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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The Story of the Jews

Satur­day, 8.30pm, SBS One Tonight is the sec­ond episode of Si­mon Schama’s epic five-part doc­u­men­tary se­ries on the Jewish people. It is his per­sonal story as a Jewish man, and also the story that in­spired him to be­come a his­to­rian. Tonight he looks at how me­dieval Jews strug­gled to stay Jewish un­der the rule of Chris­tians and Mus­lims, through pe­ri­ods of per­se­cu­tion and tol­er­ance. The pro­gram starts with the Jewish ex­pul­sion from Spain 1492. It comes af­ter the re­cent and well-re­ceived an­nounce­ment that Spain will of­fer ci­ti­zen­ship to Sephardic Jews as a ges­ture of con­cil­i­a­tion. It goes to show how his­tory in­ter­sects with the present, and real people’s lives.

Cities of the Un­der­world

Satur­day, 7.30pm, Seven Two (Not SA) The con­ceit of this pro­gram is sim­ple to un­der­stand: fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ries lie be­neath the world’s ma­jor cities. What de­fies un­der­stand­ing, how­ever, is why this pro­gram car­ries the sup­ple­men­tary ti­tle Land of Man­son: Los Angeles. Charles Man­son? At the start, there is a failed at­tempt to un­cover more po­ten­tial Man­son vic­tims in the desert, but my best es­ti­mate is they un­cov­ered about 10cm of top­soil. Man­son un­suc­cess­fully searched the desert in the 1960s for a sub­ter­ranean refuge. Putting aside this con­fu­sion, this episode also fea­tures a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­plo­ration of World War II bunkers; a sub-City Hall com­mand and con­trol cen­tre; and ghost ter­mi­nals from LA’s long-aban­doned sub­way.

Down­ton Abbey

Sun­day, 9pm, Seven Fate has it in for poor Anna and Mr Bates. Anna continues to keep her rape a se­cret from him and ev­ery­one else, and Bates is left with­out an ex­pla­na­tion for Anna’s un­usual be­hav­iour. Lady’s maid Edna Braithwaite got punted from the house once be­fore: why did they ever let her back in? In this episode, her de­signs on Tom are re­vealed by Mrs Hughes, whose flashes of tem­per are gen­uinely ter­ri­fy­ing. Mary and Lord Gilling­ham have a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion about the fu­ture. Am I alone in won­der­ing where Mary’s new­born Ge­orge is? What an old-school nanny he must have: nei­ther seen nor heard for long stretches. And Mrs Hughes and Carson the but­ler con­tinue their pla­tonic, The Re­mains of the Dayesque friend­ship. Ju­lian Fel­lowes must be sav­ing up this juicy story-line.

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