TV & Radio Good Friday

by Fiona Rae / 22 April, 2011
A UKTV whodunit weekend for Easter, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Christ.


Doctor Who: The End of Time (Prime, 7.10pm). Any day is a good day for Doctor Who, but Good Friday is particularly good. This is the one in which John Simm is the Master and David Tennant leaves the Whoverse to make way for Matt Smith. We are very much hoping that the sci-fi-friendly Prime is preparing us for the new series of Doctor Who, which begins on April 23 in the UK.

Whitechapel (UKTV, Sky 006, 8.30pm). Modern-day east London is transformed into the murkiest of murky things for this three-parter that resurrects the spectre of Jack the Ripper. Rupert Penry-Jones is our hero, although he’s an inexperienced, slightly posh detective inspector who is put in charge of salty old dog DS Phil Davis. One UK critic called it Life on Mars without the time travel, and there are some similar elements, such as a young copper being the only one who welcomes Penry-Jones onto the team, and Davis being a Cockney Gene Hunt. However, this is more From Hell than from Mars; a noir penny dreadful filmed in sepia tones with plenty of evisceration and dropping of the aitches. If you like the crime genre as only the British can do it, settle in for an entire whodunit weekend on UKTV, beginning today at 6.45am. We recommend Wallander, which follows Whitechapel at 9.20pm, the British version of the Swedish adaptation of the novels by Henning Mankell. Kenneth Branagh is the titular detective; he is the most careworn he’s ever been, and the atmosphere is cold and spare. The first episode of the second series, Faceless Killers, screens tonight; the second, The Man Who Smiled, is tomorrow night; and the third and final episode, The Fifth Woman, is on Easter Sunday.

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth (TV3, 10.15pm). If even Dave Grohl describes this documentary as “the Dumb and Dumber of rock docs” who are we to argue? Documentary-maker James Moll, who won an Oscar for The Last Days, was given free access to the band, and although it’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, he captures the history and personalities of a band that began as a way for Grohl to step out of the shadow of his previous outfit, Nirvana.


Bedtime Stories (TV2, 7.00pm). Adam Sandler is marginally less grating than usual as a hotel handyman who is amazed when the nightly bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start coming true. This is sanitised Disney family fluff in which every little creature is adorable (except Russell Brand: ewww). The lack of subtlety is surprising, as Bedtime Stories is directed by Adam Shankman, whose delightfully edgy Hairspray remake in 2007 marked him out as someone who knew where to find the irony buttons. (2008) 5 – Diana Balham

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Four, 8.30pm). Not all sequels are bad, and Terminator 2 has justifiably become a stone classic in the annals of sci-fi (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, not so much). Maybe it helped that James Cameron was updating his own 1984 classic and that he had a budget of $100 million to make special effects that are still awesome today. Cameron pares down heroine Linda Hamilton into a tough, pre-Lara Croft warrior, puts a pubescent John Connor (Edward Furlong) in nail-biting danger, and introduces the evilest Terminator of all: the T-1000, or liquid metal man, played by a creepily impassive Robert Patrick. (1991) 9

The Fly II (Four, 10.45pm). Apparently this features a man whose head has been dissolved by corrosive fly sick. Lacks the buzz of the first one. (1989) 4 – Diana Balham


Good Friday Morning with Stuart Keith (Radio New Zealand National, 6.00am). Relax – it’s Good Friday, and the shops aren't open. Well, except for the naughty ones. Just the sonorous tones of Stuart Keith to take us through the morning.

St Matthew Passion (Radio New Zealand Concert, noon). The rather hunky Christchurch-born baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes sings the role of Christ in this repeat of Bach’s Easter masterpiece, recorded live in the Auckland Town Hall last year. With Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo), Ian Honeyman (tenor), Conal Coad (bass), the Black Watch Singers from St Cuthbert’s College, the University of Auckland Chamber Choir and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Roy Goodman. – Diana Balham

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