CRIME DRAMA MURDER CITY Scottish, Thu 18 Mar, 9pm 0.
Crime dramas are often the most formulaic television on offer in this country and this tepid effort is going to do little to change that state of affairs. Murder City is played pretty much exactly by the book. teaming up two detectives with oh-so— different personalities and methods to solve the usual parade of murders by unOrthodox methods. For this little nugget. the casting must've been done by someone in a coma or stoned off their coupon as Hollywood evacuee Amanda Donohoe and Kris Marshall (the daft son from My Family) put in plenty of actorly elbow grease but remain spectacularly unbelievable as police employees of any description.
In this first episode there's a missing teenage Goth. a room full of blood. a decomposed corpse in a wood. a stockbroker crossbowed to his chair, a maths-mad murderer and a lunatic psychic. That looks exciting on paper, doesn't it, but Murder City still manages to seem pedestrian and predictable.
HISTORICAL DRAMA GUNPOWDER, TREASON 8: PLOT
BBC2, Sun 21 Mar, 9pm 0000
‘If you wish to embark upon a course of evil and attain your heart 's desire. begin by killing y0ur mother.‘ Manipulating history like Shakespeare. twisting it till the great lines wring out, Jimmy McGovern's version of events
leading up to the 1605 gunpowder plot is a typically watchable account of King James' troubled succession after bumping off his old one, Mary Queen of Scots.
Robert Carlyle gives yet another measured but combustible performance as the crippled monarch who united the English and Scottish thrones. playing James as a tricky paranoiac prone to disembowelling priests and double- crossing their followers. Typically vixen in period costume. Emilia Fox is part-puritan, part-Bond femme fatale. Tim Mclnnerny is the mandatory Machiavellian advisor sans morals. while Michael Fassbinder is curiously distant as Guy Fawkes. a brooding vacuum rather than fiery hero. Pacin directed by Gillies MacKinnon. using direct address to camera. this is intriguing scheming with incendiary dialogue. (Jay Richardson)
BlBLlCAl- DOCU-DRAMA NOAH’S ARK 8801, Sun 21 Mar, 7pm 00.
It's hard to tell whether this is so funny because of or despite Jeremy Bowen. The one-time war correspondent come cosy breakfast TV presenter always
appears to be itching to get the desert sand between his toes again. And here he is in the middle of the Iraqi wilderness in high- production reconstructions of Noah and his family as they bicker their way through getting the animals on two by two. Jeremy gets stuck in himself. chopping and hammering with biblical gusto.
But after taking us through the practical impossibilities of all this. we're told the efforts were in vain because. believe it or not. there really couldn't have been a wooden boat big enough to carry pairs of all animal species upon a flooded earth. So Jeremy takes another more interesting tack and investigates the less grand assumption proposed in clay tablets unearthed in Iraq.
SURREAL SITCOM BUNK BED BOYS
8803, Mon 22 Mar, 11pm 000
This was the winner of the BBC's laudable New Talent sitcom writers' scheme of two years ago with a commissioned series as the pri/e. and so it creeps into the graveyard slot in the often dank backwaters of BBCS. The situation is simple enough: a pair of childish brothers (including Fringe regular
Could it happen? Noah way
MUSIC DRAMAI‘DOCUMENTARY THE GENIUS OF MOZART BBC2, Fri 19 Mar, 9 m 0000
8804, Fri 19 Mar, 10pm O...
Wanna be in my Wolfgang?
When most toddlers scrawl chalk marks across the living room floor, they’re in line for stern chastisement. But when Leopold Mozart found his young son redesigning his wooden floorboards with a series of numbers he merely asked: ‘What are you writing, Wolfgang?’ ‘A keyboard concerto’ came the reply. Obvious really. The prodigious nature of Amadeus’ early years is the stuff of legend, but the three parts of The Genius of Mozart serve to humanise the man behind the music. Part historical re-enactment, part documentary, the first episode recreates the Mozart family tour, during which Leopold took his wife, daughter and seven-year-old son across Europe in a stagecoach, wowing the aristocracy with the boy’s talent. Charles Hazlewood re-traces this journey in a bid to fully understand the modus operandi of the prolific composer. As the series unfolds, the genuine correspondence between Wolfgang, Leopold and sister Nannerl, which forms the backbone of the programme, takes us inside the mind of this musical genius. And Hazlewood’s infectious zeal for the man’s work unravels some of the mystery of classical music. Perhaps the only thing missing from The Genius of Mozart is music itself. The teasing snippets which pepper the programme make you yearn for the fuller pieces; which is where Mozart Uncovered comes in. Here, Hazlewood’s knowledge comes to the fore as he dissects three key works with the help of period orchestra, the Mozart Collective, before playing the entire concerto. Sifting through the intricacies of Mozart’s compositions, we marvel all the more at the achievements of a man who changed the face of music forever in 35 short years. (Kelly Apter)
Rob Rouse) in their 20s live at home. looked after by their mum (Geraldine McNulty). and squabble a lot. While this might sound like Sorry buggering My Family. Daniel Peak's scripts take things into substantially more surreal territory: this opening episode includes everything from an illegal gun-toting mum to a huge amount (and I mean huge) of animal wanking. Sadly though. there is the air of an idea stretched too thin about it. and what might have made a good five-minute sketch or stand-up routine guickly seems laboured. There are laughs though. and given time Bunk Bed Boys might settle into its stride. (Doug Johnstone)
THE BOY WHOSE SKIN FELL OFF
Channel 4, Thu 25 Mar, 9pm I.
As the opening credits disappear and a deceased man's vorce resonates through the clouds you know this is going to be TV at its most contrary. A disturbing ‘four months to go' appears and the chronicling of Jonny Kennedy's last days on earth begins. Condemned to a life of cancer in the form of Dystrophic
Epidermolysis Bullosa. Jonny's skin falls off leaving sores all over his body. This strangely compiled docu-tragedy suggests that there's a precious freedom in death: Jonny wants to enjoy his time left and so should we.
Sadly, by the time the funeral arrives (replete with Queen’s 'Don't Stop Me Now') there's an overwhelming feeling that while the show provides valuable kudos for the cancer trust Jonny wants to punt. we are nothing less than hapless voyeurs. Too close to the proverbial bone to be informative and too saccharine sweet to have any depth. you should stick to Six Feet Under for your death fix. (Anna Millar)
18 Mar-«I Apr 2004 THE LIST 109