Star of the first film, Three Kisses and a Funeral, is actress Anna Friel, aka Beth Jordache, Brookside child-abuse survivor turned lipstick lesbian pin-up. Beth may have outed characters in other soaps - notably Della in EastEnders - but is she a positive role model in real life? With butch lesbians still wearing the Doc Martens within the dyke sorority, and femmes regarded with suspicion, one contributor wonders how well a real Beth Jordache would be welcomed down a lesbian nightclub. Conclusion: she probably wouldn't even get her pretty little Laura Ashley dress past the door.
Talking of Brookside, John McArdle, formerly of that parish, crops up in the two-part drama Rich Deceiver (Sat, Sun BBC1). This adaptation of Gillian White's novel begins by looking like the bog-standard rags-to- riches morality tale. But there's a major twist, in that this struggling working-class Liverpool couple (McArdle and the appealing Lesley Dunlop) win the pools, but the wife has been doing them on the quiet, and decides to keep the win a secret from her husband. Instead, she buys a company, makes sure hubbie is installed in a responsible position and sits back for him to make something of himself.
"A dangerous game," her bank manager says, but not nearly as dangerous as being a war correspondent in the former Yugoslavia. Twenty foreign journalists had been killed by the time French director Marcel Ophuls was airdropped into Sarajevo in the winter of 1992/93, during the making of his War Correspondent: the Troubles We've Seen (Sat BBC2). Showing in two parts, Ophuls's richly textured history of war journalism spends much of tonight's film in Bosnia, a fact given a sharp boost of topicality this week by Nato.
I wouldn't blame you if you found it rather too elliptical, and, after all, ellipses are the last thing one needs in understanding how the former Yugoslavia reached its present sorry state - or states. Thankfully, The Death of Yugoslavia (Sun BBC2) transports us back to the very beginning of the current conflict and takes it slowly and surely. All the major protagonists have their say, beginning with the President of Serbia, former Communist boss turned born-again nationalist, Slobodan Milosevic.
The Omnibus special, Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (Sun BBC1), rubs home the arbitrariness of genius, which rarely sets up a happy home with a well-rounded personality. And the former Beach Boy was a genius, that much is clear, even if you don't agree with Tom Petty that Wilson is up there with Beethoven. He was also, for a while, severely out to lunch (when Iggy Pop calls you "nuts", you know it's time to seek help) - but you come out of Don Was's film wishing Wilson had gone all the way with his music. By all accounts, the qualms of his Beach Boys brethren meant that the album Smile was never made, and the world was deprived of a record of the magnitude of Sergeant Pepper.
The Big Picture
Sat 11pm BBC2
In Blue Velvet, Dennis Hopper (above) gives his quintessential Mr Nasty performance - re-hashed ad nauseum in virtually every film he's done since (Speed, Waterworld). In a typical scene from David Lynch's peer into the seamy side of smalltown America, Hopper dons his black gloves, sucks on a gas-mask for extra teenage kicks and sadistically abuses Isabella Rossellini, while a fresh-faced youth (Kyle MacLachlan, aka Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks) looks and learns through the slats of a walk-in wardrobe. Lynch's compellingly unpleasant work exemplifies the genre of "Behind the Picket Fence" - also the title of a short BBC2 season of films.
The Big Match
Cricket: NatWest Trophy Final
Sat 10.25am BBC1, 4.40pm BBC2
Statistically, the side that has to bat in the early-morning dew usually loses the NatWest Trophy final, contested this year by Dermot Reeve's Warwickshire and Allan Lamb's (above) Northamptonshire. That does not stop it from being one of the cricketing year's great occasions, when enthusiastic fans - given extra enthusiasm by the plentiful supply of bars at Lord's - come to the HQ of cricket to bring the curtain down on the season. It is also a poignant moment for television viewers as they contemplate the bleak months ahead without the peerless tones of cricket commentator par excellence, Richie Benaud.Reuse content