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Sun-Herald

CRITIC'S CHOICE

Author: BRIAN COURTIS
Date: 13/01/2002
Words: 1629
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Television
Page: 6
SUNDAY

*** Sunday Performance: Last Night Of The Proms

ABC, 8.30pm

There's no Pomp And Circumstance or Rule, Britannia in this somewhat sombre Last Night Of The Proms. To mark the horrific events of September 11, which occurred a short time before the concert in London's Royal Albert Hall, there was an appropriate change of format. The traditional final sequences have been replaced with Barber's Adagio For Strings, Michael Tippett's arrangement of classic spirituals and the Choral Finale from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Leonard Slatkin is also the first American to conduct Last Night Of The Proms.

MONDAY

** Neighbours Revealed

Channel 10, 6.30pm

For those suffering Ramsay Street withdrawal, this BBC series offers another look behind the scenes. The week-long series was made to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the first screening of Neighbours in the UK. Cast and crew guide the Brits through a typical week on Australia's longest-running soap. Ryan Maloney swimming with sharks, Ian Smith playing golf and Kym Valentine singing ... it's that kind of revelation.

**** In A Land Of Plenty

ABC, 8.30pm

Not-to-be-missed episode of the superbly filmed adaptation of Tim Pears's novel about the lives of a powerful and ambitious British industrialist and his family. This week tycoon Charles Freeman (Robert Pugh) reveals the extent of his financial disaster to the family. Curiously, the only one who seems able to help him is Simon (Tony Maudsley), who suffered so much as his aide. Laura (Kaye Wragg) finally agrees to marry James (Shaun Dingwall) if he makes peace with his father and has their reception at the big house. But there are other tragic losers and after these events, nobody's life will be the same again.

TUESDAY

*** Imran Khan: Islam And America

SBS, 8pm

Irritating UK-produced documentary in which Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan airs the anti-American views of many of his countrymen. While Imran purports to be "surprised" at the militant views of fellow Muslims, there doesn't seem a great deal of religious "compassion, tolerance or charity" in the attitudes displayed here. Not even from Imran's fellow "middle class" liberals or religious fundamentalists. The most useful arguments raised in this short documentary are over Pakistani attitudes towards the International Monetary Fund. Exploring this might have been rewarding. But this report instead comes perilously close to blaming the victims for the atrocities of September 11.

*** Heart Of Country:

From Nowhere To Somewhere

ABC, 8pm

Bright and breezy start to a new series in which Australian country music stars reveal a little more of themselves than you sometimes get from the radio or CDs. Sara Storer, who was born in Robinvale and grew up in the Mallee district of Victoria, is first on stage. She trained as a teacher but had a yearning to head for the Northern Territory and did so. Storer, a natural storyteller, also proves a delightful performer for Lindsay Fraser's film, returning to the roadhouse at Camooweal in the Territory to flip burgers for the camera. But it's at Tamworth, tasting "the start of stardom", where she really lets us understand what her music means

to her.

WEDNESDAY

** Gilmore Girls: Paris Is Burning

Channel 9, 7.30pm

When mum does her Dharma bit, it can be quite amusing. But there has to be a little more than that, surely? In this week's episode, written by Joan Binder Weiss, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) has problems in her relationship with her daughter's English literature teacher. Young Rory (Alexis Bledel) is, of course, a lot more cluey. Someone should tell this girl to leave home while she has a chance. Not so entertaining as the opener suggested.

*** Jamie Oliver's Pukka Tukka

ABC, 8pm

Just when you thought it safe to go back into the kitchen, me old mates, Jamie is around with more tips. He doesn't want you stitching yourself up, but he does want you to cook up a nice bit of tucker. Or, in his case, tukka. And in tonight's new series he proves you can do this faster than the packaged goods promise. The exhaustingly enthusiastic chef starts by making a wicked-looking pasta, know what I mean? Then its grilled salmon for the main course. "You don't have to cook the 'ell out of fish . . . it's an old wives tale," he says. And then, with time to spare on kitchen essentials, he's into an apple and blackberry crumble. As easy-peasy as it looks scrumptious.

*** Rock Legends: Queen - Is This The Real Life?

ABC, 9.30pm

Not a great deal of fresh material here, but right from Elton John's introductory salute it is pretty entertaining TV. This 60-minute rockumentary was produced and directed by Bob Smeaton, director of The Beatles Anthology, for Britain's Channel 4. As well as all the hits, it includes interviews with Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury's wife, partner, mother and sister, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and Bob Geldof.

THURSDAY

**** Croc Country:The Mating Game

ABC, 8pm

Delightful start to a documentary series that promises to make up for all the circus nonsense of The Crocodile Hunter. Courting crocs are its stars, but sharing the spotlight here is Queensland crocodile farmer John Lever and his family. In producer Tom Hearn's gripping film, Lever, his son Jason and plucky new recruit Cassie Schultz show us just what is involved in keeping the smile on a crocodile. Stormy weather is what stirs the sex drive of crocodiles. Unfortunately, there have been years of drought around the Rockhampton farm and numbers have dwindled. Lever's hopes are on young stud Rocky. Last time, however, all Rocky's young companion got was a love bite. This time the partner is a more mature female, the seductively named Mrs Robinson. Romance has never seemed so risky.

FRIDAY

** Inspector Rex: Death Via The Internet

SBS, 8.30pm

First of the so-called raunchier episodes of Austria's popular police drama series. In this one, an internet chat room leads some Viennese sexual adventurers into murder. To track the killer, Alex Brandtner (Gedeon Burkhard) and his police team find themselves using nicknames to join their sexual games. This is all very saucy, but, apart from a few skipping tricks, there's not a great deal for the doggy star to do. The vunderhund whimpers cutely, poses constantly and looks like he would rather go for his walk than try to work out just what his masters are up to. Nothing to bark about.

SATURDAY

*** The Bill: Long Shadows

ABC, 8.30pm

Still in a state of shock over Dave Quinnan, Sun Hill finds itself struggling to break through other dark dealings from the past. The aftermath of corrupt detective Don Beech's business affects the station again as police lawyer Lisa Hawk advises Supt Tom Chandler and DCI Jack Meadows to drop all cases in which he had any involvement. But in trying to pin down local villains Stubbs and Brown, Meadows gets a tip about a connection in Chandler's past. Could this be why the boss is advising restraint on Stubbs?

TOP PICK

*** Home And Away

Monday, Channel 7, 7pm

Well and away the most interesting thing to happen in Summer Bay of late has been that police decision to nab Vinnie in the maternity ward. To insiders it looked like a rather poorly disguised laughing gas raid.

Not so. Vinnie (Ryan Kwanten), it seems, is to be charged with far more dastardly modern crimes. Something to do with GST fraud, false company numbers and a father who has done a runner.

The question now, as the show comes back early for another year, is whether the new dad will be around to help raise the baby son he so sensitively named VJ.

"It's just a big misunderstanding," Vinnie tells Leah (Ada Nicodemou). "It's just crossed wires, that's all. The lawyers will sort it out." Then again, that's what all those getting high on GST say, isn't it?

The arrival of babies for Leah and Gypsy (Kimberley Cooper) does at least provide Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher) with some new year stimulation. "Strike me, there's a population explosion," he says.

Not everyone in Home And Away is so cheerful. Check out Brodie (Susie Rugg), preparing for the coroner. And Gypsy, as Will (Zac Drayson) reminds her she agreed to a marriage proposal.

"What's up love, a bit hormonal?" asks the appalling Colleen. If Gypsy is so afflicted, the lawyers and a good Summer Bay cliffhanger will sort it out, I'm sure.

KIDS

* The Amazing Panda Adventure

Sunday, Channel 9, 6.30pm

Curiously, it's not even a good viewing week for holidaying kids. This somewhat awkward 90-minute telemovie stars Christian Slater's younger brother, Ryan, as the son of an American scientist in China. Slater plays Ryan Tyler, whose father works to save pandas from extinction. When the 10-year-old boy arrives in China, he discovers the panda reserve in a state of crisis. Poachers are moving in on a panda mother and cub. Ryan gets drawn into saving the cub and restoring his relationship with his father. The panda pictures are the film's big selling point.

***** Drop everything!

**** Great entertainment

*** Worth considering

** Only if you must

* Buy a book!

 
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