TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Friends in need

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The Independent Culture
Sporty yuppies who live in penthouse flats and embroil themselves in financial chicanery may seem a bit vieux jeu in the recessionary Nineties. This, however, is the backdrop to A STATEMENT OF AFFAIRS (9pm ITV), Carlton's stylish three-part psychological thriller about friendship foundering. The world is not quite as rosy as it first appears for six childhood friends (the strong line-up of David Threlfall - minus his Prince Charles ears - Adrian Dunbar, Frances Barber, Lesley Manville, Dorian Healey and Rosalind Bennett). The writer, Eric Deacon, is an actor (The Bill, London's Burning) and has a keen ear for dialogue; Threlfall, exasperated by his unreliable car, says he is 'thinking of asking the AA man to be godfather to our next child'. Despite similarities with thirtysomething (check the acoustic soundtrack) and The Big Chill, this is certainly more substantial than Carlton's last network drama offering, Head Over Heels.

Howard Jacobson probes the Jewish psyche while seeking his roots in ROOTS SCHMOOTS (9pm C4), the film of the book. In 'He's Not the Messiah, He's a Very Naughty Boy', the first of three parts, the novelist journeys to Israel for the first time. Later in the series he goes to America, and visits the land of his great- grandparents, Lithuania.

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