From cinema to home viewing, your entertainment wrap for the week
SATURDAY The Late Late Toy Show RTÉ One, 3.15pm
If last night was too late for the smallies, this handy repeat may provide a handy alternative, or even allow for a repeat viewing.
The Canary Islands RTÉ2, 7.15pm
We tend to think of these islands as a Spanish tourist resort, but this documentary reminds how their location off of Africa has helped provide an environment for some fascinating plants and animals.
SUNDAY The X Factor Final Virgin One, 7.30pm
Who will succeed boyband Rak-Su as X Factor champions? The four judges also ran the rule over the finalists last night, but the final vote here will decide who gets the record contract with Simon Cowell’s label, Syco.
Dynasties BBC One, 8pm
There are only 6,600 painted wolves left in the world and David Attenborough relates the tale of a pack fighting for survival in Zimbabwe. They’ve been led by matriarch Tait, but she’s getting older and one of her daughters leads a rival pack into their territory. As they battle for control, both females also face encounters with other predators such as hyenas, crocodiles and lions.
Pat Shortt’s Music From D’Telly RTÉ One, 8.30pm
American star John Prine appears on an archive show that also features such Irish talent as Planxty, Joe Dolan and Big Tom.
Secrets Of British Animation BBC Four, 9pm
Ireland has long been punching above its weight on the international animation scene, with links to the US probably more important than those to our near neighbours. However, Britain has some great animation houses, most notably Aardman, the creators of Wallace and Gromit. That Bristol studio features in this documentary alongside the likes of Halas and Bachelor.
MONDAY 10 Things to Know About RTÉ One, 8.30pm
UCC psychologist Professor Gillian Murphy is on the show to talk about the power of suggestion and how fake memories can be created. Other scientists doing research in the area talk about how memories are stored and recalled, and work being done to find ways of intervening in Alzheimer’s disease years before the tradmark memory loss occurs.
Babies: Their Wonderful World BBC Two, 9pm
Episode two of the excellent series takes a look at how children build social relationships in their first two years, discovering humour and empathy along the way. An experiment with good and bad puppets shows how babies are making decisions at a young age on who to trust, and a scanner shows which parts of the brain come into action as a baby is shown pictures of faces.
Death and Nightingales RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Jamie Dornan and co in the second episode of the three-part drama.
TUESDAY Ar Son na Poblachta RTÉ One, 7pm
The history of the War of Independence continues with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday at Croke Park, and fear sparked in the British administration by Michael Collins’ team’s killing of 14 British agents.
WEDNESDAY RTÉ Investigates RTÉ One, 9.35pm
An episode entitled ‘Land of Hope & Homeless’ looks at how, despite a housing crisis that’s been under way for several years, and the high-profile launch of such plans as ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, land earmarked for residential isn’t being developed at sufficient rates.
North Korea: Life Inside the Secret State Channel 4, 10pm
Various defectors describe what life is like in the strange, totalitarian state.
THURSDAY The Supervet At Christmas Channel 4, 8pm
Among the three patients Noel Fitzpatrick tries to help in this episode are a labrador who is having trouble walking and needs a dramatic intervention.
Ear To The Ground RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Any ideas of Ireland’s rural idyll have been scuppered by the amount of thefts taking place in many areas. Even those who’ve taken security precautions have had livestock and machinery stolen, and the stress of having to be constantly on guard has destroyed many people’s peace-of-mind. Darragh McCullough reports from north Co Dublin, where some thefts have been accompanied by nasty assaults. There are also two Waterford stories on the show: the Kiely’s free-range poultry enterprise in the Comeragh Mountains, where the birds are watched over by a pair of specially-trained Pyrenean mountain dogs; and the Dunhill farmers who’ve put in wetlands to absorb and clean any waste water runoff, creating a wildlife haven in the process.
Sky Atlantic, 9pm
The final series of the thriller in the chiller has just four episodes. That doesn’t give the two new detectives from Oslo much time to sort out the problems of the troubled Actic outpost.
Walking The Walk RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Documentary on Dublin priest, Fr Tony Coote, who after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease decided to walk the length of Ireland to raise awareness about the condition. As well as following him on his 550km walk from Letterkenny to Ballydehob, we hear how there are just three dedicated MND nurses in the entire country, and how lack of funding for research has meant very little advance in treatments in the past two decades.
FRIDAY The Big Lebowski Netflix
The Coen brothers’ 1998 tale of bowling and revenge gets a run on the streaming network.
Unreported World Channel 4, 7.30pm
While western culture has a strong association between slimness and beauty for young women, in the West African state of Mauritania, the tradition is very different. We see how some girls are force-fed up to 10,000 calories a day in an attempt to fatten them up for marriage, a situation that’s extra unpleasant given that the country has a food shortage. In some cases, chemicals are used instead, including some that were originally created for animals.
Rocky II RTÉ2, 9.30pm
Sylvester Stallone directed himself in this 1979 instalment of the ongoing franchise. We see our hero retire from boxing, but gets goaded back for one more fight against Apollo Creed. His eye is injured and he gets pummelled for much of the bout — surely there’s no way he can turn this around, is there?
Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music: A Musical History BBC Four, 10pm
A look at the suave band from the 1970s.
The Graham Norton Show BBC One, 10.35pm (NI 11.05pm)
Jackie Chan is on the show to talk about his autobiography, Never Give Up, which recollects his time growing up in the grounds of the French embassy in Hong Kong — where his parents worked — and his subsequent rise to becoming one of the biggest Asian stars on the planet.
Bernard Dunne returns with a new series of Mythical Heroes, on RTÉ2 on Monday. See p44.
Scarlett Lee has made it into this weekend’s X Factor final, alongside Dalton Harris and Anthony Russell.
UCC psychologist Professor Gillian Murphy discusses Memory on 10 Things to Know About.
Fr Tony Coote features in Walking The Walk on RTÉ One on Thursday, detailing his efforts to raise awareness and funds for MND.