TV not to miss

SATURDAY

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

BBC Two, 9.45pm

This is the first of two episodes of Martin Scorsese’s portrait of the late George Harrison. With contributions from the surviving Beatles and other people who knew the guitarist, the documentary traces his early life in Liverpool and his rise to fame with the fab four. We also get an insight into his spiritual beliefs, especially his interest in Indian religions and transcendental meditation. Part two tomorrow (9pm) looks at his life post-Beatles which includes the Travelling Wilburys, as well as his work as a film producer who re-mortgaged his mansion to fund the Monty Python classic, The Life Of Brian. His widow Olivia also recounts when Harrison was stabbed in the chest by an intruder at their home.

In Treatment

Sky Atlantic, 10.20pm

Gabriel Byrne returns for a third and final series as psychiatrist Paul Weston. His three new patients include Sunil (played by Irrfan Khan, the police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire), a widower who has recently moved to the US from India; Frances (Debra Winger), in the role of a troubled actress; and Dane DeHaan, playing an angry 16-year-old. The five nights a week format doesn’t run for this series, with Sky splitting the first four episodes between tonight and tomorrow.

SUNDAY

Francis Brennan’s Grand Tour

RTÉ One, 7.30pm

With his At Your Service show, Francis Brennan emerged as a lively and engaging presenter, and somebody in RTÉ had the foresight to try and make more of his endearing presence. For this new series, he’s in the role of group leader taking a bunch of Irish tourists to six cities in Europe. First up is Barcelona, where Brennan is soon called on to improvise in his new role. Along the way we’ll see some of the city’s sites — Gaudi’s cathedral, the Boqueria market, etc — but most of the focus is on our erstwhile tour guide and his efforts to keep everybody happy.

Cogar; Kiwis Chonamara

TG4, 9.30pm

Documentary on two Connemara men who are now living in New Zealand. We hear how Johnny Cloonan found himself in Auckland in 1949, after a protracted journey that involved time in London and a trip though the Suez canal. Despite only being home twice in 62 years, Cloonan continues to speak Irish and also makes poitín in his back garden. Jimmy Connolly, the second emigrant, left Lettermore in 1970 and ended up heavily involved in the GAA scene in the southern hemisphere. His family also runs an Irish dancing school and three of his children are lead dancers with Lord of the Dance. While the men’s stories are different, we see how both have kept the flame of Irish culture lighting in their lives.

Love/Hate

RTÉ One, 9.30pm

The gang come under pressure as one of the drug-mixing factories is raided. John Boy is looking for a blamehound and Darren is told to take on the role of enforcer.

Downton Abbey

TV3, 10.30pm

The second season concludes with an excellent episode. Branson the Irish socialist chauffeur and Lady Sybil challenge everybody’s class prejudices when they make a revelation, while Spanish flu also arrives at Downton, with the tragic loss of one of the characters. Those fans dreading the long wait until series three gets a run next year will get some temporary respite with a one-off Christmas special.

MONDAY

Moving On

BBC One, 2.15pm

Decent daytime drama isn’t something we are too familiar with in this country (no, the reruns of Benson and Hart To Hart don’t count), but fair play to the BBC for providing Jimmy McGovern with five slots this week. Each day, a standalone film will feature different characters reaching a turning point in their lives. The Liverpool-born writer-director comes with quite a reputation, being the creator of Cracker, and also being responsible for the excellent hard-hitting series, The Street and Accused. Today’s opening film follows young mother Caroline who’s struggling to cope with a colic baby while her husband serves in Afghanistan.

Confessions Of An Undercover Cop

Channel 4, 9pm

British policeman Mark Kennedy hit the headlines in 2010 when it was revealed he had been working undercover for eight years infiltrating various environmental groups under the name Mark Stone. During his faux campaigning days, he even slept with activists and claims to have fallen in love with one of them. He also spent time in Ireland, attending the Shell To Sea demonstrations in Co Mayo and stayed regularly at Kilbrin, Co Cork. He contributes to this show which recreates his incredible story, and describes how he has been ostracised by his family and, not surprisingly, his former ‘friends’ in the environmental movement.

Crisis — Inside The Cowen Government

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Second and final part of the show on the actions of the hapless government which was in power when the country went into economic meltdown. In last week’s episode, fingers were pointed at Bertie Ahern for his part in it all, but this time around the focus is firmly on Brian Cowen. You won’t know whether to laugh or cry as RTÉ’s Cathal MacCoille talks about the infamous interview he did with the Fianna Fáil leader after a big night in Galway, and also the circumstances surrounding the denials about the bailout.

TUESDAY

Ear To The Ground

RTÉ One, 7pm

Proposed new regulations for households with septic tanks have set alarm bells ringing in many areas as householders may have to spend a lot of money to upgrade their systems. Darragh McCullogh looks at the options available. Ella McSweeney also heads to the Golden Vale in Co Tipperary to try to learn the commands and whistles used at sheepdog trials.

The Food Hospital

Channel 4, 8pm

In tonight’s episode, we see if food can be used to boost a man’s sperm count, and help somebody with a sleep disorder. Irish doctor Pixie McKenna also checks out whether sports drinks really boost energy.

WEDNESDAY

Old Jews Telling Jokes

BBC 4, 10pm

The rich tradition of American Jewish humour has given us such comic geniuses as Woody Allen and Larry David. In this programme, just like it says on the tin, a group of American Jewish pensioners gather to tell their favourite jokes.

THURSDAY

Scéalta Átha Cliath — Orson Welles

TG4, 10pm

Orson Welles was just 16 when he arrived in Galway from America on a tour of Europe. He never got further than Dublin. He bluffed his way into a part at the Gate Theatre, for what was his acting debut. This documentary explores the little-known story of his time here.

FRIDAY

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

UTV, 10.35pm

Ron Perlman stars in the enjoyable sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s enjoyable tale about the decent-hearted demon. Here he has to save the world from an evil elf.

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Picture: Francis Brennan's Grand Tour

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