TV preview: seven things to watch this week

The health service in Ireland is put under the microscope this week

Keeping Ireland Alive: The Health Service in a Day, Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Ireland’s ailing health service is in the news every day, with record numbers of patients on trolleys and resources being savagely cut back. But for one day, May 31st, 2016, 75 camera crews went out to hospitals and clinics around the country to film life at the coalface of healthcare.

The result is Keeping Ireland Alive: The Health Service in a Day, a six-part documentary which, say its producers, tells the human stories behind the headlines. This is not a propaganda exercise, they add, but an honest, unflinching look at the challenges facing healthcare professionals around the country and an intimate portrait of some of the people they treat.

In the first episode, we meet bus driver Brendan Flanagan, who is about to have a tumour removed from his spine. This risky operation will be carried out by consultant neurosurgeon David O’Brien. Meanwhile, David O’Flynn from Limerick is spending his 70th day in the ICU unit of Dublin’s Mater hospital, having developed complications from swine flu.


In Naas, Tommy McCormack is getting ready to sing with the Kildare Pastimes Choir, for people living with dementia, and at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, Derek Hayes is waiting for an operation that could restore his eyesight.

African Pride, Monday, RTÉ One, 11.35pm

In South Africa’s townships, lesbian women face homophobic violence daily, and many have been assaulted, raped and murdered for their sexuality. But rather than cower and hide away, these women are fighting back by making themselves visible, taking to the streets to celebrate Pride and holding public memorials for their fallen sisters. African Pride tells the story of these indomitable women who have taken a stand against oppression in their communities.

Made by Irish film-maker and journalist Laura Fletcher, African Pride won the best human rights documentary award at Galway Film Fleadh.

Find me a Home, Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Soaring rents, negative equity and unattainable mortgages – it's tough trying to buy, rent or sell a home on the current property market. Find me a Home (Thursday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm) is a new six-part series documenting the rigmarole of getting a place you can call your own. We meet people who are either trying to get on the property ladder, or out of negative equity hell, or to find their perfect home.

Home From Home, Tuesday, BBC Two, 10pm

Johnny Vegas has found the perfect second home, a holiday lodge in the idyllic setting of the Lake District in England. But there’s one blot on the landscape: his neighbours, Robert and Penny, who are superior in every way. Home From Home stars Vegas as the hapless Neil, with Joanna Page as his wife, Fiona.

Our Ex-Wife, Thursday, BBC Two, 10pm

Peep Show's Robert Webb stars in a new comedy about a divorced dad trying to start a new life in Our Ex-Wife. Jack is happily engaged to new fiancée Sara, but demented ex-wife Hillary unleashes a post-marital blitz in a bid to ruin his future plans. Sara makes it her mission to befriend her future husband's ex, for the sake of the children. Can it possibly be as base and cruel – and funny – as Peep Show? That'll be tough.

Are You Being Served? and Porridge, both Sunday, BBC One

Sometimes it's better to let a classic comedy series stay in the vault where it can be remembered fondly. But the BBC has decided to celebrate its comedy legacy by remaking some of telly's most popular sitcoms. Are You Being Served? (Sunday, BBC One, 9pm) is a one-off episode featuring a brand-new cast playing the staff of Grace Brothers department store, including Mr Humphreys, Mrs Slocombe and Captain Peacock. Expect Mrs Slocombe's famous pussy to make a reappearance. This is followed by an all-new Porridge (Sunday, BBC One, 9.30pm), in which Fletch's grandson is banged up for cyber-crime. We'll just stick with the un-PC originals, thank you.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist