Weekend TV guide: 15 of the best shows to watch

Graham Norton and Doireann Garrihy are back, plus Shortt and Tiernan on the Late Late, Patsy Palmer on Ray D’Arcy, and opening salvo of BBC epic World on Fire

The Late Late Show
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Two powerhouses of Irish comedy, Pat Shortt and Tommy Tiernan, will tell Ryan Tubridy about joining forces for the gritty black comedy Dark Lies the Island. The film, written by Kevin Barry and directed by Ian Fitzgibbon, is set in a small Irish town over a long week. Also: Doireann Garrihy will be on hand to impersonate some of the well-known Irish faces that feature in the second series of The Doireann Project (now on the RTÉ Player; see below),  as well as discuss how to deal with online bullying. Plus: former Irish football international (and upcoming Dancing on Ice contestant) Kevin Kilbane will describe feeling Irish while living in Brexit-era Britain, his love of Mayo football, and his devastation at the loss of his father. Sophia Murphy on finding the courage to deal with vast trauma and adversity by testifying against her father, who last July was sentenced to 18 years in prison for regularly sexually assaulting Sophia from the ages of 3 to 15; a special performance from Moya Brennan, with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir; ahead of receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards; and the debut performance of a new single from Hudson Taylor.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC1, 10.35pm (repeated Sat, Virgin One, 10.30pm; Sun, Virgin Two, 10pm)

To kick off the 26th season of his chat show, Norton welcomes Oscar-winning Dame Helen Mirren, who stars in new period drama Catherine the Great, beginning on Sky Atlantic next week. Also: author, adventurer and documentary-maker Simon Reeve discusses his upcoming series The Americas; comedian and actor Jack Whitehall, who stood in as host last spring, so Graham may have to remind him who is boss tonight; RuPaul on his hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK; and music from Anders SG and Stine Bramsen from Alphabeat.

The Doireann Project
Friday, RTÉ Player, from 11am


Doireann Garrihy returns with her online comedy series, in which she rips the piss out of the celebs, social media stars and telly presenters we all know and love so well. The series is currently the highest-rated original show on the RTÉ Player, pulling in nearly a quarter of a million streams, so it can’t be long before Garrihy makes the big leap to “proper” telly. In this new series, Garrihy goes all-out, adding new characters to her old favourites to bring her take-off total to 15, including Dáithí and Maura, Pippa O’Connor, Roz Purcell and Una Healy.

Friday, Virgin One, 9pm

A welcome repeat for those who missed this steamy, violent six-part thriller in August 2018, the BBC’s biggest hits in years. A troubled specialist protection officer (smouldering Richard Madden) is assigned to guard an ambitious home secretary (steely Keeley Hawes), the possible target of terrorists because of her support for a controversial surveillance Bill. The bodyguard’s military experience in the Middle East has left him harbouring deep resents – which may or may not make him a threat to the politician.

Lewis Capaldi Live
Friday, BBC1, 11.25pm
The Scottish singer-songwriter has been one of the breakthough musical artists of the year so far, achieving global success with his hit single Someone You Loved, which spent seven weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. Here, the pop sensation performs the biggest headline show of his career at Croxteth Park in Liverpool, entertaining a sell-out crowd of 12,500. Accompanied by the 60-piece Manchester Camerata, Capaldi performs hits from his platinum-selling debut album and a special surprise cover of a Beatles classic.

Inside Air Force One: Secrets of the Presidential Plane
Friday, Channel 5, 9.15pm

It is the call sign given to any aircraft carrying the US president, however it is most commonly associated with the Boeing 747s (there are two of them) that fly the president to major world events. This programme takes viewers inside the “White House in the sky”, with former chief steward Howie Franklin revealing the favourite meals enjoyed by the leaders (for Ronald Reagan it was macaroni and cheese, George Bush Snr barbecued meat, and Donald Trump fast food). There is a look at Trump’s ideas for entirely new plane, complete with a new controversial colour scheme.

The Ray D'Arcy Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.50pm
EastEnders icon Pasty Palmer joins D'Arcy to chat about her recent return to Betsy Butcher after five years way from Albert Square, far from her glamorous life in Malibu. Also: Kodaline frontman Steve Garrigan and author Diana Bunici make their first joint TV appearance as ambassadors for the mental health initiative "Walk in My Shoes". Plus: award-winning author and Irish Times columnist Michael Harding on his latest memoir, Chest Pain, and how a heart attack last year gave him a new perspective on life; two teenage climate ambassadors, Alicia O'Sullivan and Jack O'Neill on representing Ireland at the UN Youth Climate Summit in New York this week; Australian Michelle Bourke on making international headlines by flatpacking a cut-out of her late husband and bringing it on her travels around the world to fulfil his dying wish; and former Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics legend Paul Carrack, who will perform a special arrangement of The Living Years accompanied by Cór Linn.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love
Saturday, BBC2, 9pm

This documentary describes the relationship between musician Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. They met on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 as part of a bohemian community of foreign artists, writers and musicians. Reviewing the film for The Irish Times, Tara Brady wrote that Ihlen became "Cohen's lover, the maker of his sandwiches, and the stunning blonde who sat at his feet while he dropped acid and banged out an incomprehensible novel. Who would ever be a muse? That's the question underpinning Nick Broomfield's romantic, angry, funny, sorrowful new film, which contextualises Cohen's carelessness and Ihlen's passivity within contemporaneous social and cultural climate." (Read full review here)

Raised by the Village
Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Your teenagers are out of control, running with the wrong crowd and getting up to all sorts of antisocial shenanigans. How do you rein them in before they turn into juvenile delinquents? Simple: farm them out to a rural village where the local community will put manners on them. Raised by the Village looks at the idea that young people might behave better if they have a tight-knit community around them, watching their every move, but also supporting them every inch of the way. In this social experiment, city kids Warren and Jordan are sent by their parents to stay on a farm in Ballintubber, Co Mayo, away from the pressures of living in a big, faceless urban sprawl. Don’t worry – they’re not just thrown to the wolves. Child psychotherapist Stella O’Malley is on hand to monitor the teens’ progress as they attempt to fit in with their new rural community and mend their aul’ city ways.

World on Fire
Sunday, BBC One, 9pm

This new seven-part drama is set on a big canvas: the outbreak of the second World War. Helen Hunt, Sean Bean and Lesley Manville head a huge cast in these intertwined tales of ordinary people caught up in this global conflict, with the action moving from Berlin to Warsaw to Paris and from the streets of Manchester to the beaches at Dunkirk. Should be plenty of material there for high drama. The story begins in Warsaw, where a British translator (Jonah Hauer-King) falls in love with Polish waitress (Zofia Wichlacz). That romance is rudely interrupted by German tanks rumbling into the city. Meanwhile, in Berlin, an American journalist (Hunt) tries to help her Jewish neighbours escape the Nazis, and finds her own life in peril. And in London, a tousle-haired prime minister named Boris is desperately trying to liberate his country from the yoke of EU oppression and, uh . . . sorry, dunno how that got in there.

Comedy Showcase: Dad
Sunday, RTÉ One, 10.30pm

Imagine that your Dad moved in with you. Imagine the arguments and the smells. Imagine the hugs and bad food. Imagine how your Dad would have no idea of how you live your life – and how wounded he’d be that you’re not interested in how he lives his. Dad is a comedy about a middle-aged father, (Lorcan Cranitch) moving into his conservative son’s one-bedroom flat after his long-suffering wife has kicked him out.

Egypt's Lost Pyramid
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm
The remains of a 4,000-year-old pyramid were recently discovered by archaeologists in the desert of northern Egypt. The fact it is still sealed with a 10-tonne block of granite has left experts rubbing their hands with glee. Among them is Egyptologist Chris Naunton, who joins the team of tomb raiders. As light enters the space for the first time in millennia, the artefacts contained reveal a mesmerising detective story. The tomb may have been sealed, but the contents have been disturbed, making this one of the world's most ancient crime scenes. Though the burial chamber has been robbed, there are no signs of entry.

Stacey Dooley: Face to Face with the Arms Dealers
Sunday, BBC2, 11pm
The presenter meets a family of Arkansas arms dealers who sell high-grade weapons to more than 100 countries. She discovers how deals are made in this secretive business, which arms military forces, law enforcement agencies, private security companies and private individuals, and learns about the code of ethics governing the trade. Dooley also pays a visit to a gun factory, gets to fire one of the world's most powerful sniper rifles, and examines some of the latest technological breakthroughs, such as guns with facial recognition software.

Rob Beckett's Savage Socials
Sunday, E4, 10pm

The toothy English stand-up has been a regular on panel games such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and A League of Their Own. Little wonder TV bosses have been falling over themselves to sign him up as frontman for series such as All Together Now. In his latest project, Beckett brings together the biggest celebrity news and jaw-dropping moments of the week, providing savage commentary on the most topical, hilarious and outrageous clips, content and news.

Inside the World's Multi-Million Pound Mega Mansions
Sunday, Channel 5, 9pm
In 2018, luxury properties the world sold for between £175 million and £45 million. The most expensive neighbourhoods can be found in LA, so who better to give us the lowdown than estate agent to the stars Shawn Elliot? He and his team are looking for a home for a mystery billionaire, and only the best will do. We also meet ocean view homeowner Liz, who is selling her £35 million cliff-top mansion and planning to move to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, Freedom Jacob Cesar is revamping his £10 million pad in the hope of making more than a million in profit.

Contributing: PA