Television preview

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Deadly Voyage Sat 9.30pm BBC2

Sex and Fame Sat 11.25pm C4

The Big Question Sun 9.30am BBC1

Equinox Sun 7pm C4

The South Bank Show Sun 10.45pm ITV

You probably never saw Miss Borloch - but sometime in the early 1970s this now forgotten masterpiece won the Golden Phallus Award at the International Wet Dream Festival in Frankfurt (every mantlepiece should have one). Its star was the young Mary Millington, subject of one of this weekend's entries in Channel Four's Fame Factor "zone", Sex and Fame - the Mary Millington Story (Sat C4).

Now, Millington was a woman so deeply embedded in the 1970s that she should have been born with a pair of furry dice (aptly enough, she chose to kill herself in 1979). She was also Britain's first porno star, a woman with an even flimsier grasp on reality than on her clothes. But in the words of her many admirers (there exists a Mary Millington fan club, by the way, staffed by alarmingly young members), she took "porn out of Soho and into Esher".

Sex and Fame is a fascinating trawl through Britain's burgeoning porn industry and its friendly reception in the suburbs. And if the similarities with Marilyn Monroe are overstated, Millington certainly managed to notch up (albeit for money) some bedtime companions nearly as illustrious as Monroe's. The Shah of Persia didn't like any kinky stuff, you'll be relieved to learn.

The Big Question (Sun BBC1) immediately manages to throw up three hostages to fortune for a programme going out at 9.30am. Why, asks presenter Mark Lawson, are we here? Is there anybody out there? And where will it all end? Where indeed. Sir Anthony Hopkins is first up - but for all the purported weightiness of the questions, they serve here only to produce a bog-standard showbiz interview. Warmed up by Lawson with questions about his alcoholism, Hopkins sighs that it's "a well-worn, boring old subject" - as indeed any visit to a newspaper cuttings library will confirm. "Oh... the voice," he almost moans, when confronted with the story of how a "voice" saved him from the bottle.

Deadly Voyage (Sat BBC2) is a behind-the-headlines Screen Two drama recreating the voyage of those ill-fated Ghanaian stowaways you might have read about, butchered at sea by the Ukrainian crew who discovered them. One survived to shop them to the French authorities, in whose country they had docked en route to New York. Joss Ackland plays the drunken former Soviet Navy captain in charge.

Equinox: Killer Bees (Sun C4) is better value, looking at how the fierce African honey bee has colonised all of South America and parts of North America. A sting from one of these charmers is simply a marker for the rest of the swarm - and 600 people have been killed since they were introduced nearly 40 years ago to boost honey production.

The South Bank Show (Sun ITV) shows that although the French may never quite have got the hang of pop music, they are second to none when it comes to a good chanson. Chansons are the sort of earthy, morally complex ballads made famous by the likes of Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Juliette Greco. As with any art form, there are differences and animosities. Greco tells how she disliked the woman-hating Piaf. Aznavour claims (but not dismisses) Greco as bourgeois. The film itself is a touch choppy, but it's inspired me to put some of the truly extraordinary Jacques Brel on my shopping list.