free to air
The Conversation with Alex Malley Sunday, 10am, Nine
Alex Malley, chief executive of CPA Australia, is back with a new eight-part series under a new title. For three years he hosted The Bottom Line, in which he talked to leaders in politics, business and entertainment about life at the top. His style is different from that of a trained journalist — more a fireside chat than a provocative interview; but it’s a style that often elicits fresh material from well-known guests. Malley’s line-up includes Atari founder and entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell, World Vision CEO Tim Costello, and Alpha Cheng, son of NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng, who was murdered in Sydney last year.
The Long Walk
Monday, 7.30pm, NITV
Michael Long played for Essendon (1989-2001), was a member of two premiership sides and the winner of the 1993 Norm Smith Medal. He used his fame as one of the most recognisable Aboriginal AFL players to highlight the plight of fellow Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. On November 21, 2004 he set out to walk 650km from his home in Melbourne to Canberra in a bid to get his people’s most pressing social issues back on the national agenda. Thousands of citizens joined him along the way and the Long Walk website was inundated with messages of support. On December 3, Long met prime minister John Howard. This is the story of that historic walk.
Tuesday, 4.30pm, SBS
According to a friend who works in travel, Iceland is the new hot destination. The country is trying to get ahead of, or at least keep up with, the sudden interest from hordes of international tourists seeking new and exciting destinations. While the accommodation and food are, at this stage, a little wanting the breathtaking scenery more than makes up for it. As seen in this documentary — the last in the series — Iceland’s natural beauty, rugged landscapes and wildlife make it an ideal walking holiday destination.
Great Estates of Scotland
Tuesday, 7.30pm, SBS
You might recognise Inveraray Castle as Duneagle in the special 2012 episode of Downton Abbey in which the Crawley family and servants went to Scotland for Christmas. The second of four episodes in this series, which looks at Scotland’s most beautiful estates, finds the seat of the 13th Duke of Argyll is a mixture of an elegant formal stately home cluttered with priceless art and a warm family home where the duke and duchess and their three young children live — without servants. Inveraray, set on 24,000ha on the shore of Loch Fyne, has been in the Argyll family since it was built 500 years ago.
Tuesday, 9pm, Seven
Rebecca Gibney created this Aussie drama and stars as Lola Buckley, who’s just quit her job in a supermarket. Accountant Chelsea Babbage (Geraldine Hakewill) is about to be audited after money goes missing from a client’s account. They don’t know each other, but they catch the same bus home. They witness a murder; Lola shoots one of the killers (a corrupt cop, it turns out) dead. His partner shoves the two women in his boot and drives to a remote location. The women escape — after more shootouts — but they’re falsely accused of murder and take off, chased by another bad cop. The action moves fast and there’s wonderful underlying humour — Lola and Chelsea couldn’t be more different — that makes for excellent television.
Wednesday, 8.30pm, Ten
Not quite up there with The West Wing, but this series based around Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) is good. It’s said to be a favourite of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, so it must be on the pace. In Unity Node, episode 11 (of 22) in season two, McCord is in Geneva where, after some tricky manoeuvring, she’s able to rescue a peace agreement with Russia that was about to go off the rails.
The Good Wife
Wednesday, 9.30pm, Ten
In the last episode from season seven that went to air before the holiday break, Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) confessed to Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) that he deleted a message on her phone from Will Gardener (Josh Charles) declaring his love for her. Here Iowa, episode 11, picks up the story with Florrick’s reaction to the campaign manager’s devious behaviour. There’s tension in the air when they all hit the road together in her husband Peter‘s (Chris North) presidential campaign bus en route to the Iowa caucuses. A high-quality drama with soapie undertones, the series has won a zillion awards.
Kings Cross ER
Thursday, 8.30pm, Nine
St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney’s Kings Cross runs one of the busiest emergency wards in the world. Its location on the fringes of the infamous latenight entertainment district means it attracts more than its fair share of drug and alcoholrelated injuries. And so much more. Season three follows emergency department director Gordian Fulde and his team of doctors, nurses and consultants as they deal with a never-ending queue of sick, injured and often violent patients.
Wednesday, 9pm, Seven
On the one blind date I had yonks ago, the bloke turned up in a removalist truck so big I couldn’t reach the cabin’s bottom step. He invited me to order from the lunch menu first, then said he wasn’t hungry. He sat there while I ate. Slowly. That was the end of blind dates for me. In this series, filmed in Sydney’s Verandah restaurant, single men and women from across Australia are willing to give it a go. Pre-matched according to what they share in common, they bond — or they don’t — over a classy meal.
The Graham Norton Show
Friday, 8.30pm, Ten
Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega join David Beckham and Kylie Minogue on the red couch for the usual naughty fun with Mr Norton.
Thursday, 9.30pm, SBS
We’re halfway through this brilliant Nordic police drama and there’s no clue as to who is committing a series of atrocious murders, or why. In episode five, one clue turns up: the victims are found to have a brand inside their mouth that turns out to be Babylonian numbers. This series is multilayered so it’s almost pointless starting here. If you’re not already into it, do yourself a favour and catch the previous four episodes on SBS on Demand. The Bridge is original, clever and addictive. For my money, the best thing on television at the moment.
Me and My Guide Dog Sunday, 8.30pm, Lifestyle (106)
Narrated by Timothy Spall ( Mr Turner), this twopart documentary follows the careers of a litter of one-year-old puppies destined to be guide dogs. They spend their first year with volunteer minders who help them learn about everyday life. Then the serious stuff begins for Kylie, Kiera, Kirby, Korky, Keith, Kerry, Kola, Klodo, Keegan and Kez. If they pass the ultimate test they can make a huge difference to their new owner’s life as former British home secretary David Blunkett, blind since birth, attests. His dogs Ruby, Teddy, Offa, Lucy, Sadie and Cosby were familiar characters in the House of Commons during his 25-year political career.
Monday, 8.30pm, BBC Knowledge (612)
Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC may have parted company last year after the Top Gear host slugged a producer, but the broadcaster is not shy about flouting the show’s past success. Besides all the dozens of repeats, there are specials such as this one hosted by Matt LeBlanc ( Friends, Episodes). He fronts a compilation of
Top Gear’s most entertaining races going back 13 years. In this first episode, Clarkson, driving an Aston Martin DB9, races James May and Richard Hammond, using public transport, to the Cafe de Paris in Monte Carlo. Then May, in a Bugatti Veyron, takes on a RAF Eurofighter Typhoon. “As races go, this is a good one,” May says. He’s not wrong there.
World’s Best Restaurants
Monday, 8.30pm, Lifestyle Food (127)
Michelin-star chef Simon Rogan’s restaurant L’Enclume, on the edge of lakeland in the Cumbrian town of Cartmel, has won The Good
Food Guide’s award for best restaurant in the UK twice. It’s one of the eateries featured in this series, which goes into the kitchens of famous fine-dining restaurants. The other is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant, Ithaa on Rangali Island in the Maldives. It sits 3m below the surface of the Indian Ocean; it’s 9m long and 5m wide. Encased in 12.5mm-thick acrylic, the restaurant seats up to 14 guests who pay $450 each for a six-course dinner.
National Trust: Garden Treasures
Tuesday. 12.30pm, History (611)
Poet and author Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband Harold Nicholson fell in love with the moated 16th-century Sissinghurst Castle near Cranbrook in Kent. In the 1930s they set about turning it into one of the world’s great gardens. Designed across 182ha as a series of rooms with hedges for walls, there’s the celebrated White Garden, an orchard, rose garden and cottage garden. The couple loved to spend quiet weekends in the garden together, he planning, she planting. Their serenity and genius turned a bare wasteland into a thing of astounding beauty.
Unforgiven: The Boys Who Murdered James Bulger
Wednesday, 7.30pm, CI (613)
Anyone who saw the CCTV footage of two-yearold James Bulger being led out of a shopping centre in Liverpool, England, in 1993 will never forget it. The boy was abducted, tortured and murdered by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, aged 10, who served eight years in prison before being freed on licence in 2001. This documentary explores the outcry that followed their release and whether the punishment fitted the crime. If the psychology of a child murderer interests you, read Gitta Sereny’s book on Mary Bell, the 11-year-old who strangled two boys in Newcastle, England, in 1968. It goes a long way to explaining what can lead a child to kill.
Wednesday, 9.40pm, BBC First (117)
Walk the Line, the first of six episodes in season two of this thriller set in Belfast, finds DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) still on the hunt for serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). His latest victim survives a vicious attack and Gibson is desperate to get her to remember something that will help identify her attacker. It’s a complicated story with several subplots that can be distracting, but it’s a cracker crime story with great acting by oh-so-cool Anderson and creepy Dornan. A third season is under way and due for release later this year. Krister Henriksson, so good as Kurt Wallander in the Swedish version of
Wallander, joins the cast.
Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches
Thursday, 7.30pm, Arts (133)
Timing is everything, they say, and Australian actor Rod Taylor’s was perfect. The boy from Lidcombe in Sydney’s west, who was dux at school and excelled at the National Arts School, arrived in Hollywood in the 1950s when moviemakers were looking for fresh faces. He was handsome, dynamic and energetic. Uncomfortable playing in romantic comedies — but good in them — Taylor starred with leading ladies such as Doris Day. Alfred Hitchcock cast him in The Birds with Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette and Jessica Tandy. He made more than 50 films including The V.I.P.s with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Maggie Smith. This profile features old film clips and interviews with him and with people who knew him. Taylor died last year, aged 84.
Thursday, 8.30pm, UKTV (103)
In Broken Souls from season five, a crippled exPOW, Fred Dawson, arrives home to find a German POW, Johann, working on his farm. Fred resents Johann’s chummy relationship with his wife, Rose, and their young son. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is busy looking for the person who murdered his chess partner, an unpopular psychiatrist, but when Johann is found dead his workload doubles.
BAFTA: A Life in Pictures
Friday, 7.30pm, Arts (133)
As a young man, Ralph Fiennes never thought consciously of becoming an actor. It was only when someone who had seen him in school productions said “you have an ability here” that he considered attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He went on to work at the National Theatre and with the Royal Shakespeare Company before making his name as Heathcliff in the 1992 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights. In this 2012 interview he talks about working with Steven Spielberg, whom he describes as “thrilling” and “very inventive”. Fiennes, 53, won a BAFTA for best supporting actor for his role as Amon Goeth in Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. best of streaming
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst Presto
In 2001, the urbane multimillion-dollar heir to a Manhattan property fortune, Robert Durst, was acquitted of murdering a neighbour in Galveston, Texas. The disappearance of his first wife in 1982 remains a mystery. One of this documentary’s producers, Andrew Jarecki, persuaded Durst to sit down and talk to him on camera. Jarecki took years to find and combine the mountain of witness evidence, police files and prison recordings for this gripping result. Over six compelling episodes, the immaculately dressed 71-year-old Durst lifts the lid on long-held secrets. But the day before the last episode went to air in the US last March, he was arrested for the murder of a mobster’s daughter 15 years ago.