What to watch on TV this week

SATURDAY

Ice Age

RTÉ One, 6.35pm

The original of the hugely popular animated films still works a treat on the smallies.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

RTÉ2, 9.10pm

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in this rather adult 2013 take on the classic fairytale. One of those films that was slaughtered by critics, but got a more favourable response from many punters who saw it.

The John Bishop Show

BBC One, 9.45pm

The Liverpool comedian is the presenter for a new series of entertainment shows recorded at the Hackney Empire theatre in London. In the debut show, we’ll get Paul Weller and beatboxer Beardyman, as well as several comedians.

SUNDAY

The Speech

RTÉ One, 10.05pm

In the final episode of the series, Ireland’s man of the moment, Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss, helps shy 26-year-old Jenni Houghton to overcome her fears about making a speech at her wedding. The occasion will be laden with extra emotion as it takes place exactly two years after Jenni was pronounced as being in remission from Hodgkins Lymphoma, the cancer condition that had threatened to cut short her life with her beloved Chris.

MONDAY

The Water Horse

TV3, 3.15pm

Enjoyable family film about two children who discover an egg on a beach in Scotland that hatches into a junior Nessie.

The Road

UTV Ireland, 10pm

One of the strangest decisions in the modern history of the Academy Awards was that this adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel didn’t even get a nomination in 2009. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee star as a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Not exactly cheery stuff, but it really does make for gripping viewing. And, amidst the darkness and awful situations the duo have to face, the story also manages to underline some of humanity’s more positive traits.

TUESDAY

Kitchen Hero: Donal’s Irish Feast

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Donal Skehan heads north to visit Baronscourt Venison in Co Tyrone, a company producing meat from Japanese sika deer; and also watches the creation of a traditional boxty dish.

The Syndicate

BBC One, 9pm

A third series of the drama based around a group of people who win the lottery. This time around it’s the staff of a manor house who hit the jackpot, with the result that they are now richer than the posh family they work for. Ironically, the lord of the manor has fallen on hard times and the estate is struggling to stay on track. Lenny Henry is probably the most familiar face in the cast, and plays a gardener with Asperger’s syndrome who is one of the winning syndicate.

The Walking Dead

RTÉ2, 10.50pm

Episode two of series five has Rick leading a mission to get some supplies.

WEDNESDAY

A Sporting Chance

RTÉ2, 9pm

Last we saw Bressie uncovering musical talent in Limerick; for this series, we see how sport is used in the city to help early school leavers get back on track. Over three episodes, we’ll watch coaches — including rugby players Liam Toland and Rosie Foley — working with the group as they form a tag rugby team, and undertake a number of other educational and life skill challenges.

Modern Times: Weekend Warriors

BBC Two, 9.30pm

If you’re a modern man who doesn’t really fancy getting kitted out in lycra and jumping on a bike at the weekends, perhaps you should think about tackling an obstacle course instead. Apparently, it’s a growing activity with a spend of millions of dollars per year around the world. This documentary follows five men as they attempt one of the 12-mile Tough Mudder courses.

Bernadette ‘Súil Siar ar Aistear Polaitíochta’

TG4, 9.30pm

Cork-born producer and filmmaker Lelia Doolan has a long list of impressive projects on her CV, not least being hands-on in creating the classic RTE series, The Riordans. In this two-part documentary, she turns the camera on Bernadette McAliskey, tracing the Tyrone woman’s activism from her involvement in the Civil Rights movement in the North, right up to the present day.

THURSDAY

Banshee

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

The third season of adventures from the Pennsylvanian town features the usual combination of sex and violence as the imposter sheriff deals with the various groups who live in the area. There’s a new villain in town for this series, a huge native American named Chayton Littlestone who uses his bow and arrow skills to great effect.

FRIDAY

Gershwin’s Summertime: The Song That Conquered the World

BBC Four, 8pm

A repeat of the fascinating documentary on George Gershwin’s classic song from the musical Porgy and Bess. Pauline Black of The Selector takes us through the song’s history, looking at versions by the likes of Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Miles Davis.

Whiskey Business

TV3, 8.30pm

New series following brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling as they go about setting up a new distilling business in Dublin near where their ancestors’ enterprise originally stood in the 18th century.

Gardener’s World

BBC Two, 8.30pm

Monty Don is setting up a beehive, and in tonight’s episode he takes delivery of his first swarm.

True Blood

TG4, 11.25pm

The seventh and final season of a vampire drama series that is well past its sell-by date, but can still provide some entertaining diversion. Tonight, Bon Temps is under siege from the Hep V vampires. And start your stopwatches for the first gratuitous nude shot of Alexander Skarsgård.


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