Free-to-air films

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

In truth, I’ve never stopped pin­ing for the old BBC broad­casts of the Euro­vi­sion hosted by the dry and acer­bic Terry Wo­gan, who passed away last year. He hosted for an as­ton­ish­ing 35 years un­til 2008, and de­liv­ered many mem­o­rable one­lin­ers, in­clud­ing in 2007: “Who knows what hellish fu­ture lies ahead? Ac­tu­ally I do, I’ve seen the re­hearsals.” Some Euro­peans com­plained that Wo­gan caused a gen­er­a­tion of Bri­tons to dis­miss the com­pe­ti­tion as “ir­rel­e­vant and kitsch”, which has been re­flected in a dearth of Bri­tish win­ners (just one in the past 35 years). Any­how, SBS’s cov­er­age of the event in Kiev, Ukraine, will be hosted by Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey. Should Isa­iah Fire­brace make it through the semi-fi­nals, we wish him the best of luck. Prison Break orig­i­nally aired for four sea­sons from 2005 to 2009, and is here re­vived for a fifth. Again star­ring Went­worth Miller as Michael Scofield and Do­minic Pur­cell as Lin­coln Bur­rows, it picks up seven years af­ter the for­mer broke the lat­ter out of prison for a mur­der he didn’t com­mit. Michael sup­pos­edly died in the process, but when Lin­coln learns his brother could still be alive, his quest to find him leads him to war-torn Ye­men. The re­cep­tion for this re­vival in the US was fairly tepid, not un­like 24: Legacy. River Fri­day, 8.30pm, ABC The only down­side to this ex­cel­lent six-part crime se­ries is the use of catchy 1970s disco tune I Love to Love by Tina Charles; it re­ally gets stuck in your head. De­spite that, I re­gret noth­ing. This se­ries, star­ring Stel­lan Skars­gard and Ni­cola Walker, has taken quite the long route since 2015, from the BBC to Net­flix and fi­nally the ABC. Skars­gard is de­tec­tive John River, a man af­flicted by vi­sions of River the dead, or “man­i­fests”, as he calls them. They give him an in­sight into what it means to be dif­fer­ent. “I’m a good of­fi­cer, but in this world that’s not enough. In this world, you have to be able to nod and smile and drink a pint, and say, ‘How was your day?’ In this world no one can be dif­fer­ent or strange or dam­aged. Or they lock you up. So what do I do now?” River is hot on the trail of the killer of Walker’s DS Steven­son. But the closer he gets to the truth, the less he re­alises he am)knew about his clos­est friend. Af­ter five films across 13 years there was a sense of Mid­dle Earth-fa­tigue when The Hob­bit: Bat­tle of the Five Armies (Satur­day, 8.30pm, GO!) pre­miered in 2014. But the best sur­prise among the cast of by then well-known char­ac­ters was the in­tro­duc­tion of Dain Iron­foot, played by Scot­tish co­me­dian Billy Con­nolly. Iron­foot turns up at the head of an army to the tit­u­lar bat­tle to as­sist his cousin Thorin, and pro­ceeds to head­butt orcs with­out re­morse; worth watch­ing for that, if for noth­ing else. Check out Aus­tralian di­rec­tor Scott Hicks’s mov­ing adap­ta­tion of Snow Fall­ing on Cedars (Satur­day, 10.30pm, GEM) (SA, 10pm; WA, 8.30pm). Star­ring Ethan Hawke, Max Von Sy­dow and Youki Ku­doh, the Os­carnom­i­nated film tells a story of mur­der, for­bid­den love and anti-Ja­panese sen­ti­ment in the af­ter­math of World War II. Writ­ten by Robert Har­ris and di­rected by Ro­man Polan­ski, The Ghost Writer (Satur­day, 2.15am, SBS) (not WA) takes a pre­car­i­ous pro­fes­sion and makes it even scarier. Ewan McGre­gor’s char­ac­ter is com­mis­sioned to com­plete the mem­oirs of a for­mer Bri­tish prime min­is­ter (Pierce Bros­nan). The closer McGre­gor’s char­ac­ter gets to the truth, the more dan­ger he finds him­self in.

Stel­lan Skars­gard in the drama

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