SOCIAL DRAMA OMAGH Channel 4, Thu 27 May, 9pm 0000

Had Jimmy McGovern never made H/l/SDOfOUg/i and Paul Greengrass hadn't prefaced this with Bloody Sunday. then Ornain would have made for stunning TV drama. As it stands. the dramatised events of August 1998 when a small town was blown apart by the Real IRA is still impressive. but there's a depressing feeling among the Superb acting. naturalistic direction and script (from Greengrass and Guy May 33rd Hibberti that this particular ship sailed some time ago.

The set-up should be all too familiar: have a hyper-tense build-up to carnage as the soon-to- be Victims go about their normal business. Have your hand-held camera run amok as you focus on an individual family plight which represents the whole. Let the shock subside as your chosen individual, family seeks Justice while running up against officialdom as your everyday life collapses around yOII. An excellent portrayal of a ravaged community certainly. but overwhelming feelings of deia vu are its enemy Within. (Brian Donaldson)


BBC3, Sun 30 May & 6 Jun, 9pm .00.

Bodies. based on the harrowing novel by Jed Mercurio. is like the grim antidote to sanitised US sitcom Scrubs. Max Beesley plays Rob Lake. idealistic registrar of a maternity ward. dismayed by the dispassionate approach of his senior colleagues. exemplified by smooth.

disingenuous surgeon Roger Hurley (Patrick Baladi from The Office). Of course. it's only a matter of time before Rob or his sensitive colleague Donna (Neve McIntosh) either succumb to this infectious lack of compassion or crumple under the pressure and blow the whistle on the slap-dash surgeon.

In its determination to get right under the cold. blue skin of hospital procedure. the piece is underplayed and shot with such restraint that the sigi‘iificance of certain key events might have been lost underneath the muttering and naturalistic camerawork. Actually though. it's this pinpoint representation of the mundane nature of fatal human error that gives the drama its gripping power.

(Allan Radcliffe)


Five, Mon 31 May, 11pm COO

While Milos Forman's 1996 biopic of the US pornographer in chief may have attempted to turn him into a shining paragon of what can be achieved in the Land of the Free. others may

have choked on their morning Hustler. This dOCumentary strips back the celluloid and attempts to reach the heart of Flynt through interviews with the man himself, his family. colleagues and foes. Disrobe the porn element and Flynt's childhood as a pauper in Kentucky. the prison stints. shootings. lawsuits and his Wife Althea's AIDS-induced death through to his

21 st century ‘campaigner' persona is essentially an extreme rags-to-riches tale.

The production values are a cut above the usual Five fodder but this is simply another attempt to sanitise a misogynist who spent his career cruder objectifying women. Like Forman. Larry's sister also considers him the 'American Dream' but pitiful political, religious and cultural musings aside. a freedom fighter this man is not.

(Anna Millar)


Channel 4, Tue 1 & 8 Jun, 9pm 0000

They could easily have called this Bollywood Idol. There are the obligatory embarrassmg dancers. the tears and tantrums and the good cop. bad cop style of the four judges. But thankfully, this search for the first British Bollywood star is a little more interesting than its pop predecessor. For a start. the remit is broader: the contest is not restricted by race or age because the winner could play any one of a number of roles. So we see a woman and her daughter competing against one another while white contestants face the double test of whether they have the talent and the right physical make-up for the role.

The unpolished camera

style gives it an upfront feel and the behind-the- scenes interviews reveal cultural problems. including one girl whose mother believes show business is prostitution. In short. the pace is much faster. the iSSUCS a little more engaging and some of the judges are very nearly nastier than Simon Cowell.

(Rachael Street)


INSIDE THE MIND OF LIZA MINNELLI Channel 4, Tue 1 Jun, 10.30pm 0

Life is a cabaret. old chum. life is a cabaret. So sang Ms Minnelli back in 1972 and she's pretty much lived her extraordinary life With that maxim in mind.

MUSIC SEASON SUMMER OF OPERA BBC channels, from Sat 29 May

What is even more incredible is the way her wayward story has mirrored that of her tragic mother Judy Garland (child star. drink and drug addiction. dodgy marriages to men

of dubiot s sexuality etc).

Minnelli's life is a classic Hollywood tale of

incredible highs. massive

screw-ups and spectacular comebacks. whereas this risible docuinentaiy is an abiect lesson in how to

It ain’t over till the fat lad has his wedding cake and eats it

make a great life seem totally boring.

The style is irritatineg snug and puerile. the production quality is cheap and tacky and there is appicXiii‘ateiy zero ;nsight into the ll‘.|ll(l of a complex and con‘pelling character. More suitabie for one of the ceiebrity tat fest satellzte chai‘i‘eis land (1".'(}'i then. rt's not titillating enoughi. tits .5; a rank rotten piece of’ television. Doug \JOllllSiOl‘fii

Every so often the BBC goes bananas in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to the arts. This summer, it’s the turn of opera fans to benefit from this occasional fit of cultural zeal. The season kicks off in grand style with Pavarotti: The Last Tenor (BBC2, Sat 29 May, 9pm 0... ) which charts the year leading to the retirement of the opera world’s living deity. The typically incisive Arena documentary delves beneath the venerable image, charting the great tenor’s progression from a humble childhood in occupied Modena (which was to inspire his later commitment to raising money for child victims of conflict) to his being hailed as one of the greatest

opera singers of all time.

The snootier echelons of the establishment may have accused him of debasing classical music by fraternising with pop stars and celebrities, yet collaborations with the likes of Bono illustrate Pavarotti’s avowed determination to promote opera as a popular form. Unquestionably he's succeeded; he’s bigger than Jesus and, even, Bono’s ego. And there are some hugely enjoyable excerpts from his sell-out concerts in this terrific


Down at the other end of the operatic pecking order, I Want To Be Pavarotti (BBC4, Sat 29 May, 10.40pm O... ) focuses on three fledgling tenors aiming for Pavarotti-style success under the tutelage of flamboyant music svengali Robert Alderson. There are three surprisingly moving stories here, as former finance director Mike, bakery assistant David and drifter Mario (who was scowled out of his Pop Idol audition by Simon Cowell) radically adjust their work, family and social lives in pursuit of the dream.

(Allan Radcliffe)


"I." ~'- THE LIST 111