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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Date: 23/10/2006
Words: 607
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 18
Home and Away

Seven, 7pm

Seven's long-running evening soap has been on a roll this year, clocking up some its best ever ratings. This episode gives some indication why. Well written and performed, it hits the ground running and never lets up. The main storylines tonight both concern young love and that perennial issue: when is the right time to "do it"?

Following an argument, Matilda (Indiana Evans) and Belle (Jessica Tovey, looking like a young Mischa Barton) make dramatic and very different decisions regarding their respective relationships. Matilda thinks that if she doesn't sleep with Ric (Mark Furze) he'll leave her, while Belle thinks Lucas (Rhys Wakefield) only wants her for sex and dumps him.

Most of the episode is spent sorting out these problems until the requisite Friday night cliffhanger throws yet another spanner in the works.

Home and Away will never be confused with The Sopranos, but it does what it does well.

The Kumars at No.42 - Christmas Special

ABC, 10.05pm

The ABC's shelves must be a bit bare at the moment. How else to account for this lazy bit of programming - a Christmas episode from 2004, featuring musician Phil Collins and Anne Robinson, host of Britain's The Weakest Link?

The Kumars at No.42 is a concept long past its use-by date. In fact, it's been downhill since Michael Parkinson's gloriously bemused performance in episode one, back in 2001. There was novelty value in the format - real guests being interviewed in a contrived set up - but once it became familiar, it too easily lapsed into smug self-indulgence.

Tonight's running gag is that Sanjeev has started therapy, which leads to some fairly predictable jokes about controlling Indian mothers and strict Indian fathers. The first guest, Robinson, is a little cold but deals with questions about her plastic surgery good-naturedly. Improbably, the charisma factor ramps up with the arrival of Collins, which speaks volumes about tonight's episode. This might be bearable after a few bottles of Christmas spirit, but is otherwise best avoided.

Hunting Emmanuelle

SBS, 10pm

For a brief moment in the 1970s, porn went mainstream and no movie better captures that moment than the 1974 French soft-core flick Emmanuelle. This appropriately racy documentary looks at the making of that film and examines its impact - on its star, Dutch secretary Silvia Kristel, and the broader culture.

Amusingly, some of the men involved with the film maintain the line that Emmanuelle was a feminist icon - a liberated woman in control of her sexuality. Several women interviewed here beg to differ. Journalist Polly Toynbee calls her "a man's idea of what he would like a liberated woman to be", while anti-porn campaigner Judith Reisman says she was "a fantasy of dysfunctional men".

Kristel, interviewed extensively, is philosophical about the film that made her famous. She took the role because she thought it would be fun to visit Thailand and was fairly relaxed about what it entailed. She even laughs off the controversial rape scene, involving two Thai extras, which she says left her "black and blue".

Kristel's star shone brightly for a few years but she eventually ended up in LA, strung out on cocaine and booze. She now lives in Amsterdam, poor but still beautiful and remarkably free of self-pity. More than 80 sequels later, the franchise she made famous limps on to this day.

This documentary, made for Britain's Channel 4, interviews many of those involved in the original film and is full of amusing facts and anecdotes. It certainly earns its MA15+ rating, showing many of the film's key scenes.

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