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The Sydney Morning Herald

Charmed, I'm sure

Author: Doug Anderson & friends
Date: 13/07/1999
Words: 523
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News And Features
Page: 26
Neighbours, 6.30pm, 10: Everybody loves a wedding - especially the people who publish those awful pulp magazines about television celebrities. A good nuptial event can improve ratings, lift sales and blur the lines between reality and suds for millions of hapless geese who steadfastly believe that Neighbours is "real". Can Sarah Beaumont make it to the altar on time to tie the knot (around her neck preferably), with Dr Peter Hannay? All the leftover mishaps from the stage play, Secret Bridesmaid's Business, are slathered over the screen as Karl sulks darkly somewhere and Lou carries on like a counter lunch. Not for

the fainthearted.

Charmed, 9.30pm, 10: "Gimme witches!", said Aaron Spelling, noting the spunk factor in The Craft which screened on Sunday night. Hey presto, Zing! here they are. With Shannen Doherty astride a broomstick as his new series kicks off ... and dies in the bum.

Better Homes and Gardens, 7.30pm, Seven. Pour yourself another spritzer, settle back on the hammock and suspend the imagination for an hour as a bunch of very ordinary looking Australians do extraordinary things with common household objects. Marvel as Bert this week combines the wheel hub from an FJ Holden, half a cup of sugar, and a bent hairpin into a rocket launcher suitable for the subcontinental export market. Look out Kashmir! What's that? Bert's not on this show? Well where is he? And who's that whipping up those delicious rocket launchers? Ooooooh, it's Bel-inda. Of course. And what's this? Guest presenter Martin Lynes performs a perfunctory triple bypass on John Jarratt while Noni sweeps out the spare room and Fiona transforms an ordinary mantle piece into a Darth Maul mask for the kiddies. Splendid job. Carry on troops.

Cleopatra Part 2, Nine 8.30pm. Now that Timothy Dalton, who played Julius Caesar in the style of an absurdly correct English gent has been reduced to chopped liver on the steps of the Forum by Brutus and his bloodthirsty boyos, Leonor Verela must hook into some other Roman guy if she is to maintain the required image of Cleopatra as the sexpot of the Egyptian empire. Varela, who has considerably less acting talent than the asp, is struggling with this problem here until Bill Zane blows into Egypt, playing a loony tune version of Mark Anthony. While Caesar was all dignity, taking a full minute to leap into the cot with Cleo, Mark Anthony arrives a drunken lecher, all hands and no finesse, as he spies the little beauty. "Prepare the royal barge for war - a different kind of war," orders Cleo and it is upon this travelling waterbed that much lust is generated. The Battle of Actium is staged as some sort of excuse for producer Robert Halmi squandering squillions on the biggest - and flimsiest TV set ever built. Four and half football fields is the proud boast, but the action is plastic and the dialogue kicks few goals.

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