The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Ian Cuth­bert­son


Satur­day, 8.30pm, ABC1 Have you ever won­dered how a de­fence bar­ris­ter, who knows his client is guilty, sleeps at night? This two-parter from the pen of An­thony Horowitz ( Foyle’s War), star­ring James Pure­foy ( The Fol­low­ing, Re­venge), in­ves­ti­gates a com­plex sit­u­a­tion that evolves from that dilemma. Pure­foy plays edgy bar­ris­ter Will Travers. When we meet him, Will is re­cov­er­ing from a ner­vous break­down in a sleepy back­wa­ter in ru­ral Suf­folk fol­low­ing a sen­sa­tional mur­der trial in Lon­don. Slowly we piece to­gether the puz­zle of what has hap­pened to him, even as a new mur­der trial beck­ons. But why does that car keep ex­plod­ing? Who is the bearded guy at the sta­tion? Who is the dead man, his face crawl­ing with flies, in Will’s dreams? Fine per­for­mances by a great cast and taut writ­ing in the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller vein in­vite and re­ward at­ten­tion.

Reef Doc­tors

Sun­day, 6.30pm, Ten Is there noth­ing Lisa McCune can’t do? Af­ter wow­ing them around the coun­try in hun­dreds of per­for­mances of South Pa­cific, and with a new role in Ed­die Per­fect’s re­vamped Shane Warne: The Mu­si­cal com­ing up, McCune stars in this trop­i­cal fam­ily med­i­cal drama as feisty Hope Is­land doc­tor Sam Ste­wart. Sam takes no, er, bull from any­one as she safe­guards the well­be­ing of res­i­dents as well as those pesky hol­i­day-mak­ers and thrill-seek­ers on Hope and neigh­bour­ing Great Bar­rier Reef is­lands. We first meet Sam as she is bark­ing di­rec­tions and hang­ing off the side of a fish­ing boat trawl­ing for a deadly sea snake. Her se­cret pas­sion is venom. There are many echoes of old roles in Reef Doc­tors for McCune, par­tic­u­larly those in Blue Heel­ers and Sea Patrol. Still, I fully ex­pected her to sing I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair in the cu­ri­ously fa­mil­iar deck shower scene early in this de­but episode.

The Ob­server Ef­fect

Sun­day, 8.30pm, SBS One This new prime-time out­ing from SBS is not strictly news and cur­rent af­fairs, though with re­spected jour­nal­ist Ellen Fan­ning at the helm and se­na­tor Barn­aby Joyce as last week’s long in­ter­view sub­ject it cer­tainly felt like it. The aim of the pro­gram is for view­ers to see what ef­fect news has on the na­tion’s power­bro­kers and celebri­ties. Un­for­tu­nately last week it was pretty much Barn­aby as usual, with Fan­ning com­ing across as Leigh Sales lite. With the un­cer­tain di­rec­tion of the ques­tions, a stu­dio au­di­ence so small it lacks the courage to re­spond, and the ab­sence of any an­nounce­ment of the fol­low­ing week’s pri­mary guest (SBS later con­firmed For­eign Min­is­ter Bob Carr), I felt like a pas­sen­ger in a plane who sud­denly dis­cov­ers the de­sign of the wings hasn’t been fi­nalised. Never mind, chump — we’re fly­ing. The Ob­server Ef­fect has great po­ten­tial. It’s just a pity the pro­gram wasn’t bet­ter de­vel­oped be­fore it aired.

The Gra­ham Nor­ton Show

Sun­day, 9.30pm, Ten I thought my old mate Gra­ham Nor­ton might have been given the flick from Ten, but no, the net­work was just play­ing hide and seek with the pro­gram for a cou­ple of weeks be­cause it can. So we’re no longer on the cut­ting edge, and there’s no longer any point in fol­low­ing the @grah­nort Twit­ter ac­count, but hey, at least it’s still on. Just as he did in his de­but ap­pear­ance, Will Smith lights up the room. Son Jaden is also on the couch along with Hang­over III stars Bradley Cooper and Heather Gra­ham. Then there’s Michael Dou­glas with a clip from his new Lib­er­ace movie Be­hind the Can­de­labra. Ten still has it wrong, in my view. The Gra­ham Nor­ton Show has al­ways been a Satur­day night af­fair. Who wants to party with Will Smith and go to work the next morn­ing?


Sun­day, 9.30pm, Seven Re­lax. Though it is his­tor­i­cal, this is not about James Cook’s fa­mous tub. In­stead, set in 1965, it is a pre­quel of sorts to the In­spec­tor Morse se­ries. But wait, I hear you say, isn’t that what Lewis is? Well, tech­ni­cally Lewis (also shown on Seven) is an In­spec­tor Morse spin-off, though both were cre­ated and writ­ten by Morse writer Rus­sell Lewis. Now, where were we? Ah, yes: 1965. De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble En­deav­our Morse (Shaun Evans, Silk ) is re­turn­ing to Ox­ford to in­ves­ti­gate the dis­ap­pear­ance of a schoolgirl. Since the se­ries con­cerns it­self with the ori­gins of the fa­mous in­spec­tor who likes cross­words, clas­si­cal mu­sic, beer and cars — not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der — this case is for­ma­tive, and will shape and define his char­ac­ter at least as much as beer, cheese and the west­erly breeze. Just when he had his let­ter of res­ig­na­tion from the po­lice all la­bo­ri­ously typed out, too. But of course we weren’t go­ing to fall for that. How else could In­spec­tor Morse have come to be?

Tough­est Place to Be a . . . Fire­fighter

Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, SBS One Th­ese great lit­tle three-part doc­u­men­tary se­ries — about in­di­vid­u­als go­ing some­where else in the world to do the job they do ev­ery day at home — whiz by in the blink of an eye. I sup­pose we are all used to doc­u­men­tary se­ries that go on for­ever. In this case hav­ing just three episodes means all the stops are pulled out to get the whole story. Noth­ing feels rushed or es­pe­cially con­trived. So come along for the ride in this de­but episode of sea­son four in which a fire­fighter leaves his crew in Sus­sex to fight fires in the Ama­zon. As usual, we see him at work in the en­vi­ron­ment he knows best be­fore wav­ing good­bye to his lovely wife and son and head­ing off to places un­known, in this case the jun­gles of Brazil. In re­cent decades the area has been dec­i­mated by log­ging and land clear­ing. Now the main threat is wild­fires. Can our man get to know the lo­cals and in­spire them with his ed­u­cated ways? Can he learn from them? Or will he col­lapse, ex­hausted and alien­ated?

Fan­tasy Homes by the Sea

Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm, 7Two Some life­style pro­grams about sea and tree change con­fine them­selves to the coun­try of ori­gin. One of the great things about Cather­ine’s Gee’s 2006 se­ries Fan­tasy Homes by the Sea, apart from its age, is that she re­lo­cates Brits with itchy feet to all points of the com­pass. If there’s an ocean nearby, Gee is there. Tonight she helps a mother and daugh­ter run away to the Al­garve, a mas­sive coastal re­gion in Por­tu­gal. Ac­cord­ing to Gee, an in­cred­i­ble 200,000 Poms head to Por­tu­gal to take up res­i­dence each year. Now hear this: the fam­ily wants a three-bed­room home by the sea with a swim­ming pool, on a bud­get of £230,000 (about $362,000). Un­rea­son­able? Not at all. This pro­gram could eas­ily put Por­tu­gal on your bucket list. It’s now very def­i­nitely on mine. The killer dis­trac­tion is the pro­gram’s tra­di­tional mil­lion­aire’s mo­ment. The fam­ily views a prop­erty worth more than 30 times its bud­get for the hell of it, know­ing they’ve got Buck­ley’s.

Lit­tle Paris Kitchen

Thurs­day, 8pm, SBS One Yes, I wrote about the tiny Paris kitchen of English-born chef and food writer Rachel Khoo on the de­but of this pro­gram a few weeks ago. But, like her food, Lit­tle Paris Kitchen is ir­re­sistible. As you may re­call, Khoo opened the small­est restau­rant in Paris in her tiny Belleville flat, where, with just two ta­bles, she wowed the no­to­ri­ously fussy French food crit­ics and any­one lucky enough to score a book­ing. In this fourth episode, Khoo tells us her recipes are in­spired not by Miche­lin­starred restau­rants but by the bistros of Paris. Nat­u­rally, we must visit a few. Then it’s home to the flat for a win­ter salad of fresh veg­eta­bles with a goat’s cheese mousse. Easy-peasy. But next up is a highly spe­cialised chicken from the Lan­des re­gion with an un­usual in­gre­di­ent: laven­der. It’s tra­di­tional and known in France as poulet a la la­vande. Now you won’t see that on MasterChef.

Dirty Laun­dry Live

Thurs­day, 9.30pm, ABC2 Lawrence Mooney is like a quirky car. As soon as you start to no­tice him he turns up absolutely every­where. There he was, with his sparkling blue eyes, beard and sweaters, like a ma­ture knit­ting pat­tern model, con­fess­ing all in Agony Un­cles. Then he turned up in the new women’s prison drama Went­worth as a teacher who smug­gled drugs into the prison for an addict be­fore the gover­nor found out and gave him the heave-ho. Now he has his own show, a dar­ing, gos­sipy, fre­quently po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect panel out­ing called Dirty Laun­dry Live. Last week it was all fat jokes, empty bongs and sweep­stakes for the royal baby. But there is al­ways a ba­sis in the gossip rags for th­ese odd-seem­ing con­ver­sa­tion top­ics. Oh, and there’s a sort of half-hearted quiz to keep some kind of struc­ture, but most of the fun is in watch­ing it all fall apart with no chance of an edit or even a bleep but­ton. Good one, Moon-man.

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