What to watch on TV this week

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey return for a third season of House of Cards on Netflix from Friday.

What to watch on TV this week


Nanny McPhee

RTÉ One, 5.10pm

This ‘Big Big Movie’ slot regularly features some of the top children’s films around, but it suffers from the worst break on television when kids are expected to suspend interest for the Angelus and news before resuming their viewing at 6.35pm. This evening’s offering stars Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee, a sort of 21st century Mary Poppins.

How We Got To Now

BBC Two, 7.30pm

The latest episode of the series on hugely important inventions focuses on the concept of time, looking at how sailors lived according to an 18-hour clock, and why a railway clerk helped convert America from numerous local timezones to four standardised areas.

Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of the South

BBC Two, 9pm

This new series has the American comedian looking at the music of the Deep South, from the influence of slavery to the tradition blackface minstrels, and onto Nashville and Dolly Parton. Among the contributors are the Handsome Family, due to tour soon in Ireland.


The Voice Of Ireland

RTÉ One, 6.30pm

The teams are sorted after initial rounds in which the quality of singers was fairly mixed, but at least standards should be up for the first of the battles between the selected contestants.

Indian Summers

Channel 4, 9pm

Episode two of the 10-part drama set in India in Simla, a town the British used for their warm-season retreats.

The Meaning Of Life, With Gay Byrne

RTE One, 10.30pm

After the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, her brother Charles criticised both the British royal family, and the press. He also removed the Royal Standard from her coffin and replaced it with the Spencer family flag. In tonight’s chat with Gay Byrne, he opens up about those difficult days.


Digging for Ireland

BBC One, 9pm

Alice Roberts and Matt Williams switch their attentions to this side of the pond, as they examine Iron Age bog bodies, and search for the site of the Battle of Biscuits Ford.


Channel 4, 10pm

The concluding episode of a series that already looks like being one of the favourites for the comedy of the year award. Irish actress Sharon Horgan and American comedian Rob Delaney managed to combine real-life drama and touching scenes with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Horgan’s next outing is as the main woman behind Sarah Jessica-Parker’s new show on HBO in the US.


Better Call Saul


After the Breaking Bad boxset binges, this weekly release of the enjoyable spinoff feels like a dripfeed. Worth waiting, however.

Ear To The Ground

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

For the first time since the BSE crisis, the US has lifted its ban on the import of beef from the EU. This fact, combined with a growing ‘foodie’ awareness of how beef is produced, could open up a lucrative new market for Irish farmers. Darragh McCullough is in New York to investigate. There’s also a show looking at the history of farm labourers in Ireland.

Rónán san Afraic

TG4, 10pm

New series in which Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí follows the footsteps of his father, Fionntán, through Tanzania. An architect by trade, Fionntán had spent his retirement years working on buildings for Catholic missionaries. As well as visiting his father’s old haunts, Rónán shows aspects of life in Tanzania today, from Aids and Maasai culture to the current crop of Irish volunteers working in the country.


Natural World

BBC Two, 8pm

The first of a new series of wildlife films has David Attenborough narrating a tale of leopards in Botswana who are learning to fish to survive.

Suffragettes Forever! The Story Of Women And Power

BBC Two, 8pm

New three-part series on the fight for equal rights in women, beginning in the 18th and 19th century when many of the issues identified in Britain in this opening episode would also have been relevant in this country. We hear about women’s lack of legal claim to property, or even their children, as well as the work done by the likes of author Mary Wollstonecraft in advocating education for females.

Wolf Hall

BBC Two, 9pm

As we reach the end of this enjoyable period drama, the one lesson for all the characters seems to be not to mess with the seemingly genial Thomas Cromwell. It’s a lesson Anne Boleyn learns in a positively chilling episode tonight as her crossing of the king’s advisor, and her failure to bear Henry a son, contribute to her infamous downfall.


Channel 4, 11.05pm

By the time this documentary appears, it may already have won the Oscar in its category. It all revolves around American whistleblower Edward Snowden and his encounters with filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s as he prepares to hand over the evidence of the incredible snooping reach of the National Security Agency.


Ross Kemp Extreme World

Sky 1, 9pm

The presenter is in Australia looking at the biker groups who are major players in the illegal side of the economy. After a spate of bombings and shootings, state governments are clamping down on their operations.

Nurse Jackie

RTÉ2, midnight

An unfortunately late scheduling slot for series six. Episode one sees Jackie slipping back into her pill-popping ways.


House of Cards


Season three arrives and those who feel the urge can get stuck into all 13 episodes today. With Frank and Claire having achieved their aim of capturing the presidency, you’d have to suspect that it’s downhill from here, particularly with so many skeletons banging loudly on the cupboard door. Early indications are that the ruthless couple will also be facing plenty strains in their own strange relationship.

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