What to watch on TV this week

Gay Byrne chats to Hozier on The Meaning of Life tomorrow on RTÉ One.

SATURDAY

Toy Story 2 RTÉ One, 6.35pm

This 1999 offering ranks up there with The Godfather II as one of the best sequels of all time. 

Despite a troubled gestation that’s probably worth a documentary in its own right, John Lasseter and Pixar did the deal with Disney that led to a cinema release for a film that was originally supposed to go straight to video. 

At about $485m and counting, they’re probably glad they did. The plot revolves around Woody being stolen by a toy collector.

Celebrity Benchmark

Channel 4, 7pm

These Saturday night entertainment formats can be very hit or miss, but this new series does have the excellent Paddy McGuinness at the helm. Irish celebs Jason Byrne and Amanda Byram are among the team-members taking part.

SUNDAY

Spirit Level

RTÉ One, 1pm

Joe Duffy’s new series combines food with discussion of topics of day. His panel will spend much of today’s show talking about the immigration and the refugee crisis, while Syrian chef Ghandi Mallack will demonstrate how to make makloubeh, a dish of chicken, aubergine and rice.

Hup

TG4, 10pm

New traditional music series in which each episode is framed against a summer school or festival.

First Humans: The Cave Discovery

Channel 4, 8pm

Documentary on the incredible recent discovery of Homo Naledi, a previously unknown species of human ancestor, in South Africa. 

Interestingly, most of the scientists who got to enter the remote cave were women, as most male researchers couldn’t fit through the narrow passage to the site.

Hollywood in Éirinn

TG4, 8pm

Cork-born actor Denis Conway introduces a new four-part series looking at the effect major film productions have had on various parts of Ireland. 

He begins in Cúil Aodha, Co Cork, used as a location for Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley, talking to several of locals who had a part in the film. 

Future episodes will feature Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon in Waterford; Moby Dick in Youghal; and Song For a Raggy Boy in Baile Mhuirne.

The Meaning Of Life, with Gay Byrne

RTÉ One, 10.35pm

At 80, Uncle Gaybo can still draw the big names to discuss the big questions, and he begins the new series with a chat to Hozier. The Wicklow singer gets into such issues as the Catholic Church’s influence on debates such as the recent same-sex marriage referendum.

MONDAY

Swipe TV

RTÉ2, 4.30pm

A new series of the show for seven to 12-year-olds, it will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Animal Rescue

TV3, 8.30pm

We see a critically ill seal pup being rescued off the coast of Cork, and a expert in exotic pets warns against buying such creatures as snapping turtles and Argentine tegu lizards.

Countdown To Life: The Extraordinary Making Of You BBC Two, 9pm

Michael Mosley presents the final episode of the excellent series about life in the womb. 

Not surprisingly, the climax of the show is birth and the first breath, but along the way, he looks at the development of the brain, and meets a man who is incapable of forgetting anything he experiences in his lifetime. 

Could we all have such potential? He also looks at the implications for the children of what their mothers eat while pregnant; and asks whether unborn children can be affected by stress.

Storyville: A Syrian Love Story

BBC Four, 10pm

Poignant documentary that follows Syrian couple Amer and Raghda over five years. 

He was a member of the PLO, while she was a communist activist, and they first met when they were placed in neighbouring prison cells 15 years ago and eventually went on to have five children together. 

During the making of the film, filmmaker Sean McAllister was arrested and his subjects had to flee to Lebanon and on to France. Unfortunately, we see how their newfound ‘freedom’ brought its own pressures, with their relationship and mental health suffering.

Apres Match Of The Day RTE2, 10pm

The famous 1982 World Cup qualifying clash of Ireland v France gets the retro treatment of a show that never fails to produce a few lol moments.

TUESDAY

50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy

Sky 1, 9pm

It’s a probably a good rule for life that, for the sake of both parties, you and your mother should ever sit down and do a lie-detector test together. 

True to form, Baz and Nancy actually do this on their trip to Texas. Less terrifyingly, Nancy also gets to drive a monster truck and swing through the air on a 183-foot-high sky-coaster.

The Good Wife

RTÉ One, 11.20pm

The final episode of series six has Peter revealing he’s going to run for vice president, while Alicia also gets a really interesting business proposal.

WEDNESDAY

The Face of Britain by Simon Schama - The Face of Power

BBC Two, 9pm

Simon Schama is one of those presenters who could tell you about two flies walking up a wall and make sound so significant and fascinating. 

Here, he delves into the history of British portraiture, showing how a humble painting can actually be part of a huge power play, fostering love and loyalty in a time before mass media. 

From more recent times we hear how Queen Victoria used photography to help rebrand the monarchy as a modern family, and how Margaret Thatcher tried to keep rigid control of her image.

THURSDAY

Nine Stone Lighter: Reality Bites

RTÉ2, 9.30pm

Aoife Kelleher follows up her One Milllion Dubliners film with a documentary on Jules Coll (one of the people behind Damo and Ivor) and her decision to get gastric bypass surgery after her obesity contributed to her polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that affects a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility.

FRIDAY

Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie

BBC Four, 10pm

A new three-part series exploring indie music, the strangely resilient genre that had its birth around the time of the punk era. 

In this first episode, Mark Radcliffe looks back to the late 1970s and the emergence of an alternative music scene in the UK and its DIY ethic where bands such as the Buzzcocks bypassed the big record companies and began to create their own labels.


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