John Byrne's essential telly for the coming week includes the new Top Gear, the latest Criminal Minds spin-off, and steamy period drama Versailles.

Saturday May 28


The Three Musketeers, 9.30pm, BBC One

It's the third and final season of this engagingly energetic version of the legendary swashbuckler tale by Alexandre Dumas, with two new head writers promising a lot of dark storylines in the last ten episodes.

The season opener's set in war-torn France. With the odds against them, D’Artagnan, Porthos and Athos go into battle with the Spanish, while Aramis battles his conscience at the nearby monastery.


Britain's Got Talent, 7.30pm, TV3

The tenth run of BGT comes to a close this weekend with what's usually a pretty spectacular live finale, with the winner landing a cash prize of £250,000 and a spot on this year's Royal Variety Performance.

Tonight also sees a celebration of 10 years of the show with a special Best of Britain’s Got Talent performance put together by Ashley Banjo, of 2009 winners Diversity.

Irish interest was focused on The Presentation Kilkenny Secondary School choir, who managed to make it through to last Thursday's semi-final before narrowly loosing out.

Sunday May 29


Top Gear, 8.00pm, BBC Two & 8.30pm, RTÉ2

Hype can only do so much - now is when the new Top Gear has to deliver.

Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc are joined by Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris, and car reviewer Rory Reid.

The first guests of the new line-up are Hollywood star Jesse Eisenberg and mouthy chef Gordon Ramsay, and it all looks very promising. But can Top Gear survive with Clarkson and co?


The British Soap Awards, 8.00pm, UTV Ireland

It's been yet another mental year in UK soap opera, and here's where the main players reflect on a catalogue of murder, mystery, make-ups, break-ups, trials, tribulations and tears.

The five big soaps - Coronation Street, Doctors, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks - will battle it out to win recognition for their work. The inimitable Phillip Schofield will be on hosting duties.

Here's the EastEnders' pitch:

Monday May 30


Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, 9.00pm, RTÉ2

Another spin-off and hopefully it fares better than the previous one, 2011's Suspect Behavior, which lasted a mere 13 episodes despite starring the likes of Forest Whitaker and Janeane Garofalo.

In the pilot episode, Unit Chief Jack Garrett (former CSI: NY lead Gary Sinise) and his International Response Team travel to Thailand when three American volunteers go missing during a trek to Bangkok.

Former Breaking Bad star Anna Gunn - she played Skyler White - also features.


Alan Partridge’s Scissored Isle, 10.00pm, Sky Atlantic

Following the recent second season of Alan’s Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters, here's a brand new one-hour mockumentary about the legendary broadcaster from Norwich.

Partridge attempts to make amends after a controversial on-air incident by leaving behind his comfortable existence, and heading to the north of England on a 'personal journey of redemption'.

Tuesday May 31


Follow Donal, 8.30pm, RTÉ One

Donal Skehan mixes travel and food in this new series by heading to ten European countries to uncover their food scene and explore culinary culture.

His first stop is Budapest, where he's met by his guide Andras for a reccie of the city and a pitstop for an unhealthy but tasty street snack, the langos. Then it's off to the city’s yearly gourmet festival.


Unforgotten, 10.15pm, RTÉ One

Written and created by Chris Lang (Undeniable, A Mother’s Son, Torn), this British drama focuses on a cold murder case that's almost 40 years' old, when the bones of a young man are found beneath the footings of a demolished house.

There's a cracking cast that includes Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Bernard Hill and Tom Courtenay, and in the opening episode the investigation begins when a skeleton is found beneath a demolished house.

Wednesday June 1


Versailles, 9.30pm, BBC Two

This raunchy royal drama has already attracted a lot of controversy as conservative elements in the UK such as MPs and family rights campaigners have branded it 'porn dressed up in a cravat and tights'. Cue ratings success, eh?

The ten-part Franco-Canadian drama is set in 17th Century France and was filmed in English, so even subtitle-phobes can enjoy this Louis XIV romp that focuses on his plans to transform his father’s hunting lodge into the most magnificent château in Europe, The Palace of Versailles.

Thursday June 2


Bloom Live, 5.10pm, RTÉ One

This gardening and lifestyle event just gets bigger every year, and RTÉ One has three programmes and five weather bulletins coming live from the festival's opening day, beginning with Bloom Live in the Afternoon.

That's followed at 7pm by Super Garden Live from Bloom, as the judges reveal this year's winning designer and their show garden gets recreated at Bloom, then at 8.30pm there's Bloom Live, taking in the Food Village, music from the brand new You Bloom stage and an insight to this year's show gardens. Blooming marvellous!