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TV Highlights

Wednesday, 18th January, 2012 4:50pm

Story by John Daly
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TV Highlights

'Operation Transformation', RTE 1, Wednesday.

TV Highlights

'Operation Transformation', RTE 1, Wednesday.

'Operation Transformation' (RTE 1, Wednesday, 8.30pm) - Three weeks into the plan, the five leaders are struggling to adapt Dr Eva Orsmond's food recipes and Karl Henry's exercises into their daily routines. The pressure is on to keep on track but Grace is feeling the effects of giving up cigarettes and Killian has to face his past when Dr Eddie calls around for a house visit.

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'The Crusades: Holy War' (BBC 2, Wednesday, 8.30pm) - In this new three-part series, Dr Thomas Asbridge presents his revelatory account of the Crusades, the 200-year war between Christians and Muslims for control of the Holy Land. The story of the Crusades is remembered as a tale of religious fanaticism and unspeakable violence, but now fresh research, eyewitness testimony and contemporary evidence from both the Christian and Islamic worlds shed new light on how these two great religions waged war in the name of God.

Episode one traces the epic journey of the First Crusaders, as they marched 3,000 miles from Europe to recapture the city of Jerusalem from Islam, enduring starvation, disease and bloodthirsty battle to reach their sacred goal, and then unleashed an appalling tide of barbaric violence upon their Muslim enemies.

Yet far from being the invincible holy warriors of legend, Dr Asbridge reveals that these crusaders actually considered surrender in the midst of their titanic expedition.

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'A Little Bit TV' (RTE 1, Thursday, 7.30pm) - Bunny Carr, one of the original big stars of RTE, talks about how he "stopped the lights" in entertainment and quiz shows before moving on to PR and communications.

Surprisingly, a job as a bank clerk was to provide Carr with his big break. Near the RTE radio studios in O'Connell Street, he was cashing cheques for, and making contacts with, Raidió Éireann employees. When Teilifís Éireann launched on New Year's Eve in 1961, Carr was in there.

Within a few days, he became an on-air 'commercial reader'. Bunny Carr was also an ideas man. He developed TV shows for RTE like 'Teen Talk', 'The Life Game', 'Going Strong' and, of course, the legendary 'Quicksilver'. His catchphrase "Stop the lights" even became part of everyday language.

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'Putin, Russia & The West' (BBC 2, 9pm) - Vladimir Putin, after eight years as president of Russia and four more as prime minister, is stubbornly holding onto power. He has announced his intention to return as president and declared his United Russia Party the winner in parliamentary elections that have widely been seen as fraudulent, causing mass protests in Moscow and elsewhere with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets.

But just how did this consummate political operator with a background in the KGB become a valued ally of the West? And when did his policies start to provoke deep concern in Washington and London?

'Putin, Russia & the West' tells the inside story, with contributions from Putin's top colleagues and the Western statesmen who have clashed with him. The first film, 'Taking Control', starts with George W Bush meeting Putin in June 2001 and declaring how he looked Putin in the eye and "got a sense of his soul".

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'Who Knows Ireland Best?' (RTE 1, Friday, 8.30pm) - Presented by Derek Mooney, this new gameshow format sets two teams against each other and a survey of 1,000 people across the nation and asks them 'Who knows Ireland Best?' in a census of our self-esteem and a survey of our cultural body image.

Episode one features three hoteliers going head-to-head with three tattoo artists to answer questions like: Have you ever stolen money from the Trocaire Box? How many pairs of shoes does the average Irish woman own?

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'Lust For Life: A Survivor's Story' (BBC 4, Monday, 10pm) - 'Lust For Life' is a film about Heather Leach, a cheeky flame-haired documentary director.

Based in London, she was living life to the full. Then, at the age of 30, she was suddenly diagnosed with a thyroid disease and, on top of that, cancer. Heather's diagnosis triggered a whole range of emotions, but more significantly, she began reconsidering the purpose of life.

It forced her to stop and think about what really mattered. Six days after her diagnosis, the vibrant workaholic picked up her camera and started making this film. She returned to her home town, Rochdale. Over the next three years, as health problem followed health problem, she had to face up to growing poverty and an increasing dependence on her family. Suddenly, she felt like a child again but, out of despair and depression, she was finally able to face her mortality with intimacy, insight and fun. This is a film about the importance of really living our lives.

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'Farewell Becky' (ITV, Tuesday, 7.30pm) - After six action-packed years on 'Coronation Street', Weatherfield is bidding an emotional farewell to one of Corrie's most iconic characters, Becky McDonald.

The character of Becky may have started out as a petty criminal but she went on to steal the hearts of soap viewers. So, as fans prepare to say farewell to one of the best-loved characters in soapland, this programme follow Becky's journey from her first appearance in a police station, through her many triumphs and traumas, ending with her emotional send-off.

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Movie Of The Week: 'The Ugly Truth' (RTE 1, Wednesday, 9.35pm) - Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler co-star in this rom-com about a romantically challenged morning show producer who is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to an unexpected result.

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