Voices From A Hidden People — Na Déise
RTÉ One, 1pm
The national broadcaster continues its trawl of the archives to mark its 50th anniversary, and this 1971 series visits various areas in Ireland to examine their literary and poetic heritage. Déise Mumhan is featured in today’s show, a region that goes from Sliabh na mBan in south Tipperary to the sea, and from the mouth of the Suir to the mouth of the Blackwater. Ring, near Dungarvan, Co Waterford, is one of its strongest cultural centres, and the region’s Sliabh gCua school of verse gets a particular focus.
Paul Simon’s Graceland 25
Paul Simon travels back to South Africa to talk about the making of his Graceland album.
Mad Mad World
Paddy McGuinness has been the perfect host for Take Me Out, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Bolton comedian can also work his magic for this new lighthearted panel show. It will follow the well-worn but effective formula of getting two teams of celebs to comment on topical events and funny video clips, with comedians Rufus Hound and Rhys Darby being joined by different guests each week.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel includes an excellent portrayal of Lisbeth Salander by Noomi Rapace.
Nora Owen has questions for former politician Mary O’Rourke, author Derek Landy, Dublin footballer Ger Brennan, and Dragons Den panelist Gavin Duffy. Their chosen subjects include St Ignatius of Loyola, poet Patrick Kavanagh and the film Jaws.
Jim Sheridan directs a hard-hitting tale of what happens when a US soldier, presumed killed in Afghanistan, returns to find his brother has become close to his wife and children. Stars Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire.
Alan Partridge: Open Books With Martin Bryce
Sky Atlantic, 9pm
After giving us a handful of laughs last week in Norfolk, this episode has Steve Coogan’s reprised character chatting about his autobiography. “It’s the best book I’ve ever written and one of the best I’ve ever read,” he says modestly. Partridge doesn’t shirk the big issues in his interview on the spoof book show, not least while chatting about the harrowing chapter dealing with his Toblerone addiction.
Sky Atlantic, 10pm
We were a mite underwhelmed with the opening episode, but tonight’s show does have a few good moments. Stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine in Seinfeld) as the US vice-president.
The work of RAF Bomber Command is one of the most interesting stories of Britain’s involvement in the Second World War. Immortalised by such films as The Dam Busters, any romance about their role should be tempered by the fact that the flyers’ chance of being killed was 44.4%, with thousands more ending up captured or injured. Tactics employed by their commander, the widely reviled Arthur ‘Bomber/Butcher’ Harris, also helped ensure they killed more than 500,000 German civilians — about 10 times the amount of British equivalents killed in the Blitz. Broadcast to coincide with Elizabeth II’s unveiling of a memorial to the men of Bomber Command, this documentary primarily focuses on the bravery and sacrifice elements of their tale.
RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Final part of the history of the Labour Party looks at the internal battles for power, as well as the election of Mary Robinson as president and the subsequent ‘Spring Tide’ that gave the party its best ever election result. We see how the good times didn’t last, however.
Six Million Dollar Conman
Channel 4, 10pm
This documentary in the True Stories strand looks at the amazing tale of Christian Gerhartsreiter, a Bavarian villager who conned people out of millions of dollars under his guise as Clark Rockefeller in the US.
When I Get Older
BBC One, 9pm
The BBC has several elderly-themed shows coming up in the next few weeks under the When I’m 65 umbrella, and this first programme features famous pensioners leaving their privileged lifestyle behind in order to move in with peers less fortunate than themselves. War correspondent John Simpson, actress Lesley Joseph and broadcasters Gloria Hunniford and Tony Robinson all help shine a light on some of the more difficult aspects of ageing. Continues tomorrow.
Failure To Launch
RTÉ One, 9.35pm
This romantic comedy was panned by the critics in 2006, but still managed a healthy take at the box office. Stars Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Michael Johnson: Survival Of The Fastest
Channel 4, 9pm
While many people begin to get uncomfortable with discussions about certain abilities being allied to race or genetic factors, it is very possible that all the athletes who line out for the 100m finals in London will be of African origin. In Beijing, all 12 medals won in the 100m and 200m races were taken by Jamaican or African-American runners. In this documentary, four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson explores genealogical and scientific issues involved in such domination. Going back to the days of slavery, the great sprinter looks at how that shameful trade may even have helped alter the genome of some of the top athletes’ descendants.
BBC Four, 9pm
Fascinating documentary on the life of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones. Before he was killed by Chinese bandits in 1935, his most famous story was the exposure of the millions of deaths caused by Stalin’s Five Year Plans.
Channel 5, 9pm
As is traditional at this stage, Friday is eviction night, and Brian Dowling will be meeting up with the fifth person to get voted off the show.
The Walking Dead
RTÉ Two, 9.05pm
Two more episodes from the second series of the zombie show. When one of the group accidentally gets shot, Rick Grimes and co are lucky to find refuge in a farmhouse where they’ll be spending quite a bit of time through this series.