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TV Picks


Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:03 PM

6 PM - Channel 4 - The Simpsons
Lisa's Substitute

Lisa falls in love with a substitute teacher, and Bart is nominated by his classmates to be class president. Featuring the voice of Dustin Hoffman.

7 PM - BBC2 - Talking Landscapes
The Yorkshire Dales

Aubrey Manning sets out to uncover the history of Britain's ever-changing landscape. In this edition from the Yorkshire Dales, he journeys deep underground to discover the secrets of dry stone walls. And up on Ribble Head, he finds a startling clue to the role played by the Vikings in shaping the region.

8 PM - BBC1 - Trauma London
1/9 - Trauma London - the Medics' Story

Kwame Kwei-Armah narrates the documentary series following the work of the doctors and nurses in A&E at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
Its debatable how many viewers can face more raw horror from the London bombings, though programmes such as this have their place in showing us the dedication and sheer humanity of those involved in saving lives. In this special episode, heralding a new series of Trauma Uncut starting at 9.00pm on BBC3, a television crew who were on the scene by chance on 7 July follows the trauma doctors and paramedics as they treat blast victims at the Royal London Hospital.

9 PM - BBC2 - Extras

How could The Office ever be topped, or even equalled, by creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant? Extras is very much a companion piece to The Office, filled with all the acutely painful characterisations and pinpoint-perfect observations of the small boredoms of being human that made its predecessor so winning. Gervais is marvellous as Andy Millman, an extra who haunts film and TV sets in the hope of getting a line of dialogue. Ashley Jensen, as his man-eating friend Maggie, is terrific, too. Tonight she suggests that Andy makes his bid for a line directly to Ross Kemp, guesting as the star of a shabby costume drama about Lord Nelson. Kemp enjoys parodying his tough-guy image and has some great scenes with Gervais, including one of unexpected poignancy at the end. Watch out, too, for a cameo from another former EastEnders star, Shaun Williamson (who played Barry), gamely allowing himself to be humiliated, and a star turn from Stephen Merchant as Andy's useless agent.

9 PM - Channel 4 - Dispatches: Supermarket Secrets

What happens behind the scenes in the production of supermarket food? It's a question that nags at those of us - most of us - who shop at supermarkets. Which makes this programme, the first of two, hard to ignore. Journalist Jane Moore investigates whether the food on supermarket shelves is as good as it looks and how the big stores manage to push prices down and profits up. Secret filming shows the grim conditions at a broiler house supplying chickens to a company that in turn supplies the major supermarkets. Choose your TV dinner with care.

9 PM - Extreme Sports - AKA Girl Surfer 2005
Six surfers and a lot of waves as AKA: Girl Surfer 2005 takes you into the heart of competitive surfing to follow the personal triumphs and defeats in this unforgivingly fast-paced sport. A mix of sport and travelogue, the film talks to the women to find out what it's like being a world-class surfing competitor, how you get to that stage and how long you can stay there.

9:30 PM - BBC2 - The Catherine Tate Show

Catherine Tate has yet to become a national comedy treasure even though her "Do I look bovvered?" character Lauren has the cult status of Vicki Pollard, but Tate herself is a long way from Little Britain-style glory. Maybe this second series will catch light? It deserves to. Tonight's funny show includes a routine about natural yogurt by Bernie the dozy Irish nurse as well as such delights as feral granny Nan to enjoy. And newcomer Irene's lay-by burger wagon - visited, with sublime implausibility, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

10:35 PM - BBC1 - Questions of Security: A BBC News Special
Huw Edwards presents a question-and-answer session, featuring a panel of politicians, leading commentators and prominent Muslims, and an audience drawn from members of the public. In the aftermath of the bombing attacks on London, there are calls for new laws to combat terrorism, demands for greater restraint from the police after the shooting of an innocent civilian, and requests for MPS to scrap their long summer holiday while the security situation is so uncertain.

11 PM - Scottish - Rageh Omaar's Tsunami Journey
Six months after the Indian Ocean tsunami claimed 300,000 lives, distinguished war reporter Rageh Omaar presents a special documentary which asks the question - where was God? The wave affected believers from all the world's great religions who wondered how a loving God could have allowed it to happen. This is his report on the devastating results on the faith and lives of the millions who lost their loved ones and livelihoods.

11:20 Pm - BBC2 - BBC4 on BBC2: Digital Picture of Britain
1/6 - The North

Tom Ang invites three eminent photographers to use unfamiliar digital cameras to produce compelling images of Britain's rural, urban and industrial landscape. Ian Berry, Dan Chung and Joe Cornish travel across northern England to capture the passion of grassroots football in Liverpool, the rise of new service industries in Sheffield, and a spectacular stretch of shoreline on the Yorkshire coast.


Posted 28 July 2005 - 03:34 PM

i would recomend CATHARINE TATE 2nite i watched some of her last series and it was soo funny. i enjoy lots of comedy programmes such as still game and karen dunbar but this is soo much better. you will have a sore stomach with laughing. so 2nite bbc2 9:30PM.


Posted 29 July 2005 - 11:58 AM

6 PM - Channel 4 - The Simpsons
War of the Simpsons

Marge signs up for a marriage guidance weekend when she catches Homer leering at Maude Flanders!

6 PM - Sky 1 - The Making of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A behind-the-scenes look at what promises to be this summer's big family film. Apart from Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, the big attraction will be seeing how director Tim Burton engages his very distinctive vision with Roald Dahl's wonderful story. We hear from both, and there's a contribution from Roald's daughter, Tessa, herself a prolific children's author.

8 PM - Channel 4 - Scrubs
My Clean Break

American hospital sitcom. JD decides to break up with Danni, but she gets there first. Dr Kelso criticises Elliot's new look.

9 PM - BBC1 - Independence Day
Sci-fi blockbuster in which aliens attack Earth, and a small band of survivors must fight back to prevent the human race's annihilation. Dozens of giant spacecraft hover over the world's major cities and unleash a wave of destruction, killing millions. But the survivors decide to resist the seemingly indestructible enemy. Oscar winner for visual effects and one of the highest-grossing films of its time.

9 PM - BBC2 - Coast
3/13 - Severn Estuary to Aberystwyth

The Severn Bore is the magnificent surging tidal wave that sweeps up the River Severn in Gloucestershire. It's an extraordinary sight, and one that brings out hordes of sightseers who line the river banks in droves. Even surfers catch the wave. Here, excitable geographer Nicholas Crane explains how the Bore is created, and belts like mad on his bike along the river, often stopping along the way to exclaim with delight as the wave careens along, reaching some remarkable heights. Elsewhere, historian Neil Oliver, who addresses the camera as if he's about to tell us all a really great secret, visits Cardiff, and anthropologist Alice Roberts "meets" the Red Lady of Paviland.

9 PM - Discovery Channel - The Russian Revolution in Colour
This absorbing blow-by-blow account of the events of 1917 hangs on Lenin's relentless drive towards seizing power by force. The fast-paced narrative is accompanied by a dizzying montage of reconstructions and colourised archive film. Part two is next week.

10 PM - BBC2 - Still Game
2/6 - Wireless

Sitcom featuring characters from the comedy series Chewin' the Fat. Jack and Victor take up residence in the hospital, not as patients but as DJ's. However, Navid is in for a more pressing problem.
Here's a clip from tonight's episode

10:30 PM - BBC4 - The Second Heimat
The movie consist of 13 separate episodes each handling a period between 1960 and 1970. The length of these periods varies from one day to some years. It tells the story of a group of people in Munich (mostly music and film students). Every episode focuses on a different character from the group, although the main storyline and character, the young composer Hermann, continues. The movie tells a story in many different levels about love, friendship, misfortune, loss, art, politics, history with important historic events of the decennium in the background. It was the most costly and ambitious drama production in German television, although very cinematographic. Believed to be partly autobiographic.
2/13 - A Stranger's Eyes. Juan, 1960/61
The second instalment of Edgar Reitz's epic drama shifts from addressing big ideas into a more straightforward love story (not that it's simple) where both Hermann and his Chilean friend Juan have fallen for the cellist Clarissa - and she for them! It's the interwoven lives of these three characters that now hold the stage.

11:35 PM - BBC2 - T in the Park
Edith Bowman and Dougie Anderson present highlights from the T in the Park music festival.

11:40 PM - Channel 4 - Desperate Housewives
Pretty Little Picture

US comedy drama about a single mum struggling to find love while living in a troubled suburban neighbourhood. The women decide to go ahead with the big dinner party the late Mary Alice had planned to host. Adulterous Gabrielle finds herself with a nine-year-old blackmailer who catches her with gardener John.


Posted 30 July 2005 - 05:05 PM

7 PM - Five - Sleepless in Seattle
Nora Ephron, the writer of When Harry Met Sally, comes up trumps again as co-writer and director of this gloriously old-fashioned and unashamedly manipulative romantic comedy. Tom Hanks, recently widowed, moves to a new home in Seattle where he just grieves and grieves. His young son, concerned over his dad's state of mind, calls a radio phone-in and when Hanks himself goes on air, he pours his heart out. That's storyline one. Storyline two features Meg Ryan, a Baltimore journalist who hears the broadcast, recognises a kindred lonely heart and starts tracking Hanks down. Hanks's son, played by Ross Malinger, becomes their matchmaker, while the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr weepie of 1957, An Affair to Remember, is always on TV and serves as a touchstone, providing the inspiration for the movie's climax at the top of the Empire State Building. For nearly two hours, Ephron keeps her marvellous stars apart, a potentially dangerous tactic that works superbly. In the summer of Jurassic Park, Sleepless in Seattle proved to be a box-office smash; the team subsequently reunited for You've Got Mail in 1998.

8:10 PM - Channel 4 - Hitler's Children
2/5 - Dedication

With our summer schedules for some reason awash with Nazis, this is a classy piece of work that deserves to stand out from the crowd. The archive footage is chilling, not least because the seductive images of young people gambolling merrily in the youth movements formed by Hitler often seem so full of, well, joy. It looks, as it was meant to, like a cosy dream. One image of a smiling girl, all of five or six, holding a bunch of flowers and saluting, is haunting. The eyewitness accounts offer a neat counterpoint, explaining how easy it was to fall for the dream.

9:10 PM - BBC2 - In the Bedroom
A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman with two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband. Then something terrible occurs in this wrenching, emotional drama.

10 PM - Channel 4 - Alien
This revolutionary "haunted house in space" thrill-ride is the classic business, stunning you with shock after shock, even when the fascinating creature is exposed in all its hideous glory. The top-notch acting (super-astronaut Sigourney Weaver) and imaginative bio-mechanical production design (with the alien created by Swiss artist HR Giger) succeed in flattering a script culled from many cult sci-fi movies, including It! The Terror from beyond Space and Planet of the Vampires. There's also director Ridley Scott's eye for detail and brilliant way of alternating false scares with genuine jolts, which help to create a seamless blend of gothic horror and harrowing science fiction. The director's cut, released in 2003, boasts a remastered sound mix and sequences cut from the original - until now only available on the Alien DVD - including a much-discussed cocoon scene.

10 PM - BBC4 - À la place du coeur
Warm hearted, well acted, carefully observed and honestly presented film from the Marseilles school of social realism (`Marius and Jeanette' etc). It's nice to watch a French movie where the protagonists' relationship doesn't seem to be doomed from the start (as in `Une Liaison Pornographique', par example). She, Clim, is white and 16, he, Baby, is black and 18, and they have grown up together. The colour difference is fully accepted by friends and family (Baby and his sister have been adopted by a white couple)if not by the local bigots. The story is adapted from a James Baldwin novel set in the U S, `If Beale Street Could Talk', which I read many years ago and dimly recall as being fairly grim but this film is full of Mediterranean light.
The conflict is not so much between the central characters, all part of the polyglot working class of southern France, but the two families and, for want of a better word, the system, as represented by a loathsome racist cop, after Baby is accused of rape. But even the system works properly in the end, though the families have to hire a fancy lawyer to help get Baby out of jail. Perhaps more to the point, is that by sticking together and taking some initiative they save the situation themselves. Clim's mum takes on the apparently hopeless task of finding Baby's alleged victim in war-torn Saravejo and getting her to change her story. Along the way, several strangers, perhaps sensing the decency of these people are induced to act well themselves – Clim and Baby's erstwhile slum landlord lets Clim live rent-free while Baby is in jail, a Saravejo taxi-driver helps mum find the missing witness and the witness' brother turns out to be unexpectedly helpful in the end.
There are half a dozen luminous performances here, especially Laure Rauost as Clim, whose eyes we see the story through, Alexandre Ogou as Baby, and Ariane Ascaride, (Jeanette in `Marius and Jeanette') as Clim's mum Marianne). The two fathers, played by Jean-Pierre Daurroussin and Gerard Meylan are also delightful. There's little nudity and not a lot of sex and it's not obvious why it's being treated as an art film. Maybe it's the sub-titles. To me, this is great wholesome family entertainment for viewers from about 12-14 up, a welcome antidote to Disney pap. It's a shame to see it being watched almost entirely by affluent middle-aged art-film buffs.


Posted 30 July 2005 - 05:13 PM

I'll be watching Alien if I remember! biggrin.gif


Posted 30 July 2005 - 09:25 PM

channel 5 seems to show sleepless in seattle every few months lol


Posted 31 July 2005 - 05:12 PM

7 PM - BBC2 - Top of the Pops
This week's best-selling singles, featuring live performances and pre-chart exclusives.

8 PM - Channel 4 - Warlords
1/4 - Hitler v Stalin

Another series about the Second World War? What more is there to tell? Can there really be an "epic untold story" to be brought to light, as Channel 4 claims? Not quite, but there is a newish angle on well-known events. The idea here is to show the war through the prism of the men in charge, as if the entire conflict were really about mental duels between rival leaders.
Tonight's film explores the relationship between Hitler and Stalin, from the time of their marriage of convenience with the Nazi-Soviet pact to Hitler's invasion of Russia in 1941. Hitler didn't fool Stalin into a false sense of security; Stalin fooled himself, convinced that a rational fellow like Hitler wouldn't invade while he was still at war with Britain. Except Hitler was no rationalist.
For visuals, there is well-worn archive footage and a clever use of tinted still photographs, filmed to look almost three-dimensional. In the end, the idea that millions died because two delusional men mis-read each other is powerful, but not exactly cheery.

9 PM - BBC2 - Coast
4/13 - Aberystwyth to the Wirral

Today's coastal journey skirts around Wales from Cardigan Bay to the Wirral, and Alice Roberts pores over bones found at the ancient copper mines of the Great Orme. Her lesson on the coming of the Bronze Age to North Wales vies with Crane's piece on the great bridges of the Menai Strait to be the most absorbing part of the programme, though the latter just pips it thanks to a graphic re-creation of the building of Stephenson's box-girder railway bridge, which had shades of BBC2's much-missed Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.

10:30 PM - BBC2 - Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Comedy pop quiz refereed by Mark Lamarr, with captains Phill Jupitus and Bill Bailey. The guests are presenter Jayne Middlemiss, Guy Garvey from Manchester band Elbow, Australian comic Adam Hills, and Matt Hales of Aqualung.

11 PM - BBC2 - World Swimming Championships
Jill Douglas, Sharron Davies and Stephen Parry present live coverage of the final day of the world championships from Montreal. Britain's David Davies tries to win a medal in the 1,500m freestyle, USA's Michael Phelps swims his final race in the 4x100m medley relay, and there's a review of British performances over the championships. Commentary from Andrew Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse.


Posted 31 July 2005 - 05:18 PM

QUOTE(miss macleod @ Jul 30 2005, 10:25 PM)
channel 5 seems to show sleepless in seattle every few months lol

View Post

Like the same shows repeat every year... so borin.


Posted 01 August 2005 - 10:29 AM

6 PM - Channel 4 - The Simpsons
Three Men and a Comic Book

Bart and two friends pool their resources to buy an expensive comic book then hit the problem of who is going to look after it.

8 PM - Five - Monster Moves
2/3 - Tall Towers

The star of this programme is one of the coolest vehicles I've ever seen. It's a giant, computer-guided trolley. Forget four-wheel drive, this thing's got 48-wheel drive. And it takes three trolleys linked together to carry one passenger - the new Heathrow control tower. Its 1,000 tons of glass and steel needs to be shifted gingerly across the airport without falling over, cracking or getting struck by lightning in the process. In charge is Nick, a pleasant-looking chap who makes jokes about losing his job if it all goes wrong. No such worries for Canadian expert Minty and his crew. They're shifting a grain silo 20 miles across Manitoba, and each setback just produces a bigger grin from Minty. "Just peachy!" he beams, as the giant load gets stuck halfway up a mountain road with night falling and three feet of snow forecast. After all the same old moving house shows we've seen, this is a wonderfully refreshing piece of uncomplicated (yet oddly informative) fun.

8:30 PM - BBC2 - University Challenge: The Professionals

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions as a team of European interpreters does battle with a team from the Economist.

9 PM - BBC2 - The New Al-Qaeda
2/3 - The Drug Dealer, Estate Agent and the Telephone Man

On 11 March last year, 191 people died in the Madrid train bombings. The killers - Islamic terrorists - were later cornered in a flat, though they blew themselves up, seeking "martyrdom", before they could be arrested. Subsequent investigations revealed them to be, outwardly at least, fully integrated into western culture. Their appalled families expressed surprise and ignorance. The parallels with the London bombers, as outlined in the second part of Peter Taylor's excellent series, are chilling. Taylor explores the ease with which a cell such as Madrid's, which included a drug dealer known to Spanish police, can flourish, and the security and policing failures that allowed the killers to plant 14 nail-filled bombs on packed commuter trains with such catastrophic results.

9 PM - Channel 4 - The House of Obsessive Compulsives

Reality show or serious psychological experiment? You decide. The idea is to get three people with severe obsessive compulsive disorder to live together to help them conquer their demons. They're a bizarre and poignant trio. Sophie is an obsessive handwasher; Gerard hasn't put pen to paper for five years because he's scared he'll confess to imaginary crimes; and Wendy is terrified of encountering specks of dirt or, worse, glitter. Watching them in the grip of their fears is at once painful and surreal - Gerard even chains himself to his bed at night. Psychologists cajole them into confronting their fears head on.

10 PM - BBC2 - Have I Got Old News For You
Topical comedy news quiz with guest host Alexander Armstrong and regular team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop. Guests are Griff Rhys-Jones and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

10:35 PM - BBC1 - The Bigger Picture with Graham Norton

How many more topical quiz shows can TV sustain? Who knows, and who cares, but here's another - though this one sounds quite promising as it's hosted by the ever-likeable Graham Norton. Recorded on the day of transmission in front of a studio audience, it will, we're promised, be a cheery current-affairs stew of sketches, short films, monologues and "original interaction with guests", whatever that may be.

11:05 PM - BBC1 - The Adventure Show
Dougie Vipond, Mary Albion and Duncan McCallum present the first in a series of monthly reports on Scotland's fast-growing adventure scene and the lifestyle that accompanies it. They look at the Hebridean Challenge - a five-day event in which teams bike, run, swim and kayak from Eriskay to Lewis - checking out the best things to see, the finest eateries and how to train for these sports. My sister did it a few years ago as well.

11:20 PM - BBC2 - Piñero
The critics generally were not kind to this film, but maybe in most cases their middle class roots are showing. Anyone with a serious interest in urban America in the '70s should see it. The visual style is jagged and hyper but that fits the subject matter aptly. The effect on the viewer is you either pay attention or get lost. Also, this is clearly not a movie that's interested in creating a cardboard hero, but do we need another one of those? The filmmakers are keen on showing Puerto Rican influence on NY culture, an influence so deep that it's often ignored.


Posted 02 August 2005 - 06:31 PM

I'm going to try and do this every day (for the time being at least). Sorry I'm a bit late today for anyone that's been paying some heed to this thread recently.

7:30 PM - BBC2 - Sportscene
Celtic FC v FC Artmedia Bratislava

11 PM - Scottish - Badiel and Skinner Unplanned
Frank Skinner and David Baddiel - unscripted and totally unrehearsed - tackle subjects suggested by a studio audience.

11:20 PM - BBC2 - Looking for China Girl - This World
The Chinese government reckons as many as 40 million men will be permanent bachelors within 15 years, a consequence of the country's one-child-per-family dogma and the fact that unwanted daughters are often aborted or killed. Many men are desperate: Xin Hua, 24, travelled 860 miles across China to findwork so as to attract a female; and women are being kidnapped to be sold as brides. Can family planning officials convince that girls are as rewarding as boys? This World is set to return in November.


Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:39 PM

6 PM - Channel 4 - The Simpsons
Stark Raving Dad

Homer encounters a character who calls himself Michael Jackson. Is he the real McCoy?

9 PM - BBC2 - The Slavery Business: How to Make a Million from Slavery

Robert Pugh and Jack Shepherd star in this lush drama about Henry Lascelles, a powerful, wealthy 18th-century businessman and slave trader, and a doomed government attempt to cut him down to size. Lascelles (Pugh) is a boor and a bully, a wily wheeler-dealer who has made a small fortune from sugar and various frauds. But his biggest potential moneymaker is a "floating slave factory", set to make Lascelles and his investors a lot of cash. Enter dour government inspector Robert Dinwiddie (Shepherd), who's determined to expose Lascelles's financial frauds. A wordy drama that's worthy and well intentioned.

9 PM - Five - Lethal Weapon
In this action-romp par excellence, each overblown set piece becomes ever more ludicrous - implausibility is, after all, a large part of the fun here. The basic buddy-buddy situation is very familiar, but Mel Gibson, as the reckless detective whose disregard for danger reaches new heights when he investigates a drugs ring, and Danny Glover, as his by-the-book, ever-fretful partner, bring a great deal of spirit and fun to the mindless mayhem.

10:40 PM - BBC1 - Naked Us

Documentary series in which Ken and Sue Clarke from Coventry reinvent themselves by quitting their jobs, selling their house, leaving friends and family behind. They've got six months to find happiness, but can 'going naked' really make life any better?

11:20 PM - BBC2 - How To Start Your Own Country
1/6 - Birth of a Nation

Danny Wallace is the latest in a line of offbeat charmers, like Simon Reeve or Louis Theroux, whose encounters with complete strangers often throw up good telly. In this six-part series, he's seeing what happens if he tries to set up his own country. For inspiration, he visits the "Principality of Sealand", a concrete fort in the sea off Essex that has its own stamps, passports and coins, courtesy of the family that has colonised it and declared independence. Convinced he could do something similar, Wallace tries to invade an island on the Thames, armed only with a megaphone and some posters. "People of Eel Pie Island," he announces, "there is no need to be annoyed. I'm a friendly invasion force." It's all gently amusing tomfoolery that's hard to resist.

11:50 PM - BBC2 - The Apprentice
Reality TV series set in New York in which 18 candidates compete for the position of apprentice to real estate mogul Donald Trump. After the men return from the boardroom both teams are called back in by Trump, where they are restructured. For the next task the teams are called to Central Park to create a dog service business, the team with the greatest profit winning. One team gets off to a slow start trying to set up a charity tie-in.


Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:42 PM

11:20 PM - BBC2 - How To Start Your Own Country
1/6 - Birth of a Nation

something about making my own country really appeals to me


Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:46 AM

Lol! That program was banterous. The bit where he was sailing about...now that is my kinda idea of how to spend an afternoon!


Posted 04 August 2005 - 09:42 AM

Aye, it was quality! I can't wait for the next part!
After it said press Red for Citizen TV but I couldn't get sound for that. :/


Posted 04 August 2005 - 01:55 PM

I don't have a red button sad.gif.


Posted 04 August 2005 - 05:15 PM

I dunno if you've seen his website, anyway, here's the link:
Citizen's Required
I've just signed up as a citizen, yay!

9 PM - BBC2 - Extras

Kate Winslet redeems herself here after those excruciatingly smug TV adverts for a credit card company with a star turn playing a twisted version of herself. In the third episode of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's edgy comedy, which has already generated fierce "love it/hate it" arguments among viewers, Winslet is a doomed nun in a clunking Nazi film drama. Thwarted actor Andy Millman (Gervais) is an SS soldier whose brief interaction with the actress leads them both into an outrageous social embarrassment. It's similarly un-politically correct, and yet again, Merchant almost steals the show as Millman's unapologetically cack-handed agent.

9 PM - Channel 4 - The Cult of the Suicide Bomber

The London terror attacks of 7 July brought the horror of suicide bombings to Britain for the first time. Here, in an unsettling two-part documentary, former CIA agent Robert Baer examines the origins of what has been described as "the ultimate smart bomb". Baer looks at the relatively recent history of the Islamic suicide bomber and asks why young men - and occasionally young women - are prepared to kill themselves and others in pursuit of "martyrdom". He visits Iran, where suicide bombings were actively encouraged by Ayatollah Khomeini, and talks to the family of a 13-year-old boy, a hero in his own country after he blew himself up during the Iran-Iraq war. And he goes to Lebanon to examine the first modern suicide attack against Western interests, the 1983 bombing of the American embassy. It's a shocking, frightening look at a highly efficient propaganda tool and a deadly weapon of modern warfare.

9:30 PM - BBC2 - The Catherine Tate Show

There are some longueurs and misfires in tonight's show that suggest a slight dip in Tate's dazzling creativity. But there are still several lovely moments, mostly involving food, for some reason. Visitors to BBJ's, the nightmare theme restaurant, find that waitress Amanda is, as usual, determined to stop them actually ordering. Then there's Nan, who offers a shockingly curt view on Chinese cuisine. Meanwhile, suburban Yorkshire couple Janice and Ray have a scandalous story to tell us about the food served up at a French sandwich bar.

11:05 PM - BBC1 - The Last Word with Nicky Campbell
Nicky Campbell hosts a lively forum of writers, journalists, social commentators and celebrity provocateurs in front of a studio audience of Scots.


Posted 05 August 2005 - 10:18 AM

8 PM - Channel 4 - Scrubs

You have to love the way Scrubs packs so much into each episode. Tonight, Dr Kelso's up on the hospital roof with gloomy hanger-on Ted, using a blast-horn to scare the crows off his car. Then, as Kelso is distracted by the arrival of the janitor and his very short sidekick, we notice Ted secretly scattering seed for the birds in the background. As so often, a world of pain in one little vignette. The main storyline involves the arrival of a doctor with obsessive compulsive disorder (nicely played by Michael J Fox) who is so super-talented he knocks the other characters' confidence. Even the Coldplay-enhanced "learning" moment at the end works. Give those writers a medal.

9 PM - BBC1 - The Mummy
Fantasy adventure about the search for buried treasure protected by an ancient mummy's curse in the Egyptian desert. An American mercenary who knows the secret location is rescued from a Cairo prison by an English historian and her brother. Racing against unscrupulous rivals, they head into the desert, where they encounter flesh-eating scarab beetles, killer sandstorms and reincarnated demons.
Brendan Fraser stars.

9 PM - BBC2 - Coast
5/13 - Liverpool to Carlisle

The fifth leg of this round-Britain trip takes us from Liverpool up the coast to the Solway Firth on the borders of Scotland or - as ever-enthusiastic presenter Nicholas Crane puts it - over the shoulder of Britain. The pace is exhausting as Crane and co hurtle from Liverpool's industrial landscape through the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay to the mountains of the Lake District and beyond. Anthropologist Alice Roberts, digs around in Sefton Sands, fascinated by the revelation that archaeologists can tell someone's height from a fossilised footprint.

10 PM - BBC2 - Still Game
3/6 - Dial-a-Bus

Sitcom featuring characters from the comedy series Chewin' the Fat. Jack and Victor succumb to the lure of the Dial-a-Bus, but this one doesn't stop where they expected. Bobby escapes the pub for a welcome break on his bike, but is Winston the one taking him for a ride?

11:35 PM - BBC2 - T in the Park
Edith Bowman and Dougie Anderson present highlights from the T in the Park music festival.


Posted 06 August 2005 - 04:34 PM

5:30 PM - BBC1 - World Athletics Championships 2005
The first medals of the world championships are decided tonight in Helsinki.
6:30pm Men's 1500m first round
6.55pm Men's shot put final. British hopes lie with Carl Myerscough, who failed to qualify for the final last time around when ranked second in the world. Two years on, the British record holder faces a strong US and eastern European field in his bid to reach the podium.
7:15pm Women's 10,000m final. Paula Radcliffe was tipped to win marathon gold at the Athens Olympics, but the British world record holder unexpectedly crashed out at the 23-mile mark and failed to complete the 10,000m five days later. Paula's likely to be taking part tonight, and a win would give her a welcome boost ahead of next Sunday's marathon, but there could be formidable opposition from defending champion Berhane Adere and China's Olympic champion Huina Xing.

6:35 PM - Scottish - Goldfinger
The third big-screen outing for Ian Fleming's suave superspy ranks among the slickest of all Bond movies. Endlessly entertaining and effortlessly performed, it's packed with classic moments. There's Shirley Eaton's legendary gold-plated death; the last-minute laser escape; the duel with bowler-hatted sidekick Oddjob (Harold Sakata); and the mid-air showdown with Gert Fröbe's brilliantly bizarre villain. And let's not forget some hilariously OTT gadget designs from art director Ken Adam; the best name for any Bond girl in Pussy Galore (enthusiastically played by ex-Avenger Honor Blackman); and that Shirley Bassey theme song. But what makes these individual facets so memorable is the way in which they're unshowily integrated into the gripping storyline by director Guy Hamilton, who even managed to revive Sean Connery's flagging interest in 007 to coax his best performance of the entire series.

8 PM - Channel 4 - Hitler's Children
3/5 - Education

A look at Hitler's exploitation of children during the Second World War. The Nazi regime controlled the development of boys and girls from the age of ten onwards.

8:35 PM - BBC2 - Journeys from the Centre of the Earth
5/6 - Water

Geologist Dr Iain Stewart presents a series showing how the rocks beneath our feet have shaped the human history of the Mediterranean. This edition looks at water, an essential resource which man had to learn to control before civilisation could be established.

9:35 PM - BBC2 - Donnie Darko
This powerfully affecting science-fiction meditation on parallel universes, time travel and paranoid schizophrenia is a stunningly crafted and hypnotic fantasy drama that opens up intriguing new genre avenues. Completely unclassifiable, director Richard Kelly's intellectually demanding look at surreal destiny has a potent style, dark charm and strange tone all its own. Donnie (a haunting Jake Gyllenhaal) is an introverted student in therapy who keeps having visions of a 6ft-tall rabbit named Frank that tells him the end of the world is imminent and forces him to commit acts of vandalism while sleepwalking. It's during one of Donnie's somnambulistic bouts that a jet engine crashes through the roof of the Darko home, sparking a series of even weirder events. This cosmic parable is part teen-alienation saga, part social satire, with cult appeal stamped over every unpredictable and profoundly wrought frame.

11:20 PM - BBC2 - Happiness
Todd Solondz's stunningly acted and brilliantly scripted film looks at the extraordinary lives of a group of men and women who engage in shocking antisocial behaviour, including obscene phone calls, murder and paedophilia. What's so amazing about this tragicomedy is its lack of moral judgement - the viewers are left to make up their own minds about the events - and its pungent humour that emerges from the sickest of circumstances. You may even feel pity for these people and get drawn into their lives - though the film's most controversial scene (the frankest of discussions between an unlikely child molester and his inquisitive son) will play on your mind for days.


Posted 07 August 2005 - 04:03 PM

4:55 PM - BBC1 - World Athletics Championships 2005
The latest action from Helsinki, with Sue Barker.
4:55pm Women's 100m (second round)
5:20pm Men's 100m semi-final
5:40pm Women's triple jump final. Russia's Tatyana Lebedeva aims for a third successive title.
5:50pm Women's 800m semi-finals
6:20pm Heptathlon 800m. The medals are decided as Britain's pre-championship favourite Kelly Sotherton goes up against Carolina Kluft and Eunice Barber.
7:00pm Men's 400m hurdles semi-finals
7:35pm Men's 100m final. Who will be crowned Earth's fastest man? Mark Lewis-Francis and Jason Gardener will hope to be taking on Olympic champion Justin Gatlin.

7 PM - BBC2 - Top of the Pops
This week's best-selling singles, featuring live performances and pre-chart exclusives.

8 PM - Channel 4 - Warlords

Series revealing the untold stories of the warlords of the Second World War: Churchill, Hitler, Roosevelt and Stalin. The relationship between the leaders of Britain and America could not have been further removed from the popular image of friendship and loyalty held between the two men. Churchill and Roosevelt were in fact engaged in a mental duel of false promises, evasion and delusion.

9 PM - BBC1 - Hiroshima
Using a clever mixture of contemporary footage, dramatisation, recollections of those directly involved and some truly breathtaking computergenerated images, this brilliant documentary paints a vivid picture of the events of 6 August 1945. With a sonorous narration by John Hurt, the facts are set out without any judgement or sentiment. Interviews with the crew of the B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, who dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and with some of the survivors allow us to make up our own minds about the mission widely held to have ended the Second World War. The computer-generated pictures of the path of the bomb as it tumbles to earth are horribly riveting. A tapestry of human stories, from those told by the Enola Gay crew, a small group of remarkable men who did what they had to do, to those of the people on the ground who somehow survived. Required viewing.

9 PM - BBC2 - Coast
6/13 - Northern Ireland

Geographer Nicholas Crane presents a 13-part journey around the coast of the United Kingdom, uncovering stories that have made us the island nation we are today. This leg takes him from Carlingford Lough to Lough Foyle in Northern Ireland. He cycles the 23 miles of Antrim's Coast Road, a journey that cuts through some of the darkest moments of Irish history. Neil Oliver unlocks the secrets of Belfast's most famous ship - the Titanic.

10 PM - Channel 4 - Aliens
Surpassing its predecessor in terms of sheer spectacle, this sequel to Ridley Scott's outer-space nightmare from director James Cameron is an outstanding science-fiction thriller. Sigourney Weaver wakes up 57 years after the original events unfolded, only to be told that the planet where she first met the alien predator has been colonised. When all contact with the inhabitants is lost, she's sent in with a crack squad of marines, and hurtles headlong into a hi-tech house of horrors that delivers plenty of shocks and nail-biting suspense. Masterfully controlling the tension and moving the involving plot at a lightning pace, Cameron exploits everyone's worst fears and carries them to the riveting extreme in this consummate Oscar-winning fright-fest.


Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:25 AM

4:30 PM - BBC2 - World Athletics Championships 2005
The women's 100m final is the highlight on day three.
4:40pm Men's hammer final
4.50pm Women's 100m semi-finals
5:10pm Men's high jump final
5:20pm Men's 10,000m final. Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia defends his title.
6:05pm Men's 1500m semi-finals.
6:35pm Women's 3,000m steeplechase final
7:00pm Women's 400m semi-finals.
7:35pm Women's 100m final.

6 PM - Channel 4 - The Simpsons
Bart the Murderer

Bart becomes involved with a group of mobsters, but things get messy when they start doing favours for him.

8 PM - Channel 4 - Dispatches: Why Bomb London
There were no preview tapes available but the publicity blurb begins with the hamfisted sentence: "To what degree did we bring the recent bombings - and the possibility of further bombings - on ourselves?" Fingers crossed, though, that this clumsy wording was merely down to someone getting a bit carried away, as Dispatches is generally a thorough and even-handed series. Tonight's documentary asks whether "foreign policy decisions and domestic errors" made the bombings "inevitable".

8 PM - Five - Monster Moves
3/3 - Long Loads

This series has had it all. Triumph, disaster, big trucks.... Tonight we visit Deming, New Mexico, where a 19th-century railway station has to be hauled across the desert. But first the movers, father-and-son team Rick and Ricky, decide it will be easier to shift in two loads, so, using a skill saw, Rick cuts the building in two like a loaf of bread. Meanwhile, in Nebraska, two train engines, one the biggest steam locomotive ever built, known as "Big Boy" (it weighs 360 tons), have to be taken off the tracks and moved by road to a new home. Monster Moves is a marvel you mustn't miss.

8:30 PM - BBC2 - University Challenge: The Professionals

Jeremy Paxman asks the questions as a team from the Chess Society does battle with a team from the V&A museum.

9 PM - BBC2 - The New AL Qaeda
3/3 - Front Line Pakistan

Pakistan's links with al-Qaeda have been thrown into a harsh spotlight after the 7 July London bombings, and in the concluding part of this riveting, accidentally timely series, reporter Peter Taylor looks at that country's formidable intelligence network. The Pakistani authorities have an extraordinarily good record in capturing al-Qaeda operatives, and have built up a huge database on Islamist extremist terrorists, thanks to the efforts of a counter-terrorist unit set up after the 11 September attacks. Taylor interviews the head of the unit who, unsurprisingly, prefers to remain anonymous and in shadow, and probes him on the unit's interrogation methods. This has been an excellent, admirably clear-headed series. In these changed, emotionally charged times, Taylor's cool reporting is an oasis in a desert of hysteria and speculation.

9PM - Channel 4 - The House of Obsessive Compulsives

Three people with obsessive-compulsive disorders agree to live together as part of a ground-breaking experiment designed to cure them through a new kind of accelerated therapy. This episode sees the trio move into the second week of the experiment.

10 PM - BBC2 - Have I Got News For You
Topical comedy news quiz presented by Dara O'Briain with team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, and guests Clive James and Julia Hartley-Brewer.

10 PM - Discovery Channel - Iceberg Cowboys
Landlubbers would be well advised to approach this documentary with an empty stomach. Its undulating camerawork and "rock" soundtrack provide a rather bilious porthole through which to view life on board a North Atlantic supply ship. Still, it's difficult not to admire the crew. Even when rescuing oil rigs from icebergs, their perky bonhomie is positively thermal.

11:50 PM - Channel 4 - Inside the Mind of the Suicide Bomber
Part of the New World War season, this documentary explores suicide bombing. Using exclusive interviews with bomb makers, failed bombers and their recruiters, filmmaker Tom Roberts attempts to journey into the mindset of the people willing to kill and be killed for their cause.

1 AM - BBC2 - BBC Learning Zone: Languages and Travel: Espana Viva 13-15
Spanish for beginners set in Santander, Madrid and Seville. Topics include the weather, holidays and planning a night out.

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