What to watch this week

Des O'Driscoll has you covered on what to watch this week.

SATURDAY

The Society, Netflix

It seems a particularly poor night on the terrestrial channels this evening, so a lot of people will probably be looking for streaming options.

Among the recent additions to the Netflix drama roster is this Lord of the Flies-inspired series about a group of teenagers who find themselves mysteriously living in a version of their home town, only without any parents.

SUNDAY

The Zoo, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Further developments for the animals we were introduced to last week, as the new gorilla seems to be integrating into the troop, and the amur tiger cubs get to explore the outdoor part of their enclosure for the first time.

The Ranganation, BBC Two, 9pm

Romesh Ranganathan’s new show has him chairing a lighthearted discussion about topical issues. ‘Ordinary’ people give their views, with various celebrities also chipping in with witty opinions.

Ireland’s Favourite Folk Song, RTÉ One, 7.30pm

While many of the songs in this show have had little impact outside of Ireland, tonight’s episode features two tunes that are known for very different reasons overseas. Most obvious is ‘Danny Boy’, championed here by hotelier Francis Brennan, it’s a song that many in Ireland tend to associate with maudlin sentimentality or cliched Irish-Americanism. However, even the fact that it was written by an English man — Frederic Weatherly from Portishead — can’t undermine its significance for emigrants and their descendants.

Brennan focuses on the song as a unifying force, one which he’s heard people sing together all over the world.

Remove the sentimentality, bad versions and cynical baggage, and you’ll find it really is a gorgeous song. Pat Shortt is on the show to talk up ‘The Parting Glass’, another old favourite that was revived by the Clancy Brothers. The tune also hit a younger audience when it popped up on the soundtrack of the Assassins Creed video game.

Prime Time Election Debate, RTÉ One, 10.30pm

The Ireland South constituency provides the first of the European election debates that will be held over three consecutive nights on RTÉ One. ‘Sprawling’ is a world we’ve heard a lot to describe an electoral area that has almost 75% of its voters from Munster, but also takes in such areas as Wicklow, Wexford and Offaly.

As such, it’s been a difficult beast for the local-minded politicians to get a handle on, as we’ll probably see from tonight’s debate with the candidates. Monday’s show features the Dublin constituency, while Tuesday has Midlands-North West.

MONDAY

Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic, 9pm

We say goodbye to the biggest TV series of our age, and if you didn’t watch the final episode of the final series overnight on Sunday, it could be a tough task to avoid spoilers all day. Last week brought carnage; presumably, tonight will have retribution and resolution. But who gets to sit on the Iron Throne?

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, BBC Two, 8pm

The gardening event of the year is under way in London, with plenty of coverage across the week, looking at the feature gardens, and the strong royal involvement in the 2019 event.

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution, BBC Two, 9pm

New five-part documentary series on the late Tory party leader who was probably the most significant British politician in the latter half of the 20th century, and who also had a major hand in events on this island. In the first episode, we see how she climbed the ranks of the Conservative party to a position where she could challenge Ted Heath for the leadership.

Hatton Garden Heist, Virgin One, 9pm

Four-part drama over consecutive nights about the audacious burglary of safe deposit vaults in London in 2015. The value of the goods taken was never confirmed, but it could have been in the region of £200m. Police eventually point the finger at a group of criminals led by 76-year-old Brian Reader. A decent cast includes Timothy Spall, and Irish actor Brían F O’Byrne.

TUESDAY

Scannal, RTÉ One, 7pm

A new series of the documentary show about Irish scandals through the decades. Episode one is entitled ‘The Fingerprint Affair’, which focuses the investigation into the killing in 1976 of British ambassador Christopher Ewart. Biggs, and diplomat Judith Cooke in Dublin.

We hear how errors and disputes led to shortcomings in the investigation, and how the treatment of those who pointed out the errors left much to be desired.

Alastair Campbell: Depression and Me, BBC Two, 9pm

The journalist best known for being Tony Blair’s spin-doctor talks about his battle with depression, and looks into the latest scientific research on the condition.

What In The World, RTÉ One, 10.35pm

Peadar King presents another show from the Middle East, looking at such issues as the separation wall and settlements Israel has built. We hear from both sides, with Israelis justifying the settlements and land seizures as being part of the spoils of war, and also part of their religious belief that God granted them the land; while Palestinians see it as modern colonialism.

WEDNESDAY

The Virtues, Channel 4, 9pm

Episode two of Shane Meadows’ harrowing drama about a man returning to Ireland to confront his troubled childhood. Stephen Graham is already winning a lot of praise for his performance as the lead character.

Summer Of Rockets, BBC Two, 9pm

New drama series set in 1958 as MI5 tries to recruit a Russian immigrant to help them to gather intelligence on his compatriots at a time when the Space Race and weapons technology were at the top of the agenda in the Cold War.

The cast includes Keeley Hawes and Timothy Spall.

Paul Henry — Portráid Éireannach, TG4, 9.30pm

A documentary on the Belfast-born artist who created many iconic images of the west of Ireland in the early part of the last century. We hear how Henry escaped his strict Baptist background by going to study in Paris, and also spent many years on Achill where he developed his eye for depicting the local light and scenes.

THURSDAY

Riviera, Sky Atlantic, 9pm

The drama series set in the south of France returns for a second series, with Julia Stiles’s character picking up the action soon after her killing of a man who had tried to rape and blackmail her. Can she hide what she’s done?

Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

The concluding episode has the remaining recruits facing a final series of tests before they can be judged to have made the standard to join the Army Ranger regiment.

FRIDAY

She’s Gotta Have It, Netflix

Spike Lee is back with a second season of his drama about a 20-something woman juggling three lovers and her job. Decent without ever hitting lofty heights, it does features a superb soundtrack selected by Lee himself.

Bohemians v Sligo Rovers, RTÉ One, 7.30pm

The home side have had some wobbles recently but are still in contention for a European spot, while Sligo are hovering just above the drop zone with the likes of Cork City and Waterford.

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, 10.35pm

Michael Fassbender is on the show to discuss his role in the latest X-Men instalment, alongside co-stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.

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