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TV guide: 12 of the best new shows to watch, beginning tonight

March 24th-29th: Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan and Louisa Harland star in new dramas Big Mood and Renegade Nell, respectively

Raised by the Village

Sunday, RTÉ1, 6.30pm

What do city-dwelling parents do when their teenagers start to go off the rails? Simple: send them off the country, away from the temptations and bad influences and into the bosom of a small, tight-knit community that can watch over them and help them get back on track. In this second series, we meet eight urban teens who have to relinquish their wifi, TikTok, PlayStations and late-night partying, and engage with a slower-paced lifestyle in a tiny rural village, rising with the dawn, going to bed early and taking part in chores, local activities and community-based entertainment. Will they buckle under this rural regime or will they go native?

The Great House Revival

Sunday, RTÉ1, 9.30pm

Hugh Wallace presents a new series following homeowners as they try to restore their run-down properties and transform them into beautiful family homes. These projects are not for the faint-hearted, and include turning an old cowshed into a luxury pad, and turning an abandoned school into a class dwelling. As well as bringing old properties back into use, they’ll be helping preserve Ireland’s built heritage and doing their bit to alleviate the housing crisis. First up are Mary-Claire and Sully, owners of The Parson’s House in Co Cork. Will they need divine intervention to resurrect this Georgian cut-stone building?

Ukraine: Enemy in the Woods

Monday, BBC2, 9pm

The war in Ukraine has ground on for just over two years now, but what’s it really like for Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the frontline against a powerful and well-equipped invading force. This extraordinary documentary takes us right to the frontline via footage filmed by the soldiers themselves as they desperately try to defend their eastern front amid relentless Russian attacks. We get immersed in a crack unit of fighters as they go on a mission to defend a key railway line and prevent Russia from being able to mount an assault on Kharkiv.

The Vanishing Triangle

Monday, Virgin Media 1, 9pm

The disappearance of several young women during the 1990s led many to speculate that a serial killer was on the loose, and the area of Leinster where they disappeared was dubbed the Vanishing Triangle. This crime fiction series is inspired by these unsolved cases, and stars India Mullen as investigative reporter Lisa Wallace, who teams up with Garda Det David Burke (Allen Leech) to find out why young girls are suddenly vanishing around the country. Lisa’s own mother had been murdered in mysterious circumstances two decades earlier – could the article she wrote about her mother’s murder have triggered the killer and set him back in action?


The End of the World with Beanz

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 7pm

When faced with the impending climate apocalypse, many of us might choose to huddle at home burning fossil fuels and wait for the end. Not Martin Beanz Warde – he just says “Armageddon outta here” and heads around the world to see how other people are dealing with the prospect of doomsday. Sure might as well have a bit of craic before it all goes belly-up. This week Beanz is joined by comedian Neil Delamere in the Ohio wilderness, where both learn how to survive after the world goes back to the Stone Age.

Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story

Tuesday, UTV, 9pm

In January this year TV presenter Kate Garraway’s beloved husband, former political strategist Derek Draper, died aged 56 following a long battle with illness and disability linked to Covid-19. This documentary tells the story of the last year of Draper’s life, and gives an insight into the challenges faced by Garraway and her family as they cared for Draper at home. The film follows the award-winning documentaries Finding Derek and Caring for Derek, and also looks at the strong bonds between the family which kept them going throughout Draper’s long illness. “I am delighted that the film is a tribute to Derek, his incredible spirit and a tribute to all of those who fight on to make every second of life count, whatever is thrown at them,” says Garraway.

Rising Tides: Ireland’s Future in a Warmer World

Wednesday, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

How will climate change affect Ireland, and is there anything we can do to mitigate its damage? In this new series, Philip Boucher-Hayes heads to far-off places where the effects of climate change are already being keenly felt, to see if he can bring lessons back home in dealing with the coming catastrophe. First stop is Greenland, where the ice is melting faster than a Cornetto in Corfu, to find out how that will directly affect our coastlines and weather patterns. Then it’s down to Malawi in Africa to learn how the country’s indigenous people are adjusting to the sharp rises in temperature.

The Secret Army

Wednesday, BBC2, 9pm

In 1972, as violence in Northern Ireland escalated to new levels, a US television crew was granted access to the Provisional IRA to make a documentary. More than 50 years later, journalist Darragh MacIntyre sets out to learn how this extraordinary production came about, and why it suddenly vanished shortly after being made. He goes to New York and uncovers the original film reels, then tracks down a member of the US production team who was there during the filming, and finds some of the former IRA members who were in the original documentary.

The Twelve

Thursday, UTV, 9pm

Here’s an Australian-produced courtroom drama that focuses not on the accused but on the jury members who have to decide whether the defendant is innocent or guilty. A dozen ordinary Aussies from different backgrounds are brought together for a traumatic murder trial in which a woman is accused of murdering her niece. As the series unfolds, we see into the lives of these jurors, and learn about the conflicts, family dynamics and personal problems that could affect their decision. It doesn’t help that the details of the case are anything but straightforward – can the jurors deal with the pressures of this high-stakes trial and come to the right verdict?

Big Mood

Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

Derry Girls and Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan stars alongside Lydia West in this darkly comic new series about two best friends dealing with relationships, careers and the challenges of living with bipolar disorder. Maggie (Coughlan) and Eddie (West) have been bezzies for years, sticking together through all the ups and downs and sideways of young adulthood. but as they approach the big 3-0, Maggie’s bipolar disorder returns with a vengeance, making Eddie question whether it would be easier in the long run to just move on and find a new best mate.

The Life and Death of Lily Savage

Friday, UTV, 9pm

When comedian and presenter Paul O’Grady died last year, TV viewers mourned a beloved personality who had become a familiar face on their screens. But 20 years ago, O’Grady had taken a huge career risk by killing off his famous drag-queen alter-ego Lily Savage. This documentary looks at how O’Grady, a gay working-class man from Birkenhead, took his Lily Savage character from underground gay cabarets in the 1970s and 1980s to mainstream TV fame in the 1990s and early noughties, becoming a leading light in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, and seeing many of his friends and peers dying of Aids. The programme features interviews with O’Grady’s friends and family, who give insights into why he decided to hang up Lily’s wig and sequins.

Renegade Nell

From Friday, Disney+

Louisa Harland from Derry Girls dons the 18th-century outlaw costume to star in this swashbuckling new fantasy adventure series created by Sally Wainwright. Harland plays smart young woman Nell Jackson, who is framed for murder, so she is left with no choice but to go on the run with her two younger sisters Roxy and George, and reinvent herself as the most notorious highwaywoman in England. Nick Mohammed plays a magical spirit named Billy Blind, who reveals Jackson’s true destiny, while Adrian Lester plays the scheming Earl of Poynton and Joely Richardson plays newspaper magnate Lady Eularia Moggerhanger.