What to watch on TV this week...

Your home viewing entertainment wrap for the week ahead, with Des O’Driscoll.
What to watch on TV this week...


El Chapo


True crime has been a big genre for the streaming channel in both documentaries and drama, with this latest offering in the latter form following the rise and fall of Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Now languishing in a New York prison awaiting trial, the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel was so powerful in his home country that he was allowed to escape from prison on two occasions.

In this Spanish-language show, we see how he rose through the ranks of the narcotics industry through a mixture of cleverness and ruthlessness, pioneering new smuggling methods that resulted in tons of cocaine, metamphetamine and other drugs being transported to the insatiable US market.

The Venice Biennale: Sink or Swim

BBC Two, 7.30pm

Europe’s most important art gathering is currently taking place in the Italian city, and this documentary follows a group of emerging artists hoping to make their mark at the prestigious event.

We see the mix of creativity and business savy needed to be an artist in the modern world, as they seek inspiration from the wealth of art on display, and also to the networking as they try to impress the curators and buyers.

Great Canal Journeys

Channel 4, 8pm

It’s not all a canal system, but the backwaters of Kerala in India do offer one of the world’s great slow-water boating trips. Timothy West and Prunella Scales show some of the beauty of an area that also provides a welcome respite from some of the other more hectic parts of the subcontinent.


TG4, 9.40pm

This Australian film deserved better than the poor box office take it generated on release in 2013. The adaptation of Robyn Davidson’s memoir stars Mia Wasikowska (previously seen as Alice in the Tim Burton version of Lewis Carroll’s tales) as the woman who spends nine months crossing the Australian desert with her dog and four camels.


Cardiff Singer of the World Final

BBC Four, 7.30pm

Opera fans will enjoy this year’s final of the prestigious singing contest live from St David’s Hall in the Welsh capital. The five finalists will perform one more time before Kiri te Kanawa announces the winner.


BBC One, 9pm

A wonderfully-named new character pops up tonight as Ross meets Tholly Tregirls, an old friend of his father’s who has a well-dodgy demeanour. There’s bad news from a recent naval battle, and Elizabeth feels increasingly ambivalent about her new son.



RTÉ One, 7.30pm

Dara O’Cinnéide introduces a new four-part series on the changing face of Gaelic games. The amateur ethos endures, but now it’s often combined with professional levels of science and technology as teams search for ways of upping their performances.

In episode one, the former Kerry star travels to a number of locations to see how various sides have embraced this approach.

Growing Up With Cancer

BBC One, 7.30pm

Heartbreaking and inspiring accounts of three teenage cancer patients, two with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and one with a form of leukaemia.

“I don’t want my mum and dad to be worried,” says one. “A smile on my face just helps them cope with it a bit better.”

Too Old For The Road?

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

We’ve all heard the opinions on certain elderly drivers who shouldn’t be on the road, but this timely documentary hears about the issues from some of the veterans behind the wheel.

John, 101, drives an electric car out of concern for the environment and is confident he’ll pass his next driving test. On the other hand, 88- year-old Anne is worried about her independence if her licence isn’t renewed.


Racing: Royal Ascot

TV3, 1.30pm

TV3 continues its beefed-up horse-racing coverage with the first instalment of four days of action from the English course. Today’s races include the Queen Anne Stakes (2.30pm).


BBC One, 9pm

It’s not exactly cheery fare, but Sean Bean has been impressive as the decent-skin priest in the troubled community in the north of England. In tonight’s episode, he again breaks some of his vows, but all in the hope of doing good.


BBC Two, 9pm

This four-part show was always going to be an interesting look behind the scenes at a busy London hospital, but while the crew were filming one day in March, news began to filter through of a terrorist attack in Westminster.

We see the staff of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington swing into action with the hospital’s major incident plan, as some of the casualties from the truck attack begin to arrive. It all makes for dramatic viewing and gives real insight into how medical staff deal with the aftermath of such incidents.



Channel 4, 10pm

The problems continue to mount for the major characters in the enjoyable drama series. David Thewlis, in particular, looks like he’s having great fun playing the eccentric British gangster.


Gardeners’ World

BBC Two, 8pm

Coverage of the weekend’s Glastonbury festival ensures that Monty Don and co pop up in an unusual Thursday slot. The man himself will be planting a tree fern in a spot where it’s unlikely to dry out, and there’s also a segment on parasitic wasps, one of the most fascinating creatures in the garden.


Film4, 9pm

Though set in Ohio, this strangely life-affirming tale of captivity and its aftermath is a definite contender for the title of best ever Irish film made film.


Sky Atlantic, 9pm

After episode one, many people will have lowered their expectations of what to expect from a drama that has some major Irish figures involved in it behind the scenes.

Georgina is still shocked as she learns more about her late husband’s dodgy dealings, while the police think they have a lead on who blew up the yacht.


Glastonbury 2017

Hopefully, concerns about security will fade as the music cranks up at Worthy Farm for the annual celebration of life. Topping the bill tonight are Radiohead (BBC Two, 10pm), while there will also be sets from the likes of Lorde, The xx and Anderson Paak. BBC Two and BBC Four will both have extensive coverage throughout the weekend.

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One 10.35pm

Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig talk Despicable 3, while Jamie Foxx and Judi Dench also talk about their latest films. Music is from Haim, the American band featuring a trio of sisters.

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