this week’s high­lights

The Irish Times Magazine - - TV & RADIO - Kevin Court­ney

Have you got hid­den trea­sures in your house? Bet­ter keep them hid­den, be­cause John Cree­don and his crew of cu­ra­tors want to get their sweaty hands on them. But it’s not gold and sil­ver they’re af­ter – they’re look­ing for ev­ery­day ob­jects that may have lit­tle mon­e­tary value, but have huge cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

Na­tional Trea­sures ( Sun­day, RTE One, 6.30pm) is a new se­ries that trav­els the four prov­inces of Ire­land to find some fas­ci­nat­ing relics of modern Ire­land and un­cover the sto­ries be­hind them. For the first episode, Cree­don and his team are hold­ing a road­show in Cork, invit­ing the peo­ple of Mun­ster to bring along their most trea­sured arte­facts, in­clud­ing a pair of run­ning shoes worn by So­nia O’Sul­li­van, and the plec­trum Rory Gal­lagher used on his fi­nal gig ( I’d bid on that one). The best ob­jects will be cho­sen for a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion show­cas­ing Ire­land’s so­cial his­tory ( don’t worry – you’ll get your trea­sure back at the end). The panel of cu­ra­tors will in­clude so­cial his­to­rian Roisin Hig­gins, UCD lec­turer Richard McEl­lig­ott, his­to­rian and au­thor Donal Fal­lon, fash­ion his­to­rian Ruth Grif­fin and de­sign his­to­rian Linda King. Worth watch­ing? We’ll see.

You can’t beat a bunch of cute an­i­mals do­ing their cute an­i­mal thing – this is what telly was made for. The Zoo ( Sun­day, RTE One, 7.30pm) is go­ing into its eighth se­ries, but if you’re wor­ried the for­mat might be go­ing stale, fret not. There are some ex­cit­ing times in store at Dublin Zoo, with the ar­rival of Sari the Bornean orang- utan, who has come from Barcelona Zoo through a “simian Tin­der” scheme. Two young go­ril­las, Vana and Te­bogo, will be ar­riv­ing at the go­ril­las’ rain­for­est, and Asha the Asian ele­phant is fi­nally ready to give birth to her calf af­ter a 22- month long preg­nancy. With all this an­i­mal ac­tion, sure why would you bother watch­ing hu­mans at all?

Hote­lier Fran­cis Bren­nan has trav­elled the high­ways and by­ways of the coun­try help­ing peo­ple get their hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses in shape, and he’s back for an­other se­ries of At Your Ser­vice ( Sun­day, RTE One, 8.30pm), show­ing ho­tel and b& b own­ers where they’re go­ing wrong. In the first episode, Fran­cis meets a fam­ily of artists and his­to­ri­ans who have bought a coun­try house, but lack the busi­ness acu­men to turn it into a com­mer­cial en­ter­prise. They think a tea room might stir up some busi­ness, so they en­list Fran­cis’s ex­per­tise to help them re­alise their vi­sion.

Are you a culchie? Do you know any culchies? Are you per­haps mar­ried to a culchie? Or maybe you’re a closet culchie. Then Ali­son Spit­tle’s Culchie Club ( Mon- day, RTE Two, 9.30pm) is the show for you. The cre­ator of com­edy se­ries Nowhere Fast sets out on a quest to find out ex­actly what makes a culchie. Is it hered­i­tary? Is it a vo­ca­tion? Or is it just a makey- uppy term for any­one who lives out­side of Dublin? The co­me­dian ( who has more than a bit of culchie in her) will ven­ture be­yond the Pale to meet a va­ri­ety of young culchies and get their views on what it means to be “from the coun­try”, in­clud­ing Kerry co­me­dian Shane Clif­ford, Mayo drag queen Bradley Brock, Kerry so­cial me­dia in­flu­encer Erika Fox and the Tully twins from Co Ca­van, of Gog­gle­box Ire­land fame. She also learns to drive a trac­tor ( the culchie Porsche) and herd cat­tle – two es­sen­tial life skills for culchies – and goes on a fish­ing trip with self- con­fessed uber- culchie Kevin McGa­h­ern.

Not to be con­fused with the noughties Amer­i­can sit­com of the same name, Girl­friends ( Monday, TV3, 10pm) is a Bri­tish drama se­ries cre­ated by Kay Mel­lor looks at the lives of three best friends of a cer­tain age, as they ne­go­ti­ate the per­ils of life, re­la­tion­ships and work. Mi­randa Richard­son, Zoe Wana­maker and Phyl­lis Lo­gan play life­long friends Sue, Gail and Linda, who al­ways try

to be there for each other through thick and thin. When Linda’s hus­band mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­pears while the cou­ple are on a cruise, the friend­ship is tested to its lim­its by long- held se­crets ( and shock­ing plot twists).

We’ve been wait­ing for­ever for this ex­tended win­ter to end, but a sure sign that spring has fi­nally sprung is the re­turn of the lat­est week- long se­ries of Big Week on the Farm ( Monday- Fri­day, RTE One, 7pm). This year’s farm- fest comes from the Deise county. RTE are plant­ing their big out­door stu­dio on the O’Sul­li­van fam­ily farm near Dun­gar­van, Co Water­ford, and a 150- strong stu­dio au­di­ence will get a ring­side seat at all the ac­tion on one of the busiest weeks in Ir­ish agri­cul­ture.

Pre­sen­ters Ella McSweeney and Aine Lawlor will be joined by celebrity guest pre­sen­ters Deirdre O’Kane, Ali­son Spit­tle, Sean O’Brien and Lee Chin. Over the course of the week, the pro­gramme will look at all as­pects of farm life, from lamb­ing to calv­ing to hatch­ing, the lives of farm an­i­mals and the work of the vet. And of course the celebri­ties will take the Pull the Ud­der One chal­lenge and try to top­ple Pat Shortt from his milk­ing cham­pion’s stool. Danger, Will Robin­son! An­other ill- ad­vised re­boot of the clas­sic sci- fi se­ries about a fam­ily stranded some­where in outer space. We’ve al­ready had a best- for­got­ten movie ver­sion, and now Net­flix are “re- imag­in­ing” Lost in Space ( Net­flix, Fri­day) for a new gen­er­a­tion – will this one crash and burn, or will it take us to new fron­tiers of entertainment? Lost in Space fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of the space fam­ily Robin­son as they set out in their space­craft the Jupiter 2 to join a new colony, but are knocked off course and find them­selves stranded light years from home. The schem­ing Dr Smith is played by Parker Posey, and Will Robin­son is played by Max­well Jenk­ins, the kind of kid Steven Spiel­berg would give his eye teeth to cast.

It looks good, with whiz- bang spe­cial ef­fects and big, mind­blow­ing set pieces, but can it re­cap­ture the hokey charm of the 1960s orig­i­nal, which fea­tured cheapo props, ba­co­foil- cov­ered aliens and a ro­bot with vac­uum cleaner hoses for arms? Some things big bud­gets can’t buy.


John Cree­don, pre­sen­ter of Na­tional Trea­sures, Sun­day, RTE One

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