Free-to-air films

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

The fran­tic, fu­ri­ous do­mes­tic Twenty20 cricket com­pe­ti­tion re­turns tonight with a sum­mer sched­ule see­ing 35 matches played in 40 days, in­clud­ing four dou­ble-head­ers. And it’s ad­dic­tive TV. Last year’s sea­son was a record-breaker, the Big Bash Aus­tralia’s top-rat­ing sports com­pe­ti­tion bat­ting off both the AFL and NRL with an av­er­age na­tional av­er­age au­di­ence of 1.1 mil­lion view­ers. Sydney Thun­der pre­vailed over Mel­bourne Stars in the fi­nal claim­ing the high­est rat­ings for the sea­son, with 1.79 mil­lion tun­ing in to see Mike Hussey’s men claim to their first ti­tle. Roz Kelly and Mark Howard call the ac­tion with Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh, with match one pre­sent­ing the reign­ing cham­pi­ons tak­ing on cross-town ri­vals the Sydney Six­ers. David Wal­liams re­turns to the sketch com­edy show for­mat in this series along­side a spe­cial guest, sup­ported by an en­sem­ble of comic ac­tors. While there are no me­dia pre­views, pos­i­tive Bri­tish re­views sug­gest the show — filmed in front of an au­di­ence — cap­tures some­thing of the ri­otous the­atri­cal­ity of clas­sic Bri­tish com­edy with its broad skits and spoofs. Joanna Lum­ley guest­stars in sketches in­clud­ing a Bond send-up, and a sur­pris­ing peek be­hind the scenes of The Great Bri­tish Bake Off. Now a suc­cess­ful chil­dren’s writer for page and stage, a theatre and TV ac­tor, and tal­ent show judge, Wal­liams has avoided the mis­for­tune that of­ten oc­curs when suc­cess­ful dou­ble acts take their fi­nal bows. Still, some Bri­tish crit­ics saw the series as speed dat­ing for Wal­liams to find a new comic part­ner. Would I Lie to You? At Christ­mas? Thurs­day, 8pm, ABC Hosted by the ur­bane Rob Bry­don and fea­tur­ing those clever co­me­di­ans David Mitchell and Lee The Grand Bu­dapest Ho­tel Mack, this Bri­tish panel show is oblig­a­tory view­ing at Christ­mas. This spe­cial fea­tures for­mer pro­fes­sional foot­baller Chris Ka­mara, co­me­dian Sara Pas­coe, award-win­ning ac­tor Tom Courte­nay and droll TV pre­sen­ter Richard Os­man. The two best sto­ries are from Pas­coe, about the way her mother would take down the dec­o­ra­tions on Christ­mas Day, and Courte­nay dis­cussing the way he starts off ev­ery Christ­mas Day with a bowl of corn­flakes “in a sea of Bai­leys”. But are they true? The Grand Bu­dapest Ho­tel (Mon­day, 8.30pm, Eleven) is an­other am­bi­tious, dis­tinc­tively styled film from Wes An­der­son, full of ec­cen­tric char­ac­ters and pre­sented with his sig­na­ture sen­si­bil­ity. Tom Wilkin­son plays an un­named au­thor who re­calls his younger self in the per­son of Jude Law, who re­counts his meet­ing with the mys­te­ri­ous Mr Moustafa (F. Mur­ray Abra­ham), the leg­endary ho­tel’s owner, who re­calls tales of his own un­der the ho­tel’s one-time concierge, Ralph Fi­ennes’s M. Gus­tave, and the story of a Re­nais­sance paint­ing of a boy with an ap­ple. Kevin Dono­van’s The Tuxedo (Tues­day, 8.30pm, Eleven) presents the re­mark­able Jackie Chan as Jimmy Tong, cab­bie turned chauf­feur to play­boy mil­lion­aire Clark Devlin (Ja­son Isaacs), who turns out to be a se­cret agent for a top-level se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tion. The key to Devlin’s trade­craft is his prized tuxedo, which turns Chan into a hi-tech fight­ing ma­chine. Kazuaki Kiriya’s Goe­mon (Mon­day, 12.40pm, SBS) is the visu­ally splen­did ac­tion epic based on a Ja­panese folk leg­end that echoes Robin Hood. The ninja thriller was pro­duced by the leg­endary Takashige Ichise, who worked on key mod­ern Asian hor­rors such as The Ring, Dark Wa­ter and The Grudge.

Ralph Fi­ennes in

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