THE MOVIE Network has added a third 24-hour movie channel to its Optus
Vision service. This ensures movie buffs, reclusives and insomniacs have a rich
and varied diet of non-stop movies every day.
The Movie Network's chief executive officer, Mike Lattin, said it would also
invest $3 million this year in Australian film productions.
The new channels start screening on Sunday, 7 September, with the Australian
television premiere of the James Bond adventure, GoldenEye, followed by the
top-rating American miniseries The Last Don, from Mario Puzo, author of The
To accommodate the change, the channels will get a new look, new name and new
programming. Movie One will specialise in blockbusters, box-office hits and the
hottest stars. Movie Extra will concentrate on special events, such as
miniseries and made-for-TV movies, as well as classics and "undiscovered films
not seen in Australia". Movie Greats will continue to offer classic movies from
the 1930s through to the 1980s.
Lattin said that viewers will have access to about 350 movies each month, 60
of which will be premiere titles and commercial-free. Premiere releases will
screen up to 14 months before commercial television. The Movie Network, he said,
is not a production house but an investor in film production. "We are looking
at cutting-edge, attitude-type films with which free-to-air networks often have
problems." It has already invested in Kiss or Kill and Family Crackers.
FOXTEL and the 10 Network have combined to produce a two-hour special for
the grand opening of Planet Hollywood, in Melbourne on Sunday. And who have they
chosen to cohost the event? None other than Tim Webster, the sports host
renowned in this city for his lack of local knowledge. Webster became a minor
cult figure as viewers conducted sweeps to guess how often he would mispronounce
the names of Melbourne sporting figures. Sylvester Stallone (who is a partner
in the business) will join fellow celebs, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, and
200 guests for the gig, which screens live from the eatery at 7.30pm.
THE WEEK'S RECOMMENDED
Beauty and the Beasts
National Geographic Channel, 7pm
ANYONE who grew up in the pre-computer age read National Geographic, at some
time or other.
The journal still exists and the photographs are as graphic as ever, the
text as informative. What has changed, like so much else, is that it is now
available on television. This week, the National Geographic channel premieres on
Foxtel with an impressive array of programs featuring wildlife, nature and
Beauty and the Beasts: A Leopard's Story takes in two extremes from the
animal kingdom: the elegant, lithe leopard and the rampaging, wild warthog. What
do they have in common, apart from their predatory instincts, you might ask?
Not much socially. The lordly leopard is a loner, while the warthog is a warm,
family animal. The common link is the struggle to survive the harsh African
This documentary traces these animals from infancy, enabling us to see beyond
the predator and into the way they live and breed. On both sides, there is much
to capture our imagination and to engage our sensibilities.
Another channel making its debut is The Life Style Channel. Produced by the
XYZ Entertainment Group, it offers home improvement and gardening tips from
Australia and around the world. From 1 September.
Dawn French on Big Women
Ovation Channel, 7.30pm
"BIG women want more sex, get more sex, and fantasise more about sex than
thin women." So says Dawn French, who is not just big but formidable. This
program asks a lot of questions about how large women are regarded by society,
and tries to provide some answers. Helping her to get her point across are pop
star Alison Moyet, comedian Jo Brand, feminist writer Camille Paglia and a
remarkable group of large American women who call themselves Allegro Fortissimo.
While big women, she reminds us, have been revered in art, they have never
received the same acceptance on magazine covers. In an attempt to challenge
this notion, she accepts an offer to pose for Esquire. The triteness of its
editors is just awful. This is in sharp contrast to the celebratory approach by
artist Peter Howsen, who paints French nude.
For all the point-scoring, French neither loses her sense of humor nor her
talent to tackle issues from a fresh perspective. This program can be enjoyed by
people of all sizes and shapes.
Just in case you aren't getting enough footy on television, 'Footy Feedback'
will give you that extra fix on Mondays, with interviews and opinions, co-hosted
by Tim Lane and Dermott Brereton.
Sports AFL, Monday, 7.30pm.