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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Pride and Prej­u­dice Sun­day, 8.30pm, UKTV (103)

Mark­ing 20 years since its pre­miere, the Colin Firth and Jen­nifer Ehle ver­sion of Pride and

Prej­u­dice will screen across the next six weeks. Yes, this is the ver­sion with Mr Darcy emerg­ing from the lake in a clingy, white shirt. In 2013, this scene was voted (not by me) as the most mem­o­rable mo­ment in Bri­tish TV drama history.

Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo

Sun­day, 8.35pm, Com­edy (121)

I’ll keep this brief lest I be­gin mansplain­ing (a port­man­teau of man and ex­plain­ing, oth­er­wise known as con­de­scen­sion. See? I’m do­ing it now). You won’t find a big­ger fe­male com­edy star in the world right now than Amy Schumer: she won an Emmy this year for her TV show In­side Amy Schumer; she wrote and starred in the movie

Train­wreck; she re­cently hosted Satur­day Night Live; and here she ap­pears Live at the Apollo. Through her com­edy she raises im­por­tant and of­ten un­com­fort­able is­sues such as sex­ism and gun vi­o­lence. But she won’t be to ev­ery­one’s taste; a prom­i­nent ex­po­nent of gross-out com­edy, her work is funny but full-on.

Carver Kings

Sun­day, 9.30pm, LifeStyle Home (128)

The cold, hard truth about Tim­ber Kings is that we watch it hop­ing some­one will get squished by a gi­ant log. The pro­duc­ers know this. Right be­fore each ad break, some­one in­vari­ably yells out in alarm — but when the pro­gram re­sumes, no one has suf­fered so much as a splin­ter. Carver Kings, a spin-off from Tim­ber Kings, will fea­ture chain­saw carvers cre­at­ing be­spoke wooden art to adorn their clients’ log homes.

The Walk­ing Dead

Mon­day, 1.30pm and 8.30pm, FX (119)

I can truth­fully say I have seen ev­ery sin­gle episode of The Walk­ing Dead, now ap­proach­ing 70 hours worth of TV dur­ing the past five years. (Am I hun­gry for more? Hell yes.) There have been sev­eral con­stants across time: the un­dead are slow but re­lent­less in their hunger for flesh, and the liv­ing strug­gle might­ily with how to sur­vive to­gether in this dystopian world with­out be­com­ing mon­sters them­selves. There seems to be un­lim­ited scope for sto­ry­telling within these pa­ram­e­ters; much of it very vis­ual, from the show’s comic book roots. But I have ob­served the zom­bies are a bit more tatty and mushy this sea­son … will vic­tory be de­cided by sim­ple wear and tear? Last week saw flash­backs to last sea­son’s fi­nale, when Rick ex­e­cuted a civil­ian in the Alexandria com­pound — a new moral low. Per­haps this week will re­veal who sab­o­taged the mis­sion to drain the enor­mous pit of zom­bies.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Mon-Fri, 7.30pm, Com­edy (121)

Af­ter the re­tire­ment of Jon Stewart, the man who turned satir­i­cal news into the trusted source of in­for­ma­tion for mil­lions of Amer­i­can mil­len­ni­als, au­di­ences are siz­ing up Trevor Noah, Stewart’s South African-born re­place­ment. Only a few days into Noah’s ten­ure, the mass shoot­ings at Ore­gon com­mu­nity col­lege oc­curred. At the top of the episode, Noah stated he hadn’t had time to feel or think about it, and got on with the pre­pared ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing an ex­tended — and very clever — com­par­i­son be­tween Don­ald Trump and nu­mer­ous African dic­ta­tors. A cou­ple of ob­ser­va­tions. Would Stewart have man­aged some­thing ex­tem­po­ra­ne­ous about a mass shoot­ing? Prob­a­bly. Would au­di­ences ac­cept a real news an­chor claim­ing they hadn’t emo­tion­ally pro­cessed an event? Ab­so­lutely not; a poignant ex­am­ple of where fake news fall short. Also, part of Noah’s schtick is his out­sider sta­tus and African her­itage. No doubt, this is be­ing em­pha­sised to in­tro­duce him to au­di­ences. But how much de­mand there is for an African per­spec­tive on Amer­i­can af­fairs is ques­tion­able. A few years ago, Larry Wil­more, for­mer “se­nior black cor­re­spon­dent” on The Daily Show, and one of sev­eral alumni of that show to host their own pro­grams ( The Nightly Show with Larry Wil­more, Com­edy), made the fol­low­ing re­marks about Africa. “I don’t have any ro­man­tic con­nec­tion to Africa, I wasn’t born in Africa like the Pres­i­dent (laugh­ter) … Africa just makes me think: hot. And things that might eat me. And broth­ers who speak French, which I don’t think is in God’s plan, se­ri­ously.” And Amer­i­cans can be prickly about be­ing lec­tured by for­eign­ers. John Oliver has done a re­mark­able job with Last Week Tonight

with John Oliver (Com­edy). But Piers Mor­gan showed how easily a Bri­tish ac­cent can raise Amer­i­can hack­les. So, in short, the jury is still out on Noah.

The Great Aus­tralian Bake Off

Tues­day, 8.30pm, LifeStyle Food (127)

I keep half-ex­pect­ing a noisy horde of ob­nox­ious anti-sugar ac­tivists (not nam­ing names) to in­vade the set of this sac­cha­rine pro­gram. Mag­gie Beer singing about spoon­fuls of sugar must be like fin­ger­nails on a chalk­board for the pa­leo crowd.

The Great Aus­tralian Bake Off is off to a ter­rific start. The hosts, co­me­di­ans Claire Hooper and Mel But­tle, are nail­ing it. Beer and Matt Moran are great judges, though not all sugar and spice: some of the less suc­cess­ful of­fer­ings were de­scribed as “look­ing like some­one dropped that one” and “like a doorstop”. (One fel­low self­de­scribed his of­fer­ing as like “a Tarantino film”.) You do feel a lit­tle sorry for the con­tes­tants cook­ing in un­fa­mil­iar kitchens, which makes a big dif­fer­ence in the pre­cise art of bak­ing. But thank good­ness we are not as­sailed with gra­tu­itous hard-luck sto­ries or heav­ily edited faux con­flicts be­tween con­tes­tants. In this sec­ond episode, filled bis­cuits and can­noli are on the menu.

Pe­tra: Lost City of Stone

Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, History (611)

The loot­ing and de­struc­tion of ar­chi­tec­tural trea­sures in the Mid­dle East in re­cent years has been truly up­set­ting. Trav­ellers in­ter­ested in such things could be for­given for hav­ing thought there was no spe­cial ur­gency about vis­it­ing them. Sadly, TV doc­u­men­taries may be the only way fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will ex­pe­ri­ence them. Pe­tra, lo­cated in mod­ern-day Jor­dan, is a place per­haps best known for its Ro­man ru­ins. This doc­u­men­tary looks at the Na­bataeans of Pe­tra, a mys­te­ri­ous tribe who con­structed a thriv­ing city with spec­tac­u­lar tem­ple-tombs carved into rose­c­oloured cliffs. Equipped with re­mote sen­sors and dig­i­tal im­agery, arche­ol­o­gists and engi­neers ex­am­ine the his­tor­i­cal ev­i­dence and join with sculp­tors to re-cre­ate a tomb in a sand­stone cliff face. The Na­bataeans, we learn, pro­duced in­ge­nious tun­nels and cis­terns that col­lected the scarce rain­fall and dis­trib­uted it through a vast net­work of grav­ity-fed pipes that were ca­pa­ble of fill­ing bath­houses, foun­tains, and a mas­sive cen­tral pool com­plex. All this in one of the dri­est lo­ca­tions in the world.

Re­mem­ber Me

Fri­day, 8.30pm, BBC First (117)

What a plea­sure to see Michael Palin in his first dra­matic role in decades. Here, he plays Tom Parfitt, an el­derly man who has lived alone — with nary a visi­tor — for as long as any­one can re­mem­ber. Parfitt fakes an in­jury to gain ad­mis­sion to a nurs­ing home, but supernatural trou­ble seems to fol­low him there, con­nected to pho­to­graphs in his pos­ses­sion. Fa­mil­iar tech­niques of the hor­ror genre are well em­ployed. Young carer Han­nah (Jodie Cromer) fails to heed Parfitt’s in­struc­tions and puts her­self in harm’s way. The ten­sion is ratch­eted up in in­cre­ments; nasty fates have to be earned. It’s scarier than The Enfield Haunting, also screen­ing (Fri­day, 9.40pm). The lat­ter has a won­der­ful cast in­clud­ing Ti­mothy Spall, Matthew Macfadyen and oth­ers, but fails to be scary. (The res­i­dent poltergeist is rather like an an­noy­ing house guest cum ven­tril­o­quist.)

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