How to keep yourself entertained through January

Stuck for something new to do, see, read or watch? David Roy rounds up the latest TV, films, books, theatre and live music coming our way throughout January...

A picture of Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald in the new series of The Tourist
The Tourist series two Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald are back for another series of the BBC hit (BBC/Two Brothers/Steffan Hill/Russell Kirby)


The Tourist (BBC iPlayer, all episodes available now)

Jamie Dornan is back as Elliott, the dodgy Irish amnesiac, but this time it’s his Aussie love interest Helen (Danielle Macdonald) who’s the titular ‘tourist’ as the pair travel to Ireland in search of some answers about his shady past.

The Traitors (BBC One, January 3)

Claudia Winkleman
Claudia Winkleman The Traitors (BBC/Studio Lambert/Mark Mainz/PA)

Walking/talking fringe Claudia Winkleman returns to host another series of the hit gameshow that was one of the BBC’s biggest success stories of last year, as a new cast of contestants set up home in a Scottish castle and set about deceiving one another for the chance to win big money.

True Detective: Night Country (Sky Atlantic/NOW, January 12)

Jodie Foster as Liz Danvers and Kali Reis as Evangeline Navarro in snowy scene from True Detective: Night Country
True Detective: Night Country Jodie Foster as Liz Danvers and Kali Reis as Evangeline Navarro (© 2023 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.)

HBO’s hit returns for a brand new series of murder, mystery and intrigue: this time around, Jodie Foster and Kali Reis are the cops with a tough case to crack – the disappearance of six men from a research station. Here’s hoping for a cross between Fargo and The Thing.

LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland (Prime Video, January 19)

LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland launches globally on Prime Video on Friday January 19 2024 (The Academy PR/PA)
LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland launches globally on Prime Video on Friday January 19 2024

Graham Norton hosts the new Irish version of Prime Video’s hit comedy format in which our top comedy talents – including Jason Byrne, Aisling Bea and Amy Huberman – face off in an attempt to make their opponent laugh without cracking so much as a smile themselves. Apparently, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.


Ferrari (out now)

Ferrari (2023) Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari. Sky UK Limited/Black Bear Pictures/Eros Hoagland. All Rights Reserved. (Sky UK Limited/Black Bear Pictures/Eros Hoagland. All Rights Reserved)

The appropriately named Adam Driver stars as Enzo Ferrari in this Michael Mann-directed biopic about the turbulent life and times of the founder of the world’s most famous sports car manufacturer, with a cast including Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey and Jack O’Connell.

Read more:

Priscilla (out now)

Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as Priscilla and Elvis Presley on their wedding day in a scene from Sofia Coppola's new film Priscilla.
Priscilla (2024) Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi are Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola's new film. A24

You’ve seen Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar-dodging biopic Elvis: now, here comes Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, starring Cailee Spaeny as the former Mrs Presley and based on the 1985 memoir Elvis and Me: expect a warts and all account of her life with The King (Jacob Elordi).

Mean Girls (January 19)

A scene from the new Mean Girls movie
Mean Girls (2024) The new musical version of Mean Girls will be released this month

The original Mean Girls is a modern classic and, as much as it pains me to write this, the new film adaptation of the hit stage musical spawned by the 2004 original looks like it might be a lot of fun – even though apparently Lindsay Lohan won’t even get a cameo.

The Book of Clarence (January 19)

LaKeith Stanfield as Clarence in a scene from The Book of Clarence
The Book of Clarence Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) is not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy... (MORIS PUCCIO)

Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield), brother of the original doubting Thomas, sees Jesus working miracles and decides to get in on his ‘saviour’ act as a way of turning his misfortunes around in this possibly highly sacrilegious Biblical comedy from director Jaymes Samuel.

Louder Than You Think (January 18, The Black Box, Belfast, 8pm)

The poster for the Gary Young documentary Louder Than You Think
Louder Than You Think (2023) The poster for the Gary Young documentary Louder Than You Think

This new documentary delves into the life and times of Gary Young, the original and highly unpredictable drummer with 90s indie rock gods Pavement. Don’t miss its Irish premiere as part of the Out to Lunch Festival.

Tickets via cqaf.com.


The Secret – Lee and Andrew Child (Penguin)

The cover of The Secret by Lee and Andrew Child
The Secret (2023) The latest Jack Reacher novel is another flashback to our hero's days as a US Army MP

Jack Reacher’s latest outing will no doubt have found its way into many a Christmas stocking last week: this time around, it’s 1992 and the hulking righter of wrongs is still a US Army MP who must investigate a spate of strange yet apparently unconnected (wanna bet?) deaths across the US as part of an inter-agency task force.

How They Broke Britain – James O’Brien (Penguin)

The cover of How They Broke Britain by James O'Brien
How They Broke Britain (2023) James O'Brien takes Tories and their accomplices to task in his latest book

Radio talk show host and author of How to Be Right James O’Brien takes on the Tories, advisers and media moguls who have managed to royally screw up his country and the rest of the UK across 10 acerbic chapters.


Professor Brian Cox – Horizons: A 21st Century Space Odyssey (January 24, Waterfront Hall, Belfast/ January 25, Millennium Forum, Derry / January 26, Armagh City Hotel/ January 27, Diamond Hall, Coleraine)

Professor Brian Cox
Professor Brian Cox Professor Brian Cox

Everyone’s favourite physicist returns with a brand new live show in which he “takes us on a dazzling cinematic journey – a story of how we came to be and what we can become.”

Tickets via ticketmaster.ie.

Arenacross (January 19-20, SSE Arena, Belfast)

This is Irish MX2 champ Meara’s first year competing in the Arenacross Tour - the 19-year-old from Loughbrickland is currently number five in the Pro Lites rankings
Arenacross The Arenacross British Championships return to the SSE Arena in Belfast this month

Expect a weekend of dirtbike-based madness as the spectacular Arenacross British Championship blasts back to Belfast for another dose of high octane, big jump-based racing as reigning champion Tommy Searle attempts to hold off last year’s runner-up Conrad Mewse once again.

Tickets via ticketmaster.ie

Teechers – The MAC (from January 25)

The poster for Teechers
Teechers Lisa May will direct a new production of the John Godber classic at The MAC in in Belfast

Bruiser Theatre Company present a revival of John Godber’s funny, incisive and sobering tale of life at a modern secondary school, in which three teenage pupils sketching out their initially idealistic new drama teacher’s increasingly miserable life for their end of term play.

Directed by Lisa May, tickets via themaclive.com

Mark O’Connell: A Thread of Violence (January 28, The Green Room at The Black Box)

The cover of A Thread of Violence by Mark O'Connell
A Thread of Violence (2023) Mark O'Connell's latest book delves into one of Ireland's most infamous murder cases

Award-winning Dublin author Mark O’Connell (To Be a Machine) will be in conversation with Joe Nawaz about his new book, a gripping account of one of Ireland’s highest profile murder cases.

Tickets via cqaf.com


Jake O’Kane: The Inappropriate Tour (see davidhullpromotions.co.uk for dates and tickets)

Jake O'Kane

Comedian and Irish News columnist Jake O’Kane is back on the road for his annual stand-up tour, and this time he’s sharing a little more about himself than usual alongside the usual skewering of our high-profile political chancers.

Luisa Omielan: God Is A Woman – The Musical (January 6, The Black Box)

Comedian Luisa Omielan will be at the Out To Lunch festival next month
Luisa Omielan Comedian Luisa Omielan will be at the Out To Lunch festival next month

Described as her “female Book of Mormon”, comedian Luisa Omielian may not be able to sing or play music, but she did grow up loving the Sister Act movies.

She says: “This is a rough and ready idea, a pitch for a musical all about Mary Magdalene – and you can help me develop it.”

Pray for her. Tickets via cqaf.com

Fraulein (January 13, Ulster Sports Club, Belfast)

A photo of Fraulein's Joni and Karsten
Fraulein The London-based duo will play in Belfast as part of the Out To Lunch Festival

Pleasingly noisy London-based duo Fraulein have their roots in the north (Joni, guitar/vocals) and Holland (Karsten, drums).

They create a catchy/crunchy 90s alt-rock-flavoured ruckus which should appeal to both those who lived through and young uns who missed out first time around.

Tickets via cqaf.com.

Dead Men Walking (January 28, The Empire, Belfast)

A photo of the band Dead Men Walking
Dead Men Walking The punk supergroup featuring Stiff Little Fingers leader Jake Burns will play at The Empire in Belfast this month

This punk supergroup features Jake ‘Stiff Little Fingers’ Burns, Ruffy and Segs from The Ruts and Kirk ‘Theatre of Hate’ Brandon playing your favourite songs from all three of their bands in an acoustic yet raucous style. Unplugged fun.

Tickets via thebelfastempire.com

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