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An appropriate premiere for Anzac Day, this ninepart documentary uses hours of vintage footage and personal reminiscences to paint a vivid picture of the highly secretive and elite Special Air Services Regiment on its 60th anniversary. Former members talk about the exhaustive training, discipline, risk and rewards of SAS service, taking the viewer through such former hot spots as Borneo, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kuwait, East Timor and, more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq. The unit is not without controversy, yet its value to peacekeeping, counter-terrorism and covert reconnaissance is well-established. This is the only series officially supported by the SAS, and it is a clear-eyed and comprehensive history of a very private unit. British journalist Angela Rippon has a very personal connection with dementia, having lost her mother Edna to the disease in 2009. Now 71, she is concerned not only for friends and acquaintances showing symptoms but also her own susceptibility to the condition. Determined to learn as much as she can and shed light on predicting and coping with this incurable disease, she visits afflicted friends, sits in on aged care facilities that teach mental exercises (meant to ward off Alzheimer’s onset) and even examines affected brain tissue. Soberingly, nearly 354,000 Australians live with the illness, and that number is predicted to rise appreciably, making this program informative and timely. Inside No 9 Saturday, 6.30pm, BBC First At long last comes season three of this alternately quite macabre and viciously funny half-hour, sixepisode anthology from British writers and performers Steve Pemberton and Reece Law-Abiding Citizen Shearsmith. To recap, each stand-alone episode revolves around a space or an item linked to the number nine. In the first, The Devil of Christmas, the pair star in a faux-1970s thriller in the Twilight Zone mode, as a family visiting a remote Austrian mountain cabin comes under the spell of the legendary and sinister holiday demon Krampus. Or does it? The twist is that the program is narrated by Derek Jacobi as the director being interviewed, complete with outtakes and mistakes. This is novel, smart storytelling. Though mostly known as an action star, Scottish leading man Gerard Butler has managed to make some interesting role choices among the carnage (including Ralph Fiennes’s Coriolanus and the animated hit How to Train Your Dragon). One of the more startling examples of his stock-in-trade to date is director F. Gary Gray’s bloodthirsty 2009 hybrid thriller Law-Abiding Citizen (Sunday, April 23, 8.30pm, Foxtel Movies Thriller), in which he plays an innocent man turned raging psychopath when his wife and daughter are killed in a home invasion. A more traditional, if no less jarring example of Hollywood muscle is director Walter Hill’s 1979 cult action film The Warriors (Friday, 8:35pm, Fox Classics), where the titular New York street gang must evade hostile and violent competitors and the police over one very long night in New York City. The stunt work is a virtuoso ballet of fists and feet. The wrenching 2015 Hungarian drama Son of Saul (Wednesday, 5pm, World Movies) won both the Cannes festival grand prize and the foreign film Oscar for its heartbreaking story of a prisoner trying to survive the Auschwitz death camp with his dignity and sanity intact.
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