The best of what’s on the box this week.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s fourth feature isn’t the funniest thing he’s ever made, but its satire of a tinpot dictator on a visit to the US does have its moments.
The Jonathan Ross Show
UTV Ireland, 9.30pm
Guests on tonight show include actress Brenda Blethyn and singer Craig David.
In Killarney, Síle Nic Chonaonaigh sees the work of a volunteer group trying to stop the spread of destructive rhodeodendrons in the forest, while a visit to Waterford features a Brazilian woman who is a sean-nós singer and a fluent Irish speaker. There’s also a trip to a matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna for gay people.
Ar Shlí na Fírinne
This series uses graveyards in various parts of the country as a springboard to explore Irish history. Tonight, Séamas Mac Annaidh is in Cork where he visits the Curraghgraveyard near Kerry Pike, reputedly the finishing points for both the longest and the shortest funerals in Ireland.
At Your Service
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Francis Brennan is helping a family who’ve taken over two premises in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare. Victor and Geraldine Mc Sweeney are revamping a nine-bedroom guesthouse,while their daughter has taken over a cafe in the village.
The Meaning Of Life
RTÉ One, 10.35pm
Children’s author Eoin Colfer discusses some of the big questions with Gay Byrne. Already hugely successful, the Wexford man will soon become even more well known on the back of a film adaptation by xxx of one of his Artemis Fowl books. Raised as a Catholic, he now leans toward agnosticism and is quite critical of the Church.
Ar Son Na Poblachta
RTÉ One, 7.30pm
Over in England, 1966 is remembered as a great year for football, but on this side of the pond it was a great year for remembering. The Troubles in the North hadn’t yet erupted, so the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising could be celebrated with a degree of misty-eyed nostalgia. Of course, there were a number of people still alive with first-hand memories of those tumultuous events, not least 83-year-old President Éamon de Valera, the last surviving commandant of the Rising. We see colour footage of the commemorations and hear how, in some ways, it marked a turning point for a nation that had recently been undergoing quite a bit of change and modernisation.
The Walking Dead
Sky Box Sets
It’s one of the best dramas on TV, but just gets a tiny audience in this country. If you can’t face trawling through all xx series, you could perhaps watch the opening series, leave out chunks of season two, and jump aboard again for the superb third run.
Life Before The Rising
RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Catriona Crowe of the National Archives looks at the lives of ordinary Irish people in the lead-up to the 1916 Rising. Tenement dwellers in Dublin, and the rural poor were still bottom of the social ladder, but a growing Catholic middle class was also emerging.
Back in Time for the Weekend
BBC Two, 8pm
Another one of those series where a modern family lives like people in the past. This time around, Giles Coren and social historian Polly Russell guide us through a show focusing on how leisure time has changed since the 1950s. Dad needs handyman skills, mum has a pile of washing, cooking and cleaning to do, while 16-year-old Daisy learns to dance.
Channel 4, 9pm
Irish vet Noel Fitzpatrick begins a new series of high-tech and innovative solutions to animal ailments and injuries. A puppy has fractured its neck ina freak garden accident, while a cat is in danger of losing its leg.
Obsessed With My Body
Channel 4, 10pm
A look at the increase in grooming and body-culture among young men as they sometimes outdo their female counterparts in the time they spend in front of a mirror.
World War Three: Inside The War Room
BBC Two, 9pm
You can be sure they’ve a new tape in the video recorders at the Russian embassy in London to tape this documentary. It has been given some behind-the-scenes access to a major ’war game’ involving British military forces. It was all based around a scenario of Russia attacking one of the Baltic states that are members of NATO. Instead of focusing on troops on the ground, it looks at how decisions were made at a secret command centre in London as the ’situation’ escalated.
Neven Maguire: Healthy Home Chef
RTÉ One, 7.30pm
Smoked haddock hash and lamb chops with butterbean stew are among the dishes on tonight’s menu.
Cats v Dogs: Which Is Best?
BBC Two, 8pm
In ways this show is a fool’s errand, as the whole world has already made up their minds on the issue. But along the way in this two-part series, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin show us fascinating features of the planet’s two pets. Who is more intelligent? Which one has better sensory powers? Physical prowess? Tune in and find out.
A new drama series from the pen of Cork screenwriter Mike O’Leary, who also worked on the excellent E4 drama Misfits. Five rural teenagers rebel against the boredom of their local town and are inspired by a strange Michael Collins look-a-like to take over the local post office and begin a musical revolution.
Earth’s Greatest Spectacles
BBC Two, 9pm (not NI)
Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson narrates this new series. The first spectacle is the incredible colour changes in the forests of New England as summer gives way to autumn. We also hear about the impact of beavers, ants and humans on the forest.
The Graham Norton Show
BBC One, 10.35pm (NI 11.05pm)
Elton John, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruise feature on tonight’s impressive guestlist for the show.
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