this week’s highlights
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