From cinema to home viewing, your entertainment wrap for the week
SATURDAY Welcome To Edinburgh BBC Two, 7pm
Since its inauguration in 1947, the Edinburgh Festival has become one of Europe’s top arts events. This one-hour show looks at some of the highlights, along the way meeting some of the perfomers and artists.
Child Genius Channel 4, 8pm
The five finalists face two tough rounds of quiz questions before a winner emerges for the extremely dubious title of Britain’s brightest child.
The Runway RTE One, 10.25pm
A feelgood film inspired by the real events of what happened in Mallow in 1983 when Mexican pilot Ruben Ocaña crash-landed an executive jet on the town’s racecourse. For the movie version, the pilot has become Colombian, and the town’s factory workers are seen to get together to get him airborne again.
SUNDAY Fair City RTE One, 8pm
Trigger is dead and Carol is determined to celebrate her new-found freedom. Elsewhere, Pete and Miriam are at loggerheads, while Kerri-Ann heads for a night out with the girls.
From Russia To Iran: Crossing the Wild Frontier
Channel 4, 8pm
We’ve previously seen Levison Wood walking the length of the Nile, through the Himalayas, and from Mexico to Colombia. This time around, he’s undertaking a 2,600 mile trek through the Caucasus mountains. It’s such a volatile area, you’d imagine there’s all sorts of trouble an ex member of the British army’s Parachute Regiment could get into, and he certainly senses the tension as he travels along Russia’s heavy militarised southern border.
Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes? BBC Two, 9pm
We’ve already had the singers, skaters and bakers – now its the turn of aspiring astronauts. A panel of judges headed by space veteran Chris Hadfield will put 12 contestants through all sorts to challenges to decide on who would be the most suitable to go to space. There are no guarantees the winner will actually blast off, but presumably, it’s not a bad line to have on your CV if you are applying to the relevant agencies. The candidates include a military pilot, a mountaineer and a ballet dancer, with the first episode pushing them to their physical limits and also putting them through some mental tests.
The State Channel 4, 9pm
It can be really difficult to fathom how a group like Islamic State could attract thousands of people from Europe to take part in such barbarity. Perhaps this new four-part series, showing over consecutive nights, can help us understand why. As well as being a topical issue, the involvement of Peter Kosminsky (Wolf Hall, etc) adds another reason to put it on your viewing list. It must have been a tough job for a drama writer. How do you make an audience empathise in some way with people who are generally regarded as evil and/or stupid? The hugely-respected writer/director says he’s based much of his story on extensive research he did into the people who left Britain join the murderous Islamist group. It follows four young British recruits who travel to join Isis in Syria, and see how their early enthusiasm becomes tempered by the reality of their new lives. One of the characters is female, and her naivety is underlined by the way she’s “shocked” when she realises how badly Isis treats women. Despite a slick digital arm and social media campaign, Islamic State’s outlook and practices are often described as ‘medieval’, and writer Kosminsky has mentioned similarities to the world he portrayed in Wolf Hall. For instance, in the era of Henry VIII, dissenters in England were regularly tortured and killed in all sorts of brutal ways.
MONDAY Horrible Histories: Ingenious Inventors CBBC, 5.25pm
It’s all about inventors today, with printing press inventor Johannes Gutenberg about the historical figures to be humorously skewered in the name of education.
The Rose Of Tralee RTE One, 8pm
Dáithí O Sé interviews the first of the 32 Roses; with the second batch and the announcement of the winner coming in Tuesday’s show (see p46).
Jamie’s Quick & Easy Food Channel 4, 8pm
Jamie Oliver returns with a new eight-part series, promising stress-free recipies that contain no more than five ingredients.
TUESDAY The Big Family Cooking Showdown BBC Two, 8pm
Two more families go head-to-head with their favourite tastes of home. The Karim family add some spice to the mix with dishes inspired by their origins in Pakistan, while the Dawes clan mix science and Chinese influences for their selection.
WEDNESDAY No More Boys And Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free?
BBC Two, 9pm
The second and concluding part of the series has Javid Abdelmoneim explores how genderspecific toys influence the skills that boys and girls develop. It involves co-operation from the parents as gendered toys are removed at home.
THURSDAY The Thin Green Line RTE One, 7pm
Most of us only have a vague idea of what functions our embassies perform. Helping people on holidays who’ve had misfortunes, and dishing out Ferrero Rocher at lavish parties? This new series should provide a bit more insight. It begins with ambassadors Dan Mulhall in London, and David Donohue in New York.
Who Do You Think You Are? BBC One, 8pm
Fearne Cotton’s family history includes her great-grandfather, a former miner who had never spoken about his experiences in the First World War.
Lego Masters Channel 4, 8pm
A new series to find the best Lego builders in Britain and Ireland. In this first episode, the 48 pairs of contestants are whittled down to just eight teams.
FRIDAY Teach My Pet to Do That ITV, 8pm
Alexander Armstrong shows you how to teach your pets various tricks, through positive reinforcement. First up, a border collie is taught to drive a remote control car, while a golden retriever and a rescued battery hen learn to wipe their feet on command. Perhaps these techniques could even work on kids?
Gardener’s World BBC Two, 9pm
Monty Don shows how vegetables such as pumpkins can easily be grown in containers, while there’s also advice on topiary from a guest expert.
The Crown was one of the big Netflix hits of last year, and season two has been confirmed for launch on December 8.
The streaming channel has also scored quite a coup by signing up the Coen brothers for a six-part western, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, to be shown next year.
The State runs on Channel 4 from tomorrow.
Kevin Fong, Chris Hadfield, and Iya Whiteley feature in Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?
The Rose of Tralee is on RTÉ One on Monday and Tuesday.
Jamie Oliver begins a new show on Monday.