This isn't just rather cruel idle speculation. It goes to the heart of Captives (BBC2 Sat), Frank Deasy's well-written Screen Two about a prison dentist (Ormond) who starts an affair with an inmate (Roth). Now, Roth is a man who has built a surprisingly profitable career out of playing wry young punks, but no one - not even Quentin Tarantino - has tried casting him as a romantic lead before. You can sense why they did ("two of Britain's rising stars in Hollywood" reads the Beeb blurb), but it stretches the central credibility of an otherwise modestly admirable piece. Captives is peppered with, in British terms, star players (Keith Allen, Siobhan Redmond, Peter Capaldi, Colin Salmon) in roles that could safely have been left to less recognisable faces. But the real find here is Julia Ormond, who hints at why Hollywood might be so potty about her. A fine, pared-down performance.
Understated isn't a word you'd apply to Martin Jacques, former deputy editor of this paper, as he charges around the countries of East Asia in The End of the Western World (Sun BBC2), a title that catches your attention without what it heralds necessarily telling you much that is new. In a nutshell, the five-century-old domination of Europe and the West is at an end. All hail the mighty "tiger" economies of Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan.
The Encounters film Lost Paradise (Sun C4) has a genial American bod called Robert Perkins borrowing a motorbike from his neighbour, strapping a camera and pet terrier to the sidecar, and setting off in the footsteps of John Muir. The Scottish-born Muir was a 19th-century naturalist who eschewed the handiworks of man after nearly being blinded in a factory accident. Instead, he set off on foot to discover the wildernesses of North America, inspiring the world's first national parks, including Yosemite. Judging from the trailer-park and motel-littered landscape of this film, Americans owe John Muir a large debt.
For muso-purists, a seventh series of Later with Jools Holland (Sat BBC2) kicks off with Willy Nelson, the Cure, Tasmin Archer and Mark Morrison. The "in the round" format of the show, with the bands facing each other in a circle, provides a welcome competitive element, although it doesn't manage to do anything for Robert Smith's singing. Everyman (Sun BBC1), meanwhile, has a riveting film about the Jesus Army, a religious outfit that has created its own kind of state-within-a-state, complete with supermarkets, garages and an extensive property portfolio. It seems to have done this by "pooling" the worldly possessions of its disciples and exploiting their labour. The Jesus Army largely target the young and homeless, and you won't easily forget the image of Neil, hyperactively sorting apples and clearly mentally unstable. But can you safely call this exploitation when the alternative would be a cardboard box Care of the Community?Reuse content