There’s no ig­nor­ing it, so here’s to lin­ing up for six weeks of real-life drama

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - YOUR TV WEEK -

N Thurs­day, all eyes in the world (ex­cept for the US, prob­a­bly, where most people still see ‘sawker’ as a game for school­girls) will be glued to Brazil as foot­ball’s big­gest car­ni­val kicks off. As it hap­pens, I ac­tu­ally was in Rio de Janeiro (pic­tured be­low) for car­ni­val in 1988 and it was one of the most spec­tac­u­lar shows I’ve ever seen, so if the hosts can’t pull off the best open­ing cer­e­mony ever, I’ll be hugely dis­ap­pointed.

The weeks and weeks of ac­tion be­gin in São Paulo ( RTÉ 2 , UTV, 7pm), with Brazil tak­ing on Croa­tia in the first match (RTÉ, rather oddly, is tak­ing a half-hour br e a k t o show an­other Simpsons re­peat just be­fore kick- off ). There’s a lot at stake for the lo­cals and the govern­ment must surely be hop­ing that a good run and maybe even a win in the tour­na­ment will ban­ish con­cerns – and even vi­o­lent protest – about the cost of stag­ing the World Cup, es­pe­cially with the Olympics still to come in two years’ time.

For most of us, though, it’s an end to nor­mal life for six weeks. What new play­ers will make a claim to world­wide fame? Who will be the Zi­dane, end­ing a stel­lar ca­reer in shame?

It’s as much about the drama as the foot­ball skills.

As an ap­pet ite- whet ter, David Beck­ham Into The Un­known (BBC1, Mon­day, 8.30pm) looks promis­ing. No, he’s not go­ing to buy his clothes in Penneys – in­stead, he’s tak­ing a trip into the rain­for­est to meet re­mote tribes­peo­ple, per­haps the only hu­mans on the planet who won’t know who he is. Oh, well, if he takes off his shirt and flashes his tat­toos, they’ll pos­si­bly think he’s a walk­ing trea­sure map. It’s your last chance to catch the Dublin-made an­i­mal pro­gramme that’s top­ping polls around the world (among the most viewed se­ries in Bel­gium and in Thai­land, no less). The nat­u­ral charm of the Dublin Zoo staff as well as its 400-plus an­i­mals and award-win­ning con­ser­va­tion schemes have won hearts around Ire­land and abroad. The RTÉ se­ries was cre­ated by Moon­dance Pro­duc­tions and filmed al­most en­tirely on lo­ca­tion at the na­tional zoo. It be­gan here in 2011 and was sold to Dis­cov­ery An­i­mal Planet in the UK in 2012; this week is the last in the cur­rent se­ries with keeper Su­san O’Brien’s timely visit to Brazil. High­lights so far in­clude footage from min­utes af­ter the birth of baby go­rilla Ki­tuba two years ago. On Thurs­day, fol­low­ing the sad pass­ing of four-month-old gi­raffe Tamu (‘sweet one’ in Swahili), the keep­ers in the African Plains hear the happy news that Tamu’s mother, Maeve, has given birth to a new calf.

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