Best of the Week's TV (Nov 16-23)

Highlights include Joe Brolly's moving tale of donating his kidney and the return of Irish Pictorial Weekly.

Best of the Week's TV (Nov 16-23)


The Jonathan Ross Show

UTV, 9.30pm

There are other guests on tonight’s show, but really they’ll be totally overshadowed by the presence of One Direction, the phenomenally-successful boyband spawned by X-Factor. Even the presence of Eminem will be inconsequential.

Black Swan

Channel 4, 9pm

Natalie Portman stars in the hard-hitting drama about a ballerina trying to reach the pinnacle of her profession.


Ireland v Australia (RTÉ Two, ko 5.45pm) is the first time the two sides have met since the boys in green defeated the Wallabies at the 2011 World Cup, and the home side can expect a much tougher game than last week’s victory over Samoa. Other rugby games include Wales v Argentina (BBC One, ko 2.30pm), while a rare soccer match on offer today is the clash of Wales v Finland (Sky Sports 2, ko 6pm), a game that becomes box office if Gareth Bale plays.


The Give Or Take Club

RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Eddie Hobbs introduces a new one-off pilot in which the residents of Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, are challenged to make individual sacrifices (‘the give’) of time and skills, with the resulting group effort ensuring they then get something back (‘the take’). Hobbs acts as the negotiator, mediating between what people are willing to put into the exercise, and what they’ll receive.

Room To Improve

RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

Don’t mistake this show for one of the repeats of previous series that seem to have been on a permanent loop over the past 12 months. The first episode of a brand new season has the celebrity architect helping a woman and her daughter to downsize from their 13-bedroomed house in Mullingar to a three-bed property that’s been neglected for some time.


There's live coverage of the Leinster club hurling championship semi-final featuring Kilcormac/Killoughey (Offaly)  v  Oulart the Ballagh

(Wexford) (TG4, throw-in 2.30pm),  followed by a

deferred broadcast of the equivalent Munster clash of Midleton (Cork)  v  Sixmilebridge (Clare).

Jockey Eile

TG4, 8.15pm

Another 20 jockeys are put through their paces by Seáan Bán Breathnach and Joe Connolly as they attempt to become professional racers. Along the way, they’ll get advice from the likes of jockey Davy Russell, nutritionist Paula Geraghty and fitness coach Ann Marie Walsh.

Generation War

RTÉ Two, 9pm

Now that the likes of The Killing and The Bridge have opened our ears to European dramas, perhaps this three-part German mini-series will get a decent audience. Opening in Berlin in 1941, it follows five German friends who become shaped in different ways by their experiences in the army.


Ripper Street

BBC One, 9pm

An Irish angle in tonight’s episode has republican dynamiter Aiden Galvin being sprung from his prison wagon. DC Flight goes undercover in Whitechapel’s Irish community to try and catch the fugitive.

Joe Brolly — Perfect Match

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Last year, GAA personality Joe Brolly donated a kidney to Belfast PR executive Shane Finnegan, a 40-year-old man he knew coaching an U10s team at St Brigid’s club in Belfast. This observational documentary looks at that incredible act of kindness and follows both men through the process, and their subsequent campaign to increase the rate of organ donations.

The Face

Sky Living, 9pm

The winner of the first series will be selected tonight from the final four, a selection that also carries some weight for the mentors Naomi Campbell, Erin O’Connor and Caroline Winberg.


Poland v Republic of Ireland

Setanta Ireland, ko 7.45pm

Hopefully the honeymoon period for the new management team will last into midweek at least,  and  this friendly  trip to Poznan will produce better memories than the team’s last appearance  there.  Our gain is ITV’s loss as their panel is bereft of Roy Keane for England v Germany (ITV, ko 8pm).

Ireland’s Search And Rescue

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

It’s not uncommon to hear about Irish farmers being injured or even killed by livestock, and tonight’s show has footage of an ambulance crew being called to help a man in his 80s who was attacked by a bull. We also see the scene in Cork where a woman is being cut out of her car by the fire service following an accident.

Fair City

RTÉ One, 8pm

The Brennans get quite a shock when Jane returns, and the mother of Paul’s son Callum certainly makes her presence felt all this week. Needless to say, Paul’s wife is particularly unhappy about having her around. Over the next few days we watch Jane’s hold on Callum grow.


Nigel and Adam’s Farm Kitchen

BBC One, 8pm

Chef Nigel Slater and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson join forces for a new programme in which they try to produce their own food and use it in traditional recipes.

Doctors on Call

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Dr Ciara Kelly, right, talks to Yvonne Joye about her loss of identity when going  through chemotherapy, and the steps she took to overcome her cancer and the difficult treatment. Also, Dr Terry Deeny looks at COPC (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a condition affecting about 400,000 people in Ireland. There’s also a feature on whether a vegan diet can really help cholesterol levels.


Ear to the Ground

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Issues include the controversial new high

voltage electricity network being rolled out across parts of the country, and the threat from ash dieback.

Irish Pictorial Weekly

RTÉ Two, 10.15pm

One of the surprisingly few vehicles for decent satire that sends up the ludicrousness of areas of Irish public life, Barry Murphy and co make a welcome return for a second series. As well as skewed takes on the likes of Angela Merkel and Enda Kenny, we’ll also get secret CCTV footage from the bowels of Dáil ÉEireann and a report on the Late Late Show audience.


BBC One, 9pm

So, British forces got up to some very questionable deeds during the Troubles? No surprises there, but the passage of time is helping to bring out more facts about some of the things many people on this island would have had a vague idea of. This Panorama special talks to former members of a special British army undercover squad active in the North in the early 1970s. They believe their actions saved lives, but reporter John Ware shows how members of the group may also have been involved in the deaths of innocent civilians.



TV3, 9pm

An animated adaptation of Brendan Grace’s longrunning character. Set in 1960s Dublin, it resurrects some of the real-life characters of the capital from that era, including Thomas Dudley aka Bang Bang, the former orphanage inmate who used to engage in cowboy-style mock shootouts with people around the city. Live at the Apollo BBC One, 9.30pm A new series of the stand-up show is introduced by Eddie Izzard from the famed London venue.

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One, 10.35pm

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who has brought an avalanche of nostalgia in Britain and both Matt Smith and David Tennant talk about their experiences in the show. Emma Thompson, Jimmy Carr and Robbie Williams complete the guest list.

More in this section


Join us for our International Women’s Day virtual lunchtime celebration on Monday, March 8 from 1pm

Home Delivery


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.