TV guide: 12 of the best new shows to watch this week

April 7th-12th: From Michael Douglas in Franklin to the big reveal in Home of the Year

Keys to My Life

Sunday, RTÉ1, 7.30pm

Brendan Courtney’s new series of his popular programme blending property with nostalgia, as he helps celebrities unlock memories by revisiting key places from their past, is not always full of happy memories, as shown by recent episodes featuring actor Eilish O’Carroll and politician Joan Burton. This week, Fr Peter McVerry goes back to the one-bedroom council flat in Ballymun where he used to live, and recalls how he began his journey to helping the homeless.

Slí na mBeaglaoich

Sunday, TG4, 9.30pm

Breanndán and Cormac Ó Beaglaoich load up their camper van named Beauty for another musical trip around the country, and who knows what treasures they will find along the way? In this third series, the father-and-son duo set the spiritual satnav towards the midlands, where they will seek out great stories and songs and encounter friends old and new along the way. The first part of their journey will take them to Limerick, east Clare and Tipperary, where they meet concertina player Katie O’Sullivan, historian Maura Cronin, piper Mickey Dunne and his daughter, fiddle player Bríd Dunne, and the Monks of Glenstal Abbey.

Pass it On: Sacar na mBan

Monday, RTÉ1, 8pm

It’s been a long time coming, but finally women’s football is getting the recognition and respect it deserves, and this new four-part series looks at some of the women playing at the top tier of the sport as they prepare for an action-packed 2023 season. Peter Coonan is the narrator as Shelbourne FC, Peamount United and Galway United begin their championship campaigns, and the series puts the spotlight on current and future stars Karen Duggan, Tara O’Hanlon, Erin McLoughlin, Rachel Graham, Rebecca Devereux, Jessie Stapleton and Abbiegayle Ronayne.

Sheepdog Showdown

Monday, BBC1, 8pm

You’ve seen One Man and his Dog; now here are 240 competitors and their dogs, all congregating on a rural country estate in Co Down for the triannual World Sheepdog Trials in 2023. This was the first time this event was held in Northern Ireland, and Claire Balding narrates this three-part series covering all the shepherding action over the four days at the estate just outside Dromore. Among the handlers competing for the big prize are Derry woman Shannon with her dog Chip, Hungarian handler Petra with her faithful dog Novel, and a man known as the Ronaldo of the sheepdog world.


Home of the Year

Tuesday, RTÉ1, 8.30pm

It’s make-your-mind-up time for series 10 of the contest, as judges Amanda Bone, Hugh Wallace and Sara Cosgrove must declare which is Ireland most des res. Over the course of the series, we’ve seen 21 stunning homes lovingly designed, decorated and refurbished by creative homeowners, with a finalist being chosen each week. Among the seven finalists are a 1920s terraced house in Dublin, an 18th-century former rectory in Derry, a colourful home in Co Louth and a former schoolhouse in Co Cork. Now the seven will be whittled down to one, and crowned Home of the Year 2024.

Lake District Rescue

Tuesday, More4, 9pm

The Lake District in Cumbria is a huge area of natural beauty, attracting 18 million visitors a year to experience its walking trails through hills, valleys and over iconic mountains such as Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Great Gable. But many tourists to the region arrive woefully unprepared for how quickly the weather can change on the high fells, and many can suddenly find themselves trapped without adequate equipment or clothing. This series follows the 400 rescuers who work 24-7 to help people safely down from the mountainsides, with tales of hundreds of emergency responses through 2023.

Race Across the World

Wednesday, BBC1, 9pm

Phileas Fogg would certainly approve of this Bafta-winning series in which contestants must travel through land, sea and foam without the help of newfangled yokes such as airplanes and mobile telephone devices. In the fourth series, five pairs of intrepid travellers will race 15,000km across east Asia, from northern Japan all the way to the Indonesian island of Lombok. They’ll be on a strictly limited budget, and will have no access to smartphones, internet, bank cards or even directions, but will instead have to rely on their wits and street smarts to traverse six seas and eight borders in this exotic part of the globe.

The Aunties

Wednesday, BBC1, 10.40pm

Meet Tahera, Rubina and Ghazala, a formidable trio of Asian aunties from Bradford in Yorkshire who are on a mission to pass on their cultural pride to the younger members of their families. Alarmed by how quickly the next generation of Asian youth are being westernised, they want to show the young people of today the importance of preserving traditions in language, food and music, and most of all the values that will keep them grounded as they set out to establish their identities in a new world. This documentary follows the Aunties as they set up a community project to bridge the town’s generation gap, with workshops to teach young people the skills they need to get on in life.

The Complaints Bureau

Thursday, RTÉ1, 7pm

In this week’s episode of the consumer watchdog series, our intrepid consumer advocates are on the warpath against the rip-off merchants of this world, helping ordinary people get redress for bad value. Amy Molloy investigates the swelling market for unregulated lip fillers, which has been posing a health hazard in recent years. Siobhán Maguire looks at the rise of the Pink Tax, whereby women are charged more than men for products and services that pretty much do the same thing. And how do you get a refund for a trip to Australia without having to travel down under and demand your money back? Conor Pope is on the case.

Home Rescue: The Big Fix

Thursday, RTÉ2, 9.35pm

Designer Dee Coleman and builder Peter Finn are keen to help homeowners restore order to their chaotic homes, and replace the soul-sapping clutter with clear, liveable spaces. With help from their talented team of home improvement experts, the duo set out to transform homes and change their owners’ lives in just five days. First up are husband and wife Pearse and Claire, who share a bungalow with their three kids and Claire’s mum, Granny Doreen. The house should be big enough for three generations, but with everyone feeling hemmed in, it’s time for Dee and Peter to roll up their sleeves and work their magic.


Streaming from April 12th, Apple TV+

Michael Douglas stars as Benjamin Franklin in this epic series based on a thrilling episode in the life of the scientist, inventor, writer, publisher and diplomat. Franklin had found fame and fortune for his electrical experiments and his pioneering publications, but as he turned 70, he was given the role of a lifetime as the first US ambassador to France, whose mission to Europe was crucial to securing American independence. The series is based on Stacy Schiff’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America, and tells the story of his eight-year mission to persuade the French monarchy to back America’s grand democracy project. Douglas certainly has the chops to bring the great man to life, and he has help from a fine supporting cast.

Late Night Lycett

Friday, Channel 4, 10pm

Comedian Joe Lycett returns with a second series of his variety show, and he promises to “go bigger and wilder” than before, with more outrageous behaviour, out-there antics and out-of-the-ballpark guest stars. “From Paul Chuckle destroying my local cornershop to Katherine Ryan being trapped on a floating barge, the whole thing feels like a crazed fever dream,” says Lycett, recalling the first series. The six new episodes will once again be broadcast live from Lycett’s hometown of Birmingham, and at its heart will be a celebration of diversity and inclusivity, with local legends, LGBTQ+ role models and well-known names from the world of entertainment.