Here's our critic's choice of the best TV this week
TV WEEK (Wednesday 21st to Tuesday 27th)
WATCH OF THE WEEK
This England (Sky Atlantic, Wednesday 21st 9pm)
Starring Kenneth Branagh, this six-part series is based on Boris Johnson’s tumultuous first months as prime minister, and traces the impact of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic inside the halls of power. Johnson’s controversial personal and political life at the centre of intrigue and drama is interwoven with the turmoil of Number 10.
Escape From Kabul Airport (BBC 2, Wednesday 21st, 9pm)
The inside story of the 18 monumental days in August 2021 when the US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan and thousands of Afghan citizens were evacuated from Kabul airport after the Taliban seized the city. The largest airlift in US modern history helped 124,000 people to get out; it offered many Afghans the last hope of leaving the country before the feared Taliban took control.
The Handmaid’s Tale (RTÉ 2, Wednesday 21st, 10.35pm)
After getting rid of Commander Waterford, June continues her fight to find her daughter Hannah as Gilead’s influence expands in Canada. The latest season continues the original adaptation from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood about life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in which Offred, one of the few fertile women known as handmaids, struggle to survive as reproductive surrogates.
Culture Night – Live At Lough Boora (RTÉ 1, Friday 23rd, 7pm)
The centrepiece of RTÉ’s celebration of Culture Night 2022 will be a live one-hour show broadcast from Lough Boora bog in County Offaly. In an abandoned former Bord na Móna works shed located on the edge of beautiful bogland, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and a selection of guest artists will perform before an audience of people drawn from the local area.
Booze, Bets and Sex (Sky History, Sunday 25th, 9pm)
A look at the origin stories of the American alcohol, gambling, sex, and tobacco industries and the entrepreneurs who built fortunes on the nation’s cravings. In the opening episode, Jack Daniels pioneers a classic whiskey and Adolphus Busch creates an iconic beer, as the temperance movement rises to battle against them.
Scannal (RTÉ 1, Tuesday 27th, 7pm)
This acclaimed social history series returns to Irish screens this autumn with a series of documentaries looking back at events that changed lives, and how the impact of those events continues to reverberate to this day. Using archive, journalistic insight and first-hand accounts, they piece together and reflect on the effects of the 1985 Air India disaster, the Hillsborough disaster and the Thalidomide scandal have had on survivors and families of victims.
Unchartered (Sky Cinema, from Friday)
Tom Holland plays a street-smart thief recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Mark Wahlberg to recover a fortune lost by explorer Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago. But what starts as a heist job becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle race to reach the prize before the ruthless raider Antonio Banderas snatches it from their grasp.
Rocketman (RTÉ 1, Saturday 24th, 9.30pm)
This musical biography of Elton John stars Taron Egerton as the legendary singer, supported by Jamie Bell and Richard Madden. Tracking his turbulent life from the early years to selling out stadiums across the world, it reveals warts and all about the often traumatic life of the musical rocketman.
Georgetown (Sky Cinema, from Saturday)
A top cast starring Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave and Annette Bening lead this political drama about a smooth-talking social climber who seems to have everyone in Washington wrapped around his finger. That is until his wealthy, well-connected and much older wife turns up dead.
A Room With A View (RTÉ 1, Friday 23rd, 11.35pm)
This drama romance from the classic Merchant Ivory studio stars Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham Carter, and is set around the events following a young English girl’s fling while holidaying in Florence. When she returns home to settle down with her fiancé, the exciting encounter from Italy shows up to upset all plans.
Golden Era (Sky Documentaries, Saturday 24th, 9pm)
The incredible inside story of the creation and legacy of GoldenEye 007, one of the greatest video games ever made. It was released for the Nintendo 64 in the summer of 1997 after two and a half years of gruelling hours and an unwavering commitment to perfection from a ragtag team of university graduates. It went on to change gaming forever.
Bright Sparks (RTÉ 2, Monday 22nd, 11.15am)
We are back in the ever colourful Bright’s Park to join Séamus, Dr Tunes, Wild Guy, Clara, Mrs Owlington, Billy, Aoife and Alpha on a journey through their animated everyday lives as they use their unique skill sets to clear up complications, create magic, help others, have fun and save the day.
Rise of the Billionaires (Paramount+)
A small handful of very rich people have come to dominate our society, where their passions and foibles move stock markets, transform cities and overturn the way we all think. From Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk, from the Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg – these are the people who have not only become mega rich, but have reshaped the modern world in the most profound ways.
Heartbreak High (Netflix)
An update of a 1980s Australian school drama, this promises to be ‘representative of real Australia with queer, non-binary and indigenous characters bringing some much needed representation of marginalised communities to mainstream television’. Anchored by actor and musician Ayesha Madon, this rebooted version will see a different generation tackle issues many young people face today – with a 2022 twist.
The Grand Tour Presents: A Scandi Flick (Amazon Prime)
A Scandi Flick begins in the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May set off on their mission to drive their pick of rally cars through Sweden to Finland, without ever dropping below the Arctic Circle. Taking in frozen lake racetracks and Cold War submarine bases, expect plenty of the usual pranks this trio are famous for.
Loosely inspired around the story of Playgirl, the magazine for women established to rival Playboy in the 1970s, Minx stars Ophelia Lovibond as the feminist initially rebuffed by the traditional journal industry. But then she meets up with porn publisher Jake Johnson, and slowly a publication of female erotica gets off the ground.
UEFA U21 Championship Play Off (RTÉ 2, Friday 23rd, 5.30pm)
Joanne Cantwell presents live coverage of the play-off, first leg between the Republic of Ireland and Israel from Tallaght Stadium. Commentary from George Hamilton. KO 7pm.
URC Live – Dragons v Munster (RTÉ 2, Sunday 25th, 2.30pm)
Summer is well and truly over, and it’s time once again to get down and dirty in these autumnal clashes between some of the biggest stars in rugby. The Red dragons versus the red of Thomond should be a cracker.