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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Pat Stacey

Pat Stacey’s weekend TV picks: Horror hides in the fog in spooky drama The Rig; and the return of two RTÉ fan favourites

Martin Compston is among those who find themselves stranded in the North Sea by a mysterious fog in Amazon Prime Video’s six-part supernatural thriller The Rig


When it comes to working up a spooky atmosphere, you can’t beat a bit of good old-fashioned fog. There are plenty of spooky surprises lurking in the one that suddenly engulfs The Rig (Amazon Prime Video).

Emily Hampshire, Martin Compston, Iain Glen, Mark Bonnar and Owen Teale are among those who find their North Sea oil rig cut off from the rest of the world in a promising six-part supernatural thriller filmed entirely in Scotland.

Mary McCartney is our guide in If These Walls Could Sing (Disney+), a feature-length documentary exploring the world’s most famous recording studio, Abbey Road, and the countless artists who made magic there.

Expect fabulous archive footage and illuminating interviews with, among others, John Williams, Jimmy Page, Elton John and, of course, a certain James Paul McCartney.

Television’s latest enforced double act is unveiled in Amanda And Alan’s Italian Job (BBC1, 8.30pm).

Holden and Carr arrive in Sicily to do up the pad she’s bought for a million quid (there’s clearly money in mediocrity). Their none-too-hard labour is interspersed with the predictable travelogue guff.

Did Bez of the Happy Mondays really spend eight hours searching for his dentures at Glastonbury? Tune in to Would I Lie To You? (BBC1, 8pm) to find out if he’s lying through his teeth... or through his gums. 

It’s a menu of lightweight crime for lunch with the return of Father Brown (BBC1, 1.45pm), starring Mark Williams as GK Chesterton’s clergyman sleuth, and also for dinner with a new run of Death In Paradise (BBC1, 9pm), in which an astronomer is murdered.

Jamie Dornan and James Norton — both touted at various times to be the next James Bond — are among the guests on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1 NI, 11.10pm).

It’s been pushed down the schedule by half an hour to make room for the return of the abysmal Give My Head Peace (BBC NI, 10.40pm). Does anyone in Northern Ireland even find this thing funny anymore?

Over on The Late Late Show (RTÉ1, 9.35pm), the line-up includes Julian Benson, rugby player and Love Island winner Greg O’Shea, crime reporter Nicola Tallant and the latest batch of Operation Transformation leaders. A dose of televisual Valium.


AARON Pedersen, who played Aboriginal Australian detective Jay Swan in two Mystery Road movies and a spin-off TV series, makes way for Mark Coles as the younger Jay in Mystery Road: Origin (BBC4, 9pm & 9.55pm), a six-part prequel that kicks off in 1999, just as he joins the police force.

Video of the Day

It’s a new season — the seventh, believe it or not — of The Tommy Tiernan Show (RTÉ1, 9.40pm) and the format remains the same: he doesn’t know who he’ll be interviewing until they walk on set. This year, however, it’s 15 minutes longer than it used to be, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Also back is The John Bishop Show (ITV1, 9.30pm), which sticks with the stand-up comedy-based chat formula that made for a pleasant enough package last year. No word yet on who the guests are.

Saturday night becomes Saturday knight as Sir Roderick Stewart gets the tribute treatment.

Rod Stewart Night (BBC2) kicks off with a compilation of performances from the BBC archive (8pm), followed by his 2019 Reel Stories interview with Dermot O’Leary (9.30pm) and then a Hyde Park concert from 2015 (9.30pm). It wraps up with Imagine... (10.35pm), filmed at his homes in Beverly Hills and Essex.


The national broadcaster will have a sizeable chunk of the Irish viewing audience (although not this particular tiny fragment of it) in its pocket tonight as it unveils two of its biggest draws: Dancing With The Stars (RTÉ1, 6.30pm) and Room To Improve (RTÉ1, 9.30pm). You know what to expect from both.

The final season of His Dark Materials (BBC1, 7pm) reaches the halfway point and things are getting, well, even darker. Lyra travels to the Land of the Dead to rescue her murdered friend Roger, but there’s a price to be paid by her and her beloved daemon Pan. It might be advisable to have a box of tissues within easy reach.

For some of us, even the most traumatic moments of Happy Valley (BBC1, 9pm) — and there have been plenty — can’t possibly compare to the horror of realising that Midsomer Murders (ITV1, 8pm) is not just still around, but actually embarking on its 22nd season.

The guest star in this first instalment is none other than the erstwhile Inspector Lewis himself, Kevin Whately, playing a member of an operatic society.

Also returning tonight is Call The Midwife (BBC1, 8pm). As usual, there’s a dollop of social commentary in the script.

Racism rears its ugly head, making Jamaican-born Lucille (Leonie Elliott) wonder if she and her husband Cyril (Zephryn Taitte) are unwelcome in the country they chose to make their home.

The 911 call reporting the fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at Phil Spector’s LA mansion in 2003 is the starting point of the four-part documentary Spector (Sky Documentaries, 9pm; full series available on demand), which then reels back through a career marked by cruelty, controlling behaviour and a lifelong obsession with firearms (he once fired a handgun inches from John Lennon’s ear).

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