Today's pick

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Modern Times: Bystanders (9pm BBC2) A landlady is punched unconscious in her own pub as her "regulars" look on and do nothing; a middle-aged woman is sworn at and has beer poured over her on a busy commuter train without any interference from her fellow passengers. And a pensioner has his wrist stamped on in a crowded shopping mall. What causes people's reluctance to get involved in a stranger's plight (fear of calling down violence on themselves, mainly) - and how does their inactivity subsequently affect these "bystanders" (no guesses; it begins with "g")? Talking heads and arty graphics suggesting urban isolation are the staple ingredients of Nicholas O'Dwyer's disturbing film, but surveillance camera footage of an old woman confronting a Post Office gunman suggest a way forward for the genre.

Witness: The Clinic (9pm C4) One in three British women has had an abortion - not that you would know from women's conversation. Ann Parisio's film goes inside three clinics (receptionist to caller: "Good morning. Is it for a termination?") as a few more of 560 British women who daily have abortions prepare for this "minor surgical procedure" - and anti-abortionists unfurl a banners of the Virgin Mary outside.

THe films

Pink String and Sealing Wax (1.50pm C4) The talented but ill-disciplined Robert Hamer followed his intriguing "Haunted Mirror" sequence from Dead of Night with this 1945 melodrama meticulously recreating late Victorian Brighton in all its social layers. Gordon Jackson is the middle-class lad who finds release from his stern family in the embrace of the publican Googie Withers, who happens to be a poisoner. The title refers to Victorian chemists' method of wrapping poisons.

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