HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARIES RST
OLYMPIANS: A HORIZON SPECIAL
8802, Fri 23 Jul, 9pm 00.
THE ANCIENT GREEK OLYMPICS Channel 4, Sat 24 Jul, 8.10pm 0..
Unless you've been perched atop Mount Olympus for four years. you'll be aware that ‘Athletics is Coming Home'. with the Greeks having bankrupted their c0untry's coffers in order to host this summer's centennial Olympic Games. As these two (virtually indistinguishable) dOCumentaries reveal. the modern day games. with their noble spirit of hands-across-the-divide athletic prowess. have little to do With the unrestrained brutality of ancient times.
The first instalment of Channel 4's Ancient Greek Olympics splices images of ripped. bronzed bodies shimmering in the sand with footage from the infamous Berlin spectacle of 1936 among others. to point up contrasts between ancient and modern. As the breathless voiceover records. the original games were a sweltering five—day pagan religious festival. mostly composed of sacrifices. barbecuing and worship. where athletics events
were a celebration of violence. a fight to
submission, knockout or even death. Winning meant glory and deification and there was certainly none of this ‘its-all-about-the-taking- part' nonsense.
Much the same ground is covered in the Beeb’s First Olympians. which recreates the life of one of the ancient Superstars based on archaeological evidence. Both programmes are glossy and intermittently absorbing. but a little prissy and prudish in their depiction of the brutality. nudity and fierce competition that would have characterised these games.
ROCKUMENTARY X-RATED: THE POP VIDEOS THEY TRIED TO BAN
Channel 4, Sat 24 Jul, 10pm 00
Men: settle down with a box of tissues and let yOur mind migrate to your other head. Ladeeyz: make some plans. Channel 4's latest meshing together of old footage and Cut-pundit- paste style job charts the histOry of music videos that were simply too shocking for the world's delicate eyes.
In the 80s. that decade of brazen excess. Duran Duran shocked networks with their orgy- fest video for ‘Girls on Film' in which near- naked girls pull themselves across a cream-covered beam
96 THE LIST 22 Jul» :5 Aug your.
(Simon Le Bon says he likes how the cream gathers in their crotches). Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax. famOLisly banned by that bastion of morality. Mike Reid. gets full airplay. Then there's Soft Cell whose ‘Sex Dwarves' has mini-men and women rubbing meat all over their bodies and thwacking each other with big chops. Jane Middlemiss reckons ‘that went too far“ while Alice Cooper's comments shed an insightful and witty light on the whole parade. (Ruth Hedges)
SOCIAL DOCUMENTARY CUTTING EDGE: SLEEPING WITH THE AU PAIR Channel 4, Wed 28 Jul, 9pm 00.
Janet loved John. Janet and John got married. Janet and John got an au pair to look after their cute brats. John ran off with this dirty, flirtatious. foreign babe. It‘s a clas3ic stOry that seems to belong in some 708 hinterland alongside key parties and Italian gigolo pool cleaners. As consummater put together as ever. this new documentary from the Cutting Edge team details three stories of hoodwink. betrayal and cuckolding.
There's Alice. Simon and Magda in the remote c0untryside: Alistair and his Swedish au pair Karin (plus an unnamed. seemineg sane ex-wife) and Tang. a fortysomething city finanCier who has captured himself an anorexic-looking 21 - year-old Slovak called Petra. The stories are mundane. troubling and revealing by turns but it's a shame that the whole affair seems to be underlined by a tabloid disaffection with the countries that now break bread with us at the European Union table. (Paul Dale)
CRIME DRAMA 24
Sky One, Thu 22 Jul, 9pm 0000
After the third longest day of his life, big bad Jack Bauer appears to be on the verge of a big bad breakdown. Yet, what exactly has been so awful for him in this latest series as it comes to another bone-crushing climax? This is the bit where we put a Heat-style SPOILER ALERT for those without Sky One or friends with tapes and still willing to wait till the end of the year for
Five to score the series.
For one thing, he’s lost two girlfriends (season two stalwart Kate Warner and the big~haired Mexican who clearly spent a childhood with her lips stuck in a beehive); he’s shot his bitterest enemy in the chest and his boss in the head; struggled with a job-induced smack habit; and, of course, generally tried to save his beloved president and the world from the evil claws of a contemporary Dick Dastardly. Mind you, daughter Kim got herself kidnapped just the once in 24 hours, but news of her relationship with Jack’s knucklehead sidekick must have been equally stressful for
Having upped the barbarism on the show (there may have been less torture than in season two but the level of downright nastiness has been a joy to observe), the closing episode had to go that extra yard. And sure enough, there’s one real ouch moment and a major death. You’ve got to hand it to the writers: they’ve once again managed to come up with a final twist you could not have seen even two minutes prior. (Brian Donaldson)
WHEN I’M 64 8802, Wed 4 Aug, 9pm .00
This quality little drama manages somehow to be rt-Bassuringly cosy and slightly daring at the same time. When I'm (5-4 is based on the question of whether it's ever too late to turn your life around. and how your actions affect those around you. The story centres on the relationship between
Ray. an ageing cabbie and part-time thug. and Jun. a retired schoolmaster who Ray picks up as a fare one day. The two develop an unlikely friendship which leads them to question the paths their own lives
have taken. and where theu‘ lIVOS are geing. There are sterling performances lf'()ll‘. Paul Freeman and Alun Armstrong in the lead roles. hoth coolh, unt‘lerplaying the drama. A rather sleepy pace does detract from the plot a little but there are a couple of intriguing twists to keep the viewer interested and the end result is a drama with both heart and (:oii\i<:tion. iDoiig Johnstonel