TV guide: 24 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Peaky Blinders, Killing Eve, Rock Till We Drop, Ireland’s Dirty Laundry, Saol Clainne

Cleas Act
Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
Presenters Eibhlín Ní Chonghaile and Eoghan Ó Loideáin meet the kids of Gaelscoil Uí Ríordáin in Ballincollig, Co Cork. From showcasing their acclaimed musical drama prowess to meeting future authors, this school of nearly 800 students is abound with talent. The kids and volunteers from the local Tidy Towns Committee will take on a new intergenerational singing challenge: forming a pop-up choir and singing Lewis Capaldi's hit Some You Loved as Gaeilge live in studio. Special guest will be one of Irelands greatest Gaelic footballers, Valerie Mulcahy.

Peaky Blinders
Sunday, BBC One, 9pm

Birmingham mob boss Tommy Shelby has survived wars, gangland feuds and assassination attempts, so li’l ol’ Covid is hardly going to stop him in his tracks. Filming of the sixth and final series of Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy is his most iconic role, was delayed due to the pandemic, but creator Stephen Knight says this will be the best one yet. As the country teeters on the brink of the second World War, Tommy is processing his failed assassination attempt on fascist leader Oswald Moseley and finding himself up against a new adversary, played by none other than Stephen Graham. Most of the cast will be back, including Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons and Anya Taylor-Joy as Gina Gray, but sadly, we won’t see Helen McCrory, who passed away last year. There will be a few new historical characters making an appearance, and with everyone from Samuel L Jackson to Brad Pitt to Snoop Dogg begging for cameos, expect the unexpected.

Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History
Sunday, BBC One, 7pm


Clever Stephen Fry has found a way to combine Harry Potter fandom with a passion for natural history. In his latest series, the polymath presenter will get on platform 8¾ and embark on a global journey in search of strange animals both real and imagined. His quest is to discover why we are fascinated by mythical creatures (although I suspect he already knows wh) and uncover the connections between the scary chimeras of folklore and the weird wildlife to be found in the real world. Fry’s adventures will take him to Utah – one of the world’s biggest dinosaur fossil sites – and on to Loch Ness, home of our favourite beastie. Oh, and if that’s not enough for fans of the Wizarding World. he’ll also be interviewing JK Rowling herself.

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy
Sunday, BBC Two, 7.20pm

The American actor takes a culinary trip to Italy to learn all about the great diversity of the country’s cooking in this six-part series made last year for CNN. Tucci, a refined sort of chap, says he is “honoured that it has been acquired by the esteemed BBC”, although Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon might be a bit miffed that their culinary travel series now has a Hollywood rival. But Tucci won’t be just eating at Italian restaurants and doing Michael Caine impressions – he’ll be learing all about how Italian food is cooked, and looking at Italian culture and history through a foodie lens.

Extraordinary Portraits
Sunday, BBC One, 6.30pm
As well as being a musician, Tinie (previously known as Tinie Tempah) is also a keen art collector, making him perfect to host this new series. It brings celebrated artists together with members of the public who have remarkable stories to tell in the hope of creating some of the extraordinary portraits of the title. In the first episode, Roxana Halls has to depict not one but two women – twins Georgia and Melissa, who survived a crocodile attack while swimming in a lagoon in Mexico. Halls finds out how the incident changed the way the sisters see themselves and their bond.

Cumasc: Seisiúin sa Black Gate
Sunday, TG4, 10.30pm
Three accomplished artists – Grammy-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens, Italian composer Francesco Turrisi and Conamara-born sean-nós singer Róisín Elsafty – set forth on a journey of musical collaboration. While rehearsing in Galway's Glenlo Abbey, the trio begins to forge something spontaneous and wonderful. The result is an ethereal performance in The Black Gate venue in Galway city.The gorgeous opening episode of Seisiúin sa Black Gate is an excavation of their musical pasts, a fusion of distinct traditions, a blend of concert film and interview.

Marcus Wareing's Tales from a Kitchen Garden
Monday, BBC Two, 6.30pm
The Michelin-starred chef is a familiar TV face thanks to his appearances on a variety of culinary-themed programmes, but at long last, he's landed his own show. This 10-part series sees Wareing transform his kitchen garden into a space in which he can grow his own produce and rear livestock. He travels across the UK looking for advice from experts, and begins in North Yorkshire, where he hopes to buy some pigs. Back at his smallholding in East Sussex, Wareing sets to work on preserving rhubarb he hopes to share with the locals. He also harvests apples, juices them and cooks up a family favourite he loved while growing up.

Gareth Edwards' Great Welsh Adventure
Monday, BBC Four, 7.30pm
The former Wales and British Lions rugby player and his wife Maureen set out on another five-part adventure to explore some of their home country's most beautiful places. They begin in Machynlleth in Powys, where Gareth fulfils a boyhood dream of driving a steam train. Maureen's keen too and takes charge as they wind through the stunning Dyfi Valley. However, she's less eager as they visit a centre for endangered birds of prey and has to tackle her phobia when they meet some magnificent new feathered friends.

Killing Eve
Tuesday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

It’s a love story with a murderous twist: can a psychopathic assassin and the MI6 agent pursuing her find love amid the rising body count? Fans of Killing Eve know from watching the first three series that this show has rewritten the script on bonkers story arcs, and we can expect more insanity as the saga reaches its (presumably bloody) conclusion. Sandra Oh returns as Eve, along with Jodie Comer as the deadly Villanelle and Fiona Shaw as chief spook Carolyn, who is still in hot pursuit of the shadowy crime organisation known as The Twelve. Eve is out for revenge while Villanelle is doing her best not to kill people, but neither can escape their deadly obsession with each other.

Rock Till We Drop
Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm

They say you’re never too old to rock’n’roll, a theory itested in this new four-part talent search with a twist. Presenters Martin Kemp (out of Spandau Ballet) and grime artist Lady Leshurr are each tasked with forming a rock band, but the chosen musicians all have to have passed the magic Beatle milestone of 64 years. Once the line-ups are complete, the two bands will go head to head in front of 60,000 at the Isle of Wight Festival, which has seen its fair share of old rockers over the past 50 years. You won’t be surprised to hear there’s no shortage of older people who are still crazy, and dying to strap on a guitar, pick up a mic and strut their stuff once again, including Jimmy (74), who used to sing with Tina Turner, and 95-year-old drummer Roy.

The Holiday
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, Channel 5, 9pm
In this thriller of a dream holiday goes awry. Jill Halfpenny heads the cast as Kate, a police officer who hopes to leave the pressures of the job behind when she goes to Malta with her husband, Sean (Owen McDonnell), and teenage kids. She's joined by two old university mates and their husbands, and their cool singleton friend Izzy. The break starts to seem a lot less relaxing when Kate finds messages on Sean's phone from someone called CoralGirl. It sets the scene for a holiday marred by fears of betrayal – and murder.

Ireland's Dirty Laundry
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

We know the shame of how the State mistreated thousands of young women, subjecting them to forced labour in the Magdalene laundries. In this two-part series we hear from the women themselves, who will tell their own stories of incarceration and enslavement. Many of these survivors are still fighting for redress from a State that has repeatedly broken its promises to make things right. “People think they know the Magdalene laundry story, but they don’t. They don’t know the half of it, to be honest,” says survivor Teresa O’Connor.

Part one builds a picture of life in the laundries – and it’s a hard-knock life, where these women, many of whom had experienced domestic and sexual abuse, were treated as detritus of decent society, and faced even more abuse and humiliation in these State institutions. “The history of 20th-century Ireland contains a really awful storyy,” says Prof Katherine O’Donnell of UCD. “And that is that we managed to lock up 1 per cent of our population within a whole network of related institutions – psychiatric institutions, mother and baby homes, Magdalene laundries, industrial schools. And there’s not a family in Ireland that actually isn’t affected by this legacy.” This series will show just how deeply it has affected people to this day.

Donal's Road Trip
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 730pm

Many of us have holidayed at home out of necessity over the past couple of year – and as a result were reminded just how special this little island of ours really is. Donal Skehan is determined to keep up the habit: With his trusty sheepdog Max as his travel companion he embarks on a food-filled road trip around Ireland. Skehan will take in all the places he’s never had a chance to visit, tick some culinary hotspots off his foodie bucket list and – inspired by visits to some of Ireland’s finest artisan food and drink producers – whip up a few delicious dishes along the way. In the first episodehe travels to west Cork, pulling in to Bantry, Kinsale and Summercove.

Your Body Uncovered with Kate Garraway
Wednesday, BBC Two, 8pm
Following her powerful and heartbreaking documentary Finding Derek, Kate Garraway meets patients with common health issues, from heart disease to kidney stones, endometriosis to back pain, as they experience an extraordinary medical consultation made possible by cutting-edge technology. Cancer, endometriosis and a stroke are among the conditions examined over the next three weeks. Tonight, Garraway and Dr Guddi Singh show fashion influencer Hilda the 100 benign tumours growing inside her womb. Her consultant is concerned that this very serious case of fibroids could put her reproductive health at risk. The second patient, grandmother Trudi, has a frozen shoulder, a common joint problem. Kate and Dr Guddi accompany Hilda and Trudi on an emotional rollercoaster.

Writing with Fire: Storyville
Wednesday, BBC Four, 10pm
Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas's film is set in the heart of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, known for its levels of corruption, violence against women and oppression of minorities. We are introduced to the work of Khabar Lahariya (KL), India's only digital news agency run by Dalit women, who belong to the lowest caste ("untouchable"). With exclusive access to the rapidly changing professional worlds of chief reporter Meera and her journalists, we see them negotiate obstacles and inch closer to their dream of becoming a relevant independent regional news agency.

Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
Filmed over eight years, this revealing and insightful observational documentary explores the world of nonverbal autistic writer and poet Fiacre Ryan (21) from Castlebar, Co Mayo. It is a coming-of-age story as scripted by Fiacre himself: Until the age of 13 he had no means of communicating and his life was one of frustration and isolation. Fiacre's parents were at a loss as to what was going on in their young boy's head, though they instinctively felt he was smart.

Fiacre’s world took a dramatic turn when he was 13. Desperate to help her speechless child, Fiacre’s mum, Carmel, with a few other autism parents discovered RPM (Rapid Prompt Method) on the internet and they invited an American teacher to Mayo to see if she could help their silent children. At the first workshop, Fiacre showed a level of competence and knowledge that astonished his parents and sisters. Like a dam bursting with words, his thoughts flowed out of him as he tapped out words on a letter board. Fiacre had finally found a way to communicate and his parents’ suspicion that he was smart was confirmed.

Saol Clainne
Thursday, TG4, 8pm
During 2021, the series Saol Clainne spent time with families arcross Ireland facing great difficulties, fighting to overcome obstacles for themselves and their loved ones. These are families struggling and suffering from tragedies, illnesses and the twists and turns of life. The first episode introduces Aoife Nic Sheáin, who has discovered mica in her home. Alice Ní Fhlanagáin tells her personal story of grief. And Jaqueline Walsh shares her emotional story of her mum, who has been missing for 36 years.

This Is Art Club!
Thursday, RTÉ2, 5pm

This new series for young artists and art lovers is presented by artists Holly Pereira and Shane Keeling. It will showcase amazing art being made by young people all over the country as well as in our studio. Episodes are recorded at Art Club studio at the National College of Art & Design, where each week the show will explore a different art material, from clay to paper, plastic or even pixels. There will also be reports from around the country, visits to galleries and exhibitions, and profiles of different various creative careers.

Amol Rajan Interviews Ian McKellen
Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm

It’s been an impressive couple of weeks for Amol Rajan. He recently became the first TV interviewer to speak to tennis star Novak Djokovic since he was deported from Australia. Now the BBC media editor chews the fat with one of Britain’s most beloved actors. Ian McKellen made his name as a stage star in the 1960s. A relative latecomer to movie stardom, he is perhaps now best known for his roles in the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises. Here the pair discuss McKellen’s long and distinguished career, as well as arguably his most important role: activist.

Tina Turner – Live in Barcelona
Friday, Sky Arts, 9pm
In 1990, Tina Turner hit the stage at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium to perform in front of 75,000 fans. The Tennessee-born singer was in peak form, touring in support of seventh studio album Foreign Affair, which contained the career-defining hit, The Best. This programme features footage from the concert, including performances of hits Steamy Windows, What's Love Got to Do With It, Nutbush City Limits, Let's Stay Together, River Deep Mountain High, We Don't Need Another Hero and Private Dancer.


The Dropout
From Thursday, Disney+

In 2019, journalist Rebecca Jarvis hosted The Dropout, a podcast focusing on the life of Elizabeth Holmes, the entrepreneur who was convicted of fraud earlier this year; she is currently awaiting sentencing, and faces up to 20 years in prison. The series was a massive success, winning various awards as well as an army of fans. As a result, it was decided to turn it into a drama and this seven-part series is the result. The story charts how the Stanford University dropout (Amanda Seyfried) founded medical technology company Theranos, which built its reputation on the claim that it could test for hundreds of diseases by using just a drop of blood, something which was later found to be false. Ann Archer, Sam Waterston, Laurie Metcalf and William H Macy costar.

Pieces of Her
From Friday, Netflix

With a name like Karin Slaughter, there’s no wonder the Georgia-born author became a crime writer. She’s written more than 20 novels and sold some 40 million copies in 120 countries. In this eight-part drama based on Slaughter’s 2018 bestseller, Toni Collette heads the cast as Laura Oliver, whose secret past is about to come to light after her daughter Andy (Bella Heathcote) is caught up in a mass shooting. Andy witnesses her mother coolly take down the assassin, and as video footage of the incident goes viral, Andy begins to piece together the truth about Laura, which may change their relationship forever.

Star Trek: Picard
From Friday, Amazon Prime
Some people think sci-fi telly is all about the future. But these shows are really about nostalgia, and Picard taps neatly into that collective memory of an idyllic past, providing a time machine back to the days when we all watched our favourite space opera, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Ditto The Mandalorian, Lost in Space and the Denis Villeneuve's Dune; all hark back to a chrome-tinted age of sci-fi. Star Trek: Picard sees Patrick Stewart reprise his iconic role of Capt Jean-Luc Picard, here taking – whadItellya – a journey into the past. So that retirement will definitely have to wait. Picard has to go back to 21st-century Earth to save the galaxy from his greatest foe, and apparently he'll also find a new romance along the way (you're never too old etc). Whoopi Goldberg joins the series, reprising her role as Guinan.

Lucy and Desi
From Friday, Amazon Prime

Later in March we’ll see if Nicole Kidman or Javier Bardem win Oscars for their portrayals of Hollywood star Lucille Ball and her first husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, in the biopic Being the Ricardos, which focuses on the making of their smash-hit sitcom I Love Lucy. But here’s a chance to learn more about the couple courtesy of this fascinating documentary directed by Amy Poehler. It charts how they met, fell in love and went on to found their own studio. There’s also, of course, an insight into the groundbreaking sitcom itself, while the likes of Bette Midler, Norman Lear and Carol Burnett offer their opinions.

Contributing: PA