The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Ge­orge Clarke’s Amaz­ing Spa­ces

Mon­day, 8.30pm, Life­Style Are you tired of shows such as Grand De­signs in which well-off peo­ple knock up their pre­cious multi-mil­lion-dol­lar dream homes? Do you feel alien­ated when­ever ex­ec­u­tives get to­gether to talk about salaries? Well, meet Ge­orge Clarke. He is all about in­spir­ing peo­ple on the small­est of bud­gets. His se­ries shows how any­one can achieve a small piece of de­sign heaven and how, even with tiny unin­spir­ing spa­ces and min­i­mal ex­pe­ri­ence, we can all still have big dreams. Gee thanks, Ge­orge. With enough hard work and imag­i­na­tion even a pub­lic toi­let can be­come a home. And it’s not even damp and musty.

Dy­namo: Ma­gi­cian Im­pos­si­ble

Mon­day, 8.30pm, Nat Geo Ad­ven­ture It still makes me laugh that world-renowned ma­gi­cian Steven Frayne shares his stage name with a well known laun­dry de­ter­gent. OK, so I’m in­fan­tile — blame it on too much TV. This is Dy­namo’s sec­ond sea­son, and it re­minds me of an old Her­man’s Her­mits lyric: ‘‘ Sec­ond verse, same as the first’’. In this sea­son Frayne urges us to fol­low him from deep in­side the fave­las in Rio to the Las Vegas strip, as he brings a lit­tle magic into peo­ple’s lives. If there is any great change from the first sea­son it is that the gen­uine sur­prise and won­der on the faces of those for whom Dy­namo per­forms on the street is bet­ter cap­tured. Oth­er­wise it’s pretty much as­ton­ish­ment as usual.


Mon­day, 8.30pm, Univer­sal You have to love to­day’s B-grade sci-fi minis­eries. Where else would you see the Pen­tagon hur­ry­ing along the big­gest and po­ten­tially most danger­ous weapon ever con­ceived be­cause it is over-bud­get and out of time. So, as the POTUS and staff gather to watch, Dr Whit­low, the sci­en­tist in charge, sighs. ‘‘ Great,’’ she huffs, sotto voce. ‘‘ We have an untested sys­tem and we’re giv­ing a per­sonal demon­stra­tion to the Pres­i­dent.’’ Yeah, right. And then, in the first in­di­ca­tion that any­body gives a fig about any level of dan­ger, the vice-pres­i­dent asks: ‘‘ How safe is this Dr Whit­low?’’ ‘‘ Very,’’ she an­swers. Ly­ing minx. The demon­stra­tion works like a charm and ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent, is on their feet cheer­ing as a de­com­mis­sioned US satel­lite is blown to king­dom come. The cheer­ing has barely died down when it be­comes ap­par­ent, right on cue, that some­thing is wrong. This goes on for more than three hours. If you have a tremen­dous ca­pac­ity to sus­pend dis­be­lief, you may just en­joy it.

Clash of Worlds

Mon­day, 9.30pm, His­tory Ac­cord­ing to this doc­u­men­tary se­ries, the per­pe­tra­tors of acts of vi­o­lence against the West — such as the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tack — be­lieve they are right­ing the wrongs of his­tory, fu­elled in many cases by the ac­tions of Bri­tain’s im­pe­rial past. This ex­plores how the cen­turies old con­flict be­tween the West and Is­lam can help us un­der­stand the vi­o­lence of re­cent events through three great clashes be­tween old foes — in Pales­tine, Su­dan and In­dia. Did you know that by 1700, Is­lam had dom­i­nated half the world for more than 1000 years? Of­fers a ter­rific his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive on re­cent hor­rific events, in­clud­ing those that were foiled.

Lily Cole’s Art Mat­ters

Tues­day, 9.30pm, Stu­dio Lily Cole is a su­per­model, ac­tress and a Cam­bridge Univer­sity arts grad­u­ate. Bully for her, you may think. How­ever, be­ing well­known has its ad­van­tages when it comes to open­ing doors. In this pro­gram, which is a bit like an English ver­sion of our own Artscape, Cole gains ac­cess, one episode at a time, to the art, minds and homes of five in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised artists. She hangs with ‘‘ wrap’’ artist Christo, meets Mex­i­can artist Gabriel Orozco, mod­els nude for Fiona Ban­ner, has a draw­ing les­son with sculp­tor Antony Gorm­ley and paints with Tacita Dean. This de­but episode­looks at the strik­ing place­ment around Brazil’s Sao Paulo of 31 stat­ues by Gorm­ley. They stand on ledges and bal­conies, in­ter­rupt­ing and punc­tur­ing the city hori­zon. Sim­i­larly, th­ese naked strangers mark their ter­ri­tory on the streets, to the gen­eral be­muse­ment of passers by.

Tech Toys 360

Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, Dis­cov­ery Science Sit down, strap in and pre­pare to ex­pe­ri­ence the lat­est in tech toys. First we are off to Italy to check out the lat­est in su­per-car tech­nol­ogy. Of course it’s an eeny weeny Lam­borgh­ini. Then, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary wa­ter toy — a stun­ning hy­brid of jet ski and snow­board that will leave par­tic­i­pants in snow sports and surf­ing drool­ing to­gether. This is fol­lowed by a pool ta­ble with a $45,000 makeover (more money than sense?) and, fi­nally, a mo­tor­cy­cle that looks like an old-style racer but is as mod­ern as to­mor­row un­derneath. Ter­rific TV for those who love their boy toys fast and furious.


Wed­nes­day, 8pm, Stu­dio Lucky pay-TV sub­scribers get an­other crack at Li­ly­ham­mer, which de­buted on SBS One in March. It is re­ally a fish-out-of-wa­ter tale that takes place when tough New York crime boss Frank ‘‘ The Fixer’’ Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) takes a new iden­tity and re­lo­cates to the snowy town of Lille­ham­mer, Nor­way. Things are rapidly com­ing un­stuck for him and he rolls over to the NYPD, which grants him asy­lum in the tiny town, a place he fell in love with while watch­ing the 1994 Win­ter Olympics. Van Zandt is the 62-year-old gui­tarist who has been with Bruce Spring­steen since be­fore the E Street Band. He makes a ter­rific mafioso, full of men­ace, with the long, tragic face you might see on Robert De Niro or Al Pa­cino. Lille­ham­mer turns out to be beau­ti­ful but with a cast of Nor­we­gian char­ac­ters wack­ier than those mad Alaskans in North­ern Ex­po­sure. Dry, bril­liantly funny and gor­geously un­der­stated. And the ti­tle spell­ing? It’s for Frank’s dead dog, Lily.

Ghost Town Gold

Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, National Ge­o­graphic Hon­estly, I have be­gun to lose count of the pro­grams about gold min­ing. Thank­fully, in this show the gold of the ti­tle is metaphor­i­cal rather than ele­men­tal. So join good-look­ing dudes Brit Ea­ton and Scott Glaves as they ex­plore the last fron­tier — ghost towns that rose up dur­ing the gold rush and were aban­doned just as quickly, and their ad­ja­cent min­ing camps, the in­dus­trial grave­yards of the Wild West. Their hunt­ing grounds also in­clude run-down ranches, old store­houses and treach­er­ous aban­doned mines. Their prize? Why, ghost town gold, of course, to be wrested from traders at a bar­gain and sold at a profit fur­ther down the track. If Ea­ton and Glaves were science fic­tion char­ac­ters they’d def­i­nitely be Fer­engi from Star Trek.

River Cot­tage Aus­tralia

Thurs­day, 8.30pm, Life­Style I’m sure you’ll re­mem­ber Hugh Fearn­leyWhit­tingstall, if not for his en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able cook­ing and pro­duce prac­tices, then for that dou­ble-bar­relled mouth­ful of a sur­name. Surely a man with a name like that should be run­ning a Tory press of­fice or an ac­count­ing firm in Lon­don’s Soho. But, like ap­pear­ances, names can be de­ceiv­ing. Old Hugh is about as down to earth as it gets. Af­ter an in­cred­i­ble 15 years at the helm of the River Cot­tage se­ries of pro­grams, he is over here to men­tor and pass the ba­ton to chef and pro­duce man­ager Paul West. In last week’s de­but we saw Hugh’s first ex­pe­ri­ence of our coun­try and wit­nessed his meet­ing with the new guy, for­mer Tas­ma­nian chef and food pro­ducer West. Now that Hugh is back in the Old Dart, can Paul hold the reins on his own? Help­ing in him his quest is adorable new bor­der col­lie pup Dig­ger.

Cycling’s Great­est Fraud

Thurs­day, 9.30pm, National Ge­o­graphic Cham­pion or cheat? Le­gend or liar? This is the story of Lance Arm­strong and the great­est scan­dal ever to hit the sport of cycling. The drugs, the de­cep­tion and the dam­age done are called in a fairly ob­jec­tive man­ner. Af­ter years of de­cep­tion, Arm­strong fi­nally ad­mit­ted that none of his seven Tour de France vic­to­ries was raced cleanly. It is an as­ton­ish­ing tale of de­ter­mi­na­tion to win at all costs and it opens eyes about all kinds of cheat­ing, in­clud­ing dop­ing with your own (har­vested and stored) blood, which is vir­tu­ally un­de­tectable. Fas­ci­nat­ing if not ex­actly up­lift­ing tele­vi­sion.

Amer­ica’s Cutest Dog

Fri­day, 8.30pm, An­i­mal Planet Are you the sort of per­son who sends pic­tures of pup­pies to your lover? Do you love so­cial me­dia be­cause it is burst­ing at the seams with pic­tures and videos of cats and dogs do­ing the darn­d­est things? If the opera singing mutts that oc­ca­sion­ally ap­pear on The Gra­ham Nor­ton Show ring your bell you will love this roll call of the cutest ever dog­gie clips found on the net. So which pooch will be crowned Amer­ica’s Cutest Dog? An up-to-date on-screen elec­tronic pro­gram guide is avail­able to pay-TV sub­scribers. A full 14-day guide is also avail­able at­

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