TV preview: six things to watch on telly this week

Gay Byrne takes us to church, Dominic Sandbrook takes us back to the 80s, and hip-hop takes off

Last Orders with Gay Byrne

(Tuesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm)

The Catholic Church, once the protector of the poor and downtrodden during penal times, has of late been rocked by child abuse scandals and vilified for its hypocrisy. Tell us, Gay, where did it all go wrong? Last Orders with Gay Byrne looks at the role the church has played in Irish lives over the past 200 years. Gay travels around the country, meeting priests and nuns who give their insights, and drawing on his own experiences being taught by the Christian Brothers in Synge Street. "It's a sad story, especially when so many of them gave their lives for their ideals, religious belief and faith – and now to be among the most scandalised people in the world," he says.

Dice (Tuesday, Sky Atlantic, 10.10pm)


Andrew Dice Clay was one of America's most controversial comedians of the 1980s, delivering shockingly sexist routines in an era when comedy was supposedly getting its house in order. Needless to say, his brand of humour has not aged well. He briefly dallied with movie stardom before settling into a career of minor TV roles (you can spot him playing himself in Entourage and as Frank "Buck" Rogers in Vinyl). Dice is a scripted, semi-autobiographical series charting Clay's bid to resurrect his career in Las Vegas. In these two back-to-back opening episodes, Clay is haunted by an Elvis impersonator and helps actor Adrien Brody research a role. Approach with caution.

The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook

(Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm)

Britain is in turmoil as the rise of nationalism clashes with the forces of globalisation. But we’re not talking about recent events - this was all happening in the mid-1980s. This is the second part of Sandbrook’s three-part examination of Britain during a decade of huge social and political change. This episode, entitled Under Pressure, looks at the Falklands invasion, the rise of home computers and video nasties, and the threat of AIDS and IRA bombings.

The People V OJ Simpson: An American Crime Story

(Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.10pm)

The trial that riveted America in the 1990s comes to a close in the final episode of this true-life drama. It’s time for the jury to deliver its verdict on whether OJ is guilty or not of the murders of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. We all know the outcome, but that doesn’t make this series any less compelling, and this closing episode covers the dramatic last day of the trial, and the aftermath of the jury’s decision to acquit. Great performances from Cuba Gooding Jr as Simpson, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and David Schwimmer as Ron Kardashian helped earn this series no less than 22 Emmy nominations.

The Get Down

(Friday, Netflix)

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger brought us Vinyl, a drama about the record industry in the 1970s. Now Baz Luhrmann brings us another drama set in the music scene of the 1970s – but this ain't rock 'n' roll. The Get Down charts the rise of hip-hop in New York, focusing on the kids from the South Bronx who pioneeered this new sound. Luhrmann is helped by A-team of collaborators, including rapper Nas and original hip-hop mover and shaker Grandmaster Flash, to bring authenticity to this story of the music genre that started off in the ghettos and grew into a billion-dollar industry.

Rio 2016 (Monday-Friday, RTÉ Two)

After a colourful opening ceremony - with a message about conservation and global warming - the Olympics gets into full swing this week. Darragh Moloney presents tonight’s live action from Rio, featuring Finn Lynch and Annalise Murphy in Sailing (5pm). Tomorrow sees Ireland’s Hockey team play its third pool game against Germany (1pm). On Thursday the Men’s Golf tees off, and Scott Evans and Chloe Magee compete in Men’s and Women’s Badminton (1pm). Athletics get under way on Friday with Mark English in the first round of the Men’s 800m (1pm). Later, its the 49er Men’s and Women’s Skiff (Sailing) with Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern and Saskia Tidey and Andrea Brewster (5pm). Late on Friday night, Ciara Mageean will compete in Round 1 of the Women’s 1500m (11.30pm).

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist