REVIEW Walking With Dinosaurs BBCI, Mon 4 Oct at at The Making Of Walking With Dinosaurs BBCl,Wed 6 Oct a t w
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A mammoth task: Walking With Dinosaurs
In which we are transported back through the mists of time Via the very latest in CGI and animatronics to the prehistoric swamp where enormous scaly mammals roam free. Or: in which some fake dinosaurs mince delicately past some real foliage and we have to pretend they don’t look crap because they are State Of The Art. ‘ This lovmgly constructed mock-up nature series plonks its Virtual beasts in the most realistically under-evolved settings available, chucks in a
Trial And Retribution Ill Scottish, Thu 7 & 14 Oct, 9pm.
Cyclo killer?: Trial And Retribution Ill
The one-woman crime writing machine that is Lynda La Plante continues to churn out the tough telly dramas. Trial And Retribution /// sees the return of old-fashioned policeman DS Michael Walker (played once again by David Hayman) and fellow officer DI Pat North (Kate Buffery, also re-appearing).
Things have changed since the last instalment: Walker is heading a new team, while North has been transferred to the Vice Squad, probably wise considering their ongoing romance has seen them move in together. Unfortunately, North’s routine attempts to appease a time-wasting complainer
106 THE lIST 7—21 Oct 1999
portentous v0iceover by Sir Ken of Branagh, and fails miserably to Justify its own colossal expense. Adults Will become bOred, because the random factor that lends real nature studies their appeal is absent, and children Will sneer at the animation, which is obViously painstaking but hardly up to Spielberg/Lucas standards. It's informative and meticulously researched, certainly, and bursting With enthusiasm at its own Significance; but one can't help feeling that the sizeable budget might have been better used elsewhere.
The Making Of Walking With Dinosaurs documentary was rather more captivating, Since one was not distracted by looking for the ioms in the dinosaurs and wondering exactly how many of the facts had been flagrantly made up in the absence of surViVing eVidence. One could also laugh freely at the Sight of sandal- wearing boffins striVing to create a convmcmg dino-sex scene, and debating how the lady participant ever got away Without broken bones.
However, their cultish devotion to their little flickering friends and their dedicated search for exactly the right locations and props leaves one wondering exactly why they’re bothering. It’s a labour of love that results in little more than an unusually lively schoolbook.
The brief clip shown from the I925 animated film The Lost World, With its grinning papier mache creatures, suggests that the tie-in reruns of classic monster mOVies on BBC ChOice Wlll be much more fun. (Annabel Slater)
lead to her being stalked by the man, Stephen Warrington (Richard E. Grant).
Walker’s investigation of the prime suspect of a child murder case leads him to Warrington — who Suffers from a mood-altering mental illness known as cyclothymia — and thus back to North. During the climactic trial, cops and crooks come together on the stand when Simon Callow’s defence barrister and Davrd Fleeshman’s prosecution counsel go head to head. Beautiful symmetry all round. The usual gritty performances from the regulars plus inspired guest stars make for great telly.
Undertaking the meticulous research the writer/producer is renowned for — in this instance, a real life case — La Plante gets to the bottom of things. ’My relationships Within the police department are now at an exceedingly high level,’ she says. ’They know I do not distort and are therefore Willing to help. The complications came when I had to dingise the real crime, so that no one could be traced. It was only when I began my research that I discovered other crimes had been committed by people suffering from cyclothymia.' -
Back at the writer’s garret, La Plante is currently adapting her series Widows for American audiences care of Disney and writing a film for Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks studio. Next up, though, is a pilot for another British television drama, Mind Games, based on the experiences of a police profiler. Autobiographical, then?
Brotherly Love BBCI, Fri 8 Oct, 8.30pm.
Gregor Fisher’s latest role sees the Rab C. Nesbitt star scrubbing up nicely as respectable country GP, Hector Robertson. Set in the 'Hieland' Village of Invercorrie, Brotherly Love centres on the turbulent relationship between HectOr and his architect sibling, Frank (Torn Mannion).
In this pilot, Jaded Frank returns from London to scrutinise his inheritance, lnvercorrie's white elephant of a pub. Through Hector, Frank rekindles his friendship With the brothers’ childhood sweetheart Kate Cameron (the unpronounceable Caroline Langrishe), setting the scene for a bittersweet love triangle
The ’rural Scottish Sitcom' (in which humour IS derived from the Culture clash between backward Villagers and worldly-Wise City dweller) is a near dead horse of a formula that continues to be mercilessly flogged by scriptwriters. Nevertheless, there's much to enjoy in the warm, understated performances of the principal trio, as well as Bernard McKenna's deft writing, which wrings the last drops of fresh abSUrdity Out of the scenario. (Allan Radcliffe)
Channel 4, Fri 1 Oct 1 + t 2%
So, Tim and Daisy have jUSl spent the first night in their dream flat together. How long Will it take for their lie to be unravelled? Will their house-warming party go Without a hitch? And, much more crUCialIy, when are they gomg to shag?
In the second part of Channel 4’s latest cult comedy, Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jes5ica Stevenson), do appear to get it on but, as With much of Spaced, it could well be Just a craftily-conceived Visual trick.
By now, the Spaced stall has been well and truly set out. Funny performances all rOund, pop culture references abound and at least one laugh out very loud moment, this week, conceptual artist Brian is fooled into belieVing that Father Christmas is at the door.
Warning: part three opens With a sequence positiver not for the squeamish and an ending that the pretentious should aVOid. (Brian Donaldson)
REVIEW Untold: Britain's Slave Trade
Channel 4, Sun 3 Oct at a i. i
Sibling ribaldry: Brotherly Love
Tricks and treats: Spaced
Channel 4 plays its part in redressing the balance by challenging the official version of British history With a season of documentaries marking Black History Month, under the Unto/d banner
Kicking off the season is the four- part documentary, Britain’s Slave Trade. The first episode, ’Gold, Silver, Negroes, Slaves’, challenged two prevrously Wide-held notions. First, that slavery began with the eprOitation of black people by white people and, second, that Europeans kidnapped African slaves.
Indeed, white Britons and black Africans were busy ensIaVing their own races hundreds of years ago. More distressingly, African kings were compIICit in selling millions of their own subjects to Europeans, While the British end of the slave trade was not operated by outlaws of the crown; rather, it was a business venture backed by the future King James II. .
Persuaswe arguments backed up by irrefutable dowmentation made for a powerful start to what looks to be an impressively heavyweight season.
Slave errors: Untold