TV not to miss

SATURDAY

Deliverance

TG4, 10.20pm

This 1972 tale of a group of city-slickers lost in the wilderness of the Appalachian mountains is usually remembered for two scenes: the duelling banjos and “squeal like a pig”. Probably John Boorman’s finest effort, the Irish-based director had his gold record for the Duelling Banjos single stolen from his Wicklow home by Martin ‘The General’ Cahill.

Groundhog Day

RTE One, midnight

This comedy classic from 1993 is, ironically, worth watching over and over. Bill Murray revels in his role as the loop-bound reporter in Punxsutawney and manages to combine hilarious moments with a bittersweet reflection on what life would be like if we had to live the same day again and again.

SUNDAY

Monty Halls’ Great Irish Escape

RTE Two, 5.50pm

As anybody who saw the recent broadcast of this series on BBC will know, the hour-long length of each episode proved too much for the British marine biologist to fill with interesting material. In between the obvious padding, however, there is some excellent material.

Louis Theroux — America’s Most Dangerous Pets

BBC Two, 9pm

As the recent death of the owner of a private zoo in Ohio and the subsequent release of his animals showed, America is awash with exotic animals. For instance, there are way more tigers in the US than in India. For this documentary, Louis Theroux visits one of the people who is responsible for this statistic, Joe Exotic, above right, an ex-cop who has more than 150 tigers. He also meets Connie Casey, a 60-something woman who shares her home with 20 of her chimpanzee ‘family’. The presenter aims to explore the question of whether the animals can really be happy in captivity, but ultimately this is a show about the humans who keep them there.

Alan Carr: Chatty Man

Channel 4, 10pm

A new season of the chatshow begins with guests such as former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Tintin actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and X Factor winner Matt Cardle. Since the show was last on, we’ve learned the fascinating fact that the camp presenter’s father is chief scout at Newcastle United FC.

MONDAY

Attack Of The Trip Advisors

Channel 4, 9pm

Passport? Money? Research on TripAdvisor.com? A look at the travel review website has become an essential part of many people’s holiday planning. This documentary in the Cutting Edge series meets some of those who send in reviews and also some of the hoteliers and restaurateurs who say their businesses are under threat because of unfair coverage on the site.

Origins of Us

BBC Two, 9pm

Monday night has been providing some excellent science and natural history viewing in recent weeks, with Alice Roberts’ show on human evolution joining Brave New World With Stephen Hawking among the best of the bunch. In this episode, Roberts focuses on our brains and looks at how a six-million-year struggle for survival turned humans into the species we are today.

Baz’s Extreme Worlds

RTE Two, 10.20pm

For his latest venture way outside the Irishman’s comfort zone, Baz Ashmawy travels to the Suri tribe in the Omo valley of Ethiopia. You may have seen them in previous shows such as Tribe with Bruce Parry, or numerous documentaries that have included segments on the group’s distinctive stick fighting. For the presenter raised in Dublin’s leafy suburbs, one of the biggest challenges was drinking cow’s blood, a common beverage in this parched part of the world.

TUESDAY

Jamie’s Great Britain

Channel 4, 9pm

Jamie Oliver is in Yorkshire for this episode, exploring how the industrial revolution and the need for immigrants had profound effects on local cuisine. From its famous puddings to Jewish smoked fish and Persian lamb shanks, he shows how diverse the food culture is in that north-western corner of England.

No Country For Old Men

Film 4, 9pm

The Coen brothers’ best film yet stars Javier Bardem as the relentless assassin on a mission to get a drug gang’s money back. Also features Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson and Josh Brolin.

Later ... Live With Jools Holland

BBC Two, 11.20pm

After an appearance from Coldplay last week, Holland continues with the big stars as Florence & The Machine are in the studio to perform songs from their new album Ceremonials. Lesser-known guests include Kentucky-based My Morning Jacket and Tuareg musician Bombino.

WEDNESDAY

Volvo Ocean Race Preview Race

TG4, 9pm

The race finishes in Galway in July next year, but this show previews the start of the first leg, which starts in Alicante in Spain on Saturday and makes its way to Cape Town. The main Irish hopes in the race rests with Damien Foxall, a helmsman/trimmer on the Groupama boat, and bowman Justin Slattery with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Bram Stoker & Dracula

TG4, 9.30pm

Considering the impact his vampire creation has had on popular culture, Clontarf-born Bram Stoker has been a strangely-neglected figure among Irish writers. This documentary aims to redress some of that balance. It looks at his early life in Dublin, as well as his time at Trinity College, where he became an athlete with a national reputation. We also see evidence of the Irish influence on the creation of Dracula, particularly from the publication of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s lesbian vampire story, Carmilla, in 1872. And while most people consider Stoker’s story to draw heavily on the existing Transylvanian tale of Vlad the Impaler, this film shows that the Irish-born Dracula was a far more complex and composite character.

Me And You And Everyone We Know

Film 4, 10.45pm

If the words ‘offbeat’ and ‘original’ feature in your description of a perfect film, don’t miss this 2005 directorial debut from actress and performance artist Miranda July. She introduces the film for this broadcast, and will possibly give a more accurate description of her work than the hilariously misleading classification as a romantic comedy. Yes, there’s romance; and there’s even comedy, but it’s way too quirky to sit on the same shelf as Jennifer Aniston.

Steve Jobs: iChanged The World

Channel 4, 11.05pm

This documentary on the late Steve Jobs includes an interview with the man himself a year after he was first diagnosed with cancer. Others who knew and worked with 21st century’s most prominent IT guru describe what made him tick.

THURSDAY

Life in a Day

BBC Two, 9pm

Ireland was among the 192 countries which submitted footage for this attempt to document a day on Earth from a multitude of perspectives. In creating the finished film, the producers distilled 4,500 hours of content into 95 minutes.

FRIDAY

Nirvana Live At the Paramount

BBC Four, 10pm

This rare concert footage of Nirvana was recorded on Halloween at the Paramount in Seattle in 1991 and opens a night of programming on the seminal grunge band. It’s followed by Seven Ages Of Rock (10.55pm) which looks at the paths taken by Nirvana and REM, the other major alternative rock band in the US at the time. It also reveals how a friendship developed between frontmen Michael Stipe and Kurt Cobain. The Last 48 Hours of Kurt Cobain (11.55pm) traces what he had been up to in his tragic final hours.

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