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. This series will reflect the energy and diversity in contemporary Irish religious and spiritual life.

This time round the addition of a studio audience will add greatly to the broad range of topics under discussions.

Tonight, Joe talks to Eilish O’Carroll, the much loved Winnie McGoogan of Mrs Brown’s Boys, about love, life and rosary beads.

In Part 2, Joe and his panel discuss the phenomenon of the pilgrimage. Lourdes, Fatima, Knock, The Camino or the River Ganges – what is the enduring draw of these sacred places?

Also, Pádraig O’Driscoll reports from Knock on the business side of apparitions and pilgrimages.

TRAVEL: Whose Holiday Is It Anyway? (RTÉ One, 6.30pm)

The O'Toole kids are in charge of the family Holiday to Prague; booking, packing, activities and money.

How will Mum, Eileen, and her partner, Paddy, handle not being in control for a whole week?

Darren (17) and Katie (16) O’Toole from Co Roscommon are in full charge of their family holiday to Prague.

Their Mum, Eileen, and her partner, Paddy, have no idea what’s in store and they’ll only discover their destination at Dublin Airport.

That’s when they also have to hand over all the holiday spending money to Katie, who will be in control of the family finances for the week.

The kids are have also booked a number of challenging activities for the family in addition to packing and locking Eileen and Paddy’s bags.

The adults won’t know what’s in those suitcases until they arrive at their apartment in Prague city centre.

Darren and Katie are hoping to give Eileen and Paddy a holiday they’ll never forget.

DOCUMENTARY: Woolly Mammoth: The Autopsy (Channel 4, 8pm)

In Siberia last year, the discovery of the best preserved mammoth ever seen was made – and caused ripples of excitement among some scientists.

For some time, experts have been hoping that such a specimen would turn up, and that it would contain enough DNA to enable them to clone it.

When a dark red liquid oozed from this one as it was removed from its resting place, many speculated that it could be blood, which would indicate that its flesh was fresh enough to enable a clone to be created.

This documentary follows an international team of mammoth specialists and cloning scientists as they carry out an autopsy on the creature, giving viewers unprecedented insights into how mammoths may have lived when they roamed the planet 40,000 years ago.

There’s also an insight into de-extinction programmes in the US and South Korea, which reveal how close science is to bringing mammoths back to life.

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

Sue Perkins, when she isn’t making us laugh via her day job as a comedian, is usually associated with food thanks to the Supersizers series she co-hosts with Giles Coren and her work on The Great British Bake Off, alongside her best mate Mel Geidroyc.

So initially she seemed a strange choice to front this travelogue; it’s refreshing, however, that Sue hasn’t been pigeonholed and she has proved to be an amiable guide so far.

This week finds her in Laos, a country shaped by Buddhism and Communism which has barely changed for centuries. It is now a place whose beauty is attracting foreign tourists, with many flocking to Luang Prabang, which was once the Royal City of Laos and is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

But, as Sue discovers, the area could be changed forever if plans to build massive dams come to fruition.

DRAMA: Homeland (Channel 4, 9pm)

It’s all very well broadcasting Homeland just a couple of weeks after it’s been aired in the US, but it doesn’t give us an opportunity to tell you much about what to expect from each episode.

Barely any information has been sent out by Channel 4, just a few brief lines telling us that Lockhart arrives, and Carrie’s investigation gets complicated thanks to Majid Javadi’s plan to sell on information he’s intercepted. Ah well. Perhaps speculating about the possibilities is just as interesting as finding out what will occur.

As ever, Carrie is the driving force behind the storyline, although regular viewers have been left wondering whether she’s the ideal person to be in charge of a CIA station in the volatile Middle East – she isn’t exactly what you would describe as the most stable person.

But Claire Danes is simply superb in the role; it’s now hard to imagine anybody else playing Carrie – and she will have to watch out that she doesn’t become typecast.

FILM: Date Night (Film4, 10.55pm)

The Fosters are a couple whose marriage has turned stale. They plan a date night at a trendy restaurant in the middle of New York, but the place is full, so they take the reservation of a couple who fail to show.

They soon regret it, though, when they realise that the people whose table they’ve taken are in debt to gangsters and the hitmen are on their trail.

At a brisk 102 minutes, there’s no chance of this outstaying its welcome. However, unlike recent films such as Bad Neighbours, the improv scenes are a joy, with Tina Fey and Steve Carell being a dream double act. Yes, it’s about as believable as a white Christmas in Florida, but it scarcely matters.

Film buffs should keep an eye out for Mark Wahlberg’s shirtless scenes. Every one of them was filmed carefully at specific angles to avoid showing a tattoo of Bob Marley on his left shoulder.

Starring: Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, William Fichtner Rating: 67%

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