I Shadowlands (BBCl) 8—10.05pm. Anthony Hopkins opens up an emotional side to Oxford don and children’s novelist CS. Lewis in this true story about the writer's marriage late in life to a feisty American (Debra Winger) suffering from cancer. Superlative acting on an intimate canvas.

reason to make a disaster movie. but surely not one for a sequel about a salvage operation. No tension is generated by cardboard characters.

I les Girls (Channel 4) 2.20—4.30pm. George Cukor‘s splendid musical stars Gene Kelly as a wotltaniser whose various romances with members of a dancing troupe are examined in It’us/mnmn-like flashback. Great Cole Porter score.

I Problem Child (BBC 1 ) 2. l ()--3.2()pm. Dreadful comedy about a fostered boy whose destructive impulses wreak havoc around him. Hollywood goes for the Home Alone approach and treats the subject in completely the wrong way.

I Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (BBC 1) 3.20—5.05pm. The original bunch boldly go in search of new plotlines. but come up with an intergalactic variation on superpower peace talks. complete with renegade Klingons.

I An American In Paris (BBC2) 4.35—6.25pm. Splendid. if sometimes garish. romantic musical with Gene Kelly in top form as a would-be artist kicking up a storm in la belle t'ilt".

I Tom Thumb (Channel 4) 5.10—6.55pm. A tiny forest boy gets the better of a pair of incompetent crooks (Peter Sellers and 'l‘erry-Thomas) irt this efficient. old-style Hollywood effects film for children.

I Two Way Stretch (Channel 4) 6.55—8.3(1pm. Sellers again. heading up a group of prisoners who plan to break out. commit a daring robbery. then return to their cells. thereby giving themselves the perfect alibi. A British comedy classic.

I A Shot In The Dark (Channel 4) 9.15—11.10pm. Ifyou still haven‘t had your fill of Peter Sellers today. here he is as his classic creation Inspector Clouseau. bumbling his attempts to clear a sexy parlourmaid of the charge of murder.

I Carry On oirls (BBCl) 1.05—2.30am. Devoid of ideas and twenty-odd films into the series. the team fall back on the clash between a beauty pageant and the Women's Lib movement.

I Optimists 0t Nine Elms (Channel 4) 2.45—4.45am. Last outing of the day for Peter Sellers as a bttsker befriended by a couple of South London children. Decent songs by Lionel Bart and an unexpectedly gritty portrait of the slums.

I This Is Elvis (Scottish) 3.15—4.55am. Well. not in the ‘dramatised‘ interludes. but it is indeed The King in the various documentary snippets that span his earliest TV appearances and final bloated sharnblings.


I Blockade (BBC2) 7.30—8.50am. Interesting political undercurrents (the filtn was written by John Howard Lawson. who suffered at the McCarthy hearings) give an edge to this Hollywood take on an unspecified conflict. quite clearly the Spanish Civil War.

I My Darling Clementine (BBC2)

9.40-1 1.15am. John Ford builds towards Wyatt Earp‘s gunfight at the OK Corral with a finely orchestrated set of incidents. drawing on excellent acting frotn Henry Fonda as the lawman and Victor Mature as tormented Doc Holliday.

I A Man For All Seasons (Scottish) IO.10am—l2.30pm. Robert Bolt‘s play about Thomas More‘s conflict with Henry VIII is perfectly translated into film form. with Paul Scofield superb in the role of the conscientious nobleman.

I Bigtoot And The Hendersons (BBC!) 10.45am—I2.3()pm. An all-American fatnin bump into the legendary Bigfoot and adopt this surprisingly genial beastie as a domestic pet. A nice mix of fun attd adventure.

I The last Startighter (Scottish) 12.50-2.40pm. When he beats the high score on his favourite computer game. young Alex is recruited for the real thing blasting baddies across the universe. Fun sci-fi fantasy with the best computer animated effects available iii the mid-80s. I Porridge (BBC 1) 2—3.30pm. Feature film spin-off from the prison sitcom finds Ronnie Barker trying to organise the escape of a first offender. but thwarted by his uniformed adversary. Fulton Mackay. I Straight Talk (Scottish) 2.40—4.20pm. The bizan'e pairing of Dolly Parton and James Woods slips comfortably into this entirely predictable light comedy about a good-hearted girl who fakes a PhD to secure a job as a radiotherapist.

I Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (BBC2) 3.55—5.30pm. A children‘s musical that doesn‘t lose any appeal for adults. perhaps due to the dark edged morality doled out to the obnoxious visitors to Gene Wilder‘s magical sweet factory and the bizarrer colourful sets. I I’m All night Jack (Channel 4) 5.05—7pm. One of Peter Sellers‘s best films. as he stars as a union leader who takes on the upper-class twit Ian Carmichael. causing a strike in a munitions factory. A terrific satire on its times.

I Feds (Scottish) 5.35—7pm. An odd mix of broad comedy attd satire on sexism. as Rebecca De Mornay and Mary Gross overcome the jibes of their male counterparts at the FBI Training Academy.

[M or II all new YEAR’S DAY

I Short Cuts (BBC2)

10.05pm- 1 .05am. Robert Altman’s patchwork approach to Raymond Carver’s short stories, shows Los Angeles as a city socially and geologically on the point of falling ' apart. An artful soap opera.

flawlessly acted and constructed.

I ET (BBCI) 6.10—8pm. A stranded alien befriends a couple of kids. fakes his death and then gets taken ‘home‘ by a big light in the sky - biblical parallels abound in Spielberg‘s classic children's movie.

I Die Hard (Scottish) 9—1 1.25pm. It's a bad day for Bruce Willis as he takes on a team of terrorists holding his estranged wife and her colleagues hostage in a tower block. A tense actioner with an agreeably ordinary-guy hero.

I Brubalter (Channel 4)

1 I.25pm-1.50am. Robert Redford poses as art inmate in the prison he‘s about to take over as warden in order to expose the managerial greed that has caused the system to decay.

I litepod (Scottish) I l.4()pm-l.20atn. A 1993 sci-fi variation on Hitchcock’s Lifeboat. with a group of survivors stranded in outer space with a saboteur amongst them.

I Big Jake (BBCI) 12.10—1.55am. Towards the end of his career. John Wayne took it pretty easy. and here he is as a cattle barort tracking down the baddies who kidnapped his boy.

I Being There (Channel 4) 1.50-4. 15am. Peter Sellers turns in a restrained performance as an illiterate gardener who inadvertantly becomes a celebrity and adviser to the US President when his millionaire boss dies. A gentle satire with hidden weight.

I The Vikings (Scottish) 3—4.55am. Not so much swashbuckling as axe-wielding. but plenty of adventure all the same as halfbrothers Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas fight it out for the throne of Northumbria.

I Hoffman (Channel 4) 4.15—6. 15am. An odd dark comedy in which loner Peter Sellers blackmails Sinead Cusack into spending a week with him as his lover.


I Portrait 0t Jennie (BBC2) 9.05—10.30ttttt. A struggling artist falls itt love with a girl whom he believes to be the reincarnation of a dead woman. A beautifully photographed romance with a touch of magic.

I The Apple Dumpling Gang (BBC l) 10.25am—12.05pm. A gambler and a trio of orphans strike gold in 19th century California. One of Disney‘s better children’s adventures.

I The Enchanted Cottage (BBC2) 10.30am—noon. Sentimental but a rather touching fairytale with a darker (one about a pair of physically scarred lovers whose blemishes disappear itt their woodland abode.

I Bronco Billy (Scottish) 10.25am—12.30pm. One of director and star Clint Eastwood‘s more underrated offerings. which whips up a fair amount ofcharm in its depiction of a salesman- turned-cowboy living out his fantasies with a travelling show.

I Chances Are (Scottish) 1.25—3.20pm. Robert Downey Jnr arrives at his girlfriend's home. only to discover that he might be the reincarnation of her mother‘s husband. lfOedipus had written romantic comedies. this might have been the result. I The Strongest Man In The World (BBC1)2—3.30pm. A young Kurt Russell plays a college student who becomes a champion weightlifter due to the magical ingredients of his breakfast. Only Disney know the staple recipe.

I Can-Can (Channel 4) 1960 2—4.30pm. A plodding and virtually charrnless Hollywood. take on the colourful world of turn-of-the-century Paris presented as a Cole Porter musical.

I The Absent Minded Protessor (Scottish) 3.25—5. 10pm. Potty scientist Fred MacMurray discovers ‘Flubber‘ - an anti-gravity substance that allows him to drive his car through the air and perplex the baddies who want to steal his invennon.

I Flaming Star (BBC2) 4.30-6pm. Don Siegel direCLs Elvis in what's probably the singer‘s best film. He plays a half-breed lndian caught on two sides when his mother's people go on the warpath.

I City Ileat (Scottish) 9-IOpm; 10.30—11.30pm. The inclusion of stool pigeon Joe Pesci for farcical. comedy sits uneasily with the trademark action. explosions and violence as buddy cop duo Danny Glover and Mel Gibson track down a drugs baron.

I Death And The Maiden (Channel 4) IO.30pm—12.25arn. A torture victim turns the tables on the man who abused her years earlier. The stage roots of Ariel Dorfman's script shine through while director Roman Polanski trivialises the subject by aiming for (and failing to achieve) a Hitchcockian thriller.

I McCaIre And Mrs Miller (Scottish) 11.30pm—2am. Robert Altman's downbeat. ultra-realistic western eschews the traditional approach of glamourising

I Dr Strangelove (Channel 4) , 1 . 12.25-2.15am. Stanley Kubrick’s {.51 f devastating black comedy about the, if lunacy of the nuclear age is still alarmingly relevant, and boasts «Eiff- Peter Sellers ideally caSt in roles. } the era. Warren Beatty is a two-bit braggart who opens a brothel in a tum-of- the-century boom town.

I Halloween (BBC 1) II.35pm—1.05am. John Carpenter's horror movie is one of the scariest slasher films ever made, an exercise in sustained tension with some sharp moments of shock and a genre icon in the masked Michael Myers.

I Voyager (BBC2) 12.35—2.25am. Sam Shepard coldly reviews his life when he survives a plane crash and meets the beautiful Julie Delpy. Volker Schloendorff works some well-structured literary ideas and an array of European locations into the mix. -

I Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (BBCl) 1.05—3.05am. Despite the high production values that bring atmosphere to a foggy London. this 1941 MGM version of Stevenson's tale doesn’t seem to be that well cast. Spencer Tracy doesn't have Hyde's anirnalistic appeal and Ingrid Bergman is no one’s idea of a Cockney barmaid.

I little Caesar (Channel 4) 2.15-3.40am. A classic Warner gangster movie, with Edward G. Robinson doing a Capone impersonation as his nasty character suffers a rise and fall. The one that created the enre mould.

I e Mayor 0t Hell (Channel 4)

3.40-5. 15am. After seeing the light himself. James Cagney helps out the boys at a brutal reform school. Sentimental and unconvincing melodrama that was supposed to provide a balance to the bleaker Warner gangster films.

The List~l3 Dec 1996-9 Jan 1997 17