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From uncovering the truth about Phil Lynott to Scorsese’s epic historical drama – the top TV to watch this week

The memory of Phil Lynott looms large over Dublin city, where he’s eulogised in statue and song. But Emer Reynolds’ fine documentary, which was given a belated cinema release back in June, attempts to get behind the myths and tall stories to paint a picture of the actual man.

he does this by combining the recollections of family and friends with some of Lynott’s lesser-known songs. He was a prolific and talented lyricist, and Reynolds unearths some moving early songs he wrote about Dublin, a city he moved to from Manchester as a young child and quickly embraced as his spiritual home.

In some of the documentary’s most affecting moments, we hear how young Phil had to hit the ground running when he arrived in Crumlin at the age of eight.

His uncle recalls his first day at a school where, as the only black boy, and with a strong Manchester accent, he was highly likely to get into trouble. But he adapted quickly, became a popular character among his peers, and grew to deeply identify with his adopted city.

His rapid rise to international superstardom, and its attendant problems, are memorably recalled by former Lizzy band mates Brian Downey and Eric Bell. We all know what happened next, but in Songs for While I’m Away we get a sense of what Phil Lynott might have become had he survived his brush with fame.

Pick of the week: Songs for While I’m Away, Wed, RTÉ1, 9.35pm

Film of the week

Silence
Thursday, BBC4, 10.05pm

For all the histrionics of his gangster pictures, Martin Scorsese has always been fascinated by religion, and the search for God. And in Silence, he charts the experiences of two 17th-century Jesuits whose faith will be tested to the bitter limit.

Young Portuguese Jesuits Sebastiao and Francisco are dispatched to Japan by their superior to spread the good word, but also to look for Father Ferreira SJ (Liam Neeson), who is missing. In a feudal but in some ways sophisticated country where Christians are seen as heretic interlopers, the two men will face terrible trials, but experience moments of illumination. It’s a beautifully made film, and is guaranteed to make you think.

TV highlights of the week

SATURDAY

The Saturday Game Live
RTÉ2, 4.30pm
Anna Geary and Elaine Aylward join Evanne Ní Chuilinn for a Camogie Championship quarter-final double bill. First up is Kilkenny versus Wexford, then it’s Tipperary v Waterford.

Film
Alien: Covenant

RTÉ2, 10.40pm
A group of human colonists on their way to a new celestial home are diverted off course by a distress signal they should have ignored. With Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston.

Casualty
BBC1, 9.25pm
Jacob is lost in his troubles with Tina when he sees someone dive off a sea wall in an apparent suicide attempt, and dives in to save them.

SUNDAY
The Sunday Game Live
RTÉ2, 2pm
A few Sundays earlier than we’re used to, it’s the All-Ireland Hurling final between Cork and defending champions Limerick. Throw-in at 3.30pm, Joanne Cantwell presents.

Film
Wind River
Channel 4, 11.10pm
Atmospheric drama set on an Arapaho reservation in Wyoming and starring Jeremy Renner as a veteran hunter who joins forces with a young FBI agent to investigate the suspicious death of a Native American woman.

Baptiste
BBC1, 9pm
In the final episode of the crime drama, Julian and Emma finally discover the shocking truth about what happened to her family. With Fiona Shaw.

MONDAY
Food Unwrapped

Channel 4, 8pm
Andi Oliver finds out how the mould gets inside blue cheese, Jimmy Doherty observes cutting-edge crisp production in Germany, and Matt Tebbutt visits Argentina to watch perfect popcorn being made.

Film
Black Panther

RTÉ2, 9pm
As T’Challa is crowned king of Wakanda in the wake of his father’s death, he faces challenges from without and within. With Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya.

Summer of Wild Weather
Channel 4, 9pm
This year is on course to be the hottest year since records began, and fires in Greece and California, floods in Belgium, Germany and Iran, and the heat dome over America’s Pacific northwest offer warnings that worse is to come.

TUESDAY
Today at the Paralympics

RTÉ2, 7pm
Evanne Ní Chuilinn looks back at today’s opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, which marks the beginning of 12 days of intense competition.

Film
The Shallows

E4, 9pm
When a woman travels to Mexico to surf a secluded beach her late mother loved, she’s attacked by a great white shark and ends up stranded on a rock 200 metres from the shore. Thriller, with Blake Lively.

Celebrity MasterChef
BBC1, 9pm
Third-round contestants Melissa Johns, Dion Dublin, Joe Swash, Will Kirk and Katie Price are tested on their knowledge of tropical fruit and are asked to prepare sweetcorn fritters, a poached egg and smashed avocado in 20 minutes.

WEDNESDAY
UEFA Champions League

Virgin Media Two, 7.30pm
Tommy Martin and guests present live coverage of one of tonight’s play-off games for a place in the Champions League group stages.

Film
Get Out

Film Four, 9pm
Jordan Peele’s witty horror stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a young black photographer who senses that something is amiss when he goes to visit his white girlfriend’s wealthy parents.
Remarkable Renovations
Channel 4, 9pm
George Clarke meets Bernie, who has bought a run-down Victorian stable block on the banks of the Humber which he plans to turn into a luxury home for his retirement. But there are certain things he hasn’t factored in.

THURSDAY
Shop Well for Less

BBC1, 8pm
Ron and George have expensive tastes, from designer shoes and clothes to monthly massages and personal grooming routines. But these may not be compatible with a desire to become homeowners.

Film
Contagion

TCM, 9pm
When a businesswoman returns to America from Hong Kong and has a casual hook-up with an old fling on the way home, she does not realise that she has unleashed a deadly virus.

FBI
Sky Witness, 9pm
Maggie and OA welcome a new team member as they hunt for the killers who staged a mass shooting at a media company, but a personal connection to the case is clouding OA’s judgement.

FRIDAY
Today at the Paralympics

RTÉ2, 7.30pm
At day three of the Tokyo Paralympics, swimming, athletics, table tennis, equestrian events and wheelchair rugby and basketball were among the sports being contested.

Film
Captain America: Winter Soldier

BBC1, 10.35pm
Steve Rogers is adjusting to his new life in 21st-century Washington DC when a masked assassin threatens the very existence of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chris Evans stars.

Law & Order: Organised Crime
Sky Witness, 10pm
Elliot Stabler is forced to address the consequences of a failed drug bust, Gina gets an unexpected visit, and Bell must choose between her family and her job. Christopher Meloni stars.

Sheena McGinley’s stream of the week

The Chair
Netflix, streaming now
Oh, Sandra Oh, how you perfectly embody everything good, right, and true in whatever dramedy you grace. This time around, she portrays Dr Ji-Yoon Kim, the first person of colour, and a woman to boot, to be given the post of English Department Chair at the English department at prestigious Pembroke University. Thing is, she has inherited a poisoned chalice, or as Ji-Yoon eloquently puts it; “I feel like I’ve been handed a ticking time bomb because they wanted to make sure a woman was holding it when it explodes.”

It may be your atypical midlife crisis by way of Sideways — touching off sex, death, abandonment, mental health, and all the ‘isms’ — but now it’s Oh’s time to lead from the front. Fans of Grey’s Anatomy will be particularly enthused by this as it has all the comedy-drama one would need but none of the Killing Eve deaths.

Also streaming…

Nine Perfect Strangers
Amazon Prime, streaming now
Based on The New York Times bestselling book from Australian author Liane Moriarty, this eight-parter is produced by the teams behind Big Little Lies. Therefore, it’ll come as no surprise that it stars Nicole Kidman — and Melissa McCarthy — in their first project together.

Filmed on location in Australia, the drama is set at a boutique health-and-wellness resort. As is customary, the establishment promises healing and transformation to nine stressed city dwellers attempting to forge a path to a better way of living.

Watching over them during this 10-day retreat is the resort’s director, Masha (Kidman), who’s on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies. However, these nine strangers have no idea what is about to hit them. Hint: it’s not a slew of seaweed in the face. The first three episodes are live, with episodes releasing weekly.

Mixed-ish
Disney+, streaming now
Because the ‘ish’ franchise is lit with spinoffs right now, here’s another one! From the producers of Black:ish and Grown:ish, comes this new:ish venture featuring young Rainbow and her family as they try to acclimate in the suburbs after living in a commune.

Sweet Girl
Netflix, streaming now
In a well-worn movie trope; a devastated husband (Jason Momoa) vows to bring justice to those responsible for his wife’s death — all while protecting the only family he has left, his daughter. Aquaman has been busy of late; his new epic series See lands on AppleTV+ next week.

Post Mortem…
Netflix, Thursday
‘Nordic Noir’ is a well-worn term bandied about over the last decade. Now the Nords are melding their black drama with comedy. Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes centres around (ironically named) Live Hallangen, who is declared dead. Hours later, driven by a dark, insatiable hunger, she suddenly wakes up on the forensic table.

Meanwhile, her brother Odd tries to keep the family-driven funeral home afloat, but the stagnant death rate in the small Norwegian town of Skarnes isn’t helping. Live has to learn to control her new dangerous nature and decide if she’s willing to sacrifice the locals for her own survival — and that of the family business…

The Witcher…
Netflix, Monday
Before Geralt, there was Vesemir — a cocky young witcher who delights in slaying monsters for coin. In this instalment of The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, a dangerous new power rises on the Continent, Vesemir learns that some witchering jobs are about more than just money.

Untold: Caitlyn Jenner
Netflix, Tuesday
For those of you keeping track of the episodic releases; the one you’ve been waiting for lands this week, featuring former Olympian winner/KUWTK family affiliate.

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