Best on TV

SATURDAY

The Jonathan Ross Show

UTV, 9pm

Kiefer Sutherland begins his new drama, Touch, on Sky 1 soon, and he’s in the studio with Jonathan Ross to talk all about it. Mamma Mia actress Amanda Seyfried is also among the guests, while Paul Weller provides the music.

SUNDAY

The Voice Of Ireland

RTÉ One, 6.30pm

The live shows continue with Team Sharon taking on Team Kian.

Frozen Planet

RTÉ Two, 7pm

This first episode of David Attenborough’s recent BBC series has some of the best natural history footage you will ever see. In a spectacular introduction that wasn’t quite matched by the rest of the series, the veteran presenter travels from pole to pole, showing us such scenes as the crystal caverns deep inside Mt Erebus, and a pod of killer whales toying with a seal stuck on a mini-iceberg.

Searching For Shakespeare’s House

Channel 4, 8pm

This Time Team special records a dig at New Place in Stratford on Avon, at what is believed to have been the house of William Shakespeare. Tony Robinson and his crew question this theory and attempt to discover if the great playwright really would have had the money to employ a dozen servants.

Upstairs Downstairs

BBC One, 9pm

This series of Upstairs Downstairs hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but once you accept that the bar has been lowered it does provide a suitable distraction for the Sunday night period slot. In tonight’s fourth episode of the six-part series, one of the servants gets called up to the army, while upstairs Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes seem to be growing ever more distant.

Frost/Nixon

BBC Four, 9pm

Superb film adaptation of David Frost’s exclusive 1977 interviews with former US president Richard Nixon, three years after he resigned over Watergate. It does deviate slightly from the actual events, but does present an involving account of the encounters between the two men.

MONDAY

China: Triumph and Turmoil

Channel 4, 8pm

The TV networks really seem to have woken up to the importance of China to the world and this new three-part series from controversial economic historian Niall Ferguson tries to get inside the workings of the world’s most populous country. With a communist government implementing a capitalist system, China is something of an enigma for Ferguson, and he explains both why it seems to be working so well on one level, and how there are inherent tensions which may derail the entire project.

This World: Interviews Before Execution

BBC Two, 11.20pm

There’s more China-related content in this documentary about the top rated TV show in Henan province. It features live interviews with prisoners on Death Row. About half of them are women, some have just a few minutes to live and they talk about their families or their violent crimes. This documentary follows presenter Ding Yu through some of her incredible interviews in what is the modern equivalent of parading condemned prisoners through the streets.

TUESDAY

Garraí Glas

TG4, 8pm

Garraí Glas returns with a third series of the show which combines gardening with social calls. Síle Nic Chonaonaigh has recently moved into her new house and seeks advice on building a garden from scratch.

Fíorscéal

TG4, 10.30pm

It’s a difficult task to find any humour in the situation in Gaza, but this film ekes an ironic laugh at the Israeli blockade of the territory. According to Israel, the militarily-enforced restrictions on what their Palestinian neighbours can import is to prevent rocket attacks. Most residents of Gaza see it as a collective punishment, however, and cite the example of hair conditioner as one of the items that has been banned.

WEDNESDAY

The Fisherman’s Apprentice with Monty Halls

BBC Two, 8pm

Crabs are one of the creatures being hyped as a sustainable source of seafood and in this programme he works in rough seas on Cornwall’s largest crab-fishing boat. After the catch is landed, he then follows it to Brittany where he experiences a very different food culture compared to what he’s accustomed to.

THURSDAY

Animal A&E On The Road

TV3, 7.30pm

While some of this show features harrowing cases of neglect in Co Laois, we also see a happier segment when Barbara visits the Donkey Sanctuary in Co Cork and witnesses the work done for the welfare of their 498 residents.

Bóithre Iarainn

TG4, 8pm

The latest episode of the series on Ireland’s railways looks at the old Schull and Skibbereen Tramway. With a cowcatcher on the front and a veranda on the back, it travelled the 15 miles between the two West Cork towns until it was closed in 1947.

Watchdog

BBC One, 8pm

Don’t let the fact that this consumer-rights show is based in Britain put you off watching it. Some of the companies they expose also have a presence in this country and, even if they hadn’t, Anne Robinson, right, and co set up some superb stings against rogue traders and other conmen. New series begins tonight.

White Heat

BBC Two, 9pm

Episode two of the much hyped British 1960s-set drama series has the students battling personal demons as they prepare to graduate.

Éalú

TG4, 10.30pm

Documentary on the attempted escape by 38 IRA internees from Long Kesh in 1974. Organisers Fra McCann, Anthony Hughes and Paddy Joe Rice talk about how plans to dig their way out of the compound evolved, and how a seemingly successful plan fell apart with the killing of one of the escapees and the immediate recapture of most of the others.

FRIDAY

George Harrison: Living In The Material World

BBC Four, 9pm

A repeat of Martin Scorsese’s extensive two-part documentary on the late Beatle. It presents an incredibly in depth portrait of Harrison’s life, from those early days in the Liverpool group through their success and into his post-Beatles existence and death from lung cancer in 2001. Harrison’s widow Olivia signed on as a producer for the project and allowed the director use some of her archive of footage. She also tells of the attack at their home in 1999 when an intruder stabbed Harrison seven times.

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