l-fildt Sari 76 Nov, 90m.

The work of novelist and poet Kingsley Amis divides opinion as cleanly as a butcher‘s knife. Aficionados applaud his honesty, unpretentiousness and wicked sense of humour. His detractors draw attention to his reactionary conservatism and snobbishness. Only the author's personal reputation as a 'supreme clubman, boozer and blimp' has gone unchallenged over the years.

Keen and challenging or mean- spirited and outmoded, Amis’ novels are hardly what we’ve come to expect of classic BBC period drama for which the clear-cut morality and sumptuous costumes of a Dickens or Austen are tailor made. Yet, in a radical departure from the cosy familiarity of 19th

century fiction, viewers are about to be corrupted by Andrew Davies’ screen adaptation of one of Amis’ most

controversial works.

’Take A Girl Like You is the first of a new slate of 20th century classics from BBC drama,’ says producer Gareth Neame. ’There are loads of powerful 20th century stories that are crying out to be brought to a TV


Set in 1959, the protagonist of Amis' dark comedy of manners is Patrick Standish, a charming, devilishly handsome schoolmaster whose libido is pushed into overdrive by the arrival in town of beautiful, virginal Jenny Bunn. Attracted to the rakish Patrick, Jenny is also suspicious of his predatory nature and loose morals and

consistently resists his advances.

Though Amis’ take on ‘the mating game' is tame by today's standards, many have taken issue with the book's ending, in which an increasingly frustrated Patrick basically rapes the semi-conscious Jenny. Even in today’s climate of politically incorrect cynicism, surely such a scene will be unpalatable to audiences more


Pharaohs Channel 4, MON, 9pm

lite thought of another set of procl'a'fi'ttt‘s about the mysteries of aet'e'tt E'cmpt may not thrill you, but t"'\ fl"c‘c‘-tt(‘:ltt‘l' doesn't lLlSi throx‘. tl‘e asaal speculations up rn the arr In the

114 THE LIST ’o 30 .7000

Will Patrick get to shag Jenny or not?

accustomed to spending a Sunday evening being wooed by dashing Mr Darcy and forthright Miss Bennett?

Veteran screenwriter Andrew Davies who knew Amis

and describes him as a ’likeable bastard’ defends the choice of text. ’Reading it again was a bit of a shock,’ he admits. ’The whole impetus of the story is the suspense basically, will Patrick get to shag Jenny or not? Will he

seduce and abandon her, or will she get the wedding

ring that she’s after? Ultimately, though, there’s no getting away from the fact that the seduction is a near rape. We’re not asked to approve of it; Amis himself makes disapproving noises in the book.’

There’s much to enjoy in Davies’ intelligent adaptation, not least of all the meticulous late SOs period detail and

the performances, particularly from Rupert Graves as

.. §’.

Get dug into Egypt

opening eprsode, 'The Fall Of Tutankhamun', we find two Americans, a scientist and an archaeologist, heading to Cairo to extract DNA from Tutanlchamun's relatives

There's something stomach- \'.'renchrng about watching the scientists probe the bodies of these long dead royals, looking for tissue suitable for testing But what does thzs

Patrick and Hugh Bonneville playing against type as fellow womaniser Julian Ormerod. Yet for all its superficial pleasures, Take A Girl Like You's depiction of courtship as a game of cunning with brutal consequences for the loser, may struggle to find a sympathetic audience. (Allan Radcliffe)

modern methodology tell us about thrs ancient cwrl:satror‘.7 Well, the programme sets out to drscover why the Tutanlchamun dynasty died out Our scientist's theory rs that years of Inbreeding led to genetic drsease, and they hoped the DNA eyrdence would provrcle the proof they needed But when the results come Il‘. lrnd this rs not the case at all, not that many brothers married their sisters, meaning more research \‘Jlll have to be done to find the truth It's refreshing for thrs type of programme to be able to find answers ’(“t’OtI though they differ from what was expected: rather than Just end n'yrth ' but we'll never lcno‘.‘." Looking ahead, lost City Of The Pyramrds' sets out to debunk the theory that the pyramids were burlt by slaves No, we’re not talking about building contractors, s‘.'/anmng off to frnzsh another JOl), but recent archaeological digs have drscoverecl a settlement re.ealrng a small workforce, recert.'rng the best food and medrcal care available at the tune It makes for compulsive weaning rl_outsa Pearson

TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Nicholas Lyndhurst

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r + r r Unmissable « a 9 -~ Very good

h : worth a Shot ~ r Below average

You've been warned