Tonight's TV tips

Tune in to TV3 at 9pm to watch a documentary following three people struggling with gender identity, campaigning for acceptance and petitioning the Irish government to be recognised in their true gender.

Tonight's TV tips

DOCUMENTARY: Irish Lives: My Transgender Journey (TV3, 9pm – 10pm)

All of us struggle with who we are sometimes but this is harder for some than it is for others. Generally we take our gender and identity for granted but what if we didn’t fit into the male or female labels we were assigned at birth?

TV3’s Irish Lives: My Transgender Journey tells the story of three people, as they search for a sense of their own identity, strive for acceptance and continue to battle against their own government to be recognised in their true gender as Ireland is the only EU member state that does not provide a legal mechanism for recognition of transgender persons.

Sam, Louise and Kay give an up-close and personal account of their transgender journeys and what it is like to live in a country that does not fully accept them.

UCD student Sam made the transition from female to male with the full support of his family but he still has further barriers to cross.

Louise also shares her story as the first transgender worker in Ireland to successfully use the Employment Equality Act in a case of discrimination on the grounds of gender.

Kay gives an open and honest account of her pending surgery, as well as her struggle to change her name and gender on her American passport.

NATURE: Monkey Planet (BBC1, 9pm – 10pm)

Zoologist George McGavin concludes his three-part series looking at the lives of primates by examining their intelligence. Most impressive of all, perhaps, is their ability to employ tools in order to solve problems – something which is limited to few animals besides humans.

As he finds out more, George goes to orang-utan school in Sumatra, before heading to Thailand where he sees long-tailed macaques flossing their teeth and using tools to open oysters on the beach.

Even the way in which they learn these tricks is surprising – chimpanzees in Uganda pass on cultures and customs down the generations.

If all that isn’t amazing enough, there’s also a chance to meet up with an astonishingly talented bonobo in America, which can order food for its own picnic using a smartphone, before toasting marshmallows for itself – on a fire that it built on its own.

Suddenly, Planet of the Apes doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all...

SOCIAL AFFAIRS: How to Get a Council House (Channel 4, 9pm – 10pm)

Benefits and unemployment – two very emotive words at the moment.

So with Channel 4’s other debate-provoking series, Benefits Street, still fresh in our minds, this series returns to give us another look into the struggle of a life on benefits.

In the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, hundreds of families who are out of work and reliant on benefits face eviction because of the government’s welfare reforms.

The Council Housing Office are preparing for the crisis, as even families with children are being forced to leave the area – the only way to avoid being priced out is to find work or get a much-sought-after council house before the cuts kick in.

But with their reduced rents and long-term tenancies proving a tempting prospect to many, there’s a very high demand for them. This new three-part documentary series follows the race to reach the top of that all-important waiting list...

DOCUMENTARY: The Hunt for the Boston Bombers (Channel 4, 10pm – 11.20pm)

On April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon got underway as expected, with runners waiting through 26 seconds of silence as a mark of respect to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which had taken place the previous December.

Lelisa Desisa Benti and Rita Jeptoo won the male and female races respectively, but few people will remember their names, due mostly to the events that followed.

Two hours after they crossed the finished line, just as many of the fun-runners were completing the course, two bombs exploded, killing three spectators and injuring 264 more.

This documentary charts the efforts of the FBI and Boston Police Department to track down those responsible.

Spokespeople from those organisations, as well as victims and witnesses relate the events of that terrifying day, as well as the procedures the authorities followed – and the dilemmas they faced when it came to revealing who their suspects were.

REALITY: Party House (E4, 10pm – 11pm)

By now we should learn to trust the powers that be at Channel 4 and its sister stations: we thought Gogglebox was a dreadful idea, but it’s proven itself essential viewing – and we’ve happily eaten our words.

This new format seems just as batty: each week, a group of fun-loving friends with something to celebrate are given an empty mansion in which to throw the ultimate bash, with cameras capturing everything.

First up is Londoner Laura and her gang of mates, who are so close they admit they’ve pretty much all copped off with one another on several occasions.

After hearing from the friends pre-party, it seems as though there’s all kinds of amorous intent simmering just beneath the surface for the pals, so with the merest addition of some booze and good music, who knows who’ll end up with whom?

FILM: Terms of Endearment (Film4, 6.25pm – 9pm)

(1983) The film covers three decades in the lives of widow Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.

Fiercely protected by Aurora throughout childhood, Emma’s love-hate relationship with her mother sours when she marries wishy-washy college teacher Flap.

Flap confirms Aurora’s suspicions when he enters into an affair with a student.

Meanwhile, Emma finds romantic consolation with an unhappily married banker, while Aurora is pursued by her next-door neighbour, boisterous astronaut Garrett Breedlove.

After an hour or so, the film abruptly shifts moods when Emma discovers she has terminal cancer.

Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow, Lisa Hart Carroll, Betty R King Rating: 88%

FILM: There's Something About Mary (3e, 10pm – 12.20am)

(1998) An unusual accident prevents Ted, a high school geek, from taking the popular, beautiful Mary to their high school prom. Years later, Ted can't be kept away. After all, there's just something about Mary...

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliot, Lenny Clarke. Rating: 83%

FILM: Shaun of the Dead (ITV2, 10pm – 12.05am)

(2004) Shaun, a bored electrical shop worker, attempts to win back his estranged girlfriend and protect his family and friends when zombies take over the UK.

This is simply one of the most perfect British movies of the past 10 years. Funny, scary, occasionally moving, beautifully cast, and proof that you don’t need a huge budget to make a great romantic horror comedy.

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran Rating: 91%

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