What to watch on TV this week

Some great TV to watch this festive season.
What to watch on TV this week

ST STEPHEN’S DAY

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

RTÉ One, 5pm

Peter Jackson really was stretching The Hobbit to get three films out of it, but this opening instalment does make for decent viewing as Bilbo Baggins and his motley crew begin their adventure. Watch out for Irish actors James Nesbitt and Aidan Turner among the band of dwarfs.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

RTÉ2, 8.35pm

JJ Abbrams directs Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto in this 2013 tale (the second of the recent reboots) from the early days of Kirk and Spock on the USS Enterprise. It was also the last time we saw Leonard Nimoy reprise his role of the elderly Spock.

Daniel O’Donnell And Friends

RTÉ One, 9.20pm

The ever-popular singer introduces a show from Powerscourt House, Co Wicklow, where he’ll be joined by various other performers.

Panti Does 2015

RTÉ2, 10.55pm

The past 12 months in Ireland will probably be viewed by historians as the year of the Panti. Between the gay marriage referendum, the Christmas Day queen’s speech, a film, tours, etc, etc, Rory O’Neill’s wonderful creation has been a ubiquitous presence. In this show, he looks back at some of the highs and lows of the past year.

Sketch!

RTÉ2, 11.55pm

New sketch show set in Cork that pokes fun at such targets as Conor McGregor and hipsters on Leeside.

SUNDAY

Wayne Rooney — The Man Behind The Goals

RTÉ2, 5.30pm

If you’re a soccer fan and you missed the original broadcast of this documentary on BBC a few months ago, it really is worth catching, no matter what team you support. With all the bull and blather that surrounds the Premier League and this player in particular, it’s good to be reminded of how he was just a football-mad kid from rundown area of Liverpool who really got to live his dream. Gary Lineker visits the Rooney family home, and talks to both Wayne’s and Coleen’s parents. We also see that replay of that magical winning goal he scored for Everton on his debut.

Fungus the Bogeyman

Sky 1, 6pm

Andy Serkis is the narrator and Timothy Spall among the stars of this new three-part adaptation of Raymond ‘Snowman’ Brigg’s tale of the fearsome family who live down deep in Bogeydom. When the son runs away to live up top in the human world, the rest of the clan have to don disguises and follow him.

Walking the Himalayas

Channel 4, 8pm

Former paratrooper Levison Wood is a bit more gung-ho than some of the other British travel show presenters, and his previous series following his walk along the Nile was overshadowed by the death of one of his companions. That said, this new four-part adventure promises to be essential viewing for both armchair travellers and serious hikers. We’ll follow him as he walks more than 1,700 miles in four months, beginning in Afghanistan and finishing in Bhutan, also taking in parts of Pakistan, India and Nepal.

Well Holy God It’s Glenroe

RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Surviving members of the cast of Glenroe look back at the long-running soap.

MONDAY

Around The Block

RTÉ2, 6pm

First of a two-part visit to the Irish children who made documentaries about their own lives six years ago. Living in such places as Tory Island, inner-city Dublin and Dromahane, Co Cork, they were mostly around the age of 12 when the original show was broadcast.

TUESDAY

Inside Lego at Christmas

Channel 4, 7pm

Ever wondered where that classic toy is made? This documentary goes behind the scenes at the factory in Denmark, and we also meet a family who build huge Lego sculptures every December.

Pat Shortt’s Music From D’Telly

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

A simple concept and a small budget haven’t stopped this show from being a very enjoyable addition to the weekly schedules. It reaches its final episode with archive clips of the likes of The Cranberries and Paul Brady.

The Dark Knight Rises

RTÉ2, 9.20pm

Christian Bale and Tom Hardy star in this decent instalment in the Batman saga from 2012.

WEDNESDAY

I Am Ali

RTÉ2, 6.55pm

Documentary on the great boxer that was released last year. It’s a story that’s been well told on numerous occasions in the past, but this film does have previously unheard audio tapes of Ali that were donated by his daughter Hana.

Red Rock

TV3, 8.30pm

It’s a big week on Red Rock with the death of one of the characters. A massive manhunt follows, and a combination of a witness to the killing and CCTV footage mean police are soon hot on the heels of the assailant.

The Nathan Carter Show

RTÉ One, 9.30pm

The Liverpool-born star has been partly responsible for the resurgence in interest in country music in Ireland and in this hour-long special from the Mansion House in Dublin he performs some of his own music and duets with the likes of Mary Black and Paddy Casey.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

Mrs Brown’s Boys

RTÉ One, 10.15pm

The second of the seasonal specials from Brendan O’Carroll’s show. A handsome stranger appears in the pub and has eyes only for Agnes.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2015

BBC Two, 11.10pm

While Kathryn Thomas and co ring in the New Year from Dublin, Jools Holland is on his 23rd Hootenanny, complete with music from his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and an array of guests that includes Hozier, Jess Glynne and Tom Jones.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

Billionaire Boy

BBC One, 7pm

David Walliams is the darling of the children’s publishing world in Britain, and this fourth BBC adaptation of his novels follows the Spud family who become immensely rich when the dad invents a new toilet roll. For the son Joe, however, all he wants is a friend.

Lincoln

RTÉ One, 9.20pm

It’s a bit wordy and a mite worthy, but Daniel Day-Lewis is typically convincing as the American president in a tumultuous era that saw the ending of slavery and a bloody civil war.

Taxi Driver

RTÉ2, 11.45pm

Martin Scorsese’s edgy classic from 1976 stars Robert de Niro as Travis Bickle, the man with bad ideas inside his head.

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