Sunday’s TV tips

Check out our spoiler-free guide to the best of tonight's TV.

Sunday’s TV tips

RELIGION: Joe Duffy’s Spirit Level (RTÉ One, 5.05pm)

Joe Duffy returns with a new run of the series Spirit Level, a chat show with a vibrant mix of topical discussion, engaging interviews and features.

Joe talks for Fr Brian D’Arcy about his life and times, and in part two Joe discusses death and the afterlife with his panel which features: Lorraine Whyman (A young woman with incurable brain cancer who recently married the love of her life. She has two years to live); Susan Delaney (Bereavement Councillor, Irish Hospice Foundation); Fr Pierce Cormac (Chaplain to the Mercy Hospital Cork who was also involved with the Union Hall drowning disaster); and Tom Inglis (Sociologist in UCD.

He has written about the death of his wife and son in his book Making Love.

DOCUMENTARY: The Mekong River with Sue Perkins (BBC2, 8pm)

Sue Perkins is a busy woman. She’s certainly managing to fill her time between Bake Offs with various series; and this latest one even gets her out and about and taking in a bit of culture too.

It can’t be a bad life – but for the most part, this journey has been rather hard-hitting for our presenter.

In the second instalment, Sue embarks on the most emotional leg of her trip along the Mekong, as she witnesses how deforestation and wildlife crime are stripping Cambodia of its last wild places. Cameras follow Sue on a raid with the Wildlife Rapid Response Rescue team, as they search for trafficked wild animals. She also accompanies them on a mission to release a slow loris back into the wild.

Plus, Sue meets a mobile-touting hermit and spends time with the women of the Krung in the remote highlands of Ratanakiri.


Tonight sees another heart-breaking elimination. Following last night's breath-taking performances, the finalists have had a nerve-wracking day waiting to find out who stays and who goes.

In tonight’s show the tension in the studio is palpable, as Dermot O'Leary tells the remaining acts who is safe and who has scored the lowest number of audience votes.

There will be a nail-biting sing-off before another X Factor dream comes to an end.

Throughout the live shows an outstanding line-up of guest stars will perform.

FILM: War Horse (BBC One, 8pm)

Fantastic First World War drama, focusing on a farmer’s son and the close bond he forms with the horse he trains.

However, when he is forced to give up the animal to the British army, he refuses to give up on being reunited – as the horse passes through various owners as he travels through the battlefields of France.

It was nominated for five Baftas and six Oscars, so you’d expect so. Of course a top-drawer cast of Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Emily Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t do Steven Spielberg’s drama any harm, but it’s the clever way in which Michael Morpurgo’s novel has been adapted that’s really impressive.

The characters are depicted so well, in a movie that Spielberg described as being predominantly a love story.

In total, 14 horses were used to portray Joey. However, the one used most often, named Finder, also portrayed Seabiscuit in the movie about the famous racehorse.

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emma Watson, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch. Rating: 77%

IMPORTED DRAMA: Homeland (Channel 4, 9pm)

Claire Danes is nothing if not versatile.

As far as talented actresses go, you won’t find one with more range than her. It’s been a whopping 20 years since she first appeared on screens in My So-Called Life, as an actress so young and naive that her first kiss was actually in front of the cameras for an episode of the series.

She went on to win a Golden Globe for that particular role and has enjoyed a career that’s gone from strength to strength ever since – and has become one of Hollywood’s leading lights, most recently superbly portraying Homeland troubled protagonist Carrie, who’s harbouring a secret.

Tonight, we reach the halfway point of the series in an episode in which Carrie challenges a resentful Fara to show more commitment to their work. She then gears up to put her operation in motion – but there’s a shock in store...

FILM: Saving Private Ryan (RTÉ, 9pm)

Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic war film set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat, the film is notable for its graphic and realistic portrayal of war, and for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depict the Omaha Beach assault of June 6, 1944.

It follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and a squad (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg and Jeremy Davies) as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last-surviving brother of four servicemen.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for 11 Academy Awards; Spielberg's direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore Rating: 93%

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