Monday’s TV tips

The spoiler-free guide to the things appearing on your television box tonight.

Monday’s TV tips

FILM: The Debt (Film4, 9pm)

(2010) In the 1960s, Mossad agents Rachel, Stephen and David are hailed as heroes for capturing and killing a notorious Nazi war criminal.

Thirty years later, Rachel’s daughter writes a book about the mission, but it’s clear that the trio are uncomfortable with the acclaim as some dark secrets come back to haunt them.

This is an intelligent, sharp thriller that will keep you gripped until the last minute.

Helen Mirren is as brilliant as ever as the older Rachel, but it’s the Sixties flashbacks, featuring Jessica Chastain as her younger self, that really bring the film to life, exploring the increasingly complicated relationship between the female spy and her sinister prey.

Starring: Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington

ENTERTAINMENT: Gareth’s All-Star Choir (BBC1, 9pm)

You’ve got to hand it to choirmaster Gareth Malone – his determination simply can’t be rivalled.

After assembling the Military Wives and hitting the number one spot in the charts with their Christmas single, Malone’s star has risen ever since.

But however talented Gareth may be, he’s going to need more than determination (and his signature bow tie) tonight, as he tackles what could be his biggest challenge yet. He’s assembled a group of singing celebrities with the aim of recording this year’s Children in Need single.

He has his work cut out, as he attempts to vocally train familiar faces including actresses Alison Steadman and Linda Robson, Strictly’s panto-esque villain Craig Revel Horwood, Countryfile’s John Craven and comediennes Jo Brand and Mel Giedroyc.

Gareth’s patient nature is going to come in handy – he can tell from hearing the celebs’ first few notes that it’s going to be an uphill challenge.

DOCUMENTARY: Tony O’Reilly – The Real Deal (RTE One, 9.35pm)

Tony O’Reilly – The Real Deal is a special hour long documentary by RTÉ’s Business Editor David Murphy, which includes interviews with Tony O’Reilly Junior, Seamus Mallon and Michael Smurfit. The programme will also feature early footage of O’Reilly which has never been broadcast before on Irish television.

The full story of Tony O’Reilly’s life is extraordinary. He was brought up in a comfortable north Dublin home with no knowledge that his parents weren’t married and his father had another family in Co Wicklow. He never met his siblings until he was in his thirties.

Tony O’Reilly’s rugby career was unparalleled and he still holds the record for the number of tries scored by a Lions player. In business he launched Kerrygold, became boss of Heinz globally and searched for oil, while growing Waterford Wedgwood and Independent News & Media internationally.

He enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and was on first name terms with Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger, Robert Mugabe, Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior. However, he had his critics as well as admirers.

DOCUMENTARY: Asylum Seekers (TV3, 10pm)

People come to Ireland from all over the world in order to escape persecution and seek asylum here. They then end up trapped in a legal quagmire for years, forced to live in so-called “direct provision” centres.

This programme reveals a system at breaking point – thousands of men, women and children living in limbo, many suffering mentally and physically, some exploited by unscrupulous employers, others turning to prostitution.

It costs the state a small fortune and leads to tidy profits for private firms. We speak to asylum seekers, experts and the people who are supposed to be sorting it all out.

COMEDY: Republic of Telly (RTE Two, 10pm)

The IFTA Award-winning Republic of Telly kicks off its eleventh season on RTÉ 2. Presenter Kevin McGahern alongside Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’Shea will be ripping telly to shreds for your entertainment.

Ireland’s greatest detective SURELOOK returns as will BRIDGET & EAMON who remain bickering and trapped in the 80s. Al Porter joins the team to provide his own unique take on the week’s news and there’s a host of guest stars as well.

The show will continue to terrorise celebrities on the Red Carpet, our 24 cameras will be popping up around the country and there’ll be plenty of cutting TV show parodies and comedy music videos.

As always some of the best new Irish comedy talent will be showcased with new characters making their debut on Irish Television. Watch out for extras and previews online at

COMEDY: The Fear (RTE Two, 10.30pm)

In the final episode of The Fear, Farmer Phil tries to save a cow at the National Ploughing Championships and Fred Cooke walks 500 miles when he wakes up. Elsewhere Jimmy enlists the public’s help while practicing for his driving test and The Nun gets very confused over some light reading in the park.

COMEDY: Plebs (ITV2, 10pm)

Many people weren’t so sure when it was first announced that an Inbetweeners-esqe comedy would soon be hitting our screens back in March last year.

And the cynicism was only made worse by the fact that the whole thing would have ’an ancient setting’. But we have happily eaten our words – Joel Fry, Tom Rosenthal and Ryan Sampson have put on quite a show, and garnered plenty belly laughs while they were at it.

Safe to say, Plebs has pleasantly surprised, and now its second series is drawing to a close.

In our final trip to Rome, Marcus is a little nervous – unless they find 3000 denarii, the girls are going to be deported. Not to worry – Stylax has a great idea: they should bet their entire savings on him winning an underground chariot race.

Meanwhile, Grumio visits Landlord in prison through a sewage pipe.

FILM: Once Upon a Time in Mexico (Channel 5, 10.55pm)

(2003) After the tragic events of Desperado, El Mariachi is reluctant to fight again – but he might not have a choice.

The Mexican president has declared war on the Barillo drug cartel, sparking a fierce power struggle that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.

A crazed CIA agent thinks that El Mariachi is the perfect person to foil an assassination plot, especially as the legendary gunslinger is already seeking to avenge himself on one of the key conspirators.

However, it doesn’t take long for agent’s plan to go awry...

This film may not be subtle, but it is great, overblown fun.

Johnny Depp is on fine form as the newcomer to the Mariachi trilogy, and Antonio Banderas easily slots back into the guitar-wielding, gun-toting antics of the legendary Mexican killer.

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes, Enrique Iglesias, Willem Dafoe

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