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

Including Ireland’s Wild Islands, I’m a Celebrity... South Africa, Citadel and more

Ireland’s Wild Islands

Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Over three years, Corkman Eoin Warner has been on a voyage around Ireland’s Atlantic islands, sailing his impressive 140-year-old Galway hooker to Rathlin, Achill, Garnish Island, the Blaskets and Inishtrahull to explore the islands’ amazing wildlife and spectacular landscapes. Over the course of three programmes, shot in cinema-quality 4K resolution, Warner will encounter everything from white-tailed eagles and humpback whales, to grey seal bulls and basking sharks, and he’ll also explore the story of the Irish stoat, and witness the endangered corncrake as they put on a breeding display.


Sunday, UTV, 9pm

In this five-part drama series, Niamh Algar stars as embattled, overworked medic Dr Lucinda Edwards, putting out fires and spinning plates in a pressure-cooker hospital environment. On a particularly gruelling night, Dr Edwards is faced with an agonising decision when a young drug addict named Edith is brought in after overdosing on opioids. Edith’s death sparks an investigation, and Dr Edwards finds her actions on the night under the microscope and her professional reputation under threat, but Dr Norma Callahan (Helen Behan) has her own suspicions about Dr Edwards’s behaviour.

999 Faoi Oiliúint

Monday, RTÉ One, 8pm

What’s it like to work with Ireland’s emergency services? In this four-part series, new cadets train to be firefighters, paramedics and rescue personnel, but have they got the moxie to make the grade? In this episode, things get real for Emer as she answers call-outs with Mayo Mountain Rescue, while Rory launches his training with the Irish Coast Guard and Fiona gets her first year with Ireland’s National Ambulance Service under her belt.

I’m a Celebrity... South Africa

Monday, UTV and Virgin Media One, 9pm

I’m a Celebrity moves from the Australian jungle to the wilds of South Africa, in this new iteration of the hit reality TV format. For this new adventure, a host of previous I’m a Celebrity participants have been invited, and among the gluttons for punishment are boxer Amir Khan, former soap star Helen Flanagan, TV presenter Carol Vorderman, Olympian Fatima Whitbread, former royal butler Paul Burrell, supermodel Janice Dickinson and Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder. As usual, Ant and Dec will be there to gloat and guffaw over the contestants’ misfortunes.


Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr

Tuesday, BBC One, 8pm

It’s the final episode of the design challenge series, and just two contestants are left, having passed through a set of tasks that would put the wind up any budding designer. Now the remaining pair will embark on a design duel to find out who will win that coveted contract to reimagine a a top London cocktail bar. Host Alan Carr and judge Michelle Ogundehn have one doozy of a design task left: doing a makeover on two of Brighton’s busiest pubs.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Tuesday, Sky Arts, 9pm

There has never been a major documentary on the life and work of Vonnegut, one of the most influential novelists to emerge out of the postwar US. Film-maker Robert Weide developed a huge rapport with his subject over almost 40 years, and he delves deep into Vonnegut’s childhood in Indianapolis, his early struggles as a writer, and how his experience of being a prisoner of war informed his breakthrough 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

Mark Moriarty: Off-Duty Chef

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8pm

Even top celebrity chefs have to knock up an aul’ dinner at home, and Mark Moriarty is back to show us how to create Michelin star quality food in your own home without having to actually open a five-star restaurant. This week, he is starting with some Italian flavours, with risotto cacio e pepe and minestrone soup, then adding Indian spice with a classic butter chicken dish. Moriarty will also readily admit to some big baking fails, but will make up for them by sharing his tips for the perfect chocolate brownies.

The Silent Civil War

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

There is the official record of the Civil War, but there is also the unofficial stories handed down through generations of families over the past 100 years. In this special programme, a team of researchers and historians uncover a veritable treasure trove of taped memories which have been gathering dust in an attic in the US for 50 years. These are first-hand testimonies by family members of those directly involved in the Civil War, recorded by American researcher Harlan J Strauss in 1973, and telling a whole new tranche of tales from that fractured time.


Thursday, BBC Two, 9pm

Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives return as hapless brothers Max and Jake in the third and final season of the award-winning comedy-drama-crime series from Scotland. It all began with a hit-and-run incident which Max and Jake decided to cover up, and has spiralled hilariously from there. This third part of the series finds the brothers reunited but still facing insurmountable problems for which they will need even more desperate solutions, leading them to delve into the darker recesses of the past.

The Curse

Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

The comedy caper series set in the 1980s is back, and at this stage the characters don’t need to keep reminding us it’s the 1980s. The soundtrack will do that. A year and a half has passed since the dramatic events of series one, which involved the biggest-ever gold heist. Now Albert, Tash and Sidney are living it up in Spain’s Costa del Crime, but their troubles are far from over, as detectives Saunders and Thread, unable to touch the culprits due to the lack of an extradition treaty, set out to discover the whereabouts of the booty.


From Friday, Prime Video

Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) are the ultimate sleeper agents – living ordinary lives, blissfully unaware that they are actually spies. They used to work for global espionage agency Citadel, but it fell to a powerful shadowy syndicate known as Manticore. Mason and Nadia escaped, but not before their memories were wiped. Now, they are just getting on with being normal people, but when an old colleague turns up with the news that Manticore are planning to take over the world, they have to quickly go back to spy elementary school if they are to avert a catastrophe. Stanley Tucci and Lesley Manville also star.

The Cleaner

Friday, BBC One, 9.30pm

Crime scene cleaner Wicky has one last crime scene to clean up in the final episode of series two, but this task may be his last, unless he manages to keep his head. Wicky is sent to clean up after the murder of a gamekeeper in rural Wales, and he’s got to work around the undertakers who are trying to do their job. But someone else has arrived at the scene of the crime, and if Wicky doesn’t keep his wits about him, this could become the scene of yet another gruesome incident.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist