DETECTIVE DRAMA NEW TRICKS BBC1, Thu 1 Apr, 9pm 0...
It's not easy being an old detective. Young blood snapping at your heels. personal life shaky. being bossed around by smart. ball-crunching Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redmanl. So can this motley crew of old dogs — James Bolam. Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman — learn new tricks and do what they need to?
This dry but warm drama focuses on the special force of former detectives brought together for their experience. and kicks off with a re-opened case of murder. prising open. at the same time. Pullman's old w0unds. Each flawed DC has their problems and like many a detective show. explores their vulnerabilities while they unravel crime. Episode two takes our team into the more sedate world of art forgery although it quickly moves into the sinister universe of 19708 racial attacks. much to the relief of our still-trying-to—be macho gang. Naturally. there’s some sexual tension thrown into the bargain. Dirty old dogs that they are. (Ruth HedgesI
HEALTH DOCUMENTARY SECRET INTERSEX Channel 4, Mon 5 & Tue 6 Apr, 9pm 0000
Just when you thought the nurture/nature debate. biology,
pSychology arguments were spent. along comes a documentary that renegotiates the boundaries. Society plagues us with definitions; and even in our 218! century fluidity in terms of sexuality. biology and aesthetics. some things simply defy categorisation and raise infinite questions. And so it is with this fascinating two—part documentary about the variety of congenital disorders that categorise one in 4000 babies as ‘intersex', the modern term for hermaphroditism.
The main story thread follows sisters Xenia and llizane who were born chromosomally male. but. unable to respond to testosterone. they developed as girls. While the biological aspects of the girls' conditions are explored. so too is the impact on the families: the medical and emotional arguments over when to tell the children of their conditions and whose decisions matter most. Beautifully tender. medically fascinating. the human capacity for acceptance and hope makes this well worth a watch. (Anna Millar)
WHO STOLE BOB MONKHOUSE’S JOKES?
Channel 4, Sat 10 Apr, 9pm 00.
It was one of the more bizarre showbiz stories of the 19908 — the theft of Bob Monkhouse's treasured joke books from the BBC headquarters in London. This watchable documentary haughtily follows the kidnap trail that eventually led to their return.
Monkhouse's friends Jim Bowen and Bernard Manning stick their oar in and a line of fairly innocuous young stand- ups snigger from the wings with some fairly puerile asides. Unfortunately, the programme makers do not have the courage of their convictions and they hover between paying respect to the late Monkhouse — a man who was clearly totally central to the progression of British comedy in the last 50 years — and taking the piss. Not that such subtle allegiances really matter as what could have been a fascinating insight into UK comedy's inner elderly circle is all but sabotaged by actor Paul Copley's brusque. knowing, tiresome narration. (Paul Dale)
DOCUMENTARY HI M THE BOY WHO PLAYS ON THE BUDDHAS OF BAMIYAN
Five, Sun 11 Apr, 1.45pm 000.
This kind of intelligent and thoughtful award- winning documentary filrnmaking has BBC/1 written all over it, so it's a real shock to see it popping up on Five of all places. Nevertheless. this beautifully shot film by Phil Grabsky is a fascinating piece of work and one that — like all good documentaries -- lets the story tell itself and leaves the audience to make up their own minds.
The Boy Who . . . tells the tale of eight—
ENGLAND EXPECTS BBC1, Mon 5 Apr, 9pm 00.
One simple test to any drama about right wing nutters is just how well portrayed is your bug-eyed, seething, spitting fascist. And for this one-off which, perhaps ironically, has the news dividing its two parts, the makers have recruited very fine British actor Steven Mackintosh to do the xenophobic tub-thumping. And he thoroughly convinces as Ray Knight, a former nationalistic henchman who has attempted to go on the straight and narrow. Except, whenever any problem arises (his daughter’s anti-social behaviour, his inability to pull a Rangers-supporting colleague played by Susan Vidler and his ex-wife’s lack of parenting skills) it’s all the fault of the ‘Pakis, asylum seekers and terrorists’. Knight’s descent from respectable yet socially awkward security man to born again white supremacist is intelligently handled by Mackintosh, ably assisted by Keith Barron as his former mentor to whom he turns when tensions get strained, and Vidler as the victim of his stalker tendencies. However, Ray Knight is also the central problem which hamstrings England Expects from having more of a devastating effect. We are all prone to racial hatred, Frank Deasy’s script seems to suggest, and only our comfortable liberal circumstances prevent all of us from tripping into a goosestep at any moment. Well, maybe, but why make your central character someone who took so little persuading to return to his dark hating past? And the ending is ripped straight from the Romper Stamper school of supreme irony. Nice moustache, though. (Brian Donaldson)
year-fold Mir. a mischievous wee lad whose family has been driven to living in caves by poverty and homelessness brought about by the Taliban's reign of terror in Afghanistan. Among the rubble of the Bamiyan Buddha statues blown up by the Taliban. Mir and his family struggle to eat and stay warm, all the while hoping for help from aid agencies that never seems to come. An intimate vision of human dignity in the face of terrible hardship.
AMERICAN DRAMA LAS VEGAS
Sky One, Tue 13 Apr, 10pm 0.
Las Vegas. the city of broken dreams. scratched into the Nevada desert by a mobster with autistic obsessions. has always been a place of pilgrimage for the
profane and rich. Yet someone had to police the casinos and no one ever thought of telling these people's stow before. That is until now. as this new show reaches our shores having received a pummeling from the US critics; and rightly so.
It concerns the machinations of one casino's hidden surveillance squad. helmed by an ex CIA agent Big Ed Deline (James Caan.
incredulous throughout at some of the lines coming from his vyi/ened chops). His daughter is having an affair with his young protege Danny (Josh Duharnel) and Ed doesn't like it but elsewhere there are whales to catch (hiin spending clients who have abscondedl. Danny narrates the whole thing with the charisma of a hiin school rock and those bright lights just seem to slip away. (Paul Dalel
15) Apr I’OC-Z THE LIST 111