Preview RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND
Timewatch Sun 7.30pm BBC2
Cinema Europe Sun 9pm BBC2
In Search of Happiness Sun 10.10pm BBC1
The South Bank Show Sun 10.45pm ITV
The big picture
A Matter of Life and Death
Sat 8pm C4
The Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger film, A Matter of Life and Death, about a British airman (David Niven, above) pleading for his life in a heavenly court against a ferociously anti-British prosecutor (Raymond Massey), copped flak at the time for its supposed pro-American stance. The Daily Graphic called it "a picture which might have been made specifically to appeal to isolationist and anti-British sentiments in the United States". Nowadays, the film is appreciated for what it is: a wonderfully imaginative fantasy.
The big match
Golf: World Matchplay Championship
Sat 12.50pm, Sun 10.30am BBC1
There are few sporting events more thrilling than top-class matchplay golf: witness the almost unbearable tension of last month's Ryder Cup at Oak Hill. The first major matchplay event since then - the World Matchplay Championship - continues this weekend. Ernie Els (above) is the defending champion. Expect to see Bernard Gallacher, the Wentworth pro and Ryder Cup captain, repeating his Oak Hill act of watching from the sidelines - although he may not be quite so nervous this time.
Would you like to be happy? A stupid question - and only the stupid would join Angus Deayton In Search of Happiness (Sun BBC1) with any genuine hope of achieving nirvana. For most, it'll be a jolly way of blocking out the fact that it is Sunday evening - perhaps, in its own way, a definition of happiness.
How, though, do you tell whether Angus Deayton is happy, when his stock expression is Monday afternoon in the dentist's waiting room? In Search of Happiness seems mostly, in fact, to be about creating a vehicle to take Deayton into the sunny uplands grazed by the likes of Clive James and Clive Anderson. Perhaps, as advised in the programme, changing his name might be a route to happiness. With a touch more hair loss, Clive Deayton could yet have his own epigram-studded travel programme.
If Angus/Clive weren't just a visitor in this happiness business, he would now be walking around with a hole in his skull. The only people we meet who look anything like "happy" are a couple who each drilled holes in their head - trepanation, as it's known to the cognoscenti.
If the search for happiness seems unrealistically ambitious, then you can always join The South Bank Show (Sun ITV) in its search for Jimmy Nail, a man normally given to less public self-revelation than OJ Simpson. We learn that Nail has been teetotal for eight years, spent a stretch inside Strangeways for GBH, and wrote an anti-Vietnam poem at the age of 13.
Gravesend, I can assure you (it appears on my birth certificate), is not a town usually singled out by tourists - but it's apparently now being overrun by Americans in search of Pocahontas's grave. The reason, of course, is Disney's latest blockbuster, but if they were to see Timewatch (Sun BBC2), these tourists would learn that no-one knows where the lass is buried. They would also learn that Pocahontas looked more like Frieda Kahlo than Disney's ethnic Snow White, and that the name was adopted by the European settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, and meant "frisky". She was a "well-featured but wanton girl" by one account. But then, the speaker was a Puritan.
If you can't wait for Pride and Prejudice, you can catch Colin Firth quivering with repressed emotion beneath a bushy moustache (rather than bushy sideburns) in Performance: The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (Sat BBC2), DH Lawrence's early play. Firth plays Mr Holroyd, a miner who goes straight t'pub from t'pit before returning home to smack around t'missus (Zoe Wanamaker). Stephen Dillane is the sensitive electrician who wants to take her to a new life in Spain.
Cinema Europe (Sun BBC2) reaches Germany, illustrating the oft-made point that silent cinema was reaching sublime heights when killed off by sound. German cinema became sublimer than most because it got wired for sound two years after everyone else. Jolson's "Mammi" for Murnau's Faust? A pact with the devil indeed.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
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