A new documentary on the GAA commentator joins him for his return to action at last June’s Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta final. We also meet his son Éamonn, who was beside him in the commentary box.
50 Years of Bond Cars: A Top Gear Special
RTÉ Two, 8pm
Richard Hammond looks back on 007’s cars through the years. As well as chatting to Daniel Craig and Roger Moore, he also attempts to turn a Lotus into a fully working submarine car.
RTE One, 8.30pm
Judith and Luke’s affair takes a turn for the worst when a secret date goes terribly wrong.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Abhainn An Laoi (R)
RTÉ One, 7.30pm
Repeat of the river documentary episode on the Lee.
RTÉ Two, 10..30pm
Nicolas Cage and Chloë Moretz star as the self-styled superheroes taking on the baddies in their city. It’s one of the few ‘real’ person offerings on a big day of animation for RTE Two, with Happy Feet, The Secret of Kells and Granny O’Grimm also being shown.
The Graham Norton Show
The Irish presenter has some big names on his couch for his end of year show. Among those expected are Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman and John Bishop. (This show also runs on BBC One from 10.35pm.)
Jools’ Annual Hootenanny
BBC Two, 11.10pm
For the musically-inclined who don’t venture out tonight, Jools Holland’s annual bash is always one of the more attractive options among the New Year’s Eve shows. He’ll be joined by an impressive array of stars, including Petula Clark, Emeli Sandé and Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners. There’s also an Irish presence, with the current version of the Dubliners performing ‘The Irish Rover’ and other tunes.
House Party: NYE
Channel 4, 11.50pm
Another show for people who find a comfy couch more appealing than a crowded dance floor. Norman Jay, Frankie Knuckles and other top DJs provide the party music.
Waltz With Bashir
RTÉ Two, 12.45am
Superb 2008 animation dealing with an Israeli soldier’s memories of his part in his nation’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
Galapagos With David Attenborough
Sky 1, 6pm
The veteran wildlife presenter temporarily departs from his natural BBC environment to present this major series on the islands off Ecuador. As well as the expected spectacular footage and fascinating facts, he also encounters Lonesome George, the last member of his species who died earlier this year.
Diversity: Live In Dublin
Sky 1, 8pm
A recording of the street dancer’s performance at the O2 in Dublin includes plenty behind-the-scenes footage.
RTÉ Two, 9pm
Episode one of the second series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern version of the super sleuth. A massive international conspiracy unfolds as part of a plot to topple the British monarchy.
Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe
Channel 4, 10pm
One of the sharpest critics of his generation, Brooker’s jaundiced take on the year gone by is usually well worth a watch.
RTÉ Two, 12.10am
The classic German submarine film from 1981 follows the fortunes of a U-Boat crew during the Second World War.
Ear To The Ground
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
The rural affairs show starts the year with another collection of strong features. First up is an examination of the crisis in the Irish chicken industry. Despite soaring feed and other costs, farmers often only get prices as low as 37 cent per bird that they sell to supermarkets. Add in fierce competition from overseas and chicken producers say we either have to pay them more or the industry will end here. The show also visits an organic farm run by nuns in Co Wicklow, and looks at the issue of slurry spreading.
Repeat of the enjoyable documentary the jump trio of Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell that was filmed over a National Hunt season from November last year.
Millionaire Boy Racers
Channel 4, 10pm
These are not the enthusiastic youths who’ll spend their month’s wages on a new exhaust. They are super-rich Arabs who spend their oil money on incredibly expensive sports cars that they then show off in London each summer.
Westlife: The Farewell Tour Live at Croke Park
RTÉ One, 10.35pm
It’s difficult to believe we’ve seen the last of the Sligo boy band, but this live show from their Dublin concert in June was a lucrative official farewell.
Wild Britain with Ray Mears
Mears begins the third series of his show with a trip to the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides in search of minke whales and basking sharks. He also finds out about successful attempts to reintroduce the white-tailed eagle.
Queen Live In Budapest
BBC 4, 10.50pm
This concert is surrounded on the schedule by various Top Of The Pops retrospectives. Presumably they’ve been carefully edited to ensure that Jimmy Savile doesn’t appear in any of them.
The Review Show With Billy Connolly
BBC Two, 11pm
Billy Connolly didn’t look his best on a recent Late Late Show, but this programme sees him as enthusiastic as ever about all sorts of new projects. As well as having a role in Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet, he’s also onboard for The Hobbit.
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