John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Sat Aug 09 – Friday Aug 15)
This week sees new arrivals such as John Creedon's exploration of Irish weather, new comedy Boomers and the returning A Touch of Cloth. Meanwhile it's slán to Callan's Kicks and Utopia.
Pick of the week
Gomorrah (Monday, Sky Atlantic)
If last week's opening episode is anything to go by, this is going to be a cracking show, and resembles a Neapolitan version of David Simon's seminal 'the war on drugs is lost' cop show The Wire. Based on the book by Roberto Saviano (which also spawned a film of the same name), this gritty Italian drama continues as Ciro must put his ideas of revenge against Conte to one side when he deals with a bust on the Savastino cocaine shipment at the port of Naples. The raid is clearly the result of a whistle-blower and the mole must be found. Ciro also has to mentor Pietro’s son, Genny, during his initiation into the gang. But when Genny doesn’t prove to have inherited his father’s ruthless streak, Ciro is forced to cover for him. Pietro, however, is preoccupied with punishing the traitor within his ranks.
Star of the week
Creedon's Weather: Four Seasons in One Day (Sunday, RTÉ One)
A great man for popping-up on the telly every summer, John Creedon's back on the box to present this three-part beginner's guide to a topic of great conversation - the Irish weather. The series features weather-related stories from the areas of Science, folklore, farming, history and aviation and asks what we can learn about future weather patterns from Ireland’s flora and fauna. In the opening episode he travels to Florida to learn about what's called the ‘engine room’ of Irish weather, the Gulf Stream. And, following the recent arrival of a Giant Loggerhead turtle in Irish waters, he witnesses these prehistoric creatures laying their eggs on a beach in Florida.
Starting this week
A Touch of Cloth (Saturday, Sky 1)
It's the third and final season of Charlie Brooker's TV detective series with John Hanna once again keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek playing the hardboiled DCI Jack Cloth. Joining the cast this time around is the wonderful Karen Gillan, formerly of Doctor Who and on her way to becoming a global star. Clues lead Cloth and co to a small English town and a weird rehab/spa retreat where Cloth's recently-deceased brother Terry was receiving treatment for anger issues.
Also starting this week:
Tumble (Saturday, BBC One)
D-grade celebrity gymnastics! What will they think of next? Among the participants are H from Steps and fitness guru Mr Motivator. My money's on the latter.
James May's Cars of the People (Sunday, BBC Two)
The Top Gear presenter hosts yet another offshoot with this look at the cars that 'changed the world' during the first century of motoring.
Got To Dance (Saturday, Sky 1)
The ubiquitous Davina McCall hosts as the toe-tapping wannabe show returns for a fifth season.
Obese: A Year to Save My Life USA (Monday, Sky Living)
The title is enough to have me grabbing the remote and changing channels.
Ending this week
Callan's Kicks (Friday, RTÉ One)
Oliver Callan comes to the end of his summer run having fun with a host of impressions, including the likes of Rachel Allen and Paul Galvin.
Also ending this week:
Utopia (Tuesday, Channel 4)
The gang is holed-up in a wing of a disused hospital, while the race is on to find out who is going to release the killer flu virus.
Building Ireland (Tuesday, RTÉ One)
Susan Hegarty explores Mayo's textile industry, Orla Murphy has a look at town planning in Westport and Tim Joyce investigates woollen mill technology.
Secrets from the Clink (Wednesday, UTV)
They really should've called this Who Do You Clink You Are? as it's a look at the more criminal elements in the ancestry of celebs.
Drama of the week
The Village (Sunday, BBC One)
The first season of Peter Moffat's rural England epic about early 20th Century life was remorselessly miserable and almost a caricature of the 'grim up north' stereotype, but it also got hammered by many critics who found it historically inaccurate and weighed down by its own worthiness. Me? I'll buy anything with John Simm in it, and he was as brilliant as ever as farmer John Middleton, an angry alcoholic whose fists do most of his talking. As season two begins, the story's up to 1923. The Allinghams have had a 'good war' and are now in a grander house, where Edmund is hosting a weekend party. The highlight of the bash is a man hunt, with Bert Middleton as the quarry. Bert's father John Middleton is now dairy farming, but he’s cash problems and can't pay his rent.
Comedy of the week
Boomers (Friday, BBC One)
With the exception of the runaway success that is Mrs Brown's Boys, the BBC has been very poor with comedies in recent years – but there are great hopes for this new show. Boomers boasts an impressive cast, including Russ Abbot, Stephanie Beacham, Philip Jackson, James Smith, Alison Steadman, June Whitfield and Paula Wilcox. It follows the ups and downs of three ageing couples living in Thurnemouth, 'Norfolk's only West-facing resort.' Fingers crossed it's got a few laughs . . .
Bates Motel (Sky, from Aug 13)
This show may be inspired by Hitchcock’s film of Robert's Bloch's novel Psycho, but it takes the early days of Norman Bates and brings it on a truly bizarre journey while exploring the relationship the future killer had with his mother, Norma, and the strange world they share. Without an Irish release, and shown on UK satellite channel Universal, Bates Motel would've had a microscopic audience here. Take a look and stick with it if you can put up with some early stumbling. It's absolutely bonkers but good fun, while Freddie Highmore and the hugely impressive Vera Farmiga are quite a pair as Norman and Norma.
Documentary of the week
Come on Down! The Game Show Story (Sunday, UTV)
I will be all over this like a rash. One-time game show host Bradley Walsh presents a four-part history of the TV game show. Featuring classic archive footage and interviews with some of the biggest names involved in the genre, this series charts the key moments in game show history and tells the story behind some of the best-loved shows. It features interviews with the likes of Ant and Dec, Carol Vorderman, Terry Wogan, Phillip Schofield, Vernon Kay, Les Dennis, Jim Bowen, Stephen Mulhern, Ben Shephard and Amanda Byram.
Here's Roy 'Say what you see' Walker on Catchphrase:
Film of the Week
Nebraska (Friday, Sky Movies Premiere)
Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) directs this black and white road trip drama starring Bruce Dern as an elderly booze hound who's convinced he's won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes, while Will Forte plays the son who grudgingly agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim his prize. A dysfunctional delight.