Tonight's TV tips

Tune into UTV at 9pm tonight for a two-part documentary which takes a graphic look at the dramatic rise in the number of dog attacks and asks if the root cause of the problem is irresponsible owners.

Tonight's TV tips

IRISH DANCING DOCUMENTARY: Jigs and Wigs (RTE One, 8.30pm – 9pm)

JIGS & WIGS is a new six part documentary series which looks at the extreme world of Irish dancing, a world that is constantly evolving.

With the global success of Riverdance – 20 years old this year – Irish dance is an art form that has been thrust onto the world stage.

The result is that there are far more Irish dancers across the globe than there are in Ireland.

JIGS AND WIGS features some of the more unusual individuals and their stories which make Irish dancing a vibrant and progressive entertainment phenomenon.

Episode 3 ‘Made in Taiwan’ features ex-Lord of the Dance star Ronan Morgan now teacher of several dance school in Europe and Taiwan.

The programme follows Ronan as he and his student prepare for the first Taipei Feis, a marker of how influential the Far East is becoming in Irish dance.

SOCIAL: Dangerous Dogs (UTV, 9pm – 10pm)

This two-part documentary looks behind the ’devil dog headlines’ and questions whether the real cause of the problem is actually their irresponsible owners.

And there’s plenty to discuss _ during the making of the series, three people in the UK were killed by dogs and more than 6,000 were hospitalised after dog attacks last year.

The programme discusses the Dangerous Dog Act, which was rushed through Parliament 23 years ago following a spate of horrific attacks, and follows dog wardens on the frontline.

Kelly Evans has worked for Birmingham City Council for seven years and recalls her ordeal after being attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier she’d been told wasn’t aggressive.

She’s previously worked for the RSPCA and has two rescue dogs of her own. Even though the attack happened two years ago, she’s still wary to this day.

This episode follows Kelly and her colleagues as they’re confronted with potentially dangerous dogs and abusive owners.

Suranne Jones narrates.

ARTS: Arena: Whatever Happened to Spitting Image? (BBC4, 9pm – 10pm)

Three decades ago, one satirical show dominated the minds of politicians, and was THE talking point in schools and workplaces each Monday morning: Spitting Image.

The series gave some of today’s biggest comedians, such as Steve Coogan, Harry Enfield and Chris Barrie, an early break in showbusiness (or at least their voices), while Peter Fluck and Roger Law’s puppets became more associated with their own outlandish characteristics than the real-life celebs they were lampooning.

Fluck and Law’s creations not only landed a number one single (The Chicken Song), but were also adopted for Genesis’s classic pop promo, Land of Confusion.

Aside from tracking down some of the puppets, here we meet the caricaturists, mould-makers, writers, directors and others who created the iconic show.

Among the contributors are Fluck, Law and producer John Lloyd.

Thanks to some great clips and anecdotes this arty strand is one of the highlights of the week.

REALITY: The Takeover (RTE Two, 9.30pm – 10.30pm)

Norah Casey is back to help staff across Ireland step up to the plate and change the fortunes of the business they work for.

Episode 1: The Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan

Colm and Audri Herron are the power couple behind the Hillgrove Hotel. Business was booming for their first four years in business, but come 2008 the recession hit the hotel hard.

The brides once turning up in helicopters and hummers are now a thing of the past and the hotel is losing money midweek by just being open. With definite room for improvement the bosses set their reservations aside as they vacate the building for two weeks, leaving the staff in charge.

To fill bedrooms during the week, the staff aim to attract the “Over 55s” through the doors of the hotel. But with the bosses having targeted that market before, will the staff do any better? And with weddings being the Hillgrove’s bread and butter, the staff try to expand their marketing by targeting same sex couples.

With the bosses out of the picture for two whole weeks, will they come back to a new improved hotel? Or will they put the staff’s ideas to bed, for good?

FILM: (500) Days of Summer (Film4, 7pm – 9pm)

(2009) Twentysomething Tom takes a shine to Summer, a fellow employee at a greetings card company.

They begin to date, but while he finds himself falling deeper and deeper in love, Summer seems less committed to their relationship and eventually breaks up with him, leaving Tom desperate to win her back.

So far, so simple, but what makes this a little bit different is it focuses on different key days in their relationship in a random order.

Whether you think this film is startlingly original or not might depend on whether you’ve seen the Woody Allen classic Annie Hall.

But even if it does owe a small debt to some other films, it’s still a welcome attempt to put a new twist on an often formulaic genre.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as the lovelorn Tom, while Zooey Deschanel is adorable enough to make it believable that he would have fallen under Summer’s spell.

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Chloe Moretz, Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 86%

FILM: Escape from Alcatraz (Film4, 9pm – 11.15pm)

(1979) Based on a true story, it follows Frank Morris, a convict with a history of escape attempts, who is transferred to the notorious high-security island prison of Alcatraz.

His fellow inmates warn him that it’s impossible to break out – even if you make it over the walls, the tides will get you before the guards do. But after clashing with the brutal warden, Frank and three other prisoners think they may just have come up with a way to bust out...

Although it’s not quite as iconic as director Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood’s previous collaboration, Dirty Harry, it’s still an absorbing, perfectly cast thriller.In fact, the scenes set in Alcatraz are so compelling, that some viewers may think the actual escape attempt is a bit of an anti-climax.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward, Roberts Blossom, Paul Benjamin

RottenTomatoes.com Rating: 95%

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