TV not to miss

The week’s TV highlights

SATURDAY

Kennedy Home Movies

BBC Two, 8pm

The BBC’s broadcast of The Kennedys mini-series is being fleshed out with a number of documentaries on the political dynasty. This show combines footage from the family’s Super-8 collection with recollections from some of the nannies who looked after the children. Plenty of insider anecdotes. Later in the evening The Kennedys: A Culture Show Special (BBC Two, 9.45pm) has Jonathan Freedland chairing a highbrow discussion on the enduring fascination with JFK. Historian Tony Badger, broadcaster John Sergeant and Jackie Kennedy biographer Sarah Bradford are among the contributors. An accompanying short film has Joel Surnow, executive producer of The Kennedys, talking about the making of the mini-series and the controversy that engulfed it.

Botany: A Blooming History

BBC Four, 10.30pm

An episode about photosynthesis, that amazing process through which plants provide oxygen for the air we breathe. It examines the 17th century scientists who first made a connection between the growth of a plant and the energy from the sun, right up to modern efforts to replicate the process in a lab.

The Pacific

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

The war is over, the Marines go home and the series ends. Before the final credits roll, however, the final episode of the epic series gives us a glimpse of how many soldiers had trouble readjusting to Civvy Street. Sledge still has nightmares from the horrors he witnessed, while Leckie finds he has become a stranger to his mother and father. This is a theme well-covered in relation to the Vietnam War, but it’s rare to see it treated so honestly in the context of soldiers from WWII.

The Graham Norton Show

3e, 9pm

If you missed the original broadcast on BBC, this weekly repeat gives you a chance to catch up on the best talkshow around. Among the guests tonight are Cameron Diaz — on the promotional trail for her new film Bad Teacher, but usually an enjoyable interviewee — and Irish-American lesbian comedienne Kathy Griffin.

SUNDAY

BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World 2011

BBC Two, 5.30pm

Only five singers remain from an original list of 602. Broadcast live from St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Kiri Te Kanawa is among the judging panel who will decide who wins the £15,000.

Ar Stáitse

TG4, 10pm

More musical gems from the RTÉ archives. Tonight it’s the turn of country star Ray Lynam in a show from 1976, complete with a guest appearance from Philomena Begley.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Sky Atlantic, 10.20pm

The reruns of series four begins. Larry David, right, and co are up to season eight in the US but, despite their genius, it’s unlikely they will ever approach anything more than cult status in this country. In this first episode, David is in typically insulting form, managing to offend a doctor, a lesbian couple, a wheelchair user and Ben Stiller. Other celebrity guests this season include David Schwimmer.

MONDAY

A Story With Me In It

RTÉ One, 7.30pm

Finglas-born writer Dermot Bolger is teamed up with married father-of-two Joe Begley to help him overcome his literacy issues. Begley explains how he left school early with poor reading ability, but he did start a career as a jeweller at 13 by learning to become a goldsmith and diamond setter. “With gold you have to use a certain amount of grams and millimetres and it held me back a bit,” he admits. As soon as the recession kicked in, however, Begley lost his job and sees this writing project as an important use of what could otherwise be idle time. With Bolger’s help he writes about happy memories and painful experiences, with the story of his relationship with his two foster sons at the heart of it.

Game of Thrones

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Finale of the first series. Westeros is in chaos and dark forces stalk the land. There are chinks of light, however, with Robb Stark’s victories on the battlefield, and Jaime Lannister finally being confronted over his attempted killing of the young Bran Stark in one of the early episodes. Overall, it’s been a highly enjoyable series, and we are already looking forward to season two next year.

Éalú

TG4, 11.20pm

Repeat of the fascinating documentary about the escape of German spy Gunter Schutz from Mountjoy jail in 1942. Captured in Ireland and sent to the jail, over time, he received allocations of women’s clothes and make-up which he said were for his fiancée back in Germany. He put them to use himself, however, and walked out the jail gates disguised as a woman.

TUESDAY

Ireland’s Atrocities

3e, 10pm

More WWII fare with a show marking 60 years since the Germans bombed Dublin. Four high-explosive bombs were dropped on the North Strand area, killing 34 people and damaging 300 homes. Eyewitness accounts help recreate what happened that night.

The View Presents

RTÉ One, 11.15pm

New series of indepth interviews with artists and entertainers by John Kelly. First up is comedian Pat Shortt, who talks about his roles in the likes of D’Unbelievables and Killinaskully, as well as his surprisingly good serious acting turn in Garage. Future shows will include Andy Irvine, the band Villagers and LA Confidential author, James Ellroy.

WEDNESDAY

Health Of The Nation

RTÉ One, 8pm

Fashion model Alison Canavan talks about her experiences of dealing with depression, while visitors to the mobile clinic include a man whose economic worries are causing him sleepless nights, and a young woman in chronic pain who suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome.

Wonderful Weeds

BBC Four, 9pm

Horticulturalist Chris Collins is on a mission to challenge the prevailing assumptions about weeds. Unquestioningly reviled by many gardeners, Collins shows how many of these seemingly noxious plants actually have a fascinating story behind them.

Volver

RTÉ Two, 11.55pm

Pedro Almodavar directs Penélope Cruz in this moving generational tale of three Spanish women. Raimunda (Cruz) travels back to her home village with her daughter and sister to visit her mother’s grave. Family history looms large in this emotional tale.

THURSDAY

Bohemia: A Year In The Wetlands

RTÉ Two, 8pm

While many Irish people have visited Prague, few have ventured south to the beautiful Czech wetlands region. Here, spectacular forests surround a mosaic of lakes, rivers and peat bogs, all providing a haven for a huge range of plant and animal life.

The Sex Researchers

Channel 4, 10pm

Part two of the series looking at the people who put a scientific twist on sex focuses on the expanding industry dedicated to helping people find a partner. From the moral dilemmas of love drugs to increase the libido or make people more attractive, to the pros and cons of Viagra. A look overseas to Asia reveals an attempt to rejuvenate middle-aged men by transplanting monkey testicles. Whatever works for you.

FRIDAY

A Girl’s Guide to 21st Century Sex

TV3, 10.30pm

More bedroom shenanigans as Dr Catherine Hood, right, explores a technique used to delay orgasm, discusses the legendary G spot, and talks about love-making during pregnancy.

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