What to watch on TV this week

What to watch on TV this week

The Sex Change Spitfire Ace

Channel 4, 8pm

This documentary may have the title of some dodgy B-movie, but it actually delves into a fascinating and ultimately tragic tale. It tells of Roberta Cowell, a Spitfire pilot during the war who was the first person to undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in Britain, who had some of the procedure done by Michael Dillon, a doctor who was also the world’s first woman to transition to a man. (Dillon’s family held a baronetcy title in Lismullen, Co Meath.)

The Jonathan Ross Show

UTV Ireland, 10.25pm

Guests include actors Martin Clunes and Nick Frost, as well as Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell. Music comes from emerging UK soul star John Newman.


Earth’s Wildest Waters: The Big Fish BBC Two, 8pm

Ben Fogle and the six remaining anglers are in Laos fishing in the widest rapids in the world.

Better Off Abroad

RTÉ One, 9.30pm

First of a two-part series on the Irish abroad has George Lee meeting some of our emigrants to Dubai. Among them are Gerald Lawless, the head of the hotel group that owns the iconic billion dollar Burj Al Arab hotel, and Paul Kenny whose sold his tech business Cabone for more than €30m. We also see how teachers, a wedding planner, and other Irish who talk about the opportunities in the emirate, as well as the drawbacks of living in a country with a dodgy human rights record and extreme laws around sexuality. Kissing in public is illegal, while homosexuality is punishable by death.

The Meaning of Life, With Gay Byrne

RTÉ One, 10.30pm

With her work on behalf of the poor and her support for a yes vote in the recent marriage referendum, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has been one of the more positive forces in the Catholic Church in Ireland. Here, she talks about her early life in rural Kilkenny, how she was ‘silenced’ for a while by Church authorities, and how Irish society still has much to do in terms of care for the less fortunate.


The Geansai

RTÉ One, 7.30pm

The second episode of the GAA documentaries looks at the role of women in the organisation, with a particular focus on the Cork football team and their incredible come-back against Dublin in last year’s All-Ireland football final.

The Muppets

Sky 1, 8pm

Kermit sets up a date between Miss Piggy and singer songwriter Josh Groban.

World’s Worst Place For A Woman? Stacey Dooley Investigates

BBC Three, 9pm

Even by the standards of the often unpleasant lives of women in the developing world, females have it tough in Honduras. The Central American country has the highest murder rate in the world for women, with one murdered every 13 hours.


Channel 4, 10pm

Episode two of the second series of the quirky crime drama based around the Gerhardts, a powerful organised crime family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1979.


Professor Green: Suicide And Me

BBC Three, 9pm

It isn’t just Ireland that has a huge problem of male suicide. British rapper Professor Green, whose father took his own life, explores the issue from the perspective of some of the 5,000 families a year affected by what’s been termed a silent epidemic, and also the experts who may be able to offer some solutions.

Angela Scanlon’s Close Encounters

RTÉ2, 10pm

The presenter hangs out at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh with Jason Byrne. As well as seeing the work that goes into the Dublin comedian’s own show, the duo check out some of the other attractions at the incredible event.



BBC One, 8pm

Does the world really need another cop drama? Either way, we’ve got one. At least this new series does have Ashley Walters — aka Asher D from So Solid Crew — playing a policeman, quite the contrast to his excellent turn as dodgy dealer Dushane in Top Boy.

Rachel’s Coastal Cooking

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Rachel Allen is Shannon-side as she visits the rare pig and sheep breeds of Rigneys’ farm in Kilcornan. In Limerick she meets a fermenting expert who explains why the old techniques involved in making dishes such as sauerkraut and kombucha are becoming increasingly popular in this part of the world. From there it’s onto Foynes where Allen hears how the Irish coffee was invented to keep passengers calm after things didn’t go according to plan on a flight on one of the famous flying boats that used to operate there.

The Affair

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Many viewers who stayed the course with the inaugural season of this American drama were left unhappy by the season finale. Those who do come back for more will see some new perspectives on the situation, as well as the return of Dominic West and co. A double bill of episodes kicks off the new series.


Reality Bites: Skin Deep

RTÉ2, 9.30pm

Sinead Kennedy explores the world of tattoos, talking to Irish inkers and those who let them mark their bodies.

The Works Presents

RTÉ One, 11.15pm

Former Irish Examiner journalist Kevin Barry won wide acclaim for his debut novel, City of Bohane. As he gets ready to publish his latest book, Beatlebone, he tells John Kelly about its fictionalised account of John Lennon’s journey to his island off Clew Bay in 1978. The Limerick-born author also talks about how Elvis inspired him to write his first ever short story.


The Assassination of Jesse James

TG4, 9pm

Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck are among the stars of this rather decent western from 2007.

TFI Friday

Channel 4, 8pm

Chris Evans settles into the second episode of his show’s revival with chat from Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and music from Eagles of Death Metal and Foals.

The Returned

More4, 9pm

The chilling French series continues, as the residents try to come to terms with the reality of living with so many people who were believed to be dead.

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