Bacall on Bogart
Saturday, 7pm, TCM This 90-minute documentary may be rather old, but for anyone who admired Bogie, it’s fascinating. Lauren Bacall talks about life with her famous husband and, using film clips and old interviews with some of his peers, paints a portrait of a much loved actor. Alistair Cooke, Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Van Johnson and John Huston are some of the famous names who reminisce. Bacall and Humphrey Bogart met in 1944 on the set of Passage to Marseille but didn’t click till they worked together in To Have and Have Not. They married in 1945; he was 45 and she was 20. Bogie died in 1957. ‘‘ Off screen he bore little resemblance to the parts he played. He was a gent,’’ Bacall says. ‘‘ He changed me. He was my teacher, my husband, my friend. In his life and his work, Bogie was integrity, truth and courage. He taught me how to live.’’
Saturday, 7.30pm, Universal Little wonder the American version of this saucy show has had to be toned down for US audiences. Some of its themes probably push the edges too far for conservative viewers. Richard Roxburgh stars as Cleaver Greene, a brilliant but selfdestructive Sydney barrister and heartless womaniser. His clients are usually the dregs, and often guilty of the most colourful crimes. The show launched on the ABC in 2010 and a third series is to air soon. In this episode, Cleaver is hit over the head during a pharmacy burglary and attorneygeneral Joe Sandilands (Geoff Morrell) commits suicide after being exposed as a brothel patron.
Ella Fitzgerald at Ronnie Scott’s
Saturday, 10.30pm, Studio Since it opened in the basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London’s Soho district in 1959, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club has been the venue for some of the world’s leading solo musicians. This is a recording of Ella Fitzgerald performing there in 1974. Yes, it’s dated, but what do you expect at this time of year? Repeats, repeats and oldies. Still, the beautiful voice of this gifted jazz icon — who died aged 79 in 1996 — in gold lame singing such favourites as Sweet Georgia Brown and The Man I Love is a treat.
Air Crash Investigation
Sunday, 10am-7.30pm, Nat Geo Fasten your seatbelt for back-to-back forensic examinations and re-creations of what went wrong in 10 incidents, most of them fatal. Pilots who can’t find the runway at Zurich, a collision with birds that forces a captain to land on New York’s Hudson River, gunshots in the cabin — scary but fascinating stuff, if you have the stomach.
Monday, 8.30pm, Studio Yet another program on the tragic actress who died aged 36 in 1962. But who’s complaining? She’s still a fascinating subject. Made in 2012, this documentary is based on two boxes of Marilyn’s writings, diaries, poems and letters that were discovered a few years ago in the home of acting coach Lee Strasberg. It certainly shows her to be anything but the dumb blonde personality she cultivated in public. Friends and acting colleagues contribute their thoughts on the complex star.
In the Footsteps of Thesiger
Monday, 8.30pm, History Anyone interested in real adventure (as opposed to manufactured, as in ‘‘ organised’’) should read Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands, published in 1959. He was born in 1910 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where his father was a British diplomat, and educated at Eton and Oxford, returning to Africa in 1930 when Emperor Haile Selassie invited him to his coronation. Thesiger loved the desert and loathed modern transport which encroached on its majesty. In 1945 he started the first of two treks across the Empty Quarter, the world’s biggest sand desert, on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s an amazing story of survival. Here British explorer Adrian Hayes re-creates Thesiger’s 1600km epic journey in 45C heat, wearing traditional Arab clothes and riding camels for 44 days.
Ian Fleming: Bond Maker
Tuesday, 8.30pm, Bio There are a few programs coming up on author Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond. This dramatised version of his life, filmed in England and Jamaica, explains the link between Fleming’s time as a naval intelligence officer during World War II and Bond’s career as a spy. Fleming’s 12 Bond novels have sold more than 100 million copies, and 23 films have grossed nearly $US14 billion. Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast
Tuesday, 8.30pm, Lifestyle Food If there’s one chef who can tempt meat eaters to try a vegetarian meal, it’s Yotam Ottolenghi. This Israeli-born Cordon Bleu trained chef is a knockout when it comes to producing meals based on ‘‘ sexy vegetables’’. How could you resist dishes such as butternut squash salad with red onion, tahini and za’atar, roasted aubergine with turmeric yoghurt and pomegranate seeds, char-grilled broccoli with chilli and fried garlic? His four delis and four restaurants in London offer a distinctive mix of Middle Eastern flavours and his three books have sold more than 750,000 copies. Here he visits Morocco and tries the street food in Marrakech and Casablanca.
The Michael J. Fox Show
Wednesday, 8.30pm, Universal In 1991, Fox’s acting career took a back seat when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After a few guest appearances in such shows as The Good Wife, he’s back playing New York news anchor Mike Henry, who’s returning to work after being diagnosed with — you guessed it — Parkinson’s disease. The role has seen Fox, 52, nominated for best actor in a TV comedy in this week’s Golden Globe Awards. Not that he makes light of the crippling illness. ‘‘ It’s just a reality of life and I look at it through the lens of humour,’’ he explains. Balancing family, health and work in his own life has given him plenty of insight.
Thursday, 6.10pm, Masterpiece Chinese leaders had no luck persuading Disney not to release this film in 1997, but they banned director Martin Scorsese from ever entering China. Kundun (meaning presence) tells the story of the Dalai Lama (who helped with the production). It starts in 1937 when a group of Tibetan lamas begin looking for a special child, the 14th Dalai Lama, the reincarnation of the Buddha. They find a 21/ 2- yearold (Tenzin Yeshi Paichang) in a remote village on the border with China; he correctly identifies objects that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama. The film ends in 1959 after the Dali Lama has been forced to flee Tibet, pursued by the Chinese. The film was not a commercial success, but some critics blame Disney for not promoting it for fear of further upsetting the Chinese.
13 Steps Down
Friday, 8.30pm, 13th Street This psychological thriller, based on the book by Ruth Rendell, stars Luke Treadaway as Mix Cellini, a lonely, inept young man. He’s obsessed by two things: an infamous serial killer hanged 60 years ago, and a model who doesn’t know he exists.