TV not to miss

SATURDAY

Oxegen 2011

Sky Arts 1, 10pm

Some of the highlights from the recent festival at Punchestown includes footage of The Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys. Relive the moments.

Watchmen

Channel 4, 10pm

This film finally emerged in 2009 after years of studio shenanigans which had involved hirings, firings, rights transfers and proposed director Terry Gilliam dismissing the comic book of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons as “unfilmable”. Up stepped Zach Snyder, fresh from his adaptation of 300, and though his film split the critics, it did rake in over $186 million. Much darker than the usual superhero adaptations, it has a bunch of four former costumed heroes coming out of retirement to investigate the murder of one of their comrades. A decent film with some excellent scenes, but it’s way too long at 162 minutes.

Hulk

Sky 1, 9pm

Another comic book adaptation, this time helmed by director Ang Lee who went into uncharacteristic territory for his take on the metamorphosising Marvel figure. By no means Lee's best film, the special effects are downright ropey at times, and it's another one that couldn't justify its length of more than two hours. On the plus side, it does generate plenty pathos for the misunderstood green creature, and Eric Banna is decent as Dr Bruce Banner.

SUNDAY

Charity ICA Bootcamp

RTÉ One, 9.30pm

A new week, a new competitive celebrity series. This time around, the enjoyable ICA Bootcamp format from last year gets an injection of some well-known faces, with the likes of Dickie Rock, Peter Clohessy and the inevitable member of Crystal Swing among the 16 personalities off to An Grianán to be put through their paces in aid of charitable causes. Among their challenges tonight will be to gut a load of fish, create a party outfit from some sackcloth and clip the nails of the farm’s goats.

Sperm Whale: Inside Nature’s Giants Special

Channel 4, 9pm

The last time this superb dissection programme cut open a whale, it was washed up in Courtmacsherry Bay, Co Cork. This time around, they are in Pegwell Bay in Kent, where a 45ft sperm whale offered an irresistible opportunity to get the giant scalpels out again. Even by the standards of big mammals, sperm whales are absolutely fascinating. The largest predator on earth, their fondness for deep water ensures that there are still big gaps in what we know about them. As they cut open the whale the team explain how its unique biology allows it to survive dives of up to 3km deep, while Joy Reidenberg gives a hands-on demonstration of the manoeuvreability of its huge prehensile penis.

The Lives of Others

BBC Two, 11.30pm

Superb German film set in the communist era where a Stasi agent becomes fascinated by the lives of the dissident playwright he’s spying on.

The Shining

TV3, 11.40pm

Stanley Kubrick’s rather loose adaptation of Steven King’s novel stands the test of time as one of the best horror films ever made. Jack Nicholson, below, is at the peak of his powers in the role of the hotel caretaker who goes crazy.

MONDAY

Panorama

BBC One, 8.30pm

The diamond industry has long been a source of funding for awful wars and repressive regimes in Africa, and despite claims that the trade has been cleaned up, this investigation shows how the Marange mines in Zimbabwe are home to torture camps and widespread killings. As well as putting the spotlight on Robert Mugabe, it also raises the question about the morality of how we buy diamonds in the west.

Frank Zappa: Does Humour Belong In Music?

Sky Arts 1, 9.30pm

A one-off special, recorded live in New York in August 1984, showcasing the crazy talents of the late Frank Zappa.

TUESDAY

Paul Flynn: Irish Food

RTÉ One, 7pm

Paul attempts to settle the salad-versus-steak argument in the local pub, and they also go to Waterford greyhound track where he’s cooked up a special battered sausage. Also on the menu is an Irish version of the south French classic Bouillabaisse.

Scannal: Game of Shame

TG4, 7.30pm

Looks back on the infamous All-Ireland football final of 1983 between Galway and Dublin. The Dubs took the trophy, but the game is remembered as being a tempestuous affair that saw four sending-offs. Contributors include Brian Mullins and Barney Rock.

True Stories: Babes In Hollywood

More4, 10pm

Noel Coward famously advised one not to put one’s daughter on the stage, and this documentary would probably convince Mrs Worthington that TV is also a bad idea. It takes us inside the housing complex of Oakwood in Hollywood, where many parents bring their children to prepare for castings for new TV shows. Here, they learn to cry on cue and get into various characters that might get them a bit-part role, and a long-term route to stardom. It’s not an easy world, with the castings way oversubscribed and many children left disappointed.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

TG4, 11.30pm

An episode entitled The Bare Midriff from season seven was one of five in this series where Jerry Seinfeld pops up. Here, he and Larry are put off by a flabby assistant wearing a shirt that exposes her midriff. There’s also a hilarious crying Jesus angle.

WEDNESDAY

Village SOS

BBC One, 8pm

Sarah Beeny is well known for her Channel 4 shows on home improvement, but for this series she’s made the leap to the BBC for a programme on how villages can put the spirit back in their communities. Rather than accepting the slow drip of rural decline, the presenter is hoping to inspire village inhabitants to take matters into their own hands and improve their immediate surroundings.

THURSDAY

Monty Halls’ Great Irish Escape

BBC Two, 8pm

British marine biologist and author Monty Halls and his trusty dog Reuben spent six months on the west coast of Ireland, exploring the local wildlife. His resulting series makes for a great advertisement for the country as he joins up with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group to encounter some of the incredible marine mammals which visit these shores.

FRIDAY

Capitalism: A Love Story

RTÉ Two, 9pm

Michael Moore’s 2009 film on Wall Street and the practices that nearly crippled the US economy, ruined the lives of thousands of Americans and had serious-knock-on effects on this side of the Atlantic. The portly filmmaker looks at the casino mentality of the bankers and looks at the massive political influence companies such as Goldman Sachs had in Washington.

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