Monday 16 September 2019

Paul Whitington's TV: The best of the week ahead

Poldark, Sunday BBC1, 9PM
Poldark, Sunday BBC1, 9PM
American Crime
Jason Byrne
Man Seeking Woman
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

1970s bodice-ripper gets a makeover


Sunday, BBC1, 9pm

When I first saw this series on the schedules I thought I'd had some sort of synaptic lapse and was back in the mid-1970s. I am, regrettably, just about old enough to remember the original Poldark, a steamy historical pot-boiler that ran for just two seasons between 1975 and 1977 but caught the imaginations of the viewing public and turned its stars Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees into tabloid favourites. The show was set in the wild of 18th-century Cornwall, and starred Ellis as Ross Poldark, an embattled country gentleman who's struggling to revive his derelict tin mine but is often distracted by his complex personal life.

Poldark was in love with his posh fiancée, Elizabeth, but she left him for his despised cousin, and Ross later married his sparky and outspoken servant, Demelza. As played by Angharad Rees, she became the audience favourite, and everyone wanted to bang Ross's head off the wall to make him realise that the woman of his dreams was standing right in front of him. The show took in smuggling, murder, intrigue and the looming menace of the industrial revolution, and was quite a lot of fun so far as I remember.

This new version will stick pretty close to the original series and the historical novels that inspired them, but with a brand new cast of course. Robin Ellis does return as an odious vicar, but Irish actor Aidan Turner will play Captain Ross Poldark, Eleanor Tomlinson is Demelza, and Heida Reed will co-star as the elusive Elizabeth. And a very handsome bunch they are too, but they'll be doing well to match the success of the original show, which drew in 15 million viewers an episode.



American Crime

Sunday, RTE2, 9.55pm

Fear and loathing in Modesto

Unusually, this ambitious new drama is premiering almost simultaneously in the US and over here. Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton play Barb and Russ, the estranged parents of Matt Skokie, a war veteran who’s murdered during a brutal home invasion in Modesto, California. When four suspects are rounded up, they fit the expected racial and socio-economic profiles perfectly. But others, including the dead man himself, will eventually become implicated in the crime.



Jason Byrne’s Snaptastic Show

3 Player, any time

Celebrity photo albums unleashed

I missed the start of this show but am catching up on the 3 Player, and I must say Jason Byrne's Snaptastic Show is genuinely funny. The premise is cunningly simple: Jason interviews various celebrities and makes fun of embarrassing photos from their childhoods. In fairness, Byrne also airs mortifying shots of himself, but it's his guests who are in the firing line, and some of them seem genuinely horrified by the snaps their host has unearthed.



Man Seeking Woman

FX, 2015

A surreal quest for love

Too many sitcoms are contrived and formulaic, but Man Seeking Woman certainly cannot be accused of that. A wild comedy that veers between relationship problems and surreal flights of fancy, it stars Canadian comic Jan Baruchel as Josh, who's trying to get over a painful break-up and find love. His efforts to do so involve an encounter with a troll (that's an actual, Grimm brothers troll) and Adolf Hitler, who's now 126 and still reminisces fondly about the good old days.

Irish Independent

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