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What to Watch in August

Lisa Tipton
The funeral of Joe McDonnell, the fifth hunger striker to die. Belfast, July 1981.
'Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland' tells the story of The Troubles via the personal memories of ordinary people. Photo: Courtesy of Homer Sykes

There's a huge amount of worthwhile TV out there nowadays, so it can be hard to choose what to watch. But who better to recommend shows than the person who programs them? Lisa Tipton, WTTW’s Head of Programming and Pledge, constructs the WTTW schedule by searching through offerings from many different sources which include the national PBS network, the BBC, and independent filmmakers to put together a varied and engaging broadcast schedule. Each month, she’ll recommend a few shows that she thinks you should watch.

Find all the ways to watch WTTW here. Many of the below shows are available to stream or will be once they premiere.

Grantchester season finale

Sunday, August 6 at 9:00 pm

As season eight comes to a close, Will is about to become a father, but he's nowhere to be found. Geordie has to find him as Bonnie is about to give birth. 

Catch up on previous episodes and seasons with our recaps. WTTW Passport members can stream the finale ahead of its airdate. 

The Great American Recipe finale

Monday, August 7 at 8:00 pm

Home cooks from across America have been competing since June on the second season of The Great American Recipe. Now one of them will be named the winner, out of a remaining three, in a thrilling conclusion.

Don't miss our interview with a Chicago-area contestant about what it was like to be on the show, and try his recipe for Pork Souvlakia and Tzatziki.

Frontline: Inside the Iranian Uprising

Tuesday, August 8 at 9:00 pm

While mass protests have periodically broken out in Iran in the past fifteen years, the ones that were sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody in 2022 and continue today have been more widespread geographically and demographically than previous uprisings. This Frontline documentary uses footage filmed by protestors to examine the powerful movement. 

Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland

Monday, August 28, and Tuesday, August 29 at 8:00 and 9:00 pm, and Wednesday, August 30 at 9:00 pm

The Troubles, the decades-long conflict that embroiled Northern Ireland in a daily reality of paramilitaries, bombings, and shootings, is hard to fathom, especially for Americans like us who are probably not all that familiar with the conflict beyond its vague outlines. This five-part series, released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that officially ended the conflict, uniquely tells the story of The Troubles via the personal memories and emotions of ordinary people who lived it. 

You can stream the whole series for free via the PBS video app now. Be sure to check back later in the month, when we will publish an interview with James Bluemel, the director of the series (and the Frontline documentary Once Upon a Time in Iraq).

Curse of the Spencers

Thursday, August 31 at 7:00 pm

On the 26th anniversary of her tragic death, explore a different part of Princess Diana's life and culture than is typically told: the tumultuous lives of her parents and the complicated upbringing that shaped her.

WTTW Passport members can stream the documentary now.