TV entertainment - top programmes this week

(Above) Michael Portillo.

Hawks & Doves: The Crown and Ireland’s War of Independence (RTÉ 1, Wednesday 9.35pm)

A two-part documentary series about the manoeuvrings and shifting alliances among the various factions within the Houses of Parliament and Dublin Castle during the War of Independence. Michael Portillo, a former British Defence Secretary, looks at how Westminster reacted when faced with revolutionary intransigence at home.

O’Casey In The Estate (RTÉ 1, Thursday 10.15pm)

The focus of this series is bringing ‘The Plough and the Stars’ home to Dublin’s East Wall - a community that inspired the original characters in the play. While Sean O’Casey gave a voice to this marginalised area 100 years ago, the same community today feel they have no voice at a national level.

My Brilliant Friend (Sky Atlantic, Friday 9pm)

Following the critically acclaimed first series, the second adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s bestselling books follows the complicated relationship between Italian childhood friends Elena and Lila. In the opening episode, Lila is on her honeymoon, while Elena struggles to handle her relationship with Antonio.

Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer (BBC 1, Saturday 9pm)

Peter Crouch, Maya Jama and Alex Horne join forces to bring us the biggest names from the world of sport, comedy and music into our lives. Special performances from the gardens of music megastars, celebrity guests and a tournament like no other featuring some of the biggest sport stars.

Perry Mason (Sky Atlantic, Monday 9pm)

Matthew Rhys steps into the iconic role of Perry Mason - American fiction’s most legendary criminal defence lawyer created by author Eric Stanley Gardner. Set during the struggles of the Great Depression, a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong presents him with a deadly case.

MOVIES OF THE WEEK

First Love (Sky Cinema, from Wednesday)

Japanese director Takashi Miike helms this genre-blending crime noir set in Tokyo where Leo and Monica, a down on his luck boxer and call girl who find themselves unwittingly caught up in drug-smuggling, and pursued by a corrupt cop, the yakuza and a female assassin hired by the Chinese triads.

Gemini Man (Sky Cinema, from Friday)

Will Smith stars in this innovative action caper, where he plays Henry Bogan – an ageing assassin who finds himself suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious operative that seems to know his every move.

Framing John DeLorean (Sky Atlantic, Saturday 9pm)

Recounting the extraordinary life and legend of the controversial carmaker with direct connections to Ireland. Tracing his meteoric rise through the ranks of General Motors, his obsessive quest to build a sports car that would conquer the world, and his shocking fall from grace on charges of cocaine trafficking.

Pale Rider (ITV4, Sunday 9pm)

In celebration of his recent 90th birthday, Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this tale about a small group of prospectors under threat from a mining company intent on driving them out. That is until the enigmatic ‘Preacher’ arrives on a pale horse.

CLASSIC MOVIE

Garage (RTÉ 1, Saturday 11.40pm)

Many years before he directed Normal People, Lenny Abrahamson delivered a vibrant slice of Irish small town life starring Pat Short in a tragicomedy where an over-diligent garage employee searches for intimacy during the course of a life-changing summer.

KIDS STUFF

Shane the Chef (RTÉ Player)

Energetic chef Shane and his young daughter Izzy run a restaurant in the town of Munchington. Every day is a recipe for adventure, whether they are trying to break world records or finding wild herbs in the woods.

Scooby Doo & the Samurai Sword (Boomerang, Wednesday 12pm)

When an ancient legendary samurai is resurrected, the ghoul-hunting gang must locate an ancient magical sword before he can get his hands on it.

Battlefield Detectives (Sky History 2, Wednesday 7pm)

The strategy and the technology behind the 52BC Siege of Alesia, between Roman forces led by Julius Caesar and the Gallic tribes under Vercingetorix. After an extended siege, Caesar wins a decisive victory over the Gauls and ensures domination for centuries.

Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse (Boomerang, Thursday 12pm)

The plucky mouse helps the legendary outlaw and his merry men in robbing from the rich to feed the poor - until evil King John seeks some feline assistance in putting a stop to his heroics.

ON DEMAND

Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)

From Academy Award winning director/writer Spike Lee comes the story of four African-American veterans who return to Vietnam searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. Instead they battle the forces of man and nature, while confronted by the lasting ravages of a horrific war.

Be Water (ESPN Player)

Documentary on martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Named after a famous saying of Lee‘s: “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – be water.” Huge buzz around this, with some reviewers saying it’s as good as the recent Michael Jordan docu-series ‘The Last Dance.’

Echo In The Canyon (Apple TV)

Celebrating the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-1960s as folk went electric and bands like The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and Jackson Browne gave birth to the California Sound.

Days Of The Bagnold Summer (Amazon Prime)

Charming comedy-drama set around a single mum and her moody, heavy-metal-obsessed teenager as they negotiate a strained relationship in director Simon Bird’s poignant coming-of-age movie.

Lennox Hill (Netflix)

An intimate look at the lives of four doctors as they navigate the highs and lows of working at the renowned Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. With extraordinary access and an unflinching eye, the series shows each physician’s struggle to balance their personal and professional lives, and their part in each patient’s journey.

PERFECT SUMMER PODCASTS

Second Captains

Revered by serious sports fans, the top trio of Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early and Ciarán Murphy investigate the most unusual and intriguing aspects of global sport in a manner found nowhere else. Addictive.

You Must Remember This

If you like the glory of old Hollywood in its earliest days, then it’s time for your audible close-up. Great stories, uncovered secrets and sharp anecdotes about Tinseltown’s top players will put a bounce in your step on the next evening stroll.

THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE

The Madness of King George (nationaltheatre.org.uk)

It’s1786 and King George III is the most powerful man in the world. But his behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic as he succumbs to fits of lunacy - perfect conditions for the scheming Prince of Wales to undermine the power of the Crown. (June 17 and 18.)

More from this Topic