What to watch on TV this week

The best TV to look forward to this Christmas.
What to watch on TV this week

SATURDAY

Strictly Come Dancing — The Final

BBC One, 6.35pm

The final features four remaining couples, who will be whittled down to three for the second part (9pm).

Shane MacGowan: A Wreck Reborn

Sky Arts, 9pm

Shane MacGowan’s distinctive mouth has been battered by years of drinking, fighting, falling, etc. This documentary follows him over nine months as Dublin dentist Darragh Mulrooney works on restoring his teeth.

SUNDAY

Ireland’s Rising

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

The final episode in the series has actress Fiona Shaw returning to her old school, Scoil Mhuire in Cork, to discuss a new version of the 1916 Proclamation with the students.

She then visits her 90-year-old mother’s house to hear stories from the revolutionary years, while also learning about the difficult decisions Tomás MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney faced in what to do with the Cork Volunteers during the Rising.

MacCurtain’s grand daughter Fionnuala explains the consequences for her grandfather of not taking part in that phase of the insurrection.

The Apprentice

BBC One, 9pm

The final of this year’s series has Alan Sugar choosing a winner from the two remaining candidates. First up, both finalists must create a brand and launch their business to an audience of industry experts. Neither has an easy time of it, and there are plenty wobbles along the way before Sugar gets to award the £250.000 investment and utter that wonderful phrase, “You’re fired!”

MONDAY

Laochra Gael

TG4, 8pm

Teammates and rivals pay tribute to Seamus Moynihan in a show that looks back on the incredible career of the great Kerry defender who won four All-Irelands.

Gorilla Family And Me

BBC Two, 9pm

At times, natural history filmmaker Gordon Buchanan’s recent tendency to make himself such a major part of the story can be a bit cringey, but this new two-part series from the Democratic Republic of Congo will provide irresistible for wildlife fans.

He spends time near a 25-strong troop of grauer’s gorillas — the largest primates on earth — led by a 30-year-old silverback. Despite being charged on several occasions, he slowly build’s the apes’ trust.

Fargo

Channel 4, 10pm

Main protagonists Peggy and Ed make a run for it as the second series comes to an end.

TUESDAY

Ear to the Ground

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Includes a feature on a unique playschool in Co Dublin named Little Moo Moos.

The curriculum involves teaching through nature and the environment, also involving the cows, chickens and ducks that live on the farm.

There’s also a visit to the Irish Pig Society Show in Stradbally, with the society’s president, the show’s own Ella McSweeney.

Homeland

RTÉ2, 9pm

Series five has had a few shark-jumping moments, but you’d imagine it reaches the finale with most of the viewers from episode one still aboard.

The Arab graffiti artists who left messages on the set accusing the show of racism, and references in the script to Syria and the Paris attacks also added spice to this season.

Luther

BBC1, 9pm

The second and final episode of the current series has Idris Elba’s character struggling to keep it together as he hunts the serial killer.

The Third Man

BBC Four, 11pm

Orson Welles’ classic thriller from 1949 is well worth setting the recorder for.

WEDNESDAY

Snow Chick: A Penguin’s Tale

BBC One, 8.30pm

Kate Winslet this documentary on the first few weeks of life of an emperor penguin.

Apres Match Of The Day

Best Bits RTÉ2, 9.30pm

The mocked-up match commentaries and panel analyses produced some of the best TV comedy of the year.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

TV3, 3.30pm

This 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book was hated by the author himself for its plot deviations and placing too much emphasis on the Wonka character at the expense of Charlie.

Neither was it a success at the box office, and has only really been appreciated since the 1980s when annual broadcasts at this time of year established it as a seasonal favourite.

Carols from Áras an Uachtaráin

RTÉ One, 6.15pm

Iarla Ó Lionaird, Mick Flannery and a host of other Irish entertainers join the President and his wife for seasonal songs.

Peter Kay: 20 Years of Funny

BBC One, 9.05pm

The Bolton funnyman looks back on his to decades in comedy.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Queen of Ireland’s Christmas Message

TV3, 3pm

It’s been a momentous year for equality in Ireland, which is presumably one of the subjects Rory O’Neill will touch on in Panti Bliss mode as he delivers a Christmas message in his/her own inimitable style.

One Direction: This Is Us

RTÉ2, 7.05pm

This documentary on the phenomenally successful boyband is one of a number of music documentaries on RTÉ2 this evening.

There’s also Hozier Special — Other Voices (10.20pm), which looks at the incredible success the Wicklow singer has had with his one big hit, ‘Take Me To Church’.

Finally, U2: Innocence + Experience features footage from the band’s recent return to Paris after some of their original concerts were postponed because of the attacks on the French city. As well as an emotionally-charged gig, it also gives people a chance to see the spectacular stage show.

Downton Abbey

ITV, 8.45pm

If you don’t have access to the British channel for the last episode, don’t worry — TV3 is also showing the finale on St Stephen’s Day.

The Abba Christmas Party

TV3, 10pm

Paddy McGuinness is on presentation duties for a show in which various singers perform Abba cover versions.

Daniel O’Donnell and Susan Boyle are among those contributing, while Björn Ulvaeus (the one with the beard) will also reminisce about his time in the group.

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