TV & Radio Sunday February 26

by Fiona Rae / 26 February, 2012
The last of the Austen adaptations before the BBC's 2009 bonnet moratorium, and a Christchurch pub restoration is interrupted.


The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown-ups (TV1, 7.00pm). Tonight, Nige explains the three stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Click here for Diana Wichtel's interview with Nigel Latta.

History Under the Hammer (Prime, 7.00pm). New local series in which the history of interesting objects is revealed just before they are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Tonight, a 1929 Douglas motorbike once raced by speedway star Wally Kilminster, a beautiful arts and crafts brooch, and a stock whip handle.

Sunday (TV1, 7.30pm). Tonight, a Kiwi couple who paid an American woman to be a surrogate mother, and wound up with triplets; a look at the Australian education system, which has had billions thrown at it, apparently to no avail; and a story about why lions in Africa are under threat.

60 Minutes (TV3, 7.30pm). Tonight, a report about former SAS soldiers employed by a security firm to rescue hostages from Somali pirates; an interview with Meryl Streep; and scientists now think that our pets are smarter than we ever imagined. No, really.

All New Simpsons (Four, 7.30pm). Tonight’s guest star: Glee’s Jane Lynch, who plays Homer’s new assistant at the nuclear power plant. Naturally, she is evil.

Top Gear (Prime, 7.30pm). Thank goodness, Jeremy Clarkson has been captured and released back in his natural environment, the petrolhead world of Top Gear. Tonight, Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are testing supercars at Italy’s Nardò test track, which is so large it can be seen from space. Much like Clarkson’s ego. They also drive around the centre of Rome – not for the faint-hearted – and go up against the Stig at the legendary Imola circuit. Now, please, God, do not let Jeremy out to comment on anything other than cars again.

The Grand Plan (Prime, 8.45pm). When life gives you lemons, so they say, make a TV show about it (just ask Fran Drescher). Here’s a new series that was first commissioned as a kind of Grand Designs-meets-Jamie Oliver. Cameras were to follow Nick and Sarah Freeman, Sarah’s father, Graham Harris, and their friend Stephen Cohen as they restored Christchurch’s dilapidated Provincial Hotel and turned it into a modern gastro-pub. That was until the first earthquake in September 2010, anyway.

Emma (TV1, 10.30pm). The last of the Austen adaptations before, in 2009, the BBC called a “bonnet moratorium”. Romola Garai (The Hour) is Austen’s exasperating heroine, and Jonny Lee Miller, wearing an excellent set of sideburns, is the kind and moral Mr Knightley, waiting in the wings for Emma to just grow up. This version (in four parts) is played as a comedy of manners, featuring lovely turns by Michael Gambon as Emma’s hypochondriac father and Tamsin Greig as sad, penniless chatterbox Miss Bates. It is a bit syrupy, however, and Miller doesn’t do much apart from stride manfully about, but it is pleasant enough.


P.S. I Love You (TV2, 8.30pm). Hello? Is that Dial-a-Celt? Ah well, Scotland, Ireland, close enough. Colin Farrell must have been busy, so here’s Gerard Butler playing a chap from the Emerald Isle who charms the freckles off Irish-American Holly Kennedy and then croaks. Men will hate it, and Hilary Swank will stick to real drama from now on, if she’s got any sense. (2007) 5 – Diana Balham

Jurassic Park (Four, 8.30pm). There are dinosaurs everywhere and they’re particularly dangerous if you’re sitting on the dunny. More excellent Spielberg fun with Sam Neill (who would clearly choose adventuring over tennis), Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough and Bob Peck, who plays a park warden called Robert Muldoon. He gets into trouble when he calls a snap election gets eaten by a party of voracious ­velociraptors. (1993) 8 – Diana Balham

The Necessities of Life (Maori, 8.30pm). While this week a lot of our heroes are coping with aliens, dinosaurs, immigration troubles and unauthorised body-swapping, Tivii, in this French-Canadian drama, is struggling just to find the will to breathe. It’s 1952: the Inuit hunter (Natar Ungalaaq) has tuberculosis and is packed off to a Quebec sanitorium where his broken heart threatens to kill him quicker than his ravaged lungs. A beautiful quiet film that was Canada’s nomination for the foreign language Oscar in 2009. (2008) 8 – Diana Balham

The Fighter (Sky Movies, Sky 020, 8.30pm). Another fact-based drama that presents America as a deeply tribal society. This time it’s the fightin’ Irish and the guy in trouble is a Massachusetts boxer called Micky Ward, whose main problem is his crack-addicted ex-boxer half-brother, Dicky Eklund. Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are extraordinarily good at the people stuff as well as the hitting stuff and this is a superior sports underdog film that skips over the potholes this genre tends to wallow in. Bale and Melissa Leo won best supporting actor and actress Oscars. (2010) 8 – Diana Balham

The Invasion (TV2, 12.00am). Possibly one of the better uses of Nicole Kidman’s Stepford blankness (or was that the actual Stepford Wives remake?) – her character has to pretend to be an emotionless robot to pass in a society being taken over by an alien virus. The rest is a mess, however. Previous versions of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel have picked their paranoia (communism, Watergate, Aids), but director Oliver Hirschbiegel can’t decide. The Iraq War? The Government? Flu shots? Plus, having Daniel Craig in your movie and making him Nicole’s best friend is just wrong. (2007) 4


Spectrum (Radio New Zealand National, 12.15pm). It’s the size of 2000 football fields, but even so Pukaha Mt Bruce is like a pocket handkerchief compared with 70 Mile Bush, which once spread from north of Masterton to Norsewood in the Wairarapa. This week, Jack Perkins visits the 940ha wildlife reserve – all that’s left of the great forest – and reports back from the frontline of the war on vermin. With help from the Department of Conservation, local and regional councils and a team of tireless volunteers, the rangers at Mt Bruce are operating a captive breeding programme and reintroducing native species that may not have been seen in the area for decades. – Diana Balham
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