TV preview: Six things to watch on television this week

The women of the Easter Rising; the Rising told through the eyes of British politicians and soldiers; Bob Geldof on William Butler Yeats; Ireland’s greatest hat-makers

Seven Women
Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm
We can all reel off the names of the seven men who signed the Proclamation, but can we name women who played key roles in the 1916 Rising? Seven Women sets out to redress this imbalance, telling the story of the Rising through the eyes of seven women who were caught up in the conflict.

We all know rebel leader Constance Markievicz, but this documentary will reveal some of the forgotten women of the Rising, including sniper Margaret Skinnider, actress Helena Molony and teacher Louise Gavan Duffy. Although women were expected to play supporting roles in the Rising, making meals, tending to the wounded or acting as messengers, these women were in the thick of it, and many of them left vivid eyewitness accounts of their experiences. The documentary is presented by Fiona Shaw, and features a cast of fine actors, including Emma Lowe, Mary Ryan, Mary McLaughlin and Nichola McEvilly.

The Enemy Files
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
This year, programme makers have looked at the Rising from all angles – I'm sure we're going to get the dog's-eye view any day now. But there is one very obvious perspective that hasn't been fully explored until now: how did the Rising look from the British side? The Enemy Files tells the story through the eyes of British politicians, soldiers and intelligence agents, and finds out what was going through their minds as they dealt with this rebellion in their colony.

Britain’s former secretary of defence Michael Portillo brings his understanding of the military and political mindset to this eye-opening documentary. With contributions from journalist Robert Fisk and Britain’s former minister of state for security and counterterrorism Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, this will deliver a side of the story many might not want to hear, but which may just complete the picture.


I Am Traveller
Thursday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
Ireland is now a multiracial and multicultural society, but we still can't seem to get a grip on what it means to be Irish. A new three-part documentary series explores aspects of Irish identity, starting with I Am Traveller.

Love/Hate actor John Connors heads around the country to find out how the Travelling community still has to deal with racial stereotypes, and to see how Travellers are perceived by the settled community. He also meets members of the families who lost loved ones in last October's Carrickmines fire tragedy.

“Since I was a child I’ve had people calling me a knacker,” says Connors. “It hurts . . . and it makes me angry. But I’m not giving that word any power any more. I’m not a knacker, I’m a Traveller.”

A Fanatic Heart: Geldof on Yeats
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm
In the 1970s, Bob Geldof was part of a revolution that overturned the staid musical status quo. In the years leading up to 1916, William Butler Yeats was at the vanguard of a cultural revolution. Now the punk and the poet are brought together in A Fanatic Heart: Geldof on Yeats, a two-part documentary written by Geldof and Ray Foster that examines Yeats's life and work in the context of Ireland's struggle for independence.

Geldof is a huge admirer of Yeats, and says he never travels anywhere without one of Yeats’s books. “When words fail, his words will do.” He meets other stars to talk about Yeats, including Bill Nighy, Van Morrison, Ardal O’Hanlon, Edna O’Brien, John Boorman and Liam Neeson.

The Hat Show
Thursday, Irish TV, 8.30pm
Hats off to fashionista Emily O'Donnell – she's making an entire series based around that little yoke that sits on top of your head. The Hat Show highlights the huge influence Irish milliners have on the fashion world. O'Donnell, who also presents Wicklow County Matters on the channel, travelled to every county in Ireland to meet the makers and get insights into how they come up with their fabulous creations, which have been worn by such celebrities as Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga.

Line of Duty
Thursday, BBC One, 9pm
First the bad news: Keeley Hawes will not be returning for the third series of Line of Duty. She was nominated for a Bafta for her scene-stealing portrayal of troubled detective Lindsay Denton in series two of the police corruption drama. The good news is that the new series promises to be as tense and gripping as the last one. Daniel Mays joins the cast as Sgt Danny Waldron, head of the armed response unit, and his character seems to have even more demons running around inside his head. When Waldron's team shoots dead a suspect, the anti-corruption unit led by Supt Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) is called in, and DC Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) is sent undercover to investigate.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist