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

Doctor Who: Power of the Doctor

Sunday, BBC One, 7.30pm

Jodie Whittaker bows out as the 13th Doctor with a feature-length finale, and it looks like she’s planning to go out with a big bang, in a 90-minute universe-spanning adventure that’s sure to bend the laws of space and time. But before she regenerates into the new Doctor, who will be played by Ncuti Gatwa, she’ll have to battle three of her oldest and deadliest foes: the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master. Mandip Gill and John Bishop return as sidekicks Yasmin and Dan, and former Doctor David Tennant also makes an appearance – should be interesting.

Afghanistan’s Top Porn Star

Sunday, Channel 4, 10.15pm

Khadija Patman is better known to Pornhub subscribers as Yasmeena Ali, Afghanistan’s most famous porn star, and this one-off documentary tells the story of how the young British-Afghani woman escaped an arranged marriage and fled the Taliban to forge a lucrative career in the porn industry. Her father, horrified by her choice of career, and her conversion to Judaism, allegedly plotted with his cousin to murder her. Patman tells her candid story, and also discusses how the abuse of women under Islam is being ignored, and how the rights of sex workers everywhere are being trampled on.

The Pact

Monday, BBC One, 9pm

The first series of this acclaimed Welsh-made crime drama revolved around a group of women dealing with a toxic boss. They decide to prank him to teach him a lesson, but when he ends up dead, the women make a pact that they’ll keep schtum about their involvement. Needless to say that didn’t go too well. Now, a second season begins with almost an entire new cast and a deadly new pact to be made. Rakie Ayola returns as social worker Christine, whose family’s lives are upturned when a stranger arrives into their lives making some outrageous claims.

Made in the 80s: The Decade that Shaped Our World

Monday, Channel 4, 9pm

With Boris Johnson’s sunny uplands receding into the distance, and Britain plunging into a dark ages of its own making, even the 1980s seem like a golden age of enlightenment in comparison, and this three-part documentary looks at how the UK was reforged in a decade marked by culture wars, social division, strikes, Thatcherism and rapid technological advancement. You can say one thing: Britain’s pop bands – Duran Duran, Wham!, Culture Club et al – truly defined the decade.

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities

From Tuesday, Netflix

If you’re looking for someone to curate this new horror anthology series, you could do worse than getting the director of Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water on board. Del Toro has gathered a team of writers and directors to create sinister, sophisticated tales of the unexpected; two of the eight stories are Del Toro originals, and he also plays host. Look out for such actors as Peter Weller, Rupert Grint and F Murray Abraham in stories that promise to upend our perceptions of what is scary.

Jimmy Carr Destroys Art

Tuesday, Channel 4, 9.15pm

We’ve watched The KLF burn a million quid, but Channel 4 is going one better with this already-controversial show, in which a studio audience decides if the comedian Jimmy Carr should put paintings by Hitler, Picasso and Rolf Harris under the hammer, ie smash them to bits. It’s billed as a daring debate about whether you can separate the art from the artist, but critics say it’s a publicity stunt that reduces the Holocaust and paedophilia to light entertainment. There’s the remote control – you decide.

Build Your Own Home

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

House prices are soaring, and the costs of renovating and extending your home are going through the roof. What’s the solution? Answer: get on the hard hat and hi-vis jacket and build it yourself. In this new series, some brave homeowners take on the gargantuan task of doing their own building or renovating, even though they have no experience in construction. Don’t worry, though – they’ll be mentored by master builder Harrison Gardner, who will be there to guide them through the steps. First up are Dublin couple Grace and Robbie, who are hoping to extend their two-bed in Dublin’s city centre.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

From Wednesday, Disney+

It’s a rule that all streaming services must have a series in which superpowered teenagers attend a secret academy run by an eccentric, enigmatic father figure. Blame Hogwarts, but series such as Fate: The Winx Saga and The Umbrella Academy are adding a dollop of magic to the school curriculum. Gifted orphans Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance are back in this second series, once again helping their mentor Mr Benedict save the world from his nasty twin brother Dr LD Curtain. Mr Benedict and Number Two have been kidnapped, and the kids must go on a dangerous scavenger hunt, using all their wits and special skills to survive this deadly test.

A Sporting Chance

Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

The Republic of Ireland women’s squad have made history by qualifying for the World Cup, another great achievement for Irish sportswomen. But will it help level the playing field for women in sport, or will they always have to play second fiddle to men’s sports? Journalist and activist Joanne O’Riordan gets beneath the surface of this golden age for Irish sportswomen, and looks at what has to be done to ensure women are enabled to reach their fullest potential on and off the pitch.

Hector: Balkans go Baltic

Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm

You found lockdown constricting, you say? Spare a thought for Hector Ó hEochagáin, forced to curb his enthusiasm and exuberance and put his trips around the world on hold for awhile. Now his bags are packed once again for another international adventure, and it’s fair to say he’s raring to go. This time he’s exploring that region where Europe and Asia meet, beginning with a visit to the Turkish city of Istanbul, where he plays soccer with football-mad locals, looks at the industry for hair transplants, and meets carpet seller Hakan whose customers have included Ben Affleck.

The Bastard Son & the Devil Himself

From Friday, Netflix

It’s not easy growing up with a famous parent, but when your dad is the world’s most dangerous witch, well, that can make things a bit awkward around the cauldron at dinner time. This YA drama series is based on the Half Bad books by Sally Green, and tells the story of Nathan (Jay Lycurgo), the illegitimate son of a witch who is determined not to end up evil like his father. But to do that he’s going to have to get some of his good witchy friends behind him. Look out for Irish actor Karen Connell from Vikings as Ceelia, and Irish pop star Róisín Murphy as Mercury, making her dramatic debut.

The Devil’s Hour

From Friday, Prime Video

Peter Capaldi and Jessica Raine star in a disturbing psychological thriller that will have you looking fearfully at your bedside clock. Every night at 3.33am on the button – in the middle of the so-called devil’s hour – Lucy is awoken by terrifying visions, but what do they mean? Capaldi is a mysterious nomad who claims to be a time traveller (not Doctor Who – this guy’s name is Gideon) but who the police think may be a serial killer who has claimed a number of victims already. But why do the victims have a link with Lucy? Set your alarms for 6.66 – it’s going to be a long, scary night.

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A hedonist with a great passion for food. I baked my first biscuit at the age of five, since then I cook every day and get real pleasure from it. I am fond of intellectual games, with great interest I study scientific works on history and medicine and at the same time I follow pop culture, fashion and beauty trends.

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