Thursday’s TV tips

Tracks, trails and the toughest.

Thursday’s TV tips

TRAVEL: Tracks and Trails (RTE One, 7pm)

Pól O Conghaile, travel journalist and broadcaster, is in West Waterford to walk two routes in the Comeragh Mountains. His first walk takes him through the Mahon Valley to a well-known landmark in the area, the Mahon Falls.

En route, Pól stops off in the village of Killrossanty to meet retired schoolteacher and local historian, Síle Murphy and they discuss the history of the village.

Pól and his guide Declan McGrath continue their route into the Mahon Falls which is an easy walk suitable for all ages and takes about 20 minutes.

They discuss the geology of the Comeraghs and the flora and fauna along the way and what makes the Mahon Falls a notable landmark in the area. Pól continues up the hill and enjoys the dramatic view back down the valley to the sea and Dungarvan town .

REALITY: The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC2, 8pm)

During this contest we’ve seen some surprising creations – especially during the children’s clothes episode, when we were treated to a ballerina elephant, two peacocks and a bookworm, not to mention a pair of boxing gloves for a five-year-old.

However, it seems the judges Patrick Grant and May Martin have saved the most outrageous until last as they challenge the three finalists to come up with some cutting edge designs. As well as a pattern challenge that resembles origami more than sewing, and a radical alteration challenge, they also have to make an avant-garde dress.

So, think more Lady Gaga than the Doris Day soundtrack and cute vintage prints we normally see on this series. But who will stitch up a storm and be crowned Britain’s best amateur sewer?

And can Claudia Winkleman and the remaining contestants manage to get as many double entendres out of this challenge as they did during the boned corset task?

DOCUMENTARY: Jimmy Savile: Britain’s Worst Crimes (Channel 5, 8pm)

It may be hard to remember now, but it’s not that long ago that Jimmy Savile was largely regarded as a national treasure.

He had been one of Britain’s most popular DJs and TV presenters, raising £40 million for charity, receiving an OBE in 1971 and a knighthood in 1990.

However, following his death in 2011, a different side to Savile began to emerge as victims came forward claiming he had used his celebrity status to prey on them.

An investigation into his activities, launched in October 2012, led to allegations dating back to the 1950s, involving men, women and boys, but mainly vulnerable young women whom he was reported to have abused in television dressing rooms, schools, children’s homes, hospitals and his caravan.

He’s now believed to have been one of the worst sex offenders the UK has ever seen.

Featuring contributions from Savile’s alleged victims, family members and former colleagues, this documentary looks at the scandal and asks how such a prolific predator could get away with his crimes for so long.

REALITY: Don’t Tell the Bride (RTE One, 9pm)

At Knockbridge in county Dundalk – love is in the air. 35-year-old Aaron is proposing a dream wedding for his 37-year-old fiancé Michelle.

Aaron wants to woo his bride with a princess wedding and he thinks he can transform his favourite hangout –the local snooker hall– into her dream venue!

Oddly enough Michelle’s dream doesn’t involve chalk, cues or little round balls and this Cinderella knows exactly what she wants.

Michelle works full time for a waste disposal company while Aaron is the househusband. But even while she’s working – she’s still the boss at home.

So now the man who’s not allowed to make any decisions must make all the decisions– he has ten grand and three weeks to do it.

DOCUMENTARY: Comic Relief Operation Health (BBC1, 9pm)

Whether it’s playing darts or attempting to make a pork pie that meets the exacting standards of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, Britain’s celebs have definitely been doing their bit for Comic Relief over the past few weeks.

But in this documentary, Lenny Henry and a band of famous volunteers are going to go even further, and attempt to make over a rural health centre in Uganda.

The staff say it might be the worst in Africa, and Lenny and his team – which includes Richard Hammond, Dermot O’Leary, John Bishop, Steve Backshall, Greg James and Doon Mackichan – quickly realise they weren’t exaggerating.

The building has no electricity or running water, is infested with rats and other vermin, and many patients are too afraid to spend the night there.

The team have just weeks to turn into a fully functioning health centre capable of meeting the needs of the community, but the celebs are keen to point out that the real heroes of the project are locals like Francis the Doctor, Dorothy the midwife and Gonza the master builder.

DRAMA: Banished (BBC2, 9pm)

Forget those property programmes about A New Life Down Under – this new drama series, following the first British convicts to be transported to Australia, is showing us a much less blissful take on life in Oz.

However, even amid these harsh conditions, love can blossom, and pretty prisoner Kitty McVitie has fallen for Private McDonald.

Unfortunately, women are in short supply, and their monogamous relationship has broken the unwritten rule that unmarried female convicts are to be shared among the soldiers. To make matters worse, it seems Kitty has caught the eye of Major Ross...

Meanwhile, enigmatic convict Anne Meredith tells the vicar’s wife that she can sense the sadness inside her and can offer her the solace, leaving the genteel Mary horrified but oddly intrigued.

James’s food is still been stolen by the resident bully Marston, but reporting the matter to the Governor has only made him more of a target. His friends Tommy and Elizabeth realise that unless they help him tackle Marston, James will starve, but just how far are they prepared to go?

DOCUMENTARY: The Toughest Trade (TV3, 10pm)

This ground-breaking documentary which has been commissioned by AIB explores how the AIB GAA Club Championships, which many believe are “the toughest of them all”, compare to other club games across the world.

With only one way to find out, English footballer David Bentley and All Star baseball player Brian Schneider put the theory to the test.

The professional sportsmen are set to trade places with Crossmaglen footballer Aaron Kernan and James Stephens’ hurler Jackie Tyrrell, who will in turn be sampling life as a Sunderland footballer and a professional baseball player respectively.

All four players will be swapping professional and sporting lives, so while the GAA players will be experiencing all the benefits and demands that come with professional sports, Bentley and Schneider will have to quickly come to terms with a challenging training schedule, coupled with a full-time job.

DRAMA: Banana (E4, 10pm)

The jury is still out on whether Russell T Davies’s drama Cucumber quite lived up to all the hype and expectations, but its sister show Banana seems to have got a warmer critical reception.

As well as covering different aspects of LGBT life over its stand-alone stories, the series has also offered a welcome showcase for some emerging young talents, whether they be actors, directors or writers.

So, we’re sad to see the door closing on the Calico flats, although there is one last story to get through first, as Zara makes a shocking confession.

Although some viewers may be wondering if they can really be scandalised by this show anymore after everything that has happened over the past few weeks, her admission has a big impact on Vanessa, who feels like her world is collapsing.

FILM: Runaway Train (ITV4, 11.05pm)

(1985) Hardened criminal Manny and his young accomplice escape from prison and board a freight train.

But they’re in for a bumpy ride when they discover that their getaway transport doesn’t have an engineer and is out of control.

It’s action all the way in this roller-coaster train adventure. It could never be described as a classic, but there are some tense moments, certainly enough to keep viewers entertained.

Starring: Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay, Kyle T Heffner

FILM: The Adjustment Bureau (Film4, 11.10pm)

(2011) Ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) falls for beautiful ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt).

However, he soon learns he is up against the agents of fate itself – the mysterious men of the Adjustment Bureau – who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together.

Inspired by a Philip K Dick story, this offbeat thriller features brilliant central performances from Damon and Blunt; the chemistry between them is superb. Just a pity she seems to vanish for half of the film. Good support comes from Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie and John Slattery.

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery

FILM: The Last Picture Show (Film4, 1.15am)

(1971) This atmospheric tale of growing pains in small town America follows three teenagers living in an impoverished Texan backwater during the 1950s.

When a tragedy strikes their community, they face a tough decision: do they try to make their lives in the town count for something, or leave their home for good to chase fortune elsewhere?

This Oscar-nominated drama is heavily influenced by European cinema.

It really put Peter Bogdanovich on the map – but it also cost him his marriage as he fell in love with Cybill Shepherd as she made her big-screen debut. It spawned a much delayed sequel, Texasville, in 1990.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms, Cloris Leachman, Ben Johnson, Ellen Burstyn.

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