TV guide: 12 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Including Funny Woman, the finale of Happy Valley and the beginning of the final series of Smother

The Masked Singer

Saturday, UTV, 7pm

With garish costumes even Grace Jones would baulk at wearing, the musical guessing-game show moves closer to its finale, with seven singers remaining, and audiences going wild trying to unravel the clues and identify the warblers behind the outlandish outfits. So far, Piece of Cake has been revealed to be legendary singer Lulu, Cat and Mouse were unveiled as Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp and his wife, Sophie, and Rubbish turned out to be snooker champion Stephen Hendry. Who will be next vocalist to be unveiled? Let the music begin.

Ant & Dec’s Limitless Win

Saturday, UTV, 8.30pm

The pocket presenters are back with the final episode of their hit gameshow, in which anyone who wants to be a millionaire has to climb up that seemingly endless money ladder to get to the big prize. Alas, there’s a limit to how long this show can keep running, so it’s farewell to this series for now. But before they go off to the I’m a Celebrity camp or wherever, Ant & Dec will welcome back husband and wife Nathan and Taylor, and introduce mother-and-son duo Tracey-Jane and Troy.

Happy Valley

Sunday, BBC Two, 9pm

The BBC has had a huge hit with this crime drama starring former Corrie star Sarah Lancashire as Sergeant Catherine Cawood, but now we’re at the last episode of the third and final series, and viewers will want to see if it all gets neatly wrapped up or if loose ends are left untied. Even the cast are largely in the dark about how it will end - the producers have filmed several different endings just to keep everyone guessing. What we do know is, with violent criminal Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), who is the father of Catherine’s grandson, is on the loose again, the tensions are ratcheting up, and the scene will be set for a final showdown between Catherine and her nemesis.


Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

The crime thriller series filmed in and around Lahinch in Co Clare is back for its third and final series, with Dervla Kirwan as devoted mother Val Ahern, dragged into a world of deceit and danger after her husband is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. In the final series, Val is trying hard to piece her life back together, and seems to have found love again. But putting the past behind her is not that easy, and on her wedding day more secrets and lies come to light. Seána Kerslake, Gemma-Leah Devereux and Niamh Walsh also star.


Four Lives

Monday, Virgin Media One, 9pm

If you missed this harrowing true-life crime drama first time round on the BBC, here’s a chance to catch it again - if you can handle it. Stephen Merchant is best known for his comedic roles, but here he’s sinister as the deeply disturbed serial killer Stephen Port, who murdered four young men in Barking, Essex between 2014 and 2015 after luring them to his house via a gay dating app. A botched police investigation saw the victims painted as drug addicts who overdosed, but Sarah Sak (Sheridan Smith), the mother of Port’s first victim, Anthony Walgate, worked tirelessly to uncover the truth about what really happened.

Everyone Else Burns

Monday, Channel 4, 10pm

Simon Bird rocks the finest pudding-bowl haircut on telly as pushy patriarch David in this new sitcom, centring around an ultra-religious family in Manchester who are convinced the world is about to end. They want to be on God’s good side when the Day of Judgment comes, but not everyone is the family is so hell-bent on salvation. In this episode, David’s wife, Fiona, is tempted by a Mamil (middle-aged man in Lycra), while son Aaron is bowing to pressure at school to stop drawing graphic pics of his classmates burning in Hell.


Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm

In a world where violent porn is available to teenagers on tap, how do young people navigate a perilous world of distorted expectations, and where do you draw the line between consent and coercion? This one-off drama addressed the dilemmas confronting teens in the digital world, and is set in a fictional boys’ private school that has moved to a coed model. When a new group of female students join the sixth form, it throws a grenade into the prevailing lad culture at the school, where boys talk about girls purely in porn terms, but have little real-life experience of the opposite sex.

The Shamima Begum Story

Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm

In 2015, 15-year-old Shamima Begum and two of her closest friends ran away from their London homes and boarded a flight from Gatwick Airport to Syria to join up with the terrorist group Islamic State. This documentary tells the extraordinary story of how Begum became a bride of the caliphate, but was stripped of her British citizenship and refused entry to Britain following the defeat of the caliphate. Is she a terrorist or a victim of trafficking? Investigative journalist Josh Baker hears her story and tries to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Neven’s Greenway Food Trails

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Neven Maguire’s most active cookery series comes to an end, as he heads for Waterford to cycle the Waterford Greenway, stopping off along the way for lots of gourmet refreshment. Maguire starts the journey in Dungarvan, meandering the 46km route on what used to be the Waterford to Mallow railway line, and drops in to the Dún Artisan Bakery to sample some treats baked by co-founder Fergal Walsh, and for Spanish-style churros at Churriosity. He also visits a former workhouse, now a coffee-shop and restaurant, in Kilmacthomas, and revisits Flahavan’s oat mills. But will he finally learn the secret to Flahavan’s oats?

Mary Kennedy: Fad Saoil

Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

How do women deal with the ageing process and all the challenges that brings? In this lively new series, broadcaster Mary Kennedy sets out to bust some myths about ageing for women, but also to confront some realities associated with getting older, including loneliness and loss of self-confidence, mental-health issues, osteoporosis and the insidious nature of ageism. Kennedy doesn’t gloss over the truth about ageing, but she is on mission to help older women have a positive view of their own bodies and stay healthy, active and happy in their older years.


From Thursday, Netflix

Penn Badgley returns as serial stalker/killer Joe Goldberg in the fourth series of You, and this time he has a new country, a new identity and a whole new set of potential victims to cherry pick from. Moving to London and posing as academic “Prof Joe Moore”, our homicidal hero has gathered a new, well-heeled circle of friends - but now he has a new problem to deal with: another killer is on the loose and has his new pals in their sights. Joe must turn his stalking talents to detective work to identify the homicidal interloper. Something tells me we’re about to jump a shark.

Funny Woman

Thursday, Sky Max and Now, 9pm

Gemma Arterton sparkles as budding comedy actor Barbara Parker in this effervescent adaptation of Nick Hornby’s bestselling novel Funny Girl. It’s set in the early 1960s, when comedy was a purely male pursuit, and the humour was racist and misogynistic. Barbara is a northern lass who has dreams of starring in a sitcom, and heads to London to audition for a new TV comedy series. But London isn’t the swinging sensation she thought it would be, and working in TV isn’t exactly a laugh riot for women in the 1960s. An all-star supporting cast included David Threlfall, Morwenna Banks and Rupert Everett, in full old-fart prosthetics as Barbara’s agent Brian Debenham.

Fleadh Cheoil

Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

If you missed out on last summer’s Fleadh Cheoil, here’s a chance to catch some of the more magical moments from the festival, which returned to its original venue in Mullingar, where it was first held in 1951. An emotional highlight will be the late Séamus Begley, who died in January, performing a rendition of The Patriot Game by the Dubliners underneath the statue of Joe Dolan which stands in the town. Presenters John Creedon and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh will be bringing all the ceoil and craic from Ireland’s biggest trad music festival.

The Late Late Show Valentine’s Special

Friday, RTE One, 9.35pm

Ryan Tubridy’s talents as a talk-show host are beyond question, but in this special episode, Tubs will be manifesting his skill as a matchmaker in this Valentine’s Day special,as he gamely tries to help the nation get loved up and paired off. The main topic for discussion will of course be love, and the Late Late studio will be filled with 200 singletons hoping to find their Valentine, with plenty of music, chat, fun and frolics to get everyone in the mood for romance. Will there be The One for everybody in the audience? Ring fingers crossed.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist