Best of the Week's TV (Saturday, June 27 - Friday, July 5)

Highlights include the season three debut of The Walking Dead and a new documentary on Margaret Thatcher's links with Ireland.

Best of the Week's TV (Saturday, June 27 - Friday, July 5)


Monsters, Inc

RTÉ One, 6.35pm

With the sequel set to be one of the big hits of the summer, this is a timely opportunity to remind yourself of how good the 2001 original from Pixar really was.


BBC Two, Three, Four

The big event of the festival is undoubtedly the Rolling Stones set tonight and after much negotiation with the veteran band, BBC Two is showing about an hour of their two-and-a-quarter hour set after 10.30pm. This year’s festival has been granted the most lavish coverage yet by the Beeb, and there will also be footage today from the likes of Elvis Costello, Primal Scream and Irish band Two Door Cinema Club. SUNDAY Michael Bublé’s Day Off UTV, 9pm Say what you like about his music, but there’s no denying that Michael Bublé really does have spades of star quality. This documentary follows the Canadian crooner for a day around Vancouver as he has coffee with his grandfather and attends a school reunion.


After last week’s victory for the tourists,

Australia v British & Irish Lions (Sky Sports 1, ko 11.05am) should be an intriguing encounter in Melbourne.  Racing from the Curragh features the Irish Derby (RTÉ Two, 6.30pm), while the Irish Open (RTÉ One, 1.30pm) is into its penultimate day. The replay of the Leinster hurling semi-final is on RTÉ.ie, Dublin v Kilkenny (throw-in 7pm).  Ulster football features  Monaghan v Cavan (RTÉ Two, throw-in 7pm).


Michael Bublé’s Day Off

UTV, 9pm

Say what you like about his music, but there’s no denying that Michael Bublé really does have spades of star quality. This documentary follows the Canadian crooner for a day around Vancouver as he has coffee with his grandfather and attends a school reunion.

Phil Spector

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Al Pacino and Helen Mirren star in a HBO film based around the client-attorney relationship between the legendary music producer and his lawyer during his recent trial for murder.


The final round of the Irish Open (RTÉ One, 1.30pm) comes from Carton House, while Brazil will be hoping for a win on home soil at  the Confederations Cup (RTÉ Two, ko 11pm) final in Rio. In GAA, there’s a double header of semi-finals at Croke Park in the Leinster football championship featuring Meath v Wexford (RTÉ Two, throw-in 2pm) and Dublin v Kildare (RTÉ Two, throw-in 4pm).


Rick Stein’s India  

BBC Two, 9pm

The British chef is in the south of the subcontinent to check out the signature sambar dish of the region. In Kerala he also prepares a pork curry and makes payasam, the delicious dessert made using rice, milk, cardamom and pistachios.


RTÉ One, 8pm

Max Branning (Jake Wood) and his love life have been at the centre of numerous plot lines in recent years, and tonight’s episode is another biggie for the resident lothario as he makes some big decisions when torn between the women in his life. He’s been having a tough time of it lately and is glad to find a sympathetic shoulder when he sheds some tears.

Food Unwrapped

Channel 4, 8.30pm

Jimmy Doherty goes to Brazil in search of the source of the ‘beef extract’ that’s one of the ingredients of many stock cubes. There’s also a look at what goes in to processed cheese.



BBC One, 9pm

First episode of a four-part series. Idris Elba hasn’t quite managed to recapture the glories of his Stringer Bell character in The Wire, but he is decent in the role of a quirky copper dealing with some rather dark crimes.

Thatcher: Ireland and the Iron Lady

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

New documentary looking at the late British leader’s relationship with Ireland. We hear how her Irish ancestry was one of the reasons she was anxious to “to do something on Ireland“, and contributors such as Dick Spring and Bernard Ingham describe her involvement in the 1981 hunger strikes and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.

The Walking Dead

RTÉ Two, 9.50pm

Series three of the zombie drama is possibly the best series you’ll see this year. It’s far more consistent than season two and combines fine writing and well-developed characters with a plot that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. Not least because you never know when the show’s producers are going to kill off one of their stars. As ever, it’s not for the faint of stomach, as the gross-fest gets even more graphic when Rick and the survivors seek refuge in a prison. Over the coming weeks, we’ll also see the emerging rivalry between Rick’s group and the messianic Elvis-like leader of another safe haven.



BBC Two, 9pm

Alice Roberts, right, follows an experiment showing how we differ from our ape cousins, creatures we share up to 99% of our genetic material with. It suggests that much of our progress may lie in our inclination towards collaboration and our instinct for what is fair.

American Gangster

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

While Ridley Scott’s 2007 film is far closer to solid rather than spectacular, it is worth watching for the partly true tale it’s based on. Denzel Washington glamorises the life of the Harlem heroin dealer who built an empire by using Asian contacts forged during the Vietnam war.

Other Voices

RTÉ Two, 11pm

Neil Hannon is probably the best known of the guests tonight, while there are also performances by the likes of Stornowaay and Local Natives. Incidentally, the Other Voices brand got a big boost last week with the series’ debut broadcast on the BBC.


An Samhradh Linn

TG4, 8.30pm

Síle Ní Bhraonáin begins the third of her series of summer visits to various spots around Ireland. First up is Donegal, as she checks out some traditional music in McCafferty’s Bar near

Letterkenny, and also visits an Irish college in Annagry.

The Americans

RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

Another double bill of the 1980s-set spy show has Phillip and Elizabeth on the trail of a German assassin who’s planning on killing American scientists, possibly unleashing a crisis that could lead to war. On the personal front, the couple announce to their children that they’ve decided to separate.

Tour de France: Súil Siar

TG4, 10pm

Another roundup of the day’s progress from a sporting event that still sparks massive public interest despite the ongoing revelations about the extent of drug taking at the race, and the widespread discrediting of professional cycling. Eurosport also has its usual superb coverage of the race every day.


In Good Hands

RTÉ One, 7.30pm

Beleek Pottery in Fermanagh is 150 years old and ranks as one of Ireland’s most recognisable brands, and the final episode in the series has David Shaw Smith returning to a workshop he first filmed in 1979. He also features the work of ceramic artist Isobel Egan and her beautiful pieces from thin sheets of porcelain.


RTÉ Two, 9pm

A double bill of episodes launches a repeat showing of the first series. Definitely a show that improved with age, Nidge was just a minion back then, and there were particularly strong performances from Ruth Bradley as

Darren’s sister Mary.


BBC One, 8.30pm

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star in a repeat of A Scandal in Belgravia, the excellent first episode of the second series of the modern re-imagining of the classic sleuth.

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