The World Cup begins to play havoc with the TV schedules (and our lives) but there’s still plenty to look forward to. Honest.

John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Sat Jun 7-Fri 13)

Pick of the week

The World Cup (from Thursday, RTÉ Two)

Once every four years make this an event that turns every football fan into a complete telly addict. Especially when the tournament is in faraway Brazil. As usual, RTÉ Two is Ireland’s World Cup channel and from Thursday June 12 it’s football, football, football all the way. Here’s a flavour:


Bill O’Herlihy is joined by Eamon Dunphy, John Giles and Liam Brady as the tourney gets under way in Brazil. Commentary on the Opening Ceremony from the Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo comes from George Hamilton and Ray Houghton. Followed at 8.30pm by live coverage of the opening game as hosts Brazil take on Croatia in Group A (KO 9.00pm).

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 (Friday, RTÉ Two)

Darragh Maloney is joined by Liam Brady and Ronnie Whelan as Mexico face Cameroon in Estadio das Dunas, Natal in Group A (KO 5.00pm) with commentary from Stephen Alkin and Jim Beglin. Later on, Darragh Maloney is joined by Liam Brady and Ronnie Whelan for Spain v Netherlands in Group B from Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador (KO 8.00pm) commentary from Peter Collins and Trevor Steven. Finally, Bill O’Herlihy is joined by John Giles and Richie Sadlier for live Group B action as Chile take on Australia in Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba. (KO 11.00pm).

Star of the week

Helen Worth

Gail & Me (Monday, UTV)

Gail & Me celebrates Helen Worth’s drama-filled 40 years on Britain’s most famous street, Since the summer of 1974, as long suffering Gail, she has been involved in some of Coronation Street’s most talked about storylines, including her part in five marriages, getting pushed down the stairs by son David and going through the trauma of her 13 year old daughter’s pregnancy. In this tribute fans will hear how Helen was brought in as a glamorous young character in the 70’s to freshen up life on the Street. Helen reveals what Pat Phoenix was really like behind the scenes and Cheryl Murray, who played Suzie Birchall, talks about the impact '70s IT girls' Gail and Suzie had on the Street, Amanda Barrie, who played Alma Halliwell, reunites with Helen in the Street’s café, home to 15 years of fond memories for the both of them. The documentary also tracks Gail’s disastrous love life, her relationship with David ‘the son from hell’, and reflects on one of the Street’s greatest rivalries – Gail versus Eileen. Sue Nicholls, who plays Gail’s mum Audrey, reveals how in real life Helen Worth sends her a Mother’s Day card each year, such is the closeness of their working relationship.

Trailer Time: here's Gail and son David having fun - not!

Ending this week

The Zoo (Thursday, RTÉ One)

Last in current series. After the sad passing of four month giraffe old Tamu, the keepers in the African plans receive heart lifting news that Tamu’s Mother, Maeve, has just given birth to a new calf. Susan continues her trip deep in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil to work with the highly endangered Golden Lion Tamarins. Only days before she arrived, devastation hit the region with a major fire wiping out much of the rainforest and the animals that had lived there. The Western Lowland Gorilla troop are in for a real surprise when they are about to share their home for the first time in Dublin Zoo history; they are joined by four Red-capped mangabeys. But will both primates see eye to eye? After the sad passing of four month giraffe old Tamu, the keepers in the African plans receive heart lifting news that Tamu’s Mother, Maeve, has just given birth to a new calf.

Also ending this week:

The Savage Eye (Monday, RTÉ Two)

In the Flesh (Sunday, BBC Three)

Welcome to Rio (Tuesday, BBC Two)

Law & Order: UK (Wednesday, UTV)

Drama of the week

The Americans (Tuesday, RTÉ Two)

This show is great fun.  In this week’s double episode, Philip uses his agent Charles Duluth to help him gain access to an early precursor of the Internet so that the KGB can bug American government communications. Nina faces the threat of a potential FBI polygraph exam, bringing her closer to KGB colleague Oleg. Later, Philip and Elizabeth both find themselves faced with painful turns in their various missions. Stan fights to gain access to an American military program that could give him the upper hand in his battle of wills with Oleg.

Comedy of the week

Episodes (Wednesday, BBC Two)

We've reached the midway point of season three and the future of Pucks! hangs in the balance as the network hosts its annual party for the Television Press. Sean and Beverly’s romantic future is looking equally tenuous. A visit to a sex therapist may only make things worse. Meanwhile, Merc Lapidus has stolen all of his blind ex-wife’s artwork, and Matt is forced to come to her rescue.

Documentary of the week

FIFA World Cup 1970 (Saturday, BBC Two)

Given the week that’s in it, here’s a look back at one of the greatest World Cup tournaments. This is an in-depth documentary looking back on the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, which saw Brazil legend Pele make his final appearance on the world stage. The documentary is part of FIFA’s 14 World Cup films which turn the spotlight on the seminal moments of the global spectacle that is the World Cup. The 1970 tournament was the first to be broadcast in colour around the world. Carlos Alberto led a Brazilian side, often regarded as the greatest ever World Cup team, to their third global title - a feat that gave them permanent ownership of the original World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy.

Film of the Week

The End of the Affair (Saturday, TG4)

One of the better big screen adaptations  of a Graham Greene novel and a smashing story that juxtaposes faith and fate. This 1999 film stars Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea and is directed by Neil Jordan. On a rainy London night in 1946, novelist Maurice Bendrix (Fiennes) has a chance meeting with Henry Miles (Rea), husband of his ex-mistress Sarah (Moore), who abruptly ended their affair two years before. Bendrix's obsession with Sarah is renewed through his own jealousy he and arranges to have her followed.

Trailer Time: