Highlights include the finales of Homeland and Mad Men, and the new dating show My Best Shot
Strictly Come Dancing
BBC One, 6.40pm
Five couples have made it into the live semi-final, with a combination of the judges’ opinions and public votes deciding who makes it to next week’s final. The remaining celebs are Casualty’s Patrick Robinson, model Abbey Clancy, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, TV presenter Susanna Reid, and actress Natalie Gumede.
The Jonathan Ross Show
David Beckham talks about life since retirement and also the golden generation of Man Utd players of which he was part. Will Ferrell is also among the guests.
The big game of the day is Man City v Arsenal (BT Sport 1, ko 12.45pm), as both teams battle it out at the top of the table. Other live matches include Chelsea v Crystal Palace (Setanta 1, ko 3pm) and Hull City v Stoke City (Sky Sports 1, ko 5.30pm). Live rugby features Perpignan v Munster (Sky Sports 2, ko 3.40pm) and Leinster v Northampton (Sky Sports 2, ko 6pm), with highlights of both games on TG4 at 9.05pm.
Whose Holiday is it Anyway?
RTÉ One, 6.30pm
The McDaid family have been given 3,000 for a dream holiday, but it’s the three children ranging in age from 15 to seven who get to decide how it’s spent. Parents Rhona and Jason don’t even know where they’re headed until they arrive at the airport.
Few would have suspected that Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sky Sports 1, ko 1.30pm) at this stage of the season would be a clash of 10th v 9th in the table. Further up the league, Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool (Sky Sports 1, ko 4pm) features two sides in the mix for Champions League places.
The X Factor
The final has arrived. In Saturday’s show, the contestants are whittled down from three to two, and that duo battle it out tonight for the ultimate prize in front of an audience of 10,000 at Wembley Arena. Elton John, Katy Perry and One Direction will also appear on the show this weekend.
Room to Improve
RTÉ One, 9.30pm
New Yorker Ursula and Clare man Jimmy live in a big home in Firhouse, Dublin. Size isn’t everything, however, and they’ve been struggling to make the most of such a large house. Cue the arrival of Dermot Bannon and his plans to open up the home so they can cook, play and do homework in one large living area.
Rachel Allen’s Christmas Cake Diaries
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Repeat of the show in which the celebrity chef offers some slightly different recipes to fill your baking tin this Christmas.
RTÉ One, 9.35pm
This documentary comes at the tail end of a year which has seen plenty of shows about events in Dublin in 1913, but still manages to offer interesting tales from those momentous days. Among the family members offering personal insight is Jim Larkin’s great grand-daughter Miriam, right, looking at the impact of the unrest on Larkin’s wife Elizabeth and their children. From the other side, Garry Murphy has issues with the portrayal of his great grand-father, employers’ leader William Martin Murphy from Castletownbere. Other families delving into their history include that of 15-year-old Alice Brady, locked out of her factory job, and Brendan Murphy, a scab who was killed.
Pilgrimage With Simon Reeve
BBC One, 9pm
The final part of the series has the presenter embarking on a journey along a pilgrimage route that is still fraught with conflict and religious disputes. He begins his journey in Istanbul, a major staging post for medieval pilgrims. In the Holy Land, Reeve revives the memories of British Victorian travellers in an area that was very much under the influence of the Empire. Even today, some of the conflict between the Israelis — who occupy much of the city in contravention of international law — and the Palestinians can be traced back to the policies of the former colonial power. A non-believer, Reeve admits to being impressed by his journey along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe Christ rose from the dead.
RTÉ Two, 9pm
After last week’s dramatic events in Tehran, Brody continues his mission to fulfil the CIA director’s dream of world peace. Final episode in series.
RTÉ Two, 11.10pm
In previous series, most Mad Men fans could probably have been divided into those who wanted to be Don Draper and those who wanted to be with Don Draper. Not this time. The final episode of what has probably been the weakest season yet brings further disintegration of his mental state and personal circumstances. Next year will bring the first seven episodes of the last series, with the final run in 2015.
Sky Atlantic, 9pm
Final episode of what has been a fairly successful adaptation of the Nordic crime drama. Karl finally comes face-to-face with the Truth Terrorist.
The second and concluding episode of Jeff Pope’s drama on the aristocratic alleged murderer who went missing in 1974.
Keane And Vieira: The Best Of Enemies
RTÉ Two, 9.55pm
Recently broadcast on ITV, this documentary on one of the great rivalries of modern soccer has the participation of both Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. You’d presume they haven’t kissed, but the duo have made up, and since retirement have shared numerous TV studios. Here they talk candidly about why they really did hate each other and Keane also delves into such issues as Saipan and his ongoing frostiness with Alex Ferguson. Superb viewing.
Ear To The Ground
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Would seeing Ella McSweeney killing a turkey with her bare hands improve or diminish her standing in your eyes? Tune in tonight and find out as the popular presenter visits a free-range turkey farmer in Co Meath. Elsewhere we see Ciarán Dunne’s incredible model-making of miniature farm machinery; and hear about a Tipperary family’s fund-raising efforts for hospice suite at St Theresa’s Hospital in Clogheen.
My Best Shot
RTÉ Two, 10pm
New dating show in which Bernard O’Shea from Republic of Telly mediates between a group of men and a group of ladies who get to vote for potential partners from photos from their childhood and teenage years.
A must-see for Waterboys fans as Mike Scott and co come together to talk about the 25th anniversary of their classic Fisherman’s Blues album.
Campaigning journalist John Pilger presents a documentary from the Northern Territory area of his homeland. Filmed in the Aboriginal region of Utopia, it keeps with Pilger’s longstanding efforts to make his countrymen face up to the awful treatment meted out to their indigenous counterparts.
Edinburgh v Leinster
RTÉ Two, ko 7.35pm
The Irish side have been looking impressive in recent weeks, and will hope to keep up their good form in this RaboDirect Pro12 game against the Scottish side. Another game of interest is Ulster v Zebre (BBC NI, ko 7.05pm).
Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
Will Ferrell was in Ireland recently on the publicity trail for part two of this 2004 comedy. A big critical and commercial success at the time, it takes a hilarious potshot at American media culture in the 1970s as our hero clashes with a new female counterpart.
The Graham Norton Show
BBC One, 10.35pm
Guests include Idris Elba, the British actor playing the part of Nelson Mandela in the big biopic that has just undergone a timely release. Actresses Miranda Hart and Julie Walters are also on the couch, while Tinie Tempah provides the music.
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