Best of the Week's TV (Dec 28-Jan 3)

Graham Norton, the return of Sherlock and the Ronan O'Gara documentary feature among the highlights.


Moonfleet Sky 1, 8pm

Ray Winstone stars in a two-part adaptation of John Meade Falkner’s classic 18th-century novel. Partly filmed in Ireland (see p14 for an interview with Winstone), it follows the adventures of a young orphan and his smuggler companion on a quest to find Blackbeard’s diamond. Part two is on tomorrow.


Live soccer features West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion (Sky Sports 1, ko 12.45pm), Norwich v Man Utd (Setanta 1, ko 3pm) and Cardiff City v Sunderland (Sky Sports 1, ko 5.30pm). In rugby, it’s Leinster v Ulster (RTÉ Two, ko 6.45pm) in the Rabodirect PRO12.

Springsteen & I Sky Arts 1, 9pm

Ridley Scott’s documentary puts the camera on fans of Bruce Springsteen as they describe what the New Jersey singer and his music mean to them. Along the way, we hear about all sorts of encounters with the man himself as he helped out fans. We also hear the tale of the Elvis impersonator who was brought on stage during a gig when he held up a banner, ‘Can The King sing with The Boss?’


Mrs Brown’s Boys RTÉ One, 9.30pm

The new year’s special is entitled ‘Who’s A Pretty Mammy?’ and has Agnes doing her best to ensure grandson Bono isn’t sent to the dodgy local primary school. There’s also much fuss about a New Year’s Eve party.

Good Year/Bad Year RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Simon Delaney is joined by team captains Jason Byrne and Sean Moncrieff for an end-of-year review, with the likes of Aoibhinn McGinnity also featuring on the panel.


Top billing in today’s Premier League clashes goes to Chelsea v Liverpool (Sky Sports 1, ko 4pm) as the two title contenders again try to build up momentum going into the new year. Earlier in the day, Newcastle United v Arsenal (Sky Sports 1, ko 1.30pm) will probably see the biggest concentration of Frenchmen on English soil since the Battle of Hastings.


Mother Of All Weddings RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Another one-off pilot from RTÉ has the mothers of a soon-to-be bride and groom planning the wedding. It’s a format that’s fraught with politics from the start as both mothers have to pitch their ideas to the couple, resulting in one being appointed as main organiser with the other as her deputy. Ciara Swaine and Alan Gorman are the guinea pigs for this test run.

Féile Dreams RTÉ One, 8pm

Documentary on a school team from a deprived area of south London as they prepare to take part in the Féile Peil na nÓg football tournament for U14s in Derry. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that these boys are not the sons of Camden Irish — many of them are from African heritage and have never played Gaelic football before. We see them learning the skills before they embark on a memorable trip where they really are out of their natural environment staying with host families in rural Co Derry.

Doggy Styling Channel 4, 9pm

Looks at the world of extreme creative dog grooming, and meets some of those gathering at Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the biggest event in the canine crimping calendar.

An Dubh ina Gheal TG4, 8.15pm

Cork poet Louis de Paor spent many years in Australia and while there wrote some extremely powerful poetry on the plight of the mixed-race Aboriginals of the ‘Stolen Generation’ who were ripped from their families and put in state care right into the 1970s. For this documentary, De Paor returns Down Under to explore the relationship between indigenous Australians and Irish immigrants. He also relates the little-known tale of the Shamrock Aborigines, the offspring of Irish-indigenous liaisons, and a resistance movement that emerged from this strata of Australian society.


New Year’s Eve Live — The Ultimate Gathering RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Dáithí Ó Sé and Sinead Kennedy are at the New Year’s Eve concert in College Green, Dublin, where the likes of Madness will help ring in the new year. There will also be live footage from the concert in Limerick to kick off its tenure as City of Culture. The Graham Norton Show TV3, 11pm A show that was broadcast 45 minutes earlier on BBC One features a star-studded lineup that includes the Monty Python crew, Christina Applegate, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell. Norton himself closes out the year firmly ensconced as the king of the chat show format.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2013/14 BBC Two, 11.30pm

This is Jools Holland’s 21st time hosting the annual New Year’s Eve music bash, and there’s a typically diverse range of acts appearing. As well as Ray Davies joining Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra for some Kinks songs, there will also be the likes of Rudimental, Emeli Sandé and Haim.


Sherlock: The Empty Hearse BBC One, 9pm

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return for a third series of three 90-minute films. In tonight’s episode, Sherlock returns from the ‘death’ he experienced at the end of the last series.

Dónal Walsh — My Story: Reality Bites RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

Moving documentary on the late Tralee teenager who passed away last summer after battling cancer. An inspirational character whose words on suicide were credited with having a real effect on young people in Kerry, the documentary features footage of Walsh himself, as well as hearing from friends and family.


Many people predicted that it would take until the new year to see who the real title contenders are in the most open Premier League for years. By the end of today, we should at least have a better idea of how the top four will look. Swansea City v Man City (Sky Sports 1, ko 12.45), Southampton v Chelsea (BT Sport 1, ko 3pm) and Man Utd v Tottenham (BT Sport 1, ko 5.30pm).


Getaways RTÉ One, 7pm

The days are getting longer and many people’s thoughts will already be turning to summer holidays. In the first episode of the new series Joe Lindsay and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin report from Sorrento in Italy.

Ear To The Ground RTÉ One, 8.30pm

The 40 miles of cycle-way branded as the Mayo Greenway has been a huge success, and campaigner John Mulligan explains why we should have a network of such routes around the country. Another Mayo feature looks at plans in Nephin Beg to return the local landscape to a natural wild state.

My Big Fat Gypsy Holiday Channel 4, 9pm

Gypsies and Irish Travellers prepare for such trips as a honeymoon in Mexico and a pilgrimage to Bosnia.

ROG — The Ronan O’Gara Documentary RTÉ One, 9.30pm

As well as being one of the greatest players of his generation, Ronan O’Gara’s straight talking off the field has contributed to ensuring he has been one of our most interesting sporting figures of recent decades. This feature-length documentary was filmed over the final four years of the Corkman’s playing career and chronicles such milestones as the loss of his No 10 jersey to Jonathan Sexton in the Irish camp, and also his move to France.


Ulster v Munster RTÉ Two, ko 7.05pm

Rabo Pro12 game comes as both managers are having a tough time trying to keep two campaigns on track while also dealing with injuries and French clubs circling their best players.

Fleadh Cheoil RTÉ One, 7.30pm

The annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was held in the North for the first time as part of Derry’s tenure as UK City of Culture, and John Creedon and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin present a new six-part series from the event. As well as featuring the best of home-grown traditional music talent, the show will include performances from musicians from such countries as the US, Norway and Russia.

Reservoir Dogs TG4, 9.20pm

Is it really 22 years since Quentin Tarantino’s film caused such a stir? Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth are among a stellar cast in a tale of a heist that goes horribly wrong. Sherlock Holmes RTÉ One, 9.30pm Robert Downey Jr stars in Guy Ritchie’s enjoyable 2009 take on the famous detective.

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