TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Curse of the mean beret

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The Independent Culture
The daughter of the Czechoslovakian President, an earnest young woman in a beret, comes to Britain to court support for her country. And what does she most desire on this diplomatic mission? 'To meet Mrs Thatcher.' Unfortunately, the rest of AN EXCHANGE OF FIRE (10pm C4), writer/director Tony Bicat's two- part post-Cold War thriller, is not quite so entertaining. The plot turns on the attempted kidnap of Olga (Clare Woodgate), said daughter, by a cell of funny-mask- wearing Czech separatist terrorists led by Frank Finlay. Walking out of the same building wearing the same beret, Anne (Juliette Caton), the daughter of a media academic (James Fleet), is mistakenly abducted instead. The academic then has to agonise about breaking his own principles; he has written a book on the dangers of giving in to terrorism. The theme of compromised idealism is intriguing enough, and some amusing flourishes adorn the main picture. But the dialogue sometimes sounds like a stilted translation from the original Czech; in offering to exchange herself for Anne, Olga declares: 'Besides, what is my safety in comparison to that of our country?'

(Photograph omitted)