What to watch on TV this week

Gay Byrne presents a documentary on the Catholic Church in Ireland, Last Orders With Gay Byrne, at 9.35pm, RTÉ One on Tuesday.

SATURDAY

The Mystery of Van Gogh’s Ear

BBC Two, 9pm

Bernadette Murphy spent years researching Vincent Van Gogh and the famous story of how he cut off at least part of his ear in 1888 in the city of Arles in the south of France. 

We follow the dedicated researcher as she presents some of the evidence she has gathered, and she explains how her seven years of work also managed to find descendants of the young girl, Rachel, whom the suffering artist presented the bloodied ear to.

SUNDAY

The Third Man

BBC Two, 1pm

Carol Reed collaborated with Graham Greene on this classic from 1949, set in post-war Vienna. It also features an impressive cast that includes Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.

Robot Wars

BBC Two, 8pm

The revival of this show has proved quite a hit, and the Irish duo of Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon present new battles tonight, including designs from a nine-year-old girl, and a team of students.

Francis Brennan’s Grand Indian Tour

RTÉ One, 8.30pm

The travellers are in Jaipur in Rajasthan where they get dressed up in traditional local garments, go on a camel ride, and practice their bargaining skills in local markets. 

As ever, however, being Irish means they are probably more suited to slagging than haggling. Bantry woman Josephine Walsh is proud of how she looks in a sari until somebody pipes up that she looks “like the Virgin Mary in pink!”

MONDAY

Eden

Channel 4, 9pm

As this documentary series reaches its conclusion, one of the abiding messages is that the major obstacle for people trying to build a better society is... other people. 

The final episode in the current season gets a bit Lord of the Flies as one influential individual wants to split the camp in two, with only the strongest allowed to stay.

The King’s Speech

RTÉ One, 9.35pm

The hugely successful story from 2010 about the British king, George VI, and his efforts to overcome a speech impediment.

TUESDAY

Location, Location, Location

Channel 4, 8pm

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer return with a new series of the property show. It’ll be interesting to see what impact Brexit will eventually have on the market in Britain, but for this season, it’s pretty much business as usual as the duo help two first-time buyers.

Inside The Factory: Baked Beans

BBC Two, 8pm

The origins of baked beans can be traced back to the US in the 19th century, but the humble tin of Bachelors or Heinz has become a staple in this part of the world. 

For this episode, Gregg Wallace is in Wigan visiting the biggest baked bean factory in the world, tracing how tonnes of dried haricot beans are transformed into the sauce-covered favourites. 

On the other side of the process, Cherry Healey follows the discarded cans through the recycling process where they’re again turned into cans.

Last Orders With Gay Byrne 

RTÉ One, 9.35pm 

Gay Byrne looks back at the role of the Catholic Church in Irish life. 

We hear about the Church’s early roles in fighting for the downtrodden and poor in the Penal times, through its part in education and nation-building, and right up to the modern era as a fading force blighted by child abuse and subsequent cover-ups.

WEDNESDAY

Versailles

BBC Two, 9.30pm

The first series of the tale set around the reign of Louis XIV comes to an end with a bloody finale. Fans may not have to wait too long for a second season as a start date of October 1 has already been set for the US.

The South Bank Show Originals

Sky Arts, 10pm

A must-see episode for jazz fans has Melvyn Bragg looking back to his meetings with Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis. 

The 2003 encounter with Hancock had the master talking about the crossroads of a career choice he made before college: “Engineers are needed more than musicians. 

"Or at least I could probably get a job as an engineer easier than I could get a job as a jazz musician… Finally, one day, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘hey Herbie, who are you trying to kid?’ And then I changed my major to music composition.” 

With Marsalis in 1995, he spoke about the incredibly rich musical heritage of New Orleans.

THURSDAY

Gliondar

TG4, 9pm

The much-troubled honey bee is the focus of tonight’s show, and there’s also a look at the work of the country’s bee-keepers, complete with a visit to the National Honey Show.

The People Vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

RTÉ One, 10.10pm

It’s the final day of proceedings and OJ declines to take to the stand, paving the way for his lawyer to make the closing arguments. Spoiler alert for those who never saw the news in the mid-1990s: OJ is found not guilty. 

Cue celebrations, recriminations, and endless debate in the US. At a welcome home party, we see the former football hero announcing his intention to find the real killer. We’re still waiting for him to make good on that promise. 

Incidentally, exactly 13 years after being acquitted of the double murder, Simpson was imprisoned in relation to the theft of sports memorabilia from a hotel in Las Vegas. He’s due for parole next year.

FRIDAY

Highlands — Scotland’s Wild Heart

BBC Two, 9pm

A look at summer in Scotland and how animals such as guillemots and otters are making the most of this season of plenty. There’s also a look at a habitat that’s also present in Ireland — blanket peat bog, which we’re told stores more carbon than all of the forests in the UK.

Celebrity Big Brother

Tv3, 9pm

It’s Friday, so one of the celebrities is going to be evicted from the household.

Fargo

Netflix

Series two of the quirky TV drama has been available on the streaming service for a while, and is well worth a viewing if you didn’t catch it first time around on Channel 4. 

It’s totally independent from the first series, and the original Coen brothers’ film, so you can dive right in. 

Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) feature among the excellent cast.


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