FILMS OF THE WEEK
Ladies in Lavender Saturday, BBC Two, 7.20pm Being shown to tie in with the documentary Nothing Like a Dame, which airs immediately afterwards at 9pm, this charming period tale marked the writing and directing debut of Charles Dance, who adapted it from a short story by William J Locke. Maggie Smith and Judi Dench ( both above) deliver magical performances as ageing spinster siblings Janet and Ursula Widdington, whose quiet lives in a picturesque seaside Cornwall village are turned upside down forever by a young Polish violinist they find washed up on a beach near their home. Daniel Brühl plays the newcomer, while the supporting cast features such veterans as Freddie Jones ( with his son Toby) and David Warner.
Once Upon a Time in America Monday, TG4, 9.30pm Sergio Leone’s classic crime drama is set in New York during the 1930s and 1960s. Robert De Niro heads the cast as Noodles, an ageing gangster looking back on his life and violent career during a visit to his old Manhattan haunts. At well over three hours, this is an epic tale by any standards, but thanks to Leone’s masterful direction, it never outstays its welcome. James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern and Joe Pesci offer support.
Mermaids Friday, RTÉ One, 11.30pm Cher ( below) stars as Mrs Flax, a single mother of two daughters who, whenever a relationship collapses, leaves town and sets up home elsewhere. Her eldest child finds love with a handsome chap, which means she’d like to stay in their latest destination longer than usual – but will Mrs Flax’s romance with a local man last the distance? Bob Hoskins, Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder co- star, while Cher’s record The Shoop Shoop Song ( It’s in His Kiss) is on the soundtrack.