Channel 4, Sun 7 Mar, 6.30pm 0
Given the duality of most US dramas docking on our shores. I suppose it was only a matter of time before they sold us a pup. Empty and cliched. The OC was tailor made for bored 16—year olds With a penchant for IiVing life Vicariously. For the rest of us. this much-hyped new show falls woefully short of the mark. With dialogue so minimal you wonder if they're paying the actors by the word. Ryan is a moody adolescent from the wrong side of town. thrown into tail for a spot of grand theft auto. Sandy is the legal do gooder who rescues him from his underpriVileged life and inVites him into his palatial home (it's the gritty realism that gets me). Worst of all is Seth. Sandy's teenage son. supposedly a Bret Fasten Ellis style misfit but acting more like a special needs case. If you‘re wondering what the OC stands for. it's Orange County. Although Overrated Cobblers seems more appropriate. (Kelly Apter)
IN DENIAL OF MURDER
8801. Sun 7 Mar, 9pm
Basing drama on real events is a double edged sword. On the one hand. it lends the story an undeniable authenticity while en the other. actual happenings are seldom as gripping as a tightly scripted piece of fiction. This
patchy two-part crime drama loses mere than it gains from being based on the murder of Wendy Sewell - dubbed ‘the Bakewell tart' by the tabloids A- in the 70s and the campaign two decades later to free Stephen Downing. the man imprisoned for the crime.
The reliable. if unexceptional. Stephen Tornpkinson stars as small-time iourno Dan Hale. investigating the crime Qf) years after the fact. Part one focused on the actual crime while this concluding episode deals more With the media cainpaigi'i for Downing's release. but both halves suffer from a meandering pace and a stubborn reluctance to bring things to a conclusion. Such a stance is understaridable (the real case has never been satisfactorily solved). but it doesn't make for compelling drama (Doug .Johnstone)
DRAMA DOCUMENTARY IF . . . THE LIGHTS GO OUT BBC2, Wed 10 Mar, 9pm om
As we plummet headfirst through the ’2 1 st century. it seems that. more than ever. life is imitating art. 9ft 1 was like something out of Independence Day. the Hatfield train disastOr akin to an ER script. and the continual threat of terrorism not a rnillion miles away from your average episode of 24. Deserisitisation to it all global threats. envnonmental issues. and political ‘compromises' ~ almost a given. It's this very innocence that makes the Beeb's latest documentary so compelling. It's 2010 and the south east of England descends into darkness follownig a terrorist attack on a gas pipeline in Russia. Part
1 12 THE LIST 4 iii Mar 7004
fictional. With specialist bona fide interviews interspersed. it Questions the importance of preparing our energy resources now for potential problems in the future. So believable and realistic is the depiction of events that the suggestion of us paying more in electricity bills now is almost an appealing prospect. A first for the British public. surely. (Anna Millar)
THE TRUE GLADIATOR: REVEALED
Five, Wed 10 Mar, 9pm 0.
Gladiators were worshipped by the Roman public. But they were also revrled and buried in separate graveyards which. lets face it. would make a kick ass army of the damned. Bone expert Dr Karl Grosschmidt has been in Turkey investigating the largest such cemetery yet uncovered and discovered that many gladiators. rather than being ill treated slaves. were effectively trained. Seems that they often survived the bouts that they lost. and were tatteiied up before battle to cushion their internal organs against death blows.
This being TV. shots of a balding Austrian academic talking about ‘the density of osteons' are alternated With sub Gladiator sequences featuring men chopping each other up. It's certainly fun. although some of the science seems a little coniectural. Particularly when we come to the final battle of Palumbus. a freeman who signed
COMEDY DRAMA NO ANGELS Channel 4, Tue 9 Mar, 10pm om
Let’s not beat about the bypass here: this new medical drama is all about sex, and lots of it. If you caught the ﬁrst episode you’ll know that our four gorgeous nurses, all living together in Leeds, are girls with a whole lot of sass. Each has her role - single mum, martyr, unreconstructed minx, good time girl with arranged marriage to come - but ward and domestic politics essentially revolve around who is pumping who; and not with codeine. Episode two deals with the fall-out from womanising doctor Jamie’s arrogance in bed and on the ward and Kate’s handling of the affair, while Anji helps the sexy psychiatrist out of his five-year humping hibernation following his wife’s death. Vampy Beth simmers and ﬂirts, happy to demonstrate how knickers showing through thin cotton dresses are a
major distraction to doctors and patients while the great debate on whether big plastic pants should be regulation rumbles on.
It’s trashy but fun as a snappy hybrid of Teachers and Footballers’ Wives.
The camera loves the uniforms, and leg shots from cheeky angles are part of
the show’s shameless titillation. But like our four likely lasses, it’s not
squeamish. One particularly delightful shot shows a huge woman being given
a bed bath in which they find a crisp packet stuck underneath one of her
giant breasts. Ms Nightingale would be screaming down the aisles, but this is
Leeds in the 21st century; or rather, Channel 4 drama in its new production era. And there are certainly no angels to be found there. (Ruth Hedges)
away his life for short sword and a shot at glory but ended up With a blade in his chest. (James Smart)
Channel 4, Thu 11 Mar. 10pm 0”
You may well know the sketch by now. Dylan Moran is the cantankeroust dypso
owner of a musty bookshop and whose people skills are sorely lacking. Bill Bailey is the shiny. hippy dogsbody. Playing to their strengths or rabid typecasting? Meanwhile. Tamsin Greig is the dotty friend who drops by to seek meaning in her empty life and cadge fags. Actually, if you don't know the set up already.
‘The density of osteons’
you‘re not alone: the mugs who compiled the 8803 top 100 sitcom poll found no place for Black Books. And yet. Vicar of bloody Dib/ey’? Bitching aside. series three kicks off with Manny having switched to the dark side (or next door to the literary boot camp/coffee shOp led by Simon Pegg's pastel- clad fascist). Will Bernard find it within himself to apologise and get Manny back? Or will he be doomed to spy a la Norman Bates on his lorrner manservant forever? Funny and pleasantly stomach- churning at times.