PREVIEW Reach For The Moon Scottish starts Fri III/Feb, 9pm.
Bright sparks: Reach For The Moon
’Can you live a dream or will life always get in the way?’ This is the question posed in a new seven-part drama exploring the conflict between the forces of love and ambition on the Isle Of nghi.
Written by Matthew Graham (This Life, The Last Train), the series opens in 1989 with teen lovers Paul (Jonathan Kerrigan) and Annie (Saira Todd) saying their tearful farewells at the end of the Flower School's summer term. Leaving for university in Newcastle, Annie is putting her career first, so the unassertive Paul hides the engagement ring he has bought her and struggles
to wish her well. Ten years on, Annie returns to the island to take up a teaching post at the school where Paul now works. Instead of picking up where they left off, though, we discover that her arrival coincides with Paul’s imminent marriage to another.
Paul is also anticipating the launch of his other love — a P3 rocket — and, as the countdown to rocket launch and wedding gathers pace, he has to decide if he'll stifle love and ambition once again or take a risk on having it all.
Jonathan Kerrigan (Casualty) knew as soon as he read the script that he wanted to be involved. ’lt’s a time old story; the love triangle and unrequited love. Your childhood sweetheart comes back and you have to choose who you want and who you need. The thing that gave it the edge for me was his involvement with the rocket.’
The first of the seven episodes sets the scene for the inevitable reunion but circumstances conspire to keep the sweethearts apart until the final scene. Lynda Bellingham and Peter McEnery play Paul’s concerned parents trying to keep chaos at bay but once the couple are reunited, a spiralling sequence of events is set in motion with confrontation destined to send sparks (and rockets) flying.
This Is Personal: The Hunt For The Yorkshire Ripper
Scottish, Wed 26 Jan & 2 Feb *int'
Dramatising the Yorkshire Ripper case was never going to be easy. The crimes of Peter Sutcliffe have been well documented, notably in Gordon Burn’s excellent Somebody’s Husband, Somebody's Son, and in a tabloid TV- style documentary last year. The makers of This ls Personal opted to assign their narrative focus to George Oldfield, the man given the prestigious if unenviable task of bringing the killer to justice.
Alun Armstrong’s work as Oldfield proved to be the production’s greatest asset. Initially bullish and overconfident, Oldfield was transformed into a man worn down by public expectation, professional jealousy and, above all, his own sense of having failed the victims and their families. The empathy the detective felt for the bereaved stemmed from the loss of his own daughter to leukaemia and, throughout, Armstrong’s eyes were heavy with grief, even when his outward demeanour suggested other emotions.
It was fortunate, indeed, that the
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Ripper yarn: This Is Personal producers were blessed with such a central performance, because elsewhere they ran into difficulties. The institutionalised misogyny of the police force was made shockingly evident, with investigating officers joking about overtime benefits, and blatantly differentiating between murdered prostitutes and ’innocent' victims. Rather than leave the viewers to recognise this as despicable conduct, the screenplay featured a tacked-on scene in which Oldfield laments such attitudes to his teenage daughter.
Similarly, the numbing boredom of an enquiry of this scale was shown, but was undercut with heavy-handed dramatic irony: Yorkshire cop jokes to southern boffin: ’Three years and we’ll have a computer? Public'll want us hangin’ if we haven’t caught Ripper by then.’ There were problems too with the depiction of Sutcliffe himself, played by telly debutant Craig Cheetham. The killer’s face wasn't shown until the climactic scenes, unintentionally elevating the Cheetham role to that of an unbilled star cameo.
Fascinating subject matter and excellent acting made for compulsive viewing, but it's ironic that a piece obsessed with errors of judgement should feature so many of its own. (Rob Fraser)
PREVIEW Six Experiments That Changed The World
Channel 4, starts Sun 13 Feb, 7pm.
In recent years, actor Ken Campbell has developed a most unusual talent: the ability to make science interesting. Forget Open Universny lecturers in brown cords and mullets to match. Forget even your treasured memories of Johnny Ball. When it comes to the appliance of soence, the big bald Campbell's your man, coming across like Keith Allen With an interest in legal pharmaceuticals.
His latest series, Six Experiments That Changed The World, sees Campbell and his accomplices re- enacting some of the key moments in the history of science. Using archive materials and, where possible, Similar
S I. i x. of science: Six Experiments
; apparatus, the team will recreate the work of pioneers from Galileo’s
groundbreaking astronomy to Michael Faraday‘s work With electromagnetism.
If there's one thing that unites the soentists covered, it's that they were heroic outsiders shunned by the establishment of the day. In Campbell's hands, Marie Curie is sexier than Jennifer Aniston: watch out, here comes the science bit. (Moira Jeffrey) PREVIEW Mrs Dalloway BBCZ, Sun 6 Feb, 10pm.
Clarissa Dalloway has it pretty easy. She shops, she sews, she socialises. One sunny day in 1923, Dalloway turns in on herself and deCides that she really must do better things with her life. This tension is the centre of Virginia Woolf's tale, with the redoubtable Vanessa Redgrave in the title role.
'I personally feel that Virginia Woolf is on the level of Shakespeare,’ notes Redgrave. ’She’s somebody who gets to the heart of situations and people in a way that no one else has ever achieved in novel form.’ This belief in Woolf made her an obvious choice to be the attractive middle-aged woman of leisure
_, i , 1 Hungry like the Woolf: Mrs Dalloway
. who sees life differently after encountering the darker srde of eXIstence, thanks to
the shell-shocked World War I soldier Septimus Warren Smith (Rupert Graves). Period drama isn’t hard to come by on the box. Replicating the quality of Mrs Dalloway is less easy to match. (Brian Donaldson)
Muscle BBCI, starts Sat 5 Feb, 10pm.
The late sinew: Muscle
'He’s not there for the nice people out there, he's there for the creatures out there.’ So says Martyn Jones of one of his Security Leisure team, roughly setting the tone for this look at the Bristol outfit which supports some 200 doormen across the South West.
The opening sequence — which recalls Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels — presents mini-portraits of the lads. An uneasy relationship with the police culminates in Jones being banged up for charges later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
How the opening episode will spin into a series is up for debate. Perhaps they’ll develop characters individually, entering exploswe situations where we can decide whether the camera crew’s presence dissipates or fans the fray.
Muscle is a slick production with intelligent commentary and a filmic quality which lends an aesthetic resonance, trouncing the fly-on-the-wall documentary which the Beeb have hopefully kissed goodbye. (Denyse Presley)