Dirty Sexy Money, Channel 4
The Diets That Time Forgot, Channel 4
he Passion, BBC1
Holby Blue/EastEnders, BBC1

Biblical themes are relished in a new US drama, and the devil gets all the best lines

At this time of year, it is healthy to contemplate the dichotomy between good and evil, the nature of everlasting life and the power of love to overcome great adversity. In this, Dirty Sexy Money starts off well. "The love of money is the root of all evil," says Nick George, a New York civic lawyer who cares about nuns and orphans and knows better than to misquote his Timothy. He could go on to mention that they who would be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition, but all that soon becomes clear.

The Darling family is a casting triumph and a classic fictional embodiment of Timothy's truism. Patriarch Tripp Darling (played with obvious glee by a twinkling Donald Sutherland) is the snare, who persuades Nick to become the family's lawyer even though the same job ruined Nick's father's life and even though Tripp's first choice was Bill Clinton.

Temptation is three-times married Karen, who wants one hand down Nick's pants while signing her latest pre-nup with the other. The foolish one would be Juliet, who is Paris Hilton but with a better team of scriptwriters. Much has been made of the first real transvestite in American drama, who plays the love interest of sleazy politico Patrick Darling (William Baldwin). That takes care of the hurtful lusts. "You do it – he's your girlfriend", spits virtuous Nick, when Patrick asks him to dump the troublesome trannie.

There are a few duff notes in the pilot episode: the theatre director's Scottish accent is about as authentic as Groundskeeper Willie's in The Simpsons; they could have done without digitally lowering the transsexual mistress's voice, post-production; and, for rich people, the Darlings don't half have small champagne flutes. But this has all the elements of a new hit American drama. Nick is the perfect foil for the high camp of the amoral Darlings. His morally upright wife acts as a kind of Greek chorus.

There is physical comedy, social comment (as if any school would accept money in return for places) and some of the snappiest dialogue since Friends at its peak. "Look at me," says elegant waster Jeremy Darling, "I can't even win a yacht without getting arrested. I have the worst life in the world." "Jeremy, 30,000 people die of starvation every day," preaches worthy Nick. "Yeah, out of seven billion people." For a pertinent analysis of the premise behind the show, look no further than Donald Sutherland, who had this to say about his character: "If you look at Bill Clinton, you know that power corrupts, and absolute power makes you really horny." Bring on the destruction and perdition.

A similar mix of greed, power and dodgy cosmetic surgery fuelled Channel 4's The Diets That Time Forgot, in which a group of modern fatties attempt fad diets from the Victorian, Edwardian and 1920s eras. The historian, Sir Roy Strong, lost all credibility as the top-hatted Mr Nasty, as he sneered at their "shell suits and flab" and twirled his moustaches over the "luscious" Edwardian "ideal S-shape" (which women achieved by removing their bottom ribs). Elizabeth, Lady Davenport managed to offend swathes of people in one go when she accused "Welsh tomboy Nicky" of resembling "a trucker from Hull", and dressed her up as a sofa in a 1920s New Girdle and a hideous patterned dress. But Nicky and her fellow dieters still seemed to have missed the point. "I'm not here for everyone to say, 'Oh, let's take the piss out of the fat people'," complained one. All together now: "Oh yes you are!"

It must be very modern to mingle historical genres. Dirty Sexy Money was Greek drama for the Noughties; The Diets That Time Forgot enforced an element of modern eating disorders on our understanding of 20th-century history; and BBC1's The Passion offered The Greatest Story Ever Told in a post-reality TV format. "But he does miracles," protested Judas in episode two. "Well, we all want to be famous," responded Caiaphas, the High Priest. The devil has always had all the best jokes, but hats off to the scriptwriters for throwing in some plum lines for women that must have been lost in the editing of the New Testament. Penelope Wilton reprised her character from Ever Decreasing Circles in the role of the put-upon mother of Jesus. A Jerusalem prostitute performed an impeccable Cath-erine Tate impersonation, asking Pilate, "Are you mockin' us?" And what was that saucy look on Mary Magdalene's face when her Saviour told her with a twinkle: "I promise you, Mary, before the week is over you'll know God, like never before."

The idea of the Messiah as a sort of bawdy Big Brother wannabe is an interesting one, but was the drama trying to say something more profound? Nobody could have known it would screen during a particularly bad week for money lenders, but a very unmodern sympathy was evident for so-called blasphemers and religious nutters and for groups of bearded blokes entering town with suspicious rucksacks. Religious tolerance? On the BBC? Don't tell the Daily Mail.

Not much tolerance in evidence in the BBC's soaps, in which there was only one recourse for women scorned. Holby Blue, spin-off from Holby City, itself a spin-off from Casualty, saw Jaq Naylor acting like mad using only her cheekbones, while Dumb and Dumber interviewed her about the murder of a man who had assaulted her. How did her fingerprints get on those surgical scissors? And did anyone care as long as the scheming cow was put away for something? In EastEnders, meanwhile, the fate of the cheating ginger scumbag Max Branning seemed all too clear as soon as little Abi held a funeral for Marge the guinea pig. "Everyone deserves a decent burial," she sobbed. It's a humdinger of a cliffhanger for the Easter weekend: is Tanya really going to crucify her husband? And will she go back two days later to find some idiot has rolled away the stone?

Hermione Eyre is away

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower