Des O’Driscoll shares his highlights for the week ahead


What you should watch on TV this week

Des O’Driscoll shares his highlights for the week ahead

What you should watch on TV this week



RTÉ2, 9.20pm

The final two parts of the drama series on American fraudster Bernie Madoff, starring Richard Dreyfuss in the title role. After years of generating millions through a false ponzi/pyramid scheme, we see how the ineptness of the regulators ensured that Madoff avoided detection. Ironically, it was the authorities ineptness in banking regulation that indirectly led to the New York financier being found out, as those who had invested with him began to withdraw money to fill the gaps lost by their investments elsewhere. As the wheels came off the enterprise, his innocent sons eventually shopped him to the FBI. His irate boys also demanded that their loyal mother Ruth also leave their father. We see how Madoff was eventually found guilty and given 150 years in prison, with the absence of any letters of support from friends or family a mitigating factor in the sentencing.


BBC Two, 10.45pm

Before his death in 1989 at the age of 42, Robert Mapplethorpe had attained a reputation as one of the most interesting and controversial photographers of his generation. His pictures depicted such fellow members of the New York arts scene as Andy Warhol and Grace Jones, while the controversy ensued from the homoerotic photographs that reflected the gay culture that thrived in the city in the pre-Aids era. This documentary on Mapplethorpe looks at how he challenged some of the taboos of his time, while also seeking to enhance his celebrity status.


Creedon’s Shannon

RTÉ One, 6.30pm

John Creedon looks at the fascinating history Clonmacnoise on Creedon’s Shannon on Sunday
John Creedon looks at the fascinating history Clonmacnoise on Creedon’s Shannon on Sunday

John Creedon continues his travels along Ireland’s longest river on a stretch from Athlone to Killaloe. Along the way, he uses 3D technology to recreate Clonmacnoise, a settlement that emerged from the monastery in medieval times to become a major seat of learning and craftmanship. The presenter also gets a special dispensation to be allowed make poitín on Lough Derg, and delves into the life of Brian Boru.

Francis Brennan’s Grand Vietnamese Tour

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

There’s regular debate in Cork about the origins of the word ‘langer’, and one theory has the slang term coming from soldiers who had seen langur monkeys during their time with the British army in Asia. Francis Brennan and his band of tourists will get to see a particularly rare type of langur in tonight’s episode (insert own joke here), while the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) reminds the visitors of Vietnam’s colonial history.

Formerly called the Exhibition House for US and Puppet Crimes, it contains such exhibits as American military equipment, French guillotines and jars containing foetuses deformed by exposure to the dioxins in Agent Orange.

Ross Kemp Extreme World

Sky 1, 9pm

Ross Kemp’s Extreme World is in Naples tomorrow
Ross Kemp’s Extreme World is in Naples tomorrow

Continuing the men on tour theme that seems to be such a strong part of Sunday viewing, Ross Kemp visits Naples. Not surprisingly, his trip to the Italian city doesn’t take in the city’s wonderful food culture, or the region’s beautiful coastline. Instead he’s looking at the local criminal organisations that have long overtaken Sicily’s mafia in terms of size and violence. The groups that form the Camorra turn over an estimated $4.9 billion per year from extortion, drugs, sex trafficking, etc. As Ross shows, an internal street war between some of the groups has also claimed more than 4,000 lives. He hangs out with a special police unit, and also hears how increasing numbers of women are taking over the gangs following the incarceration of the male members of their clans. He also visits the notorious Scampia housing estates that feature in the book and TV series Gomorrah.


BBC One, 9pm

It’s all to play for as we enter the second-last episode of the current series. Ross is sure George will lose the election, and the character played by Aidan Turner also returns from his mine to find Hugh Armitage with Demelza.

Diana, Our Mother: Her Life, Her Legacy

TV3, 9pm

An Irish broadcast of the documentary shown last week on ITV in which Harry and William talk about the mother who was tragically killed when they were both young boys. Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, and her friend Elton John also feature.


BBC Two, 10pm (not NI)

Enjoyable film telling the mostly true tale of how gay rights activists travelled to a pit village in Wales to support striking miners in 1984.


I Am Bolt

BBC One, 8.30pm

The World Championships in Athletics in London is expected to feature Usain Bolt’s last major race before he bows out of competitive running. His sport, and the discipline of sprinting has been hugely discredited in recent years, and there’s been no shortage of allegations against Jamaican runners. For those who wish to cling on to the hope that there is hope for the sport, however, Bolt is an easy man to believe in. He has never been tainted with any allegations, and showed a natural progression from his junior years to the all-conquering phenomenon he eventually became. The 30-year-old’s eight Olympic golds have him rightly ranked among the greatest ever athletes. This documentary follows his preparations for the Rio Olympics and also dips into archive footage from his personal life and the earlier stages of his career.

The Best of Vincent Browne

TV3, 11pm

The famous host has just retired, so this show looks back at some of the most talked-about moments from the 10 years of his show.


A World Without Down’s Syndrome?

RTÉ One, 10.35pm

Sally Phillips is the mother of a Down’s syndrome son, Olly, and in this BBC documentary looks at the science and ethics of screening tests for the condition in pregnancy. Among the encounters she has is with a woman who chose a termination at 25 weeks following a diagnosis of Down’s.


An Hour to Save Your Life

RTÉ2, 8.30pm

Superb documentary series that feels like a thriller as it follows medics for an hour after they’ve been despatched to an accident scene.


Top Of The Lake: China Girl

BBC Two, 9pm

Episode two of the series starring Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman has the Kiwi copper looking deeper into Sydney’s sex industry as they continue to try and identify the body that was washed up on Bondi beach.


Gardeners’ World

BBC Two, 9pm

Monty Don is planting irises and taking cuttings, while Joe Swift meets a gardener who has made the most of his shady, sloping space.

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