Best of the Week's TV (Dec 21-27)

Christmas highlights include Mrs Browns Boys and a documentary on Dermot Morgan.

SATURDAY

Strictly Come Dancing Final

BBC One, 6.30pm  

The final of the series has the remaining four couples taking to the floor for one last round of dances. When the second part of the show returns at 8.40pm, one couple will be eliminated and there will also be a group performance by the entire cast of this year’s show before the winner is announced.

Sport  

 Rugby action in the RaboDirect PRO12 features Munster v Scarlets (TG4, ko 7.15pm) from Musgrave Park. Live soccer includes Celtic v Hearts (Sky Sports 2, ko 12.15pm), Liverpool v Cardiff City (BT Sport 1, ko 12.45pm) and Man Utd v West Ham (Setanta 1, ko 3pm).

The RTÉ Sports Awards 2013  

RTÉ One, 9.45pm  

Darragh Maloney hosts one of those awards shows. Categories include sports person of the year, sports team of the year, manager, etc.

SUNDAY

The Speech  

RTÉ One, 6.30pm  

David Wynne is the best man at his friend’s wedding, but has a fear of speaking in public. Cue the entrance of George Hook as a mentor, and we see the Corkman coach Wynne through various exercises to boost his confidence and ability in advance of the big day.

Room to Improve

 RTÉ One, 9.30pm  

In the final episode of the series Dermot Bannon brings his clients to Paolo Tullio’s home for a masterclass in kitchen design and the efficient use of space.

 

Sport  

Swansea City v Everton (Sky Sports 1, ko 4pm) has Roberto Martinez returning to his old stomping ground. This season already looks like being the Catalan’s best yet as the Irish contingent at the club have helped the Toffees to the fringes of Champions League qualification. Other games today include Southampton v

Tottenham (Sky Sports 1, ko 1.30pm) and Inter v Milan (Setanta Ireland, ko 7.45pm).

 

 The Moment of Truth  

RTÉ One, 10.35pm  

John Duignan  talks about his time as a Scientologist, the religious organisation popular with several Hollywood celebrities. Duignan had lived in Co Cork from the age of 11 after both his parents had died and joined the Scientologists after undergoing a free personality test in Germany. He stayed with the group for 22 years, but says he became disillusioned when he attended a lavish ball where Tom Cruise was honoured as ‘most dedicated follower’ when the likes of Duignan were dedicating their lives to the organisation for a pittance in pay. He subsequently returned to Cork and wrote a book about his experiences.

MONDAY

Republic Of Telly Christmas Special

 RTE Two, 9.30pm  

 A seasonal special sees the usual presenters being joined by extended family members such as the Rubberbandits and the Viper, while the Christmas Confessions segment comes all the way from Australia.

 

Arsenal v Chelsea

Sky Sports 1, 8pm  

The big London derby comes at a difficult time for the league leaders as they try to bounce back from last week’s hammering by Manchester City. There’s added incentive for Chelsea in that a win this evening would put them top of the table by a point. By the start of the new year we should have a better idea of who the real league contenders are.

Raised by Wolves  

Channel 4, 10.50pm  

The hugely popular journalist/author Caitlin Moran turns her attention to comedy for this dramatisation of aspects of her own upbringing on a council estate in Wolverhampton.

 

CHRISTMAS EVE  

Films  

Movie offerings this Christmas Eve include Charlotte’s Web (RTÉ Two, 1.45pm) Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (RTÉ One, 1.50pm), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (RTÉ One, 3.45pm) and Spider-Man 3 (RTÉ Two, 7.30pm).

 The Zoo Christmas Special  

RTÉ One, 7.15pm  

The keepers at Dublin Zoo sit down for a dinner with Tom Dunne and tell him about their highlights of the year.

Irish Pictorial Weekly

 RTÉ One, 9.30pm  

 The use of German characters to hold a mirror to the face of Irish public life has been brilliantly executed by Barry Murphy and co, and our Tuetonic chums close out the current series with a special Christmas message. Mick Wallace and President Michael D Higgins also feature in this final episode.

 

For One Night Only... Phil Coulter

RTÉ One, 10pm  

 Gay Byrne meets the man with one of the most prestigious CVs in Irish music. We hear about his incredible career, from his Eurovision hit ‘Congratulations’, through the Bay City Rollers, and into other famous creations such as ‘The Town I Loved So Well’ and ‘Ireland’s Call’.

CHRISTMAS DAY 

Call The Midwife  

BBC One, 6.15pm  

As if Jenny and the other midwives didn’t have enough to deal with over Christmas 1958, the whole area has to be evacuated when an unexploded WWII bomb is discovered.

Seamus Heaney  

TG4, 8.45pm  

A special edition of Imeall looks at the life and work of the Irish poet who passed away earlier this year. As well as footage of Heaney himself, we hear from people who knew the Derryman, and a performance from Liam O’Flynn on uilleann pipes underlines how a Gaelic tradition informed his writings.

Downton Abbey  

UTV, 8.30pm  

Repeated on St Stephen’s Day on TV3.

Mrs Brown’s Boys

 RTÉ One, 9.25pm  

After just two years this show already feels like an established part of Christmas Day viewing tradition. An episode entitled Buckin’ Mammy centres around the mystery of what Mrs Brown’s grandson Bono wants for Christmas.

 

Christmas Day Films  

Bridesmaids (RTÉ One, 10.05pm) was a particularly big hit among the female demographic on its release in 2011. The politics of wedding arrangements take centre stage when a rivalry emerges between the maid of honour and the bridesmaid, with Chris O’Dowd among the cast. Children’s favourites today include Happy Feet (RTÉ One, 12.55pm) and Shrek Forever After (RTÉ One, 2.35pm).

ST STEPHEN'S DAY

#Missing You: Reality Bites  

RTÉ Two, 9pm  

This show is compiled of Skype video calls from Irish people overseas as they stay in touch with their loved ones at home.

 The Guard  

RTÉ One, 9.20pm  

Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle star in Michael McDonagh’s 2010 crime comedy about an FBI agent and an Irish garda who take on a smuggling ring in the west of Ireland.

Downton Abbey

TV3, 9pm  

If you didn’t catch the Christmas Day special on UTV, this is another chance to watch a show that is set during summer for Roses’s ‘coming out’ (it had a different meaning back then) at Buckingham Palace. Guest stars include Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti.

 

Soccer  

There’s a bumper crop of Boxing Day fixtures cross-channel, featuring Hull City v Man Utd (Sky Sports 1, ko 12.45pm), St Johnstone v Celtic (Sky Sports 1, ko 3pm), West Ham v Arsenal (BT Sport 1, ko 3pm), Man City v Liverpool (BT Sport 1, ko 5.30pm) and Blackpool v Leeds United (Sky Sports 1, ko 5.15pm).

FRIDAY

Munster v Connacht  

TG4, ko 7.15pm  

The two Irish provinces face off in the RaboDirect PRO12 at Thomond Park.

2013: The Magic Of Hurling

 RTÉ Two, 7.50pm  

A look back at a championship that, even by the high standards of recent years, was a standout in terms of great games and nail-biting excitement all the way to the two finals.

 

 

Dermot Morgan — Fearless Funnyman

RTÉ One, 9.50pm  

While the late Dermot Morgan is best remembered for Father Ted, this documentary delves into the wider career of the leading light of modern Irish satire. Pat Shortt and Pauline McLynn are among those paying tribute to the comedian who passed away aged 45 in 1998, and there are also classic clips from such shows as The Live Mike.


Lifestyle

A new book tells the fascinating tale of how Fred Astaire’s sister Adele gave up her own dance career to marry the owner of an Irish castle, writes Marjorie Brennan.How Fred Astaire’s sister Adele married the owner of an Irish castle

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: I’m so ahead of the curve dude, I’m already worried about getting Covid-20

From sweet expectation to bitter defeat.The 7 emotional stages of beginner baking

Fleabag, Love/Hate and a poignant new documentary series are among the options available, writes Des O'Driscoll.What to stream on Netflix, the RTÉ Player and other services

More From The Irish Examiner