Windows on the World Sat 12.30am BBC2
The Client Sat 12.35am C4
The Presidency Sun 7.30pm BBC2
Turning World Sun 9pm C4
It's funny how little we know about Brussels. I don't mean the Brussels of the pavement brasserie and postcards of the Manneken Pis, but the Brussels of EC Commissioners and "Brussels Bans the Great British Banger" headlines. The lapse is surely courtesy of the media, which either thinks that the EC is a big turn off, or, in the case of the comics, just another way of banging the patriotic drum.
But with the Question of Europe steaming up on us faster than the millennium, The Presidency (Sun BBC2) makes welcome viewing. Watch this before Sir James Goldsmith buys up every poster site near you. The three-part series takes an oblique, but effective, approach by documenting Ireland's six- month tenancy of the presidency of the European Union. The job description, basically, is to iron out disputes - or, in the words of one Eurocrat, "to find a cosmopolitan, homogeneous compromise". Euro-fudge, as cynics call this form of collective bargaining, works fine when calculating the community`s fruit and veg subsidies, but less well when coming up with a quick response to America sending cruise missiles into Baghdad. Anyway, against the odds, there is a real sense of real decisions being banged out. You can see why our representatives in Westminster fear and loathe the EC so heartily.
The first episode of The Presidency focuses on Irish Foreign Minister, Dick Spring. Another powerful Irishman, Tony O'Reilly, who owns a substantial share of this newspaper, emerges as the main protagonist of this week's Branded (Sat BBC2), "Heinz - Has Beanz?". As a million consumers every day say, "Beanz Meanz Heinz" - or at least they used to, until the emergence of "own label" brands at up to a third of the price of Heinz. The Pittsburgh- based company, watching its market share drop, came up with an unorthodox response. They filled spare production capacity at their factories by making baked beans for their cut-price competitors. As far as digging any dirt on O'Reilly goes, the worst the programme-makers seem able to come up with is that Heinz puts too much sugar in its (non-baby) products. O'Reilly disagrees.
The weekend's big new drama, Turning World (Sun C4), seems to be about to do for mental health professionals what A Fragile Heart did for cardiac surgeons - only, on the evidence of the first episode, slightly more subtly. Like the Nigel Hawthorne character in A Fragile Heart, Roshan Seth - as a consultant psychiatrist at a Victorian asylum facing closure - is an anally-retentive perfectionist, hermetically sealed against the outside world by his professionalism. He is also keen to dish out drugs and ECT, to the horror of his liberal-minded juniors. Into this ordered existence come a boxing champion who has turned against the sport, and Art Malik (remember him?) as a mysterious, swami-like character - someone from Roshan Seth's dark past, one suspects.
Windows on the World (Sat BBC2) has an evocative and informative film about French accordion music - or Paris Musette, as it is known. The Client (Sat C4) is a new legal-drama spin-off from John Grisham's novel, which stars JoBeth Williams and John Heard. Neither as good or as bad as it might have been (hence the starting time, no doubt), but in the wake of Steven Bochco's Murder One, it's nothing to waste your blank video tapes on.
The big picture
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
Sun 10pm C4
Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom made one of my top-10 favourite films, his 1985 charmer, My Life as a Dog. That film also proved Hallstrom's ticket to Hollywood, where, like many before him, he floundered amid Tinseltown's conflicting expectations (notably falling out with Cher during Mermaids). This 1993 effort is probably his best stab at applying his distinctive vision to the American landscape, and stars Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis.
The big match
Fiorentina v Juventus
Sun 1.40pm C4
If you had the choice, who would you rather watch in full flight, Wimbledon or Juventus? Well, you do have the choice - and you don't have to pay Rupert Murdoch for the pleasure of watching the likely winners of this year's European Cup. Arsenal versus Wimbledon may be Sky's big match this Sunday, but Juve's visit to Italian Cup holders Fiorentina is the one for the non-committed football purists. The Turin side's Croatian striker, Alen Boksic (above), is the man to watch.Reuse content