TV guide: 12 of the best new shows to watch

Highlights include Dancing with the Stars and a new series of Room to Improve with Dermot Bannon

Dancing with the Stars 2024: the 11 clelbrities who are hoping to lfit the glitterball trophy. Photographs: Barry McCall/RTÉ

Dancing with the Stars

Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Clear the Christmas and new year clutter off the dance floor, it’s time for a new bunch of celebs to show their moves in RTÉ's annual terpsichorean tournament. This year’s Dancing with the Stars line-up features the former Miss World Rosanna Davison, the newsreader Eileen Dunne, the TV presenters Katja Mia and Laura Fox, the Fair City actors Shane Quigley Murphy and Rory Cowan, the jockey Davy Russell, the Wild Youth singer David Whelan, the drag queen Blu Hydrangea and the TikTok sensation Miriam Mullins. They’ll be paired with professional dancers who will put them through their paces in all dance genres, with judges Lorraine Barry, Brian Redmond and Arthur Gourounlian giving their scores. Presenter Jennifer Zamparelli is joined by co-host Doireann Garrihy for what promises to be another fab fandango.

Room to Improve

Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.30pm

Dermot Bannon returns with the 15th series of his ever-popular home improvement programme, and in this series he’s featuring several homes that are eligible for Government grants to renovate – very helpful for offsetting the current high costs of labour and building materials. The first job is an old farmhouse that qualifies for a derelict homes grant. It was owned by farmer Ivan Williams’s forefather, and he has always dreamed of restoring it and making it the family home. He and his partner, Gráinne Murphy, enlist the help of Dermot and project manager Claire Irwin to get the old homestead looking shiny and new.

Silent Witness

Monday, BBC One, 9pm

The team at Lyell Centre are back with another batch of macabre murders to solve, in five two-part mysteries featuring some of their most chilling cases to date. Emilia Fox returns as pathologist Dr Nikki Alexander, with David Caves as forensic expert Jack Hodgson, but their professional – and personal – relationship is put to the test when they investigate a murder that has uncanny similarities to a murder carried out by a serial killer 20 years ago. Has the serial killer resurfaced or is this an elaborate copycat killing?

Sinéad

Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Joni Mitchell sang “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone”, and Sinéad O’Connor’s death in July certainly brought home what a treasure we had in the Dublin singer and what a huge influence she had on Irish life. This documentary looks at how O’Connor’s angry, angelic voice soundtracked an Ireland going through turbulent social change, and features contributions from Christy Moore, Imelda May, BP Fallon, Don Letts and DJ/producer David Holmes, who was recording new songs with O’Connor before her death.

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High Road Low Road

Tuesday, RTÉ One, 7pm

It’s the return of the travel series with a twist, in which two celebs travel to the same holiday destination, but that’s where their paths diverge. One gets to holiday in the lap of luxury, with five-star hotels, spas and Michelin-starred restaurants all the way, while the other has to slum it with the students and backpackers, staying in cheap accommodation and subsisting on street food, In the first episode, presenter Anna Daly and influencer James Kavanagh are heading to Lanzarote, but which will be more fun, travelling in a private catamaran and relaxing in your own “swim-up” pool, or getting up close and personal with goats?

Inside Penneys

RTÉ One, Tuesday, January 9th, 8.30pm

The rest of the world knows it as Primark, but here at home the Irish multinational has always gone by its original name of Penneys – much to visitors’ confusion. This six-part series goes behind the scenes at the Dublin HQ of this global fashion retailer in Dublin’s Mary Street, where the first-ever Penneys was opened by Arthur Ryan back in 1969. The series will bring you right inside the company’s workings, from the boardroom to the shop floor, from the hardworking staff who keep the business ticking over to the loyal shoppers who keep coming back for affordable fashion.

Inis na nIontas

Wednesday, TG4, 9.30pm

Actor and comedian Ardal O’Hanlon goes island-hopping around the Irish coast, from Rathlin in the north to Cape Clear in the south, meeting the islanders, observing the wildlife and uncovering the myths and legends of the islands. But this is a scary adventure for O’Hanlon, as it will be the first time that he’s presented a programme as Gaeilge. He’s always wanted to improve his Irish language skills, and here’s his chance to dive in at the deep end. It helps that his mother, Teresa, is a native Irish speaker, so we’re sure he’ll do just fine.

After the Flood

Wednesday, UTV, 9pm

Sophie Rundle stars as PC Joanna Marshall in this postdiluvian mystery thriller set in a small town that’s been hit by a devastating environmental disaster. When the flood waters recede, Jo makes a grim discovery – a dead body in a lift in an underground car park. It seems clear the victim got trapped by the floods and drowned in the lift, but Jo is not so sure. The series tackles climate change issues along with crime, as the floods uncover some hidden secrets in the town. Philip Glenister co-stars as local property developer Jack Radcliffe.

Grantchester

Thursday, UTV, 9pm

Robson Green returns as DI Geordie Keating and Tom Brittney is back as Rev William Davenport for the eighth series of the ever-popular crime drama, based on James Runcie’s short story collections The Grantchester Mysteries. The series is set in the titular Cambridgeshire village in the 1950s – that’s long before mobile phones, laptops and digital watches, folks – and series eight sees the cop and the vicar resume their unlikely crime-solving partnership. In episode one, Will organises a charity motorbike race, but the next day the body of a 19-year-old biker is found dead in a field.

Seal le Dáithí

Thursday, TG4, 7.30pm

Dáithí Ó Sé sits down for a chat with the multi-hyphenate media personality Éadaoin Fitzmaurice, founder of FIA Digital, a company that creates online content and social media profiles for Irish businesses. Fitzmaurice is not just a content creator and social media expert – she’s a journalist, presenter and podcaster who commands a big online following, and among her passions are food, culture, travel and promoting the Irish language, so she and Ó Sé will have plenty to chat about.

Extraordinary Extensions

Friday, Channel 4, 8pm

Rapper and property developer Tinie Tempah returns for a second series of his show looking at some of the more outrageous home-improvement projects to be found up and down the UK. Tempah has a passion for property along with music, and he visits homeowners who have shelled out a fortune to add extra bling to their luxury cribs. First up is a couple from Warwickshire who have spent a million quid building a swimming pool and spa underneath their house. Is it money down the drain or will it wash its face? And, more importantly, is it sustainable?

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown

Friday, Channel 4, 9pm

We’ve had musical mash-ups, and even cinema mash-ups, but 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown has to count as the first-ever gameshow mash-up. It shouldn’t have worked, but somehow it does, and here comes the zillionth series, with Jimmy Carr once again in the presenter’s chair, with Countdowners Rachel Riley and Susie Dent, and Jon Richardson and Lee Mack wearing their team captain’s armbands. Brain-teasers, conundrums and endless gags – it’s even better than Numberwang.

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