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

April 21st-26th: From geopolitical thriller Red Eye to Wicker Man-style island mystery The Red King

Red Eye

Sunday, UTV, 9pm

Stephen Armitage stars as a man being extradited to China for a murder he says he did not commit, in this six-part thriller set on a long-haul flight. While at a conference in Beijing, Dr Matthew Nolan (Armitage) crashes a car while drunk, and when he arrives back in the UK, he is immediately sent back on the red-eye to Beijing to face murder charges. But when people start getting killed on the plane, DC Hana Li (Jing Lusi), who is accompanying Nolan on the flight, begins to suspect there’s more going on than meets the eye – like, a huge conspiracy involving a nuclear deal?

Ireland’s Hidden Treasures

Sunday, RTÉ1, 6.30pm

What treasures lie deep in the bowels of the National Museum and the National Library of Ireland? We’re about to find out, as the museum and library take us behind closed doors to view various artefacts and relics, including one that wasn’t even made on this Earth: the Brasky Mass, a meteorite estimated to be 4½ billion years old, and which plunged to Earth near Limerick in the early 19th century. We meet the people behind the scenes who look after these hidden treasures, including Dr Patrick Roycroft, the National Museum’s curator of geology.

Man Up?

Monday, RTÉ2, 5.30pm

Irish rugby sevens star Jordan Conroy is presenter and mentor in this sports documentary series, taking 10 young teenage boys under his wing to help them explore alternatives to toxic masculinity and misogynistic attitudes. These teens are at a formative stage in their lives, aged 12-14, and from different backgrounds and circumstances, but Conroy is hoping to steer them all on a path towards a healthier view of what it means to be a man. In episode two, the boys try their hand at a serious non-contact sport – rowing – and are surprised to learn they enjoy it. But even more surprising is how bad Conroy is at this sport.

Pass It On: Sacar na mBan

Monday, RTÉ1, 8pm

Peter Coonan narrates this four-part series following Ireland’s elite women footballers as they battle through the 2023 season, all with their eyes on the championship prize. In episode three, Galway goalkeeper Abbiegayle Ronayne is looking to regain her place in the Galway goal after being dropped from the starting team, and Shelbourne’s Jessie Stapleton is packing her kitbag for a move to London and a professional contract with West Ham. Meanwhile, Tara O’Hanlon of Peamount is struggling with an injury that could end her career.


Super Garden

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 7.30pm

The garden design contest is back for a 15th series, and one of the big features for this series is an aptronym. No, it’s not a plant species – it’s a name that’s apt for its owner, and in the case of new judge, landscape architect Kerrie Gardiner, it’s a moniker that suits her right down to the ground. She’ll be joining judges Monica Alvarez and Brian Burke to run the rule over a new crop of garden designers, all hoping to bag a slot at the annual Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park. They’ll have a budget of €15,000 to create a garden that will wow the judges – and the 100,000 people expected to attend Bloom. First up is Derry man Gary Hegarty, who wants to design a sensory garden with a nod to Love Island for his five-year-old son Fury, who has autism.

Glitter: The Popstar Paedophile

Tuesday, UTV, 9pm

It’s hard to watch reruns of Top of the Pops without shuddering at the thought of both Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter having appeared on the show. Glitter – real name Paul Gadd – was hardly ever off the show in the early 1970s, as hit after hit smashed in to the No 1 slot, including a song called Remember Me This Way, but these days he’s remembered as one of the UK’s most notorious paedophiles and his music is all but wiped from pop history. This new documentary delves into Glitter’s crimes, and his long years evading justice in southeast Asia, where he continued to abuse children. He was the first person arrested under Operation Yewtree in 2012, and is still in jail having been refused release, as he is still considered to pose a danger to children.

The Red King

Wednesday, Alibi, 9pm

Police sergeant Grace Narayan (Anjli Mohindra) is posted to the remote island of St Jory, where the locals indulge in some strange pagan rituals. She’s investigating the cold case disappearance of a local teenager, but soon finds herself in perilous territory as old beliefs and new realities collide. If this all sounds a bit Wicker Man-ish, that’s deliberate, as the series’ creator Toby Whitehouse pays homage to the 1973 cult horror film. Years ago the inhabitants of St Jory worshipped a pagan god called the Red King – and there are still a few people on the island keen to resurrect him.

Growing Up Jewish

Wednesday, BBC1, 10.40pm

In the Jewish tradition, marking the transition from child to adult is a hugely important ceremony, the moment when young Jewish people become responsible for their own faith journey. This series follows four diverse young people aged 12-13 as they prepare to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs, each one choosing a different type of religious ceremony, reflecting the diversity of Jewish culture. This is a huge milestone for each of these kids, and the significance is brought home to them as they make their elaborate preparations for this coming-of-age ceremony.

Joe and Katherine’s Bargain Holidays

Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

Comedians Joe Wilkinson and Katherine Ryan have very different tastes in holidays; Joe likes to go frugal, and is never happier than when holidaying on the cheap, even if it means passing on the gourmet food and glitzy hotels. Katherine, on the other hand, wants all the holiday luxuries, from Champagne to presidential suites, but would be happy to get it all at a bargain price. Together the pair set off to have a fab holiday without breaking the (very small) bank, and hope to pass on tips to viewers for vacationing on a budget. First stop is Norfolk, where the pair flit through lavender fields, sleep in a church and go to an unusual therapy session involving breaking things.

Home Rescue: The Big Fix

Thursday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

This week the Home Rescue team have their work cut out for them: reimagining a house that has become so cluttered that its owner, Monica Brady, can’t even invite family to dinner as there’s nowhere to sit among the bric-a-brac and other useless items that have accumulated in the house over the years. Monica is still processing the death of her husband, Dick, and her son, Richie, from cancer over the past decade, and her grief is reflected in her hopelessly cluttered home in Swords. She needs to let her grief – and her belongings – go, but despite the best efforts of her daughter Michelle and granddaughter Gemma, Monica still can’t even bring herself to sleep in her own bedroom. Can designer Dee, builder Pete and the team turn Monica’s house back into a place where the family can gather?

Tracks and Trails

Friday, RTÉ1, 7.30pm

This week’s Track and Trails features former Wexford camogie player Ursula Jacob, who explores two coastal trails in Co Kerry. Jacob now works as an analyst and commentator on RTÉ radio and TV sports programmes, and has a busy family life, so she’s hoping these walks will give her a bit of head space and a chance to recharge the batteries. The first walk takes her from Tralee to Fenit along an old ship’s canal, and she is joined along the way by Kerry footballing legend Kieran Donaghy. The second walk takes her along one of Ireland’s old butter roads, and along the Kerry Way, stopping off at Daniel O’Connell’s home in Derrynane House, where she meets poet Dr Paddy Bushe.

The Shelter: Animal SOS

Friday, RTÉ1, 8pm

Will we ever get tired of cute animals looking at us with big sad eyes as they get brought back to health by a team of dedicated vets? Answer: never. It’s series four of the documentary series following the work of staff at the DSPCA, Ireland’s biggest and longest-established animal welfare charity, and the vets and volunteers are as busy as ever, working hard to help sick and injured animals. This week, the shelter welcomes a five-year-old Jack Russell who is in a terrible state and needs lots of TLC to bring him back to health, and vet Elise treats a six-week-old kitten who needs eye surgery and also has a nasty dose of cat flu.