Brooklyn South BBCZ, starts Fri 5 May, 12.05am.

The first day in a new job is always a tricky experience. Finding the coffee machine, discovering who you can and cannot trust and arranging the paperclips to suit your own ergonomic desire. For Phil Roussakoff, the welcome mat to his new police precinct is sodden with blood and guts spilling from a couple of his new colleagues, a blind busker and the crack-addled felon who triggered the carnage.

Welcome to the world of Brooklyn South, the latest instalment of Steven Bochco's attempts at making quality US TV crime drama synonymous with his name. Bochco has consistently reinvigorated the turf with ensemble legal classics such as Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Murder One, but just to show that he is far from infallible, the names of Cop Rock, Hooperman and Richie Brockelman, Private Eye clog up his debit side.

When Brooklyn South hit American screens in 1997, it was with a bang. The devastating opening sequence caused an uproar and won an Emmy for its direction; a bloody introduction to a show whose tagline promised to ‘tell the stories of the footsoldiers who patrol the borough which is never mistaken for Manhattan, and is as tough to nail down as the accent that everyone imitates but few get right.’

And it tells these stories in Bochco’s trademark way; his contradictory style treading a fine blue line between the hard-hittingly sensational and the huey-inducingly sentimental where the cops have as much trouble at home as they do on the beat. Sandwiched between scenes of the orgiastic violence are the opening credits which include an officer walking off into the distance, hand-in-hand with a toddler.


Kevin McKidd and Helen McCrory star in Tolstoy's wintery tale


Anna Karenina

Channel 4, starts Tue 9 May, 9pm. The Mo's of Warsaw and the garrsh garb of a C31bert anci Sullryah bro-

opera s a .'T‘r.l|‘().". mles away from the and Small Faces

hellrsl‘ realrty ot' lrfe as a centrai oelt scherme. Yet, that rs the clrstance whrch Kevrn McKaclcl has travelled as he cranks up hrs career to starry heights a‘ter the punchy .n pacts made :n Tr'arnspottrng, Acrc." House

A fine blue line between hard-hittineg sensational and huey-inducingly sentimental

At no point do you sense that Bochco is anything other than 100% behind the cops, mindful to the point of apologetic about the minefield that they skirt around every day. Sit and squirm as an entourage of community leaders harangue the officers about a black murderer dying in their foyer, when they appear to have not a racist bone in their collective body, and are only doing their damn best to lessen tensions and create a multicultural nirvana.

Yet, this is arguably where Bochco is at his best; you've just seen your colleagues massacred and the perpetrator is at your mercy. You would beat the living shite out of him too, wouldn't you? Within the moral maze is where Steven Bochco feels most at ease, allowing the viewer to be entangled in the web of dilemmas he spins out. But, more importantly, Brooklyn South will have you gripped in a vice of plot, character and script. There really are few who do it better than Steven Bochco. (Brian Donaldson)

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TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Caroline Aherne Born In surrey Manchester on Boxrng Day 1963 Educated \Vhrle stril at sc hool, she sat: \/l(.i()l'r(i \r‘yoocl's piay, Talent, which rnsprrecl her to aoply to Lryerooof Polytechnics cirarr‘a course Big break \r'v'orkrnc} on Stockport's local "aclro, Aherr‘e rnyenteci the Mrs Merton 'harac ter‘ as an agony aunt The BBC hearcl rt, lrkecl It and the rest rs history Finest hour Although she has anneared on our screens clomg stand- up :n l\.lontreai's Just For Laughs, and as a o t olayer :n The Fast Snow, Aherne's real tereyrsual txrnner was the a*orerheetior‘eci o?cl clear rr‘ter'yrmx‘er r'flr's‘ Merton Among the many irrcilt=rglrts errrbarrassrng the Irkes of Chris Euhan‘rc and Barbara \r'Vrnclsor 7- a stanci-out moment \".d$ the rnsprrecl opener to Debbre McGee" “So what fz's'. attractecl you to 'rrrllronarre Paul Daerels7' You haven't even mentioned The Royle Family O"e of the very few exa'nores of a s=tcom that's actually funny, The Rcty/e Farnrr’y has achieved noouzarrty mth pu'orrc anci crrtrcs alrlce As turner and star, Aherr‘e has c'o-lecteci a shedloacl of ataa'cls sznce the shov. starteci tvt. o years ago A Do sc tee", ot"shoot and, somewhat Dr/(‘Hrely a" Afttt".('d": xerszon are l". t“e pipeline Little known fact Rumour has rt that sne “as a glass eye after succ‘ess‘ulry hatta'tc; agams‘t hert-‘(litary eye cancer as a chrlci Inter‘estrngry, Back Passage To incl/a sees he" gorr‘c; to tl‘e Thrr‘o \"Jor'lci unit: Roy/e Farm/y co-star' and "rte" Crarc; Cash, to save some srght Not so little known fact Al‘erne's ‘orrr‘e" love of the demon clrrhlc. Her alcoholism often c‘orhbrnecr mth serrous depression, Culmrnatrng re a cfr‘an‘pagne and orlls over‘oose rn July 1998, cit‘ti a stay at the dryrng-Out house of the stars, The Priory Cirnrc Not to be mistaken for Bertre Aherne, Carol-rte Quentin, Paul Merton Doug Johnstoner

Back Passage To Indra, 88C 7, Mon .7 "flay, 9 500m

" 33;? THE lIST 115