quick bites

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Lyn­dall Crisp

Royal Ed­in­burgh Mil­i­tary Tat­too Satur­day, 8.30pm, ABC

It is cer­tainly an amaz­ing spec­ta­cle, but the sound of bag­pipes re­minds me of a lovesick heifer. Still, mil­lions of peo­ple en­joy a good mil­i­tary tat­too and this has to be the best. The set­ting is the Es­planade of his­toric Ed­in­burgh Castle. This year the Royal Ed­in­burgh Mil­i­tary Tat­too cel­e­brates the 75th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain with much more than just bag­pipes. Along with the Massed Bands of the RAF and the Queen’s Colour Squadron, there’s a Bol­ly­wood dance ex­trav­a­ganza, the Mil­i­tary Band of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army of China, the Changx­ing Lo­tus Dragon Dance Folk­lore Group and bands from the US.

Rugby World Cup 2015 Sun­day, 5.45am, Gem (QLD, 4.45am; SA, 5.15am; WA, 2.45am)

They won against Fiji (28-13), then last week they thrashed Uruguay (65-3), now it’s time for the Wal­la­bies to man up against Eng­land at Twick­en­ham. God bless the record but­ton for those who can’t get up in time to watch this live cov­er­age. (You can also watch ev­ery game of the Rugby World Cup on Fox Sports.)

The Sev­en­ties

Sun­day, 8.35pm, SBS

Ah, the 1970s — where have the last 45 years gone? The United States vs Richard Nixon, the first of eight episodes, charts the grip­ping events that led to Nixon be­com­ing the only US pres­i­dent to re­sign from of­fice. While the na­tion — and much of the Western world — was riv­eted by the Water­gate scan­dal, new tele­vi­sion for­mats were evolv­ing. Tele­vi­sion Gets Real, the sec­ond episode, looks at shows such as M*A*S*H, Mork &

Mindy, Sesame Street and Monty Python’s Fly­ing Cir­cus that en­riched our view­ing habits.

Pros­e­cut­ing Casey An­thony

Sun­day, 9.30pm, One

On July 15, 2008 — 31 days af­ter her two-year-old daugh­ter Caylee’s dis­ap­pear­ance — Cindy An­thony, 22, re­ported her miss­ing in Florida. An­thony was ar­rested for mur­der af­ter the lit­tle girl’s de­com­pos­ing body was found in a wood five months later. In 2011 a jury ac­quit­ted her, cit­ing the mostly cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence pre­sented. This drama tells the story from the point of view of pros­e­cu­tor Jeff Ash­ton (Rob Lowe). An­thony (El­iz­a­beth Mitchelle) be­came one of the most hated women in the US. As a re­sult of the case, fail­ure to re­port a child miss­ing within 24 hours is now a crime in some states.

Aus­tralian Story

Mon­day, 8pm, ABC

An ex­cel­lent choice, as a part of Men­tal Health Week, this pro­file of Garry McDon­ald re­veals a side of the ac­tor un­fa­mil­iar to many fans. Fa­mous for his Nor­man Gun­ston char­ac­ter and as Arthur in Mother and Son, McDon­ald, 66, has suf­fered from anx­i­ety for more than 40 years. His ca­reer de­te­ri­o­rated un­til 10 years ago when he un­der­went ther­apy. “It gave me a life,” he says.


Mon­day, 9.30pm, Ten

For­mer CIA agent Car­rie Mathi­son (Claire Danes) sur­vived years of dodg­ing death on the front­line but flunked at sta­tion chief in Is­lam­abad. In

Sep­a­ra­tion Anx­i­ety, the first episode in sea­son five, she has moved to Ber­lin with her daugh­ter Franny, taken a job as head of se­cu­rity for phi­lan­thropist Otto Dur­ing (Se­bas­tian Koch) and found a new boyfriend, Jonas (Alexan­der Fehling), but her past fol­lows her. All 12 episodes in this sea­son were shot in Ber­lin and in­clude real peo­ple and events such as Is­lamic State, Vladimir Putin and the Char­lie Hebdo shoot­ings.


Tues­day, 9.40pm, ABC Two

“The word Broad­moor makes peo­ple shiver,” says the nar­ra­tor. Un­der­stand­able given it has been home to some of Bri­tain’s most vi­o­lent crim­i­nals (such as the York­shire Rip­per, Peter Sut­cliffe) for 150 years. For the first time in the history of the high se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tion, this fas­ci­nat­ing two-part doc­u­men­tary — part of the ABC’s fo­cus on men­tal health is­sues lead­ing up to World Men­tal Health Day — goes in­side to talk to staff and pa­tients. There are 200 pa­tients across 15 wards. “I am quite a nasty per­son,” says tal­ented artist Alex 24, who has had nine di­ag­noses by 30 doc­tors since turn­ing vi­o­lent 10 years ago. “These peo­ple are men­tally ill, they’re not stupid,” says a doc­tor, who points out that with the right treat­ment many can go back into the com­mu­nity.

Great Con­ti­nen­tal Rail­way Jour­neys

Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, SBS

Michael Portillo is an en­ter­tain­ing and en­gag­ing host of this spe­cial travel se­ries. He in­evitably dis­cov­ers hid­den trea­sures and quirky cus­toms most visi­tors miss. Us­ing his 1913 Ge­orge Brad­shaw’s Con­ti­nen­tal Rail­way Guide, Portillo trav­els to War­saw, which he’s sur­prised to find is in good nick de­spite the rav­ages of World War II. The for­mer Bri­tish con­ser­va­tive MP is not shy when it comes to hav­ing a go. Danc­ing the polon­aise with high school stu­dents and lunch­ing in a milk bar in Cra­cow are all part of the fun.

Caught on Dash­cam

Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, Seven

It’s all very well gig­gling over the weird ac­ci­dents these CCTV cam­eras, mo­bile phones and dash­cams cap­ture, but one can’t help won­der­ing what hap­pened to the driv­ers. Some of the crashes look hor­rific, such as the truck car­ry­ing combustibles that ex­plode on a mo­tor­way. Oth­ers are very funny, such as the per­son who ac­cel­er­ates rather than brakes as they en­ter a car wash. This se­ries cob­bles to­gether the best (and worst) bin­gles from around the world. Once you start watch­ing it’s hard to stop.


Wed­nes­day, 10.30pm, Seven

Set in 1967 Los An­ge­les, this pe­riod drama is writ­ten around real events, pol­i­tics, so­cial is­sues and mu­sic fleshed out by fic­tional char­ac­ters and sto­ry­lines. De­tec­tive Sam Ho­diak (David Du­chovny) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of a young girl who he finds is liv­ing with Charles Man­son (Gethin An­thony) and The Fam­ily. (Re­mem­ber them? They mur­dered seven peo­ple in­clud­ing ac­tor Sharon Tate.) In Why?, episode nine, Of­fi­cer Char­main Tully (Aus­tralian ac­tor Claire Holt) is com­pro­mised af­ter two bud­dies are shot dead in a cafe by a hooded killer.

Agatha Christie’s Part­ners in Crime

Fri­day, 8.30pm, ABC

Oh this is great fun. The first three episodes of this six-part drama are based on Christie’s The

Se­cret Ad­ver­sary, the sec­ond three are based on her novel N or M. David Wal­liams stars as Tommy Beres­ford, a busi­ness­man whose schemes never make any money. It’s 1952 and he and his wife Tup­pence (Jes­sica Raine) have boarded a train in Paris des­tined for Calais. Sit­ting op­po­site is a ner­vous woman who goes to the din­ing car, never to re­turn. The Beres­fords play de­tec­tives and set out to dis­cover what hap­pened to her.

Mad Dog: In­side the Se­cret World of Muam­mar Gaddafi Satur­day, 9.30pm, History (611)

When you’re reap­ing the ben­e­fits of US$1bn or so a month from oil pro­duc­tion, you can do just about what­ever you like, it seems. And that’s what Libya’s pres­i­dent Muam­mar Gaddafi did un­til he met his grisly death in 2011 af­ter be­ing found hid­ing in a culvert. This doc­u­men­tary, made last year, charts some of his many hor­rific trans­gres­sions, from sex­u­ally abus­ing young school­girls and tor­tur­ing op­po­nents to his bud­ding friend­ship with African dic­ta­tor Idi Amin. A strong stom­ach is needed for the graphic bits.

Agnetha: ABBA and Af­ter

Sun­day, 7.30pm, Bio (133)

It was 1969 when Agnetha Falt­skog met her fu­ture hus­band Bjorn Ul­vaeus back­stage at a gig in Stock­holm. The two went on to be­come part of ABBA, one of the most fa­mous bands of the 1960s, selling more than 370 mil­lion al­bums world­wide. This nos­tal­gic trip back to those days tells the story of how the blonde so­prano, un­com­fort­able with the fame and adu­la­tion, re­tired to her is­land with her chil­dren 30 years ago. Her come­back, in 2004, was a huge suc­cess. Now aged 63, Agnetha re­veals here how she never wrote songs for ABBA be­cause she con­sid­ered her skills in­fe­rior.

A Place to Call Home

Sun­day, 8.30pm, SoHo (114)

Life gets even more dra­matic at Ash Park, the prop­erty near In­ver­ness, NSW, as the Bligh fam­ily lurches from one prob­lem to another. L’Chaim, To

Life, episode two in sea­son three, sees Ge­orge Bligh (Brett Klimo) re­turn from hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing shot, we’re not sure by whom. We know Sarah (Marta Dus­sel­dorp) is preg­nant but there’s a prob­lem about the fa­ther’s iden­tity. And the truth about baby Ge­orge’s real mother is be­gin­ning to emerge. My money’s on the new maid, Rose. Bet she’s the birth mother.

The Af­fair

Mon­day, 7.30pm, Show­case

Win­ner of two Golden Globe Awards, this ex­cel­lent psy­cho­log­i­cal drama re­volves around mar­ried teacher and au­thor Noah (Do­minic West) and mar­ried wait­ress Ali­son (Ruth Wil­son), who are hav­ing an af­fair. They leave their spouses and move in to­gether. Sea­son one, which ended with Noah in cus­tody for the hit-and-run killing of Ali­son’s brother-in-law Scotty Lock­hart, told the story from Noah and Ali­son’s per­spec­tives. Sea­son two tack­les the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the af­fair for the re­jected part­ners, Cole (Joshua Jack­son) and He­len (Maura Tier­ney). A bit com­pli­cated, but hang in there. It’s worth the ride.

Top Gear: Am­bi­tious but Rub­bish

Mon­day, 8.30pm, BBC Knowl­edge (612)

Teasers for any se­ries usu­ally cher­ryp­ick the choic­est mo­ments, but Top Gear de­liv­ers ev­ery time. In this eight-part se­ries host Richard Ham­mond sorts through the show’s ar­chives to find some of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments of in­ep­ti­tude. “It’s ba­si­cally a look back at Top Gear’s de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing ge­nius in all its forms … although id­iocy might be a bet­ter word,” he says. Episode one starts with the boys at­tempt­ing to turn a peo­ple car­rier — “Be­hind the wheel, you feel like you’re drown­ing in wall­pa­per paste,” says Jeremy Clark­son — into a con­vert­ible. It doesn’t look too bad — un­til they put it through the car wash, and that’s the end of that idea.


Mon­day, 9.25pm, BBC First (117)

Hugh Bon­neville (Earl of Gran­tham in Down­ton

Abbey) is Ian Fletcher, who joins the BBC as head of val­ues in this satir­i­cal fly-on-the-wall se­ries about life at the broad­caster’s cen­tral Lon­don head­quar­ters. One won­ders how close to the bone the se­ries is, as the ob­sta­cles await­ing him seem, if not fa­mil­iar, then cer­tainly prob­a­ble. Egos, scan­dal, mind­less meet­ings all stop him do­ing his job — to think big, new ideas.

Kew on a Plate

Tues­day, 9.30pm, Lifestyle (106)

A cook­ing show of a dif­fer­ent kind (yes, it’s pos­si­ble). Lon­don’s Kew Gar­dens holds a wealth of botan­i­cal knowl­edge dat­ing back 250 years. Here Ray­mond Blanc and Kate Hum­ble cre­ate a vast kitchen gar­den, then cook the pro­duce and ex­plain the history of our favourite fruit and veg.

The Lady Van­ishes

Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, UKTV (103)

This 1978 re­make of Al­fred Hitch­cock’s 1938 clas­sic com­edy thriller stars An­gela Lans­bury as Miss Froy, who dis­ap­pears on a train in Switzer­land. Her trav­el­ling com­pan­ion, Amanda Kelly (Cy­bill Shep­herd), sets out to find her, aided by Robert Con­don (El­liott Gould).

The Lit­tle Cou­ple

Thurs­day, 8.30pm, TLC (130)

The pro­mos for this se­ries are a bit off-putting, but the se­ries turns out to be an en­dear­ing story and cer­tainly up­lift­ing. The Lit­tle Cou­ple — both are un­der 1.2m — is the story of Bill Klein, a suc­cess­ful pet store owner, and Dr Jen Arnold, a neona­tol­o­gist, and their two adopted chil­dren. They are one very happy fam­ily — Arnold has a gor­geous smile — with a wise take on life. In this episode from sea­son six, Arnold looks af­ter the chil­dren and five dogs while Klein is away on a busi­ness trip. Sounds trite, but give it a go.

The Leftovers

Thurs­day, 8.30pm, show­case (115)

In this show, more than 2 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion has dis­ap­peared in what’s be­come known as the Sud­den De­par­ture. One fam­ily, the Garveys, sur­vives un­scathed. In the first sea­son of this drama se­ries, Kevin (Justin Th­er­oux) is po­lice chief of Maple­ton, New York; his wife Lau­rie joins a cult, the Guilty Rem­nant; their son Tom falls in with a mes­siah fig­ure called Holy Wayne; and daugh­ter Jill is your above-av­er­age ob­nox­ious teenager. Kevin has a hard time keep­ing it all to­gether. (As you do.) Here, in the sec­ond sea­son, he moves the fam­ily to Mir­a­cle, Texas, which didn’t lose any­one in the Sud­den De­par­ture. But more trou­ble comes in the form of their new neigh­bours: ex con John (Kevin Car­roll) and doc­tor Erika Mur­phy (Regina King) are a fam­ily with se­crets and de­mons.

Comic Book Men

Fri­day, 10.30pm, A&E (122)

Set in Jay and Silent Bob’s Se­cret Stash, a comic book shop at 35 Broad Street, Red Bank, New Jersey, this un­scripted re­al­ity se­ries cap­tures the daily ban­ter be­tween staff and cus­tomers as they search for trea­sured comics.

Nar­cos Net­flix

Based on the true story of Pablo Es­co­bar, ar­guably the most vi­o­lent and suc­cess­ful drug lord ever, this gritty 10-part drama was made for Net­flix. Wag­ner Moura plays the Colom­bian boss; Boyd Hol­brook is the US Drug En­force­ment agent Steve Mur­phy who wages war against the 1980s Medellin co­caine car­tel. Sea­son one, 10 episodes long, starts with the pur­suit of kids in flip-flops deal­ing in mar­i­juana and shows how the busi­ness ex­pands into one that reaps about US$5bn an­nu­ally. The se­ries is in­ter­laced with ac­tual news footage and, yes, there is vi­o­lence, but in short bursts. Sea­son two will be­gin film­ing soon.

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