TELEVISION BRIEFING / Taking dictation

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The Independent Culture
Don't be put off by the associations with Melvin, Beattie's put- upon son in the comic BT adverts. Linal Haft, the actor who plays him, convincingly sheds that image to present a thorough examination of the cultural impact of Adolf Hitler. In The Great Dictator, the first part of WITHOUT WALLS (9pm C4), he calls on the expert testimony of, among others, Robert Harris, Angela Neustatter and Simon Callow (without whom no edition of Without Walls would appear to be complete). Gradually metamorphosing into an Adolf-alike, Haft shows the range of Fuhrer depictions in post-war culture: Hitler as a woman, Hitler as a disco superstar and Hitler as an amateur golfer in swastika boxer shorts. This is followed by The Final Score, a hymn by Michael Nyman, composer and Peter Greenaway collaborator, to the peerless footballing skills of Stan Bowles of QPR (see competition, below).

ASSIGNMENT (7.40pm BBC2), the foreign affairs show, continues to cover areas often neglected by more mainstream news programmes. Helen Jenkins's Return of the White Fox profiles Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Soviet Foreign Minister credited with prompting the thaw in the Cold War. Hugh Prysor-Jones wonders if he can now use the same political skills to protect the independence of his native Georgia.

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