Weekend TV guide: 9 of the best shows to watch

The Late Late goes country while Tommy Tiernan returns with unknown knowns

The Late Late Show Country Special
Friday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Yee-hah! It's that time of the year again, when Ryan Tubridy dons the stetson and hosts the great and the good of Ireland's country music scene. The show will kick off with Daniel O'Donnell, Nathan Carter, Cliona Hagan, Mike Denver, Michael English, Robert Mizzell, Derek Ryan, Trudi Lalor and 100 jivers from around Ireland giving it socks to an 1980s classic. Also: Tubridy will host a "Circle of Friends", sharing family tales and hearing some of the stars' favourite songs. Plus: a chat with the gentle giant of country, Mick Flavin, and his family about his 20-year career, overcoming alcohol addiction and having two sons who were born deaf and will never hear their father sing; the winner of The Late Late's "Search for a Country Star" competition, who will perform a song with Nathan Carter; a tribute to music icon Hank Williams; the "Wagon Wheel of Fortune", with team captains Fred Cooke and Anna Geary leading English, Lalor and audience superfans in a battle for the coveted trophy; and a special talk with the perennially popular Daniel O'Donnell

Unreported World
Friday, Channel 4, 7.30pm

“Freedom of the Press” has long been a key phrase for journalists who are keen to ensure they have the ability to simply gather and deliver the news. In Nicaragua, some reporters can only dream of such freedom. President Daniel Ortega has launched a crackdown on the independent media in a country dominated by economic chaos and civil disruption. Reporter Sahar Zand and Director Roeland Doust travel to this Central American nation and visit the newsroom of the country’s oldest newspaper, independent TV studios and a blogger’s home. There’s also a look at other news-gatherers who have decided the only way to survive is to flee.

Jazz 625 Live: For One Night Only
Friday, BBC4, 9pm
This 90-minute feast for the ears pays tribute to the iconic 1960s BBC Two jazz show of the same name. Broadcast from the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and hosted by Andi Oliver, the live strand will feature a house band and guests including Gregory Porter, the Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, Joshua Redman, Jacqui Dankworth and Cleo Laine. Plus, there will be a chance to see archive material from the original series, along with features and interviews reflecting on a classic time in Jazz.


The Tommy Tiernan Show
Saturday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Who’d watch a chat show when the presenter has no idea who he will be interviewing? Quite a lot of people, it seems. Comedian Tommy Tiernan is back by popular demand for a third series of his unique chat show, in which he’s kept in the dark about his guests until the moment they step out onto the set. Tiernan has to fly by the seat of his pants as he improvises his way through each interview, without the safety net of research notes, prepared questions or (sometimes) even the slightest inkling of who the hell he’s talking to. Previous series have seen him come face to face with singer Christy Dignam, presenter Ruby Wax, model Vogue Williams, comedy writer Sharon Horgan, rugby ref Nigel Owens, and former Munster and Ireland second-row Donncha O’Callaghan. Tiernan manages to turn each encounter into a compelling and entertaining tete-a-tete, and we’re assured he will have all his wits about him when confronted with the next batch of mystery guests.

Mega Tornado: Weather Terror
Saturday, Channel 5, 8pm
Recent changes to the Earth's climate have resulted in extreme weather events, and hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, heat waves and flooding are now more frequent and unpredictable. This two-parter features the terrifying true accounts of communities caught in the middle of dangerous weather events. Weaving together interviews, archival footage, smartphone videos, tweets, desperate emergency calls, urgent texts and Facebook posts, it chronicles the gripping timeline – from calm, to storm, to devastating aftermath.

Secret of the Severed Heads: Viking Apocalypse
Saturday, Channel 5, 9pm
Road builders digging foundations for a new road in Dorset in June 2009 made a shocking discovery: a shallow grave with a tangled mass of headless skeletons and a pile of more than 50 severed male skulls. Who are these victims in this burial pit and why were they killed? This film pieces together the events that led up to this massacre, revealing secrets of the Scandinavian warriors who brought terror to Britain centuries ago. Cutting-edge forensics combined with deciphered ancient texts reveal a story of greed, betrayal and retribution.

Tenable All Stars
Sunday, UTV, 7pm

Warwick Davis hosts this celebrity version of his popular daytime quiz show. A team of five celebrities join forces to take on the Tenable Tower by answering Top 10 list questions. The prize is £125,000 for their chosen charities. In the first episode, the Medal Heads – made up of Team GB Olympians javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson, swimmer Sharron Davies, sprinter Iwan Thomas, hurdler Kriss Akabusi and long jumper Jade Johnson – try their luck. Can these decorated athletes score a perfect 10 in the final round?

D-Day: The King Who Fooled Hitler
Sunday, Channel 4, 8pm

Next month marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, but this documentary is starting the commemorations early by revealing the methods used by the Allies to divert Hitler’s attention in the run-up to the Normandy landings. It’s a tale of double agents, decoys and royalty, as the film-makers draw on new evidence and historical detective work to show how George VI, his Queen and the then-Princess Elizabeth were part of an elaborate ruse. The programme explores the Windsors’ relationship with British intelligence and reveals the future Queen Mother’s role in saving the day when one of the greatest secrets of the second World War was lost while in the king’s possession.

Avalanche: Making a Deadly Snowstorm
Sunday, RTÉ2, 9pm

Avalanches kill hundreds of people every year, and climate change seems to be making the lethal occurrences even less predictable. In March 2018 a team of scientists gathered in a remote valley in the Canadian Rockies with the intention of triggering a massive avalanche. This documentary, first broadcast last year on BBC2, shows how the experts, including presenter Prof Danielle George, prepared a series of cutting-edge tests in the hopes of understanding more about why and how they happen. The climax to the programme shows what happens when the explosions are detonated and some 1,000 tonnes of snow rush down the mountainside.

Contributing: PA