Irish Examiner Saturday - Irish Examiner - Weekend
From cinema to home viewing, your entertainment wrap for the week
It might be a bit early for many people to sit in front of a telly, but this thriller from 1954 rates among Alfred Hitchcock’s best, and is well worth recording for later viewing. James Stewart and Grace Kelly star in the tale of a man who thinks he witnesses a murder in a neighbour’s apartment.
Take Me Out
A twist to the show has the regular panel replaced with 30 women who work for the emergency services, while the males trying to tempt them are a firefighter, a doctor, and a paramedic.
The Irish language station probably has the smallest budget of any of the main channels, but it has still managed to schedule a decent roster of films over the holidays, including this Coen brothers’ murder tale. William H Macy, and Steve Buscemi star in a film probably best remembered for Frances McDormand’s role as police officer Marge Gunderson.
Life and Soul
RTÉ One, 11am
This episode of the religious programme features several celebrities who are open about their faith, including Francis Brennan, Katie Taylor and Ireland hockey star Elena Tice. There’s also a visit to the L’Arche community in Cork, part of an incredible worldwide organisation that provides homes and workshops for people with intellectual disabilities.
A sort of quiz equivalent of a unifying title bout in boxing, this show features previous winners of such programmes as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Mastermind, The Chase, and University Challenge. They go head-to-head in general knowledge to see who will emerge as the heavyweight quiz champion.
BBC One, 6.55pm
This show has never had the profile in this country as in the UK, but a cohort of dedicated fans will still be interested in the launch of a new 10-part series.
Snow Cats And Me
BBC Two, 8pm
Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan is in Russia with a cat expert who is trying to rehabilitate lynx back to the wild. Two of them had lived in a tiny cage for years, with their young bred for the fur trade; while another pair were raised as pets in a house and had never been outdoors. It’ll be quite a job to get any of those cats up to a level where they can fend for themselves, but there is some good news when one of the females is pregnant. Concluding episode on Monday.
A Date for Mad Mary
Virgin One, 9pm
Gritty 2016 drama in which Seana Kerslake shines as a young woman trying to readjust to life in Drogheda after her release from prison.
Niall Tóibín: Everyman
RTÉ One, 9.30pm
Documentary on the Cork entertainer who passed away in November. His daughters trawl through the archives, while fellow actors Pierce Brosnan and Gabriel Byrne relate anecdotes from their time on set with Tóibín.
Great Irish Interiors
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
A three-part series on renovation projects on historical buildings around the country will run across three nights this week. First up is Doneraile Court in Co Cork, a state-owned property with a gorgeous estate that’s a popular destination for a stroll in the area. We see the progress of a recent restoration project that saw part of the house finally opened to the public last summer after decades of closure. Thursday’s episode features Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, while Friday looks at Emo Court in Co Laois.
Shane Lowry: Open
RTÉ One, 9.30pm
This film follows the affable Offaly man from
his bitter disappointment at not making the cut at the British Open in 2018 to his triumph this year at Portrush this year when he walked away with about €1.7 million.
Searching For Sam — Adrian
Dunbar On Samuel Beckett
BBC Four, 10pm
The veteran Irish actor is best known for his Line of Duty role, but also showed his breadth of knowledge in recent years with an excellent documentary on Brendan Behan. For this documentary, he visits some of the formative locations in Beckett’s life, from Dublin and Wicklow, through to Enniskillen and Paris. Along the way, west Cork-based photographer John Minihan and actor Stephen Rea talk about their encounters with Beckett, and we also hear tales of how he hid from the Germans during WWII in a French viillage that also hosted artist Marc Chagall at the same time.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Ireland’s Fittest Family Celebrity Special
RTÉ One, 6.25pm
Various celebrities lead their family teams through the trials at the Hell & Back course in Kilruddery. Big Brother winner Brian Dowling, RTÉ Sport’s Jacqui Hurley, Fair City actor David O’Sullivan (Decco) and Olympian couple Rob and Marian Heffernan all take part. Our money is on the latter pair.
Mrs Brown’s Boys
RTÉ One, 9.40pm
The second of the seasonal specials from Brendan O’Carroll is called ‘Orange is the New Mammy’.
Graham Norton Show
BBC One, 10.20pm
Tom Hanks is a regular guest on the show, and is usually one of the better raconteurs. Joining him on the couch are Melanie C of the Spice Girls, and actor Stephen Graham.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
RTÉ One, 6.30pm
Observational documentary follows Natasha Maimba and Minahil Sarfraz, who became friends as part of the Direct Provision, as they prepare to do their Leaving Cert in Athlone. Both spent large parts of their childhood in the system before eventually being granted rights to stay in Ireland.
Madagascar: Earth’s Tropical Islands
BBC Two, 9pm
First of a three-part natural history show being broadcast over three consecutive nights. First up, we see how the island off the coast of Africa has much more amazing wildlife than its famed lemurs. Thursday’s show focuses on Borneo, where the oranguntans, tree frogs, sun bears, etc, are under threat from industrial logging and palm oil plantations; while Friday has Hawaii, where many of the impressive animals are water-based.
Best Home Cook
BBC One, 8pm
Mary Berry and co are back for season two of the cooking competition where contestants live together in a shared house. First up, the 10 contestants have to produce an Italian pasta dinner, complete with making their own pasta.
Sky Atlantic, 10pm
Widely praised in some quarters, while leaving other viewers underwhelmed, the third and final season of David Simon’s New York-set drama moves into the 1980s as the porn industry undergoes major changes. VHS video tapes have become the gamechanger, and the Aids epidemic is taking hold.
Anne with an E
Irish actress Amybeth McNulty stars in the final season of the series based on the early 20th century novel Anne of Green Gables.
Gogglebox Festive Special
Channel 4, 9pm
The viewing families peruse the Christmas telly offerings. Are their reactions similar to yours?