STAYING IN: Television

Saturday Highlights

DOCUMENTARY OF THE DAY

A Day to Remember 8pm C4

In the run up to Remembrance Day, historian Patrick Wright presents this provocative film about the ways in which we choose to remember the dead from this century's World Wars. The cemeteries under the supervision of the Imperial War Graves Commission in the 1920s represented the first widespread effort to commemorate soldiers who had lost their lives. But, Wright wonders, now that they are on coach-trip itineraries, what meaning do they have? The historian also questions the function of Royal British Legion poppies. "I find that it's become all too easy not to wear a poppy over recent years. I don't refuse out of hostility, but somehow Remembrance Day and its symbols have been pulled away from their original object."

FILM OF THE DAY

Mephisto 12.25am BBC2

Klaus Maria Brandauer may be best-known as the smirking, evil baddie in Sean Connery's (unofficial) comeback as James Bond, Never Say Never Again, but some of his finest work has been in less high-profile, more arthouse fare. In this searing piece by Istvan Szabo (with whom Brandauer has collaborated before, on Colonel Redl), Brandauer plays a leading German actor who finds his idealism gradually corrupted by the Nazis.

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Sky Cinema

Quadrophenia (10pm) Phil Daniels and Ray Winstone had already co-starred in Scum, but it was Franc Roddam's memorable 1979 picture that really brought them to prominence. They play rival Mods in this striking re-working of the classic Who album.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 4

The Bonfire Night Mystery (2.30pm) On Bonfire Night in 1866, there was an explosion in the Norfolk village of Walsingham. It was discovered that a pile of gunpowder had been placed under the organ at St Mary's Church. Ruth Richardson investigates.

SUNDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

CURRENT AFFAIRS SHOW OF THE DAY

Race Against Crime 8pm C4

The report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence found the police guilty of institutional racism. The commissioner of the Met, Sir Paul Condon, told his force that "Resistance to change is not an option". However, tonight's film about the way the police deal with the issue of race reckons that 40 per cent of officers still dismiss the need for change. Made by Roger Graef, the film reveals some alarming attitudes. One serving officer admits: "I have no problem talking to white people, but I get confused and don't understand most other nationalities." Meanwhile, another officer concedes that he is "not able to tell black people apart". But this even- handed documentary also conveys the difficulties the police have to confront on a daily basis.

FILM OF THE DAY

Sleepers 10pm C4

Brad Pitt has never been shy of straying in to controversial territory - think of the grizzly Seven, or his latest offering, the provocative Fight Club. This film also grabbed the headlines. Barry Levinson's re-telling of a true story centres on the revenge taken by four men (Pitt, Jason Patric, Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup) on the guards who abused them at a juvenile detention centre.

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Sky Premier

The Ice Storm (11.05pm) Taiwanese director Ang Lee meticulously conjures up the decadent world of middle-class wife-swapping parties on Long Island in the late 1970s. Heading an impressive cast, Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline play an unhappily adulterous couple.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 3

The Sunday Play: Under Milkwood (7.30pm) It appears that even radio broadcasts aren't safe from digital remastering. As part of Radio 3's Dylan Thomas Weekend, R3 dusts off the original 1954 production starring Richard Burton.

MONDAY TV

CELEBRITY PROFILE OF THE DAY

Hollywood Greats: Bette Davis 10.40pm BBC1

The second of these superior biographies looks at the life and career of Bette Davis, that self-consciously theatrical sacred monster, who began life as an unlikely sex symbol, somehow getting away with one-liners like "I'd like to kiss you, but I just washed my hair." Davis became a trail- blazer with her rows over scripts, her tantrums with men - whether powerful directors or make-up assistants - who refused to submit to her - and the commitment to her career over family and friends. Along the way she defined a certain sort of "women's picture" - typified by Now Voyager, Jezebel, and All about Eve. In her own way she reminds you of a prototype Madonna - maybe not loved, but certainly respected.

FILM OF THE DAY

Kalifornia 10pm C4

Neither of the stars of the X Files have managed to translate their phenomenal small-screen popularity in to big-screen hits. David Duchovny scarcely set the box office alight in this thriller from Dominic Sena. For all that, it's a taut little film. Duchovny plays a writer fascinated by serial killers who winds up travelling across America with a real murderer (Brad Pitt).

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Sky Sports 1

Newcastle United vs Everton (7pm) Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson has one of the hardest jobs in football - living up to the expectations of the passionate Toon army. They will again be willing their team to succeed in this clash with Walter Smith's Everton.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 4

Mona 'n' Me (11.30am) In August 1911, an Italian workman lifted the world's most famous painting off the wall of the Louvre, took it home and hid it under his bed. Today's play recounts the game of cat and mouse that ensued.

Radio listings: page 64

TUESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

HISTORY PROGRAMME OF THE DAY

Secrets of the Ancients 9pm BBC2

Arriving at the Rhine on a triumphal march through Europe in 55BC, Julius Caesar thought it demeaning for his army to cross the broad river by boat. So, in order to reach the other side and give the rebellious tribes there a bloody nose, he commanded his men to construct a bridge across a river whose dimensions even now seem immense: 400 metres wide, 8 metres deep and flowing at 2 metres per second. In his account of the Gallic Wars, Caesar says that the entire task - from the chopping of the first tree to the completion of the structure - took just 10 days. In "Caesar's Bridge", this week's contribution to this intriguing history strand, engineer Chris Wise (above) puts his claims to the test.

FILM OF THE DAY

Play Misty for Me 12.10am BBC1

Clint Eastwood has, in recent years, proved himself to be just as major a director as an actor - look at the acclaim and the Oscars he received for his stunning western Unforgiven. His career behind the camera started nearly 30 years ago with this atmospheric thriller. Eastwood plays a disc jockey stalked by an unhinged fan (Jessica Walter) who bombards him with requests for "Misty".

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Sky Premier

Deconstructing Harry (10pm) With works like this, Woody Allen will never win over his critics; they will always accuse him of wilful self-indulgence. His fans, though, were delighted by this clever portrait of a writer (Allen) confronted by real-life versions of his fictional characters.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 2

Entertaining the Enemy (9pm). Chris Stuart explores friendships between German prisoners of war and British communities in the late 1940s. He hears from Sheila Rawcliffe, a Lancashire girl who found companionship with the inmates of the nearby Stanhill camp.

Radio listings: page 64

WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

COMEDY OF THE DAY

How Do You Want Me? 10pm BBC2

We wondered what had happened to Simon Nye's anti-bucolic sitcom - one of the best new comedies of last year. A sort of 1990s take on Cold Comfort Farm, with Dylan Moran and new wife Charlotte Coleman as townies starting a new life in Coleman's home village, this second series gets off to a curiously half-cocked start. It's as if nobody had really thought how the show might develop. Otherwise its strengths are in place - including Moran's comic timing and Frank Finlay as the father-in-law from hell - here suspected of trying to murder Moran by tempting him on to the turkey shed roof while he is stumbling drunk. The suspicion remains, however, that this might be one sitcom where one series sufficed.

FILM OF THE DAY

Congo 10.30pm BBC1

Author Michael Crichton has been behind some of the biggest blockbusters in recent times - Jurassic Park and Disclosure, for example. This film did not pull in the punters to the same degree, but all the same it is not wholly without interest. In Frank Marshall's tense jungle horror movie, a group of adventurers are transporting a talking gorilla back to the Congo where their greed leads them into all sorts of difficulties.

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Film Four

Dead Man Walking (10pm) Few argued when Susan Sarandon scooped the Best Actress Oscar for her searing performance in husband Tim Robbins' film. In this real-life story, she plays a nun who befriends a deeply repellent killer (Sean Penn) on death row.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 4

Testing Times (9am) Kate Bellingham looks at the British Museum's plans to create London's first covered public square. The museum's inner courtyard, hidden for 150 years, will become the Great Court, to be spanned by the largest glass roof in Europe.

Radio listings: page 64

THURSDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

DRAMA OF THE DAY

Extremely Dangerous

9pm ITV

Sean Bean has had his moments on the big screen; he made an impact as a hard-bitten baddie in films such as Patriot Games and Goldeneye. But he has consistently failed to make it big in the movies and remains more of a star in such television offerings as Sharpe and Lady Chatterley's Lover. In this new four-part thriller, he is well cast as Neil Byrne, a desperado on the run. Framed for the brutal murder of his wife and daughter, he makes a daring escape from a high-speed train. Then he sets about finding out who might have fitted him up for the crime - his employers, the pitiless National Security Agency, or the ruthless Manchester crime syndicate where he had had been working undercover. The serial also stars Juliet Aubrey and Tony Booth.

FILM OF THE DAY

Mermaids 9pm C5

Cher grabbed the headlines recently for her extraordinarily extravagant concert in London, but she is equally well-known as an accomplished screen actress. She turns in a strong performance in Richard Benjamin's touching picture. It centres on the growing pains in the relationship between a vibrant single mother (guess who) and her fast maturing teenage daughter (Winona Ryder). Bob Hoskins plays the love interest.

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Film Four

The Dead (6pm) There is an elegiac feel to this, the last film from that wonderful director John Huston. In this adaptation of a James Joyce short story, Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann play a couple stuck in a marriage devoid of love.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 4

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (9.30am) When William Pitt the Younger introduced a parliamentary bill in 1799 to raise a direct levy on income it was meant to be a temporary measure. Evan Davies presents an affectionate look at the history of income tax.

Radio listings: page 64

FRIDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS

COMEDY OF THE DAY

The Hippies 9.30pm BBC2

Is there any comic mileage left in hippiedom? Neil, the student hippy from The Young Ones, more or less had the last comic word on the peace- and-love generation and it looks like Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan have chosen a dud subject for their first sitcom since Father Ted. Flatsharing Irish priests had an endearingly surreal quality - flatsharing Sixties radicals just seem anachronistic. The Hippies is faintly reminiscent of The Young Ones, with its houseshare milieu and its characterisation (they even have a ludicrously politicised one, like Rik Mayall's character). The cast does its best - including Simon Pegg from Spaced and Sally Phillips from I'm Alan Partridge. But there's no disguising this turkey.

FILM OF THE DAY

Medicine Man 11pm BBC1

Men 40 years younger look on enviously as Sean Connery continues to prove that he is an absurdly potent sex symbol well into his sixties. He does it again in John McTiernan's intriguing eco-thriller, where he plays the reclusive Doctor Campbell who joins forces with scientist Lorraine Bracco (so good as the shrink in C4's The Sopranos) to do battle with developers deep in the Brazilian rain forest.

ALTERNATIVELY

... on Sky Cinema

Howards End (6pm) Anthony Hopkins has made a speciality of playing repressed older men - think of his moving performance in The Remains of the Day. Collaborating again with director James Ivory, he turns in another masterly study of an emotionally inarticulate male.

Satellite listings: page 62

... on Radio 4

The Attractive Young Rabbi (11.30am) Barry Grossman's play is set at the heart of a Jewish community in a London suburb. It looks at the conflict between the rabbis of the Orthodox synagogue and a Reform synagogue - the old coming up against the new.

Radio listings: page 64

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