Des O’Driscoll highlights this spring’s TV highlights.
The Eichmann Show
BBC Two, tbc
The world’s first ever global TV event wasn’t the World Cup. It was the 1961 trial in Israel of Adolf Eichmann, the German SS officer who had a major role in the Holocaust. Martin Freeman and Anthony LaPaglia star in this 90-minute film that focuses on how the trial was televised.
Ross Kemp Extreme World
Sky 1, tbc
It’s difficult to think of anybody who could present this show as well as Ross Kemp. He’s got the tough-guy presence that’s probably essential for working in some of the violent areas he visits, while also possessing enough compassion and insight to underline the tragedy of it all. Ukraine, Memphis and Australian bikers all feature in this fourth series.
RTÉ One, tomorrow
A series of three feature-length dramas on the life of infamous Fianna Fáil politician Charles Haughey. Aidan Gillen is in the title role, while it’s good to see Tom Vaughan Lawlor’s brilliance as Nidge hasn’t typecast him as somebody who works in organisations full of ruthless, money-grabbing gangsters. *cough*
This new soap is a major investment by the Irish broadcaster as it attempts to hang on to the audience that would have watched Coronation Street (now on UTV Ireland).
RTÉ One, Wednesday
One of the great success stories of modern Irish broadcasting, the eighth series promises another eight weeks of excellent television while also having knock-on benefits for the health of the nation.
Sky Atlantic, Jan 12
Lena Dunham’s show doesn’t get near the audience it deserves, but anybody jumping aboard for the fourth series will get an enjoyable female-focused drama that sprinkles its grittier moments with a few laughs.
The hugely popular Channel 4 show about people watching television is about to get an Irish version.
Norah’s Traveller Academy
RTÉ Two, Jan 15
Norah Casey fronts a new series in which she mentors four young Traveller women in the world of business.
Sky Atlantic, Jan 29
Set in a small town in the Arctic Circle, this 12-part crime drama features the impressive cast of Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) and Michael Gambon.
International sport highlights over the next few months include the Euro 2016 qualifier of Republic of Ireland v Poland (March 29), and the first game in rugby’s Six Nations campaign, Italy v Ireland (February 7). The National Leagues in GAA have attractive first round fixtures that include Cork v Dublin (football, February 1) and Cork v Kilkenny (hurling, February 14).
Better Call Saul
Walter and Jesse don’t feature, but this Breaking Bad prequel revolves around their lawyer Saul Goodman, and is set six years before he meets the popular meth manufacturers that featured in the main series.
Home of the Year
RTÉ One, spring
We’ve never really kicked our property habit, and this new series profiles a diverse range of homes across Ireland, with a panel of three expert judges deciding which one is going to be awarded the inaugural title.
Game of Thrones
Sky Atlantic, April
We’ve lost two wonderfully nasty characters in Joffrey and Tyrion Lannister, but new ruler Cersei is more than capable of a few dark acts herself, even if her reign is threatened by rather mundane financial problems. Elsewhere, Daenerys is still battling the slaver regimes, and supernatural Walkers are causing problems up at the Wall.
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