TV not to miss

SATURDAY

River Cottage Every Day

Channel 4, 7.10pm

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, right, extols the virtues of baking your own bread in a show which features everthing from simple white loaves to tangy sourdoughs and cheese-and-Guinness-stuffed soda breads. As ever, he’s also conscious of not wasting the leftovers, and uses them for an Italian bread salad and a three-course breadcrumb dinner. ‘Pam the Jam’ reveals the secrets of jam making for a tasty bread topping and Steve Lamb demonstrates how to build a pizza oven in the back garden.

American Pie

TV3, 9pm

Though it followed a well-established tradition of US teen gross-out films that stretched back to the likes of National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) and Porky’s (1982), the success of American Pie was quite a surprise. Dismissed by the New York Times as “one of the shallowest and the most prurient teen films”, it has grossed an incredible $345 million since its release in 1999. The story follows the familiar tale of a group of teenage boys who do their best to lose their virginity by prom night, a plot that provides the perfect excuse to roll out the sex gags. Eugene Levy almost steals the show as Jim’s dad, ever willing to provide embarrassing advice, but this film belongs to the young actors whose careers it launched: Jason Biggs; Seann William Scott, etc.

SUNDAY

Civilization: Is The West History

Channel 4, 8pm

It’s down to the final episode of Niall Ferguson’s fascinating take on world history and the question concerning him tonight is the western work ethic. While originally linked to Protestanism, Ferguson shows how members of any society can learn to work hard and save their earnings. However, Europeans no longer work long hours; Americans have almost given up saving completely. “The real workers and savers in the world are now the heirs of Confucius and not Calvin,” says Ferguson. In other words, some Asian societies seem to be leading the way, and the traditional productive power-houses could be in decline.

Spin

TG4 10pm

With its songs of the Troubles and nuclear doom, Moving Hearts’ first album really captured the zeitgeist in Ireland when it was released in 1981. And, as Philip King has said in relation to this third episode of a trawl through his favourite Irish records, considering what’s going on in Japan, the lyrics to the Jimmy Page song Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette sound as relevant as ever. In telling the story of the classic trad-rock album, King talks to former Hearts members Donal Lunny, above, Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott.

The Kennedys

History Channel, 10pm

Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes star as President John F and Jackie Kennedy in the new mini series about the much-loved American political dynasty.

MONDAY

How To Create A Garden

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

In episode three, the respective gardens are coming along nicely. Kitty Scully plants an edible hedge near her vegetable garden, while Peter Dowdall finds inspiration for his site from the adjacent Italian garden at Fota House. Sean O’Neill is also on hand to show how to build a low cost cold frame.

A Home For Maisie

BBC Two, 9pm

This is a moving account of Maisie, a troubled seven-year-old girl in Britain who desperately wants to be adopted. After several attempts, which failed because of the difficult personality of a child who had experienced neglect and abuse in her early life, she’s finally taken in by Jim and Sue, an amazing couple who had already adopted eight other troubled children. They are supported by Family Futures, an adoption support agency specialising in treating damaged children. Hopefully they can help Maisie come to terms with the traumatising memories from her early life and learn to accept Jim and Sue as her parents. The alternative is being sent back to care.

TUESDAY

Later Live ... With Jools Holland

BBC Two, 10pm

Despite having 38 series under his belt, there’s no sign of Jools Holland relinquishing his position as the king of the music show presenters.

Tonight’s offering features a typically impressive and eclectic mix, with guests including Robbie Robertson of the Band fame; Seun Kuti, son and heir of the legendary Fela; and the funktastic Bootsy Collins, former bass player with the likes of James Brown and George Clinton.

The Trials Of Phoebe Prince

RTÉ One, 10.15pm

This repeat of the documentary about the suicide of Phoebe Prince chronicles the harassment endured by the Co Clare student at a Massachusetts high school in the lead-up to her death. The tragedy has become a huge case in the US and legal proceedings are currently underway against six of Prince’s schoolmates.

WEDNESDAY

Jamie’s Dream School

Channel 4, 9pm

It’s the final episode of Jamie Oliver’s attempt to help 20 young people get back into education, above. Along the way, they have been on the end of tutoring by some inspirational individuals, including the likes of former poet laureate Andrew Motion, musician Jazzie B and athlete Daley Thompson. As the young people leave Dream School, Jamie wants them to have proof of what they’ve achieved. So, as well as producing portfolios of their work and achievements, he asks four of his top teachers to give all the kids a final assessment. But the real test of the project will depend on how many of the kids are inspired back into education.

Katyn

RTÉ Two, 11.45pm

This 2007 feature film from Poland focuses on the mass execution by the Soviets of about 22,000 Poles in 1940. Stalin had always blamed the massacres on the Nazis, but the truth about the slaughter has emerged in recent years.

THURSDAY

The Somme’s Secret Weapon

Channel 4, 9pm

Despite the huge interest and wealth of first-hand accounts that exist from the awful events of the Somme from World War I, the infamous battlefield still has a few secrets to yield to archaeologists. For this Time Team special, Tony Robinson and his team join a dig to find traces of a little-known weapon supposedly used in 1916. Various reports suggest that, near the town of Mametz, the British unleashed a sort of crude flame thrower known as the Livens Flame Projector. It showered a stream of burning oil on the men in the German trenches, and helped ‘win’ the only piece of ground secured by the British on July 1 of that fateful battle. No piece of this fearsome weapon exists in any museum, so Robinson and co attempt to separate fact from fiction about its use. The Royal Engineers also do their bit by showing a replica in action.

Martina Cole’s The Runaway

Sky 1, 9pm

The six-part adaptation of Martina Cole’s novel is up to its third episode and features a typically motley crew from London’s underworld. The runaway Cathy survives being attacked and the flamboyant transvestite Desrae takes her to lie low in Soho. After eventually plucking up the courage to meet her former sweetheart Eamonn, it all hits the fan and he is forced to flee to New York. As ever, there’s no shortage of high drama in a Cole adaptation and this version offers some typically pulpy thrills and spills.

FRIDAY

David Walliams: Awfully Good Ads

Channel 4, 10pm

The former Little Britain star, above, turns his attentions to television adverts, trawling through some of the best and worst over the past few decades. Categories include Ad’s You’d Never Get Away with Today (eg “Be a good little Maxwell House wife”) and pro smoking ads (“What cigarette do you smoke, doctor?”).

Modern Family

Sky 1, 8.30pm

While it may not hit the heights of Family Guy or 30 Rock, season two of Modern Family is still one of the best comedies around. Jay is obviously concerned with the age-difference between him and his Colombian wife Gloria, so fearful that she’ll remarry after he’s gone, he decides to buy them both a crypt to rest in.

Elsewhere, Cam is busy “taking the negative charge out of the word ‘adopt’”, by making a scrapbook so Lily will embrace her unconventional upbringing by gay men.

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