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TV Week (26)


Dead Clever (TV1, 8.30pm). After discovering her husband's infidelity - with her sister - Julia Bottomley rather fancies killing him. Instead, she decides to fake her own death and frame him for murder. Much better - until an old mate shows up in the town where Julia is faking her new identity. It stars Suranne Jones (Coronation Street) and Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet). The Times critic thought it was a "horribly watchable piece of hokum". Which sounds like fun to us.


Top Gear (Prime, 7.30pm). Brand-new episodes of our favourite car show - which sounds like faint praise, but really isn't. We're a little behind the UK, so tonight begins with Richard Hammond's grand reappearance on the show after his mad rocket-car crash.

Mansfield Park (TV1, 8.30pm). It may have led one critic to ask whether there was hair gel in Regency England, but ITV's adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park promises to be a treat. Purists may not like priggish heroine Fanny Price played as a vivacious tomboy by the excellent Billie Piper, but they'll get over it when they clap eyes on Byronic love interest Edmund. This is the first of four Austens TV1 will play over winter: Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Emma follow.

Jericho (TV3, 9.30pm). This two-hour finale was destined to be the last-ever episode of Jericho: the one-two punch of shocking reviews and dismal ratings in the US led CBS not to renew it. But loyal fans, who were nuts about the show, decided to prove it - by organising a campaign to send nuts to CBS. Over 20 tonnes of nuts. And so, Jericho will be back. A show saved by eight million peanuts - does that mean there really are monkeys at the keyboards?


Ultimate Force (TV1, 8.30pm). The last hurrah for the men of Red Troop, this time off to a nameless ex-Soviet state to apprehend the kidnappers of a British diplomat. This fourth season received a lukewarm welcome in the UK when it screened earlier this year, with many critics agreeing that real-life SAS adviser Chris Ryan's departure after season two cost the series some of its credibility. Still, Ross Kemp is back and well-'ard as ever, though we'll never look at him the same way again after his guest-starring turn on the first season of Extras. Speaking of which ...

Extras (Prime, 9.30pm). Ricky Gervais's self-described "disappointing follow-up to The Office" returned to Prime on June 25, with a guest turn from Orlando Bloom. This season, wannabe actor Andy has sold a script for his sitcom, When the Whistle Blows, to the BBC, who've dumbed it down "for the lowest common denominator - silly costumes and catch-phrases". Unhappy Andy confides his woes to David Bowie at a swanky bar in tonight's episode. Bowie, you could say, doesn't take him entirely seriously, and his impromptu ditty, "Little Fat Man Who Sold His Soul", is, like, one of the best TV moments, ever.


Lost (TV2, 8.30pm). Lost's makers said this was a finale worth waiting for, and they weren't kidding. One of the biggest questions of the series is answered tonight. But also, a whole bunch of other ones aren't. Nyah, nyah. Afterwards, the second half of season three of Nip/Tuck (TV2, 9.30pm) resumes. No, we don't know why it was interrupted halfway through, either.


Project Runway (TV3, 7.30pm). TV3 has the fashion-reality genre nailed with this Friday night timeslot. There's a slight hitch in this episode when it's discovered that one of the designers doesn't know her way around a sewing machine. You couldn't make this stuff up ... Later on TV3, The Starter Wife (8.30pm), starring Debra Messing as a Hollywood trophy wife dumped as she's getting old, brings product placement to a whole new level. Keep an eye out for Pond's products in the series - Ogilvy North America, Pond's ad agency, told Slate.com that their deal gave Pond's "a hand in shaping the story and character arcs ... and a few key 'signature moments' in which an on-screen interaction with the Pond's brand triggers a thought or motivation in a character". Meanwhile, TV2 launches a couple of new Friday night shows with a US comedy, What About Brian (8.30pm), from the brains behind Lost and Alias; and the fourth and final season of The OC (10.30pm), in which the kids go to college - a plot line that is as disastrous as it ever is in teen dramas.

See www.listener.co.nz for cast lists.