TV not to miss: Breaking Bad

The superb fourth series of Breaking Bad begins on TG4 on Thursday.

SATURDAY

The Santa Clause
RTÉ One, 6.35pm

Yes, it really is the first day of December, and this harmless 1994 comedy with Tim Allen heralds the start of the seasonal programming.

Star Trek
Channel 4, 9pm

JJ Abrams, creator of the TV show Lost, stepped back into feature films for this well-received 2009 prequel of the classic sci-fi series. Zachary Quinto of Heroes took on the role of Spock, while relative newcomer Chris Pine is Kirk, and the original Leonard Nimoy pops up as Old Spock.

The Killing
BBC Four, 9pm

Some of the political subplots can be rather uninteresting, but we’re sticking with Sarah and her hunt for the kidnapper. Another double bill has the ace detective getting closer to working out the mystery of the debt the baddie is trying to collect.

SUNDAY

The Late Late Toy Show
RTÉ One, 3.25pm

If you weren’t left up on Friday this is your chance to catch up with what’s hot and what’s not in the high street toy shops this season.

Ireland’s Search and Rescue
RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Cork-based action includes the drama of a boat on fire in the harbour, while Crosshaven RNLI are called to help a teenager stranded on rocks. Elsewhere, Doolin coastguard save a climber who’s fallen from the area’s Mirror Wall cliff, and a hunter is treated for hypothermia in the Wicklow mountains.

MONDAY

The Real Man’s Road Trip: Sean And Jon Go West
Channel 4, 9pm

British comedians Sean Lock and Jon Richardson make a travel show of sorts by heading to Louisiana to see how real men live. When the duo meet one of their cowboy hosts, they’re immediately asked, “Which one of y’all is the sissy?”, and have to help castrate a bullock.

Girls
Sky Atlantic, 10pm

Episode eight of the 10-part series features a guest appearance by Irish actor Chris O’Dowd. He plays Thomas-John, a venture capitalist who likes spinning DJ mash-ups on the side. His attempt to chat up Marnie and Charlie produces a surprise reaction. The episode is titled ‘Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too’.

TUESDAY

Storyville
BBC Four, 10pm

Documentary on how poor farmers in Mali are struggling while huge tracts of their nation’s agricultural land is being leased by China, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

WEDNESDAY

Supersized Earth
BBC One, 9pm

The final episode of this fascinating series on the logistics of human existence looks at what it’ll take to keep seven billion humans alive, in terms of energy, food and water. Amazingly, 40% of the Earth’s land surface is devoted to growing food, and Dallas Campbell visits a number of enterprises in an attempt to show the scale of what’s going on. In Brazil, he helps round up some of the 125,000 cattle in that country’s largest herd, and also joins the team building an artificial river from south to north China, currently the world’s biggest engineering project.

Congo 1961
TG4, 9.30pm

Memories of Ireland’s involvement in the Congo crisis is dominated by the Niemba ambush that resulted in the death of nine soldiers, but this looks at new evidence about another difficult situation the Irish found themselves in. Files in the UN archives in New York reveal that Irish Comdt Pat Quinlan and his troops were left in grave danger in Jadotville when rescue attempts were vetoed by UN chiefs. Veterans of the incident tell of what they endured.

THURSDAY

Ear To The Ground
RTÉ One, 8.30pm

With the closure of post offices, pubs and other premises, we’ve heard a lot in recent years about the death of Irish villages. Tonight’s show investigates the phenomenon. Among the contributors is Bob Roberts, an 82-year-old retired teacher living outside Hospital, Co Limerick, and he tells Helen Carroll about his fears of living in rural isolation. The sugar beet issue also gets a mention, as we hear about Cork farmer Michael Cullinane who has 25 growers contracted to produce quantities of the handy root vegetable that are then shipped to the North for conversion to bio-fuel.

Richard E Grant’s Hotel Secrets
Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Is it really a reflection on Richard E Grant’s acting career that he finds himself fronting this show about the world’s luxury hotels? This week he’s in Ireland, taking in such premises as Ashford Castle in Co Mayo, the Europa (Belfast) and the Clarence (Dublin). Of course, what we’d really like him to do is take a similar tour while in character as Whitnail.

MasterChef Ireland
RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

In this third-last episode, the four remaining contestants have to prepare a meal for all of Ireland’s Michelin Star chefs. Kevin Thornton, Derry Clarke, Martin Kajuite and four other kitchen masters will eat and critique the technically challenging dishes prepared for them.

Irish Pictorial Weekly
RTÉ One, 10.15pm

More surreal satire from Barry Murphy and co.

The Works
RTÉ One, 10.45pm

Ireland’s most prominent historian, Diarmaid Ferriter, is in the studio to talk about his latest book, Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s. The Boomtown Rats and Brian Friel are among the people mentioned in a discussion of Ireland’s cultural life during the decade.

TV50: Radharc
RTÉ One, 11.55pm

To follow the documentary on the Catholic filmmaking organisation on Tuesday, RTÉ is broadcasting two of its well regarded works. The first of these, Down and Out In Dublin from 1964, talks to homeless people in the capital. Next week’s will be Pain Is The Price (1978), about Shay Cullen in the Philippines.

FRIDAY

An Idiot Abroad
Sky 1, 9pm

Karl Pilkington and Warwick Davis are in India as they continue in the footsteps of Marco Polo. Yoga moves, a part in a Bollywood film and sunset over the Ganges all provide plenty fuel for their irreverent outlook.

AC/DC Live at River Plate
BBC Four, 9pm

This show in Buenos Aires on the Black Ice tour in 2009 forms part of a night of hard rock viewing that also includes Iron Maiden: Behind the Beast (10pm).

TV NEWS ¦ Charlie Murphy is the latest Irish actress to start making an impact on the international scene. The Waterford lass can be currently seen in Love/Hate as rape victim Siobhán, has also had a stint in a recent Misfits storyline and has now been cast alongside Maxine Peake and John Simm in forthcoming BBC drama The Village.

¦ Julian Fellowes is trying to work his Downton Abbey magic for US company NBC by creating a period drama set among the upper classes of New York in the 1880s. While there is no word on when The Gilded Age will debut, chances are that it will also make an appearance on this side of the pond.

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