TV & Radio Monday April 2by Fiona Rae
Sam Neill and "relative unknown" Keira Knightley in Dr Zhivago, and Jimmy Govern oversees a new series of dramas.
The Force (TV1, 8.00pm). New episodes of The Force, not that you can tell. Tonight on Western Australia’s mean streets, an annual police operation to find and destroy cannabis crops hidden in the bush and forests, and thieves target an ATM in broad daylight.
Homeland (TV3, 8.30pm). Did not see that coming. Brody’s compadre Tom Walker looked pretty dead after Brody was forced to beat him to a pulp and then bury him. But Walker’s back and absolutely “turned”, which further throws the scent off Brody. The CIA now just has to capture him.
Dr Zhivago (Vibe, Sky 007, 8.30pm). Keira Knightley was described as a “relative unknown” by the Guardian when she starred in this miniseries version of the Boris Pasternak novel. It is, inevitably, sexed-up by adapter Andrew Davies, who was writing every costume drama on telly in Britain at the time (2002). The miniseries is less romantic than David Lean’s 1965 classic starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie (tagline on the movie poster: “A love caught in the fire of revolution”), but Davies is able to expand on the backgrounds of Lara (Knightley) and Yuri Zhivago (Hans Matheson), and Sam Neill as Victor Komarovsky is “smooth and sinister”, said the Daily Mail. Hugh Bonneville, Celia Imrie and Bill Paterson also star.
Revenge (TV2, 9.30pm). Uh-oh, annoying stripper alert! The real Emily Thorne, who has been masquerading as Amanda Clarke, hellspawn of the terrorist-sympathising David Clarke, has turned up expecting gratitude from her former juvie cellmate for killing Evil Frank. Emily dumps her on Nolan, but unfortunately she takes a shine to Jack when he comes calling. Meanwhile, Lydia – this was always going to happen – wakes up, but what can she remember?
The Girl Next Door (Four, 8.30pm). Teenaged student falls in love with his girly neighbour, then discovers she is an ex-porn star. “Is the juice worth the squeeze” goes the tagline. Whoa, dude! It was less gruelling watching Emile Hirsch starve to death in Into the Wild than seeing him flailing around in this panting pervfest. (2004) 5
A Good Year (Movies Greats, Sky 022, 8.30pm). Shall we give Ridley Scott a pass on this one? His oeuvre is filled with cast-of-thousands historical epics (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven), intense battle scenes (Black Hawk Down) and, for good measure, a serial killer (Hannibal); what’s wrong with him having a little fun in the south of France? We may have to ignore the complete lack of chemistry between Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard, and Crowe’s fairly average attempts at comedy. Nonetheless, as with Under the Tuscan Sun, there is a warmth to this wish-fulfilment story of an investment banker who inherits his uncle’s dilapidated house in Provence and discovers the value of friends, family and lovers. (2006) 5
Moving On (Rialto, Sky 025, 8.30pm). It’s in the “Film” section, but it’s really the start of a series of one-off dramas executive produced by Jimmy McGovern (The Street), who chose a mix of up-and-comers and experienced writers. The theme is, as it says in the title, moving on, and tonight’s episode is about a woman (Sheila Hancock) who was looking forward to her husband’s retirement – and then he ups and dies. Shockingly, she then meets and falls in love with a Nepalese soldier (Bhasker Patel). The five-part series will feature such excellent British actors as Richard Armitage, Ian Hart, Mark Womack, Lesley Sharp, Joanne Froggatt and Dervla Kirwan. More info here.
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