John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Saturday Nov 22 – Friday 28)
The Late Late Toy Show is the biggie this week, while Michael Palin stars in a new drama. Meanwhile it's bye-bye to the likes of Scandal, Vikings and Connected.
Pick of the week
The Late Late Toy Show, Friday, RTÉ One
It’s the biggest annual event on Irish television and it’s back to reveal this year’s most talked-about toys, tested by kids from all around the country. Presented by Ryan Turbridy, last year’s Mary Poppins-themed show proved to be hugely popular with children and adults alike. This year’s promises to be just as much fun with some of the most talented kids from around the country lined up to test toys, perform and entertain viewers. Ryan will also be joined by some extra special guests on the night.
Remember this great Toy Show moment?
Star of the week
Remember Me, Sunday, BBC One
The former Monty Python star who also features in films such as A Fish Called Wanda is probably better known these days for his many travel programmes, but he returns to acting in this very promising new drama. At the age of ‘eighty-odd’, Tom Parfitt (Palin) sits alone in his terraced house in the otherwise entirely Asian community of a small Yorkshire town, and remembers a strange drowned figure washed up on a beach. He carefully fakes a fall to end up in residential care. At the old people’s home, Tom meets an 18 year-old care assistant and they like each other immediately, but she's puzzled why he’s brought nothing with him but an empty suitcase.
Starting this week
Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction, Saturday, BBC Two
In a landmark four-part series, historian Dominic Sandbrook explores Science Fiction. In this first episode, he looks at the genre's enduring fascination with outer space, from Jules Verne's pioneering 19th century vision of a voyage to the moon, to the galaxy of Star Wars far, far away. Among the interviewees are William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols (Kirk and Uhuru from the original Star Trek), Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker (C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars), Zoe Saldana (Avatar) and author Neil Gaiman.
Psychobitches, Tuesday, Sky Arts 1
Rebecca Front returns as the long-suffering psychiatrist holding therapy sessions with some of history’s most iconic women. From Aphrodite and Anne Boleyn to Janis Joplin and Wilson, Keppel and Betty, the therapist lends a sympathetic ear and tries to probe the depths of her patients’ unusual minds.
Posh People: Inside Tatler, Monday, BBC Two
Tatler is the oldest magazine in the world and has been reporting on the lives of Britain’s privileged and powerful for 300 years. Tatler not only documents, but also dictates the social calendar of Britain’s elite. With an archive full of society’s movers and shakers being pictured in its pages it has long been a rite of passage for Britain’s ruling classes. In the first episode viewers meet the editor, Kate Reardon, a self-confessed ‘honking, great Sloane’, and her features team - who are all expected to be well versed in the rules of upper class life.
Ending this week
Scandal, Thursday, Sky Living
The third season of the amphetamine-powered political thriller concludes in explosive fashion as Fitz’s White House future hangs in the balance. When an emergency situation develops in Washington, Sally Langston strikes political gold as she steals the spotlight from the president. As Liv and Fitz face the prospect of electoral defeat, their relationship is also dealt a major blow when Olivia lets Fitz in on Mellie’s deepest darkest secret. While tragedy strikes the first family, Olivia turns to her father for help in escaping her demons and Charlie makes a surprising move as he attempts to keep Quinn and Huck apart.
Vikings, Monday, RTÉ Two
Ragnar and King Horik return to Kattegat and the final showdown between two Viking leaders is at hand. Ragnar has placed his trust in those who have stood by him and now the time has come for new alliances to be made.
Micky Flanagan's Detour de France, Monday, Sky 1
They drank, they cycled (occasionally), they drank some more. Now it’s time for Micky and Noel to say ‘au revoir’ to France and head back home to Sarf London.
#TRENDING, Thursday, RTÉ Two
Just six episodes in, it's the final programme from Darren Kennedy, who promises to keep viewers up on trend with lots of style and beauty tips. This week the focus is on London street style.
Drama of the week
The Legacy, Wednesday, Sky Arts 1
This is one of Scandinavia’s highest-rated TV dramas. Created by Swedish actor-turned-director Pernilla August and writer Maya Ilsøe’s, The Legacy paints a vivid modern family portrait, telling the story of four siblings trying to cope with their mother’s death.
Comedy of the week
Modern Family, Monday, Sky 1
Cabin fever soon settles in when the Dunphys cram into a single hotel room while their house is being treated for mould. Phil always sees the silver lining in a bad situation and thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together – everyone else disagrees. Over at the Pritchetts’, Gloria has good reason to worry after finding out that Manny is dating one of the popular girls at school, while Cam’s attempt to keep his football team’s unprecedented winning streak going is threatened by a ‘cursed’ Mitchell.
Dead Like Me, Netflix
Long before Hannibal, Bryan Fuller was behind this excellent comedy-drama starring Ellen Muth and Mandy Patinkin as grim reapers residing and working in Seattle. Muth is outstanding as 18-year-old slacker (remember them?) Georgia "George" Lass, the show's protagonist and narrator. George dies early in the pilot episode after being hit by a toilet seat falling from the Mir space station and becomes one of the 'undead', a grim reaper who collects the souls of people who die by accident. It's wickedly funny, although season two isn't a patch on the first, which is nothing short of magnificent.
Documentary of the week
Connected, Tuesday, RTÉ Two
Reality show or documentary? I'd call it the latter. It's been quite a trip with the girls but we've come to the end of the road. Nicole turns 21 with her family and realises she has a lot to be grateful for. Alanna is also celebrating her 21st, with a big gathering of friends and family that shows her she is far from alone in the world. Elayne has a headline gig, can she look forward to a bright professional and personal future? In the second half of the double-bill finale, Elayne, Kate, Nicole, Alanna, Anna and Venetia look back on their time being Connected.
Here's my personal favourite, Elayne:
Film of the Week
Waitress, Wednesday, Channel 4
Overshadowed by the tragic murder of writer-director Adrienne Shelly just before its release, this is a hugely enjoyable story about Jenna (Keri Russell), a waitress living in the American South, who seeks an escape from an unhappy marriage to the controlling bully Earl (Jeremy Sisto), and falls for a doctor (Nathan Fillion). It'll certainly put a smile on your face and is a little gem of a movie.