TV preview: Seven shows to watch on television this week

Lambing season kicks off on RTÉ, UTV Ireland launches its rival to Top Gear and a new generation explores what it means to be Irish

Sunday, BBC One, 9.30pm
Crusading lawyer Maya Cobbina is about to land the biggest job of her career – director of public prosecutions. But her husband Nick has been hiding a dark secret – he is a former undercover agent whose dark past has come back to haunt him, putting his family in mortal danger. This new a six-part political thriller is written by Peter Moffat and starring Sophie Okonedo as Maya and Adrian Lester as Nick. "The part I play is a Titan of women who is not afraid to say the unsayable," says Okonedo. She is a truth seeker and is prepared to shine light into the darkest corners, come what may. I am tremendously excited, honoured and of course a little frightened to play her."

Atonement: A Would You Believe? Special
Sunday, RTÉ One, 10.30pm
Can a former terrorist find redemption through the bible and religion? Shane Paul O'Doherty was one the IRA's most notorious bombers, receiving 30 life sentences for bombing campaigns that left lives shattered. Alone with his conscience in solitary confinement, O'Doherty vowed to atone for his crimes and speak out against the armed struggle. Atonement: A Would You Believe? Special brings you inside O'Doherty's mind as he comes to terms with his violent past and sets out to forge a new future.

Big Week on the Farm
Monday-Friday, RTÉ One, 7pm
It's the lambing season, one of the busiest times of the year for farmers, so the last thing they need is a camera crew tramping about their farms while they're trying to get on with their work. But that's exactly what they'll be getting in Big Week on the Farm. Each night, RTÉ will be broadcasting live from a purpose-built studio on a sheep farm in Westmeath, in front of a live audience (wellies are de rigueur). Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor will be anchoring events in the studio, while celebrity guest presenters, including Roz Purcell and Nathan Carter, are on location in farms around the country, reporting on the lambing, calving, kidding and hatching as it happens. Each episode will give insights into modern Irish farming and just what it takes to run a farm efficiently and profitably.

The Tunnel
Tuesday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
Two detectives, one French, one English, must reach across the Channel to work together and solve crimes. Incroyable! The Tunnel returns for a second series and reunites French investigator Elise Wassermann (Clemence Poesy) and detective Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) as they investigate the abduction of a couple from the Channel Tunnel and a plane crash.


Tuesday, UTV Ireland, 9pm
Next month sees the launch of the BBC's new-look Top Gear, featuring Chris Evans, Eddie Jordan and a team of celebrity petrolheads. Not to be outdone, the rival independent station here launches its own motoring show, in which eight celebrities go behind the wheel for a series of challenges that will test their driving skills to the max. The line-up includes comedian Johnny Vegas, rapper Professor Green, TV presenters Angus Deayton and Mariella Frostrup, and X Factor judge Louis Walsh. But don't expect sleek Maseratis or suave Ferraris – the celebs' first challenge is a good, old-fashioned banger race.

I've Got Your Back
Thursday, RTÉ Two, 5pm
How do you win a quiz show when you don't know the answers to any of the questions? Easy – you get your friends and family to answer them for you. Simon Delaney presents this new early-evening quiz show in which the young contestants rely on the knowledge of their teammates to help them win. But it's not as easy as it looks. The contestant cannot see or hear their team, and has to nominate just one team-mate to answer the question. They've got to choose carefully – do they pick Mum to answer the question about soccer, or Dad to answer the question on fashion? First up are 10-year-old Dylan Hegarty from Glanmire, Co Cork and 10-year-old Aine Barry from Navan, Co Meath.

I Am Irish
Thursday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
How do you define Irish identity in 2016? Is it just wearing green, drinking Guinness and havin' the craic? For young people in modern Ireland, being Irish is a lot more than conforming to stereotypes, and this hour-long documentary explores what it means to be Irish for a group of smart, socially aware 15-34-year-olds. Presented by Una Mullally, and featuring the likes of author Louise O'Neill, boxer Andy Lee, actor and writer Emmet Kirwan, journalist Louise Bruton, YouTuber Bry and Pavee Point activist Kathleen Lawrence.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist