Best of the Week's TV (Saturday, May 25 - Friday 31)

Highlights include Colin Stafford Johnson's new series on the Shannon, and highly-rated new spy drama The Americans.

SATURDAY

The Voice UK, BBC One, 7.10pm

The battle rounds reach their conclusion with only one person from each battle progressing to the next stage.

David Bowie — Five Years, BBC Two, 9.20pm

This documentary examines the five key stages in David Bowie’s career, from Ziggy Stardust to Let’s Dance. Includes unseen footage.

Sport

A massive day in sport features finals in the Rabodirect PRO12 Final and the Champions League. First up is Leinster v Ulster (RTÉ Two, TG4, ko 4.45pm) from the RDS, with the southern province aiming to add a second trophy to their cabinet this season. In soccer, same-nation finals have disappointed in the past, but hopefully Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund (RTÉ Two, ko 7.45pm) at Wembley will be a worthy spectacle.

 

SUNDAY

The Sunday Game Live, RTÉ Two, 1.30pm

A double bill of football action features Kerry v Tipperary (throw-in 2pm) in the Munster Championship, a game which the Kingdom are expected to win; and Donegal v Tyrone (throw-in 4pm) in Ulster, a much more difficult clash to call.

The Secret Life Of The Shannon, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Colin Stafford-Johnson further enhances his already impressive reputation with this two-part documentary on Ireland’s longest river. Beautifully filmed, with liberal use of spectacular slow-motion sequences, highlights include frame-by-frame shots of a diving kingfisher and a bat scooping insects from the water’s surface.

Australia With Simon Reeve, BBC Two, 10.30pm

This episode of Simon Reeve’s superb series has him travelling across the north-east of Australia, from Darwin to the Great Barrier Reef. In Kakadu, he joins a team trying to fight back against the tide of introduced cane toads that are devastating Australian wildlife. He also goes into the bush with an Aboriginal army unit who use traditional survival methods. At the reef he gets up close to an oil tanker being carefully guided through the sensitive area.

 

 

MONDAY

The Family Project, RTÉ One, 7.30pm

Cork-based single father-of-three Kieran O’Brien welcomes former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O’Rourke into his life to advise him on how to manage a hectic home while staying engaged with the children’s education and maintaining the fun factor in their lives.

Springwatch, BBC Two, 8pm

The hardy annual makes its welcome return for a new series. Chris Packham and co are on all this week monitoring what the arrival of spring has meant for the animal world.

Kick Ass Kung Fu, Sky 1, 8pm

New series in which a martial arts master uses kung fu training with troubled young people from some of London’s toughest estates to help them turn their lives around. In the opening episode, two boys and a girl make it through a selection process to travel to China for further instruction.

 

TUESDAY

The Apprentice, BBC One, 9pm

The candidates are pushed way out of their comfort zones by being sent off to Dubai where they are asked to find items for a new luxury hotel. Both teams struggle in the heat as tempers fray.

Revenge, RTÉ Two, 9.50pm

The season finale has all the twists and turns you’d expect from this outlandish and often strangely enjoyable series. Last week we saw Emily rushing to the Grayson Global building to save Jack as a bomb went off. Will she succeed? Without spoiling your enjoyment, we can reveal that one character has indeed lost their life in the blast.

Shameless, Channel 4, 10pm

The final episode of the final series. Frank is out of prison after serving time for falsely claiming benefits, but the reception he gets isn’t quite what he’d expected. Among the former stars returning for the 11th season swansong are Anne-Marie Duff as Fiona, who departed in series two, as well as her onscreen brothers Lip (Jody Latham) and Carl (Elliott Tittensor). Duff’s presence is a timely reminder of how good Paul Abbott’s creation was in its early days.

 

WEDNESDAY

England v Republic of Ireland, UTV, Setanta Ireland, ko 8pm

The normal lacklustre feel of a post-season friendly hopefully won’t apply tonight for a fixture that is particularly laden with significance for the away side. In addition, England’s players should be scrapping for their places in the World Cup qualifiers. Roy Keane is on the ITV studio panel for the game from Wembley, while Setanta has Denis Irwin and Brian Kerr.

The Iraq War, BBC Two, 9pm

Major new three-part documentary on the disastrous war that began with the allied invasion in March 2003. Given the amount of deaths (estimates vary wildly, but most commentators agree that it was well over 100,000), it is almost obscene to discuss the ongoing events as some policy failure, but the fact remains that the US, Britain and their allies got an incredible amount of things wrong in Iraq. Over the next three weeks, some of the big players on all sides will give their version of what happened at the key stages and try to justify their actions, from Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Tony Blair to top Iraqi generals and politicians.

Later Live, BBC Two, 10pm

A different night than usual for Jools Holland but the same eclectic mix of music. Liam Gallagher makes an appearance with Beady Eye, while other guests include urban star Miguel and veteran synth poppers OMD.

 

THURSDAY

Super Garden, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

The finale of the series has the judges deciding which candidate gets to create a garden at Bloom in the Phoenix Park.

The Americans, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

This new series’ addition alongside The Good Wife (RTÉ One) ensures Thursday has replaced Tuesday and Friday as the night of choice for decent American drama. Set in Washington in the Reagan era, this highly-rated Cold War thriller follows two married KGB agents planning to kidnap a Russian defector. Complicating their existence is the fact that their two children know nothing about their secret identity, and their new neighbour works for the FBI.

Eddie Izzard’s Mandela Marathons, Sky 1, 9pm

Concluding part of the enjoyable documentary on the comedian’s attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days as a tribute to the ex ANC leader. He’s again beset by issues that cause a radical change to his plans.

 

FRIDAY

Unreported World, Channel 4, 7.30pm

The final episode in the current series is entitled ‘Making Brazil Beautiful’, and looks at the plastic surgery boom in Rio de Janeiro. Interestingly, despite massive problems with poverty in Brazil, even poor women are entitled to certain ‘cosmetic enhancement’ procedures on the public health service. We also hear how body image is such an important part of Brazilian culture that career advancement can be affected by it.

Bloom, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Keelin Shanley and Áine Lawlor present a show from the massive gardening event at the Phoenix Park in Dublin. As well as covering the green-fingered aspects of the show, there will also be a segment on the wide range of artisan food producers and craft beer makers.

The Late Late Show, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Ryan Tubridy comes to the end of his fourth series at the helm of the still popular chat show, and has said he’ll stay in the seat for three more years. Highlights of the current run have included the Toy Show, the interview with rape victim Fiona Doyle and the encounter with Tom Cruise.


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