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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Author: by Michael Idato
Date: 10/12/2001
Words: 582
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 24

Ten, 6.30pm

UP Every now and again an actor comes along who delivers her lines with such appalling imprecision that you are rendered speechless by the performance.

It's the same state of disbelief brought about by outstanding performances, but it differs mainly in that it is combined with a knitting of the eyebrows and an urge to summon other people to the TV set to share in the dreadfulness of the moment.

In this case, the actor's name is Kendell Nunn and the production presumably was running so far behind they had neither the time to (a) rehearse nor (b) do a second take. On the Richter scale of drama debuts, she ranks about an 0.2.

Nunn plays Elly, a hybrid of the brazen-hussy-troublemaker and dumped-by-a-disinterested-mum character types that seem to reproduce like rabbits on soaps.

Ten has cleverly delivered her to Ramsay Street on the same night as former Big Brother posterboy Blair McDonough. Clever, because her arrival is so thoroughly underwhelming and her delivery so off the mark, you don't even notice McDonough enter the frame.

He is, in fact, a surprise: a perfectly adequate performer, considering he comes with no formal qualification in drama. He has a tendency to repeat the odd line sotto voce, which gives the impression he's trying hard to look like Marlon Brando in a pair of suede chaps and a cowboy hat (no joke), but opening-night nerves can probably take the rap for that. With a little time, and a little hard work, McDonough has all the makings of a solid actor.

The Invisible Man

Ten, 7.30pm

DOWN It's an old concept and you'd think we'd have learnt our lesson. The 1933 classic was turned into a fairly forgettable TV adaptation in Britain in 1958, starring Johnny Scripps. Hollywood followed it up in 1975, with David McCallum, which put the invisible man in the service of a think-tank. When that was flushed, Hollywood had a second bite at the apple with 1976's Gemini Man, starring Ben Murphy as an agent who uses a digital watch to render himself invisible for 15-minute bursts.

Just when you thought it was safe to slap on the invisible ink comes this offering saved for summer because it tanked in the US and has no long-term dividends to pay viewers.

This Invisible Man is about a con man who gets a second chance by participating in an experimental program. The snag here is that he works for the Department of Fish & Game, presented without a trace of irony as some kind of US Government monolith in the vein of The X-Files. It just goes to show that just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's scary.

Silhouettes of the Desert

ABC, 8.30pm

UP A beautifully filmed documentary, charting the life of Aramu, a young camel, who lives in the red deserts of central Australia. Think of this as The Lion King with a large humped horse that spits and drools, and you're halfway there.

Writer, director and photographer David Curl spent five years working on the project and the results are magnificent. Some of the early images, particularly Aramu's mother in labour, are a little unsettling for those of us born without a cast-iron stomach after all, watching a camel give birth isn't exactly what you'd call a great night's entertainment. But the program is deftly crafted and emotionally engaging.

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