TV preview: six things to watch on television this week

The famous Fairview lion escape, the Big Fat Quiz of Everything, the Quest for the Perfect Athlete and the return of Man Down

Fortune's Wheel
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

One Sunday evening in November 1951, locals in Fairview, north Dublin were terrified by the sight of a lioness running loose in the streets. Children coming out of Fairview cinema, having just watched a film called Jungle Stampede, were locked inside for safety. The animal's owner was a young lion-tamer named Bill Stephens, who had a circus act with his wife Mai – Jungle Capers: Bill Stephens and Lovely Partner – in which he performed deathdefying stunts with his troupe of lions and Alsatians. The lioness mauled a petrol pump attendant – and Stephens himself – before being shot by gardaí. This documentary tells the story of the Fairview lion escape, which became an international news story, and prompted Stephens to take even greater risks in pursuit of fame and fortune. He was killed by one of his animals two years later.

The Big Fat Quiz of Everything
Monday, Channel 4, 9pm

We don't hold with programmes that have "big" and "fat" in their title, but we'll make an exception for the new series of The Big Fat Quiz of Everything . The super-brainy quiz show requires contestants to have a vast knowledge of the past 100,000 years of human history – or at least be able to bluff their way through it. Jimmy Carr returns as the merciless inquisitor, while the finest minds on the telly – including Jonathan Ross, David Mitchell, Bob Mortimer and Claudia Winkelman – scratch their heads for the answers.

Fíorscéal: Quest for the Perfect Athlete
Tuesday, TG4, 10.30pm
Where do athletes find the strength to train long and hard, and push themselves to ever-greater sporting achievements? With the Olympics week that's in it, Fíorscéal: Quest for the Perfect Athlete looks at the science behind the sporting endeavour, and finds that it's in the head as much as in the muscles. Athletes need to be physically fit, but they also need to be mentally up for the challenge, and the programme looks at the psycho-cognitive training which is helping athletes train their brains into a winning mindset.

Fleadh TV
Thursday-Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm
Fiddles are out and bodhráns are about for the 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, and once again Fleadh TV (Thursday-Sunday, TG4, 8.30pm) will be there to capture all the rí rá agus ruaille buaille from the Co Clare town over four days of the festival. Last year's inaugural Fleadh TV was watched by more than a million viewers over four nights, and won the Best Live Event at the IFTA awards. This year, the show is adding a mobile camera crew, which will visit a different Clare town each night, and presenters Lynette Fay and Cathy Jordan will be joined by two new hosts, TG4's Mairéad Ní Chuaig and Clare musical legend Tola Custy.


Dog Tales with Andrea Hayes
Friday, TV3, 8.30pm
The new series looks at the work being done by the Dog Trust, Ireland and the UK's biggest dog welfare charity, as they strive to look after dogs which have been abandoned or neglected. Hayes becomes a volunteer with the Dog Trust and gets to know some of the canines in its care, including Alex, a Jack Russell left tied to a lamppost, and Skittles, a pregnant Shih Tzu who, following lots of TLC, gets to do a photoshoot with model Vogue Williams.

Man Down
Friday, Channel 4, 10pm
With incorrigible man-child Dan, Greg Davies has created a comic character that can slouch alongside the best of them. In the third series of Man Down (Friday, Channel 4, 10pm), Dan is as hopeless and disaster-prone as ever, but this time he's forced to do the near-impossible: make some grown-up decisions. The love of his life has moved to Boston, his mum's new boyfriend Daedalus (played by Tony Robinson) hates his guts, and he's about to lose his teaching job. This final episode features a guest appearance from Star Wars actor Mark Hamill. Somehow I don't think Dan will be learning the ways of the Jedi.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist