TV guide: 12 of the best new shows to watch this week

Ralf Little returns as the neurotic but brilliant detective Neville Parker while The Hairy Bikers are going west

Death in Paradise

Sunday, BBC One, 9pm

Ralf Little returns as the neurotic but brilliant detective Neville Parker in series 13 of the murder-mystery drama set on the fictional Caribbean idyll of Saint-Marie. This one could be renamed Near-Death in Paradise as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) is shot and rushed to hospital during a celebration of his 50 years in the police service. It seems cut and dried, as everyone witnessed the shooting at the Yacht Club. But, can everyone believe what they’ve seen? There are plenty of puzzles for Neville and the team to unravel.


Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

So, you want to be a detective inspector (DI) in a gritty crime drama? You need courage, resourcefulness and a dark, tragic past. It is there on the application form. Lisa Dwan plays DI Fia Lucey in this new series from the makers of Smother. She is ambitious and a little unorthodox, and soon she is in trouble over her aggressive policing style, and is sent back to her hometown of Blackwater to cool her heels and investigate a missing persons case while she is at it. Lucey will have to deploy the tried-and-trusted tortured cop procedure: waking up old ghosts and of course facing her demons.

Silent Witness

Monday, BBC One, 9pm

Another two-part adventure begins as forensic pathologist Nikki Alexander and her team investigate the death of a Burmese man on a deserted beach. But the crime scene is perplexing – and Alexander and her colleague Jack Hodgson (David Caves) are left wondering what really happened, and how the murder is linked to a recent massacre in Myanmar. As they delve deeper into the mystery, Alexander and Hodgson have to sift through the misinformation to get at the truth – and they also have to deal with their feelings for each other.

Our Flag Means Death

Monday, BBC Two, 11.15pm

The gay pirate comedy romp starring Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi returns for a second series, and there is a shock in store for our swashbuckling heroes, as HBO Max has cancelled the show. Fans have started a petition to save their beloved programme, but unless they can turn the ship around, we will not be getting a third series. Meanwhile, back on the high seas, Stede and Blackbeard have gone their separate ways, and Blackbeard is dealing with his broken heart in a manly way, ramping up the piracy and raiding every vessel in sight. Gentleman pirate Stede, meanwhile, is broke, and getting used to life without booty. He is also wishing he had been more open with Blackbeard about his feelings. Soon he is too busy fighting a new foe to wallow in guilt and self-loathing – but he will find time for it.


The Hairy Bikers Go West

Tuesday, BBC Two, 7pm

The Hairy Bikers – Si King and Dave Myers – became best mates while travelling the high roads and byroads of Scotland. Now they are back in Scotland to begin a new culinary journey – down the west coast of Britain, from Scotland to Devon and Dorset, with stop-offs in Lancashire, Merseyside, North Wales and Bristol. Along the way they will meet local food producers, sample signature dishes from the places they visit, and rustle up some dishes of their own – all with a side order of teary-eyed nostalgia. First stop is the Isle of Bute, where they learn of a plan to reintroduce truffles to the island, and learn to make chicken stuffed with haggis.

Boris Becker: The Rise & Fall

Tuesday, UTV, 9pm

We love a success story, but what we really enjoy is a rattling good fall from grace, and this two-part documentary tells how one of the world’s biggest tennis stars went from centre court to criminal court, and from mega-rich sports celebrity to bankrupt pariah. The documentary tracks Boris Becker’s sudden rise to fame, hailing from a small town in Germany, winning Wimbledon at just 17, and becoming almost as famous for his high-flying lifestyle as for his prowess on the tennis court. Featuring interviews with former tennis stars Pat Cash, Tim Mayotte and Kevin Curren, as well as Becker’s former wife and former fiancee.

Neven’s Portuguese Food Trails

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8pm

Chef Neven Maguire continues his follow-up trip to Portugal with a visit to the capital, Lisbon, where he will find no shortage of foodie delights to sample and savour. First off are some divine handmade custard tarts from the city’s Belém district, based on a 19th century monk’s secret recipe. Next is a restaurant in a historic convent building that survived the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, where Maguire learns how to make a fab salted cod dish and a steak with beer, cream and pepper sauce. He also visits the city’s first ice-cream shop, established in 1933, and finishes up in a extravagant Art Deco seafood restaurant.

Operation Transformation

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Episode two of the fun fitness programme sees the five new leaders kick-starting their health and wellness plan in front of the entire nation. No pressure. This series has set up its base in Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath, and presenter Kathryn Thomas will be on hand to provide encouragement as the leaders push themselves. The expert panel of psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy, dietitian Sophie Pratt, GP Dr Sumi Dunne and fitness instructor Karl Henry will be on hand with practical advice and tips for everyone taking part in this year’s challenge. “Our 2024 leaders are just phenomenal and without a doubt are going to inspire the nation,” says Thomas.


Thursday, UTV, 9pm

Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) is faced with a baffling mystery in this eighth series of the British detective drama: what is eating Rev Will Davenport (Tom Brittney)? Keating cannot help noticing his clerical friend is not himself, and having very pronounced mood swings. Things come to a head in this episode, as Keating confronts Davenport and finally learns the truth. Meanwhile, DC Larry Peters (Bradley Hall) is investigating the deliberate poisoning of two men – one of whom has died – but finds himself turning to Keating for help in cracking the case.

First Dates Ireland

Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.30pm

The First Dates restaurant is booked out once again by a bunch of singletons hoping that they can find someone to make their taste buds tingle. Among them is intense Cork teacher Richard, who meets Caoimhe, a falconer from Galway. Can he swoop her off her feet? Dubliner Thomas is looking for a wedding partner (a nice lad accompany him to his friends’ weddings). What will make-up artist Toni make of her date Biff’s Playboy bunny tattoo? And will Aoife be impressed that her musician date Paul once jammed with The Edge?

Fleadh Cheoil

Friday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

This week, Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar features a celebration of the diaspora, with a mighty musical session including musicians from New York along with home-grown talent, led by self-confessed accordion addict Dan Gurney, who got his first accordion in a toy store in upstate New York. New presenter Dáithí Ó Sé is getting nicely settled in, with guidance from Fleadh veteran Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh. Ó Sé goes in search of music from his home county of Kerry, and Iarla Ó Lionáird drops by to perform a song.

Sue Perkins: Lost in Alaska

Friday, Channel 5, 9pm

Sue Perkins does not know what she is letting herself in for as she presents this new three-part travel series exploring the US state of Alaska. It is not quite True Detective: Night Country, but Perkins will have to do some serious survival training before journeying through the rugged Alaskan wilderness, including learning how to survive a bear attack and a plane crash. “Alaska is a wild and unknown place, so getting the chance to immerse myself in the diverse cultures and landscapes was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” says Perkins. God love her.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist