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The Independent Culture
As any critic worth their complimentary sandwich and glass of Chardonnay will tell you, the best, most audacious and pleasingly witty screen transposition of Jane Austen's Emma in recent years - perhaps of all time - is not set in Regency Hertfordshire, but in a 1990s Californian high school. Amy Heckerling's Clueless, which did the cinematic rounds last year, is a hard act to follow, and it takes a brave, perhaps even ignorant (of Clueless, that is) person to try.

Enter Andrew Davies, who surely by now deserves some sort of blue plaque for his work on literary adaptations. His latest, called Jane Austen's Emma (Sun ITV), takes a few stylistic risks of its own by way of boiling down the novel into a two-hour screenplay - even down to the ironic use of that most hackneyed of romantic drama conventions (imagine a 1960s Cointreau TV advert) where a portrait of the beloved comes to life and grins seductively at our heroine. As Emma, Kate Beckinsale has the right mixture of sassiness, nosiness and self-satisfaction - even if there is a large overlap here with her Flora Poste from the BBC's Cold Comfort Farm. All in all, a breezier watch than the uneven The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Sun BBC1), whose climax it clashes with.

On the subject of breezy views, I Bring You Frankincense (Sat BBC2) is the first of four dramas showcasing black and Asian film talent under the umbrella title Crucial Tales (courtesy of Lenny Henry's Crucial Films). Written by the single-monikered Jonti, this is a fast and funny look at what it meant growing up black in the Surrey stockbroker belt of the 1970s - and touches its political bases with a deft lightness, no less effectively for that.

A Cat's World (Sat C4) does for moggies what last week's A Dog's World did for pooches - namely to film them at work and explain the behaviour we are so keen to anthropomorphise. No real surprises here, but cat lovers will no doubt be purring.

There is something feline about theatre director Peter Brook. It's in his eyes, with their contracted pupils almost lost in the creamy blue of the irises. Some exotic Persian breed, perhaps. There is something cat-like - if a certain cold-heartedness is truly a feline attribute - in the exercise recorded in the absorbing TX arts documentary, Time Flies (Sat BBC2). Brook, who in 1961 directed 35 mainly British public school boys on the Caribbean island of Vieques, in his movie version of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, has re-united them 35 years later to see how they have changed - and been affected - by the movie-making experience.

Red Base One Four (Sun C4) is a new series about the London Ambulance Service, and if, like me, you groan at the thought of another medical documentary, stay with this one. Before you make that 999 call, you might like to witness the strain under which those who will be taking your panic- stricken message work.

And last, but by no means least, The Simpsons (Sat BBC1), arrive on terrestrial TV. If you've been put off this adult American cartoon series by its adoption by trendies when it first arrived in this country (you mean you never had an "eat my shorts" T-shirt?), or by its association with Rupert Murdoch's satellite operation, then put aside your prejudices. You'll find it hugely funny and subversive. Or I'll eat my shorts.

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