From Emma Dabiri to Angela Scanlon, the small screen is brimful with Irish talent this week

Lucy White with a helpful roundup of what's on the old fashioned terrestrial telly box this week, including a healthy dose of Irish talent

Hair Power – Me and My Afro

Tonight, C4, 10.15pm

It’s always great to see Irish-Nigerian social historian, author, broadcaster and all-round sounder Emma Dabiri on British telly, but none more so than when she’s fronting her own documentary (at last!). Following in the success of her 2019 book Don’t Touch My Hair,  she’ll be running a fine-tooth comb through the history and politics of black hair via a panel of interviewees that includes writers, singers and hairdressers, as part of C4’s Black History Month. Expect compelling strands such as fetishisation, discrimination and cultural appropriation. 



From tonight, BBC Two, 8pm

The clocks have now gone back, which means the welcome return of this comforting TV series that charts how wildlife responds to the change in season. As per the lockdown-tweaked Springwatch, its naturalist presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan, Iolo Williams and Gillian Burke will each report live from their different UK locations that include the New Forest, Yorkshire, Fife and Powys (wot no Northern Ireland?), for a two-week stint, checking in on wild deer, seals, rabbits, bats, birds, marine life and more, delivered with their trademark repartee. 

The Noughties – 2001

Tomorrow, October 28, BBC Two, 10pm

Angela Scanlon landed herself a plum job with this ten-part nostalgiafest – and rightly so, her signature warmth and wit making her one of tellyland’s most versatile presenters. For this light-hearted look-back series, she banters with her socially distanced guests, journalists and broadcasters Emma Barnett and Amol Rajan, about the hottest topics of 2001, the year that spawned the first Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films, a certain eejit called David Brent, and made September 11 a date the world will never forget. 

Secrets of Cinema


Thursday, October 29, BBC Four, 10.45pm

This is actually a repeat from Mark Kermode’s first series aired in 2018, however, it’s well-worth a revisit for the weekend that’s in it. The film critic celebrates motifs of the horror genre, including the journey, the jump scare, the scary place, the monster and the chase, in films as diverse as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Get Out, The Silence of the Lambs and silent classics The Phantom of the Opera and Nosferatu. Excellent inspiration for what else to watch this Halloween.

The Graham Norton Show

Friday, October 30, BBC One 10.40pm

Despite the doom and gloom of 2020, Norton must be feeling pretty good right now. Not only has his third novel, Home Stretch, received the best reviews of his literary career, his latest chat show marks a return to form. His prerecorded efforts back in spring/early summer was a misstep, the lack of guest interactions making for an oddly stilted affair. But now he has studio guests (and an audience, albeit a vastly reduced one), sprinkled with live links from abroad, it feels a bit more like business as usual. This Friday’s line-up is particularly exciting for Irish viewers: prodigious acting talent Jessie Buckley, and man of the moment, singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy, alongside David Walliams and Bill Bailey.

Later… with Jools Holland

Friday, October 30, BBC One, 10.40pm


Could Jarvis Cocker’s current album be his career-best? That’s not to pour water over Pulp’s  1994 and 1995 masterpieces, His ’n’ Hers and Different Class respectively, but merely to underscore how good this year’s solo LP,  Beyond the Pale, actually is. Cocker’s deadpan delivery against his band’s disco-throb is as reassuring as ever, although, at the age of 57, he has swapped more puckish topics, such as Es and Whizz, with more cerebral matters, including the evolution of man. This Friday he’ll explore the evolution of his career with Jools Holland. 

Main image: The Graham Norton Show

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